School of Information Sciences

SIS hosted annual weeklong iFest event


Earlier this month, the iSchool hosted its annual iFest event. Since 2005, iFest has been the iSchool’s premiere event to engage students, faculty, employers, and the Pittsburgh community in the information sciences. This year, nearly 300 students, faculty, employers, and alumni attended the various events throughout the week.

Career Mentoring Sessions
On Monday, February 6 and Tuesday, February 7, our alumni dedicated their time to helping our students with mock interviews and résumé reviews. Over 85 students took advantage of these two sessions to improve their skills and utilize advice from our alumni.

Career & Internship Expo
On Wednesday, February 8, the 3rd floor of the IS building was filled with employers and students. Representatives from 12 employers within the Pittsburgh region—including BNY Mellon, Federal Reserve Board, Zap Solutions, and SDLC Partners, L.P.—were in attendance to talk to our students and share their employment and internship opportunities.

“We are very happy with the turnout at this year’s event,” said Alka Singh, internship coordinator at the School of Information Sciences. “Our Career & Internship Expo is a great experience for both the students as well as the employers. Our students get the opportunity to apply for positions as well as network with employers, while the organizations who attend are able to see the wide range of skills our students gain through our programs.”

Three Minute Thesis (3MT) Competition
On Thursday, February 9, four SIS PhD students competed in our 3MT competition. Developed by the University of Queensland in 2008, 3MT challenges doctoral students to present their research, as well as the importance of it, to a broad audience in three minutes or less.

We are extremely proud of the following four doctoral students who competed:

“Break the Filter Bubble: a Visual Approach for Improving Recommendation Diversity”
Chun-Hua Tsai, PhD in Information Science & Technology

“Adaptive Explorable Examples for Computer Science Education”
Roya Hosseini, PhD in Computer Science

“Block-Chain Technology to Enforce the Spectrum Sharing Rights”
Amer Malki, PhD in Telecommunications & Networking

“Engaging Newcomers in Hybrid Communities”
Di Lu, PhD in Information Science & Technology

Di Lu won the best overall presentation as well as People’s Choice presentation. A second place mention was given to Roya Hosseini.

Congratulations to each student who competed. This is an extremely difficult competition and our students did an exceptional job.

TEC (Technology. Entrepreneurship. Creativity.)
The iFest event culminated on Friday, February 10 with its fourth annual TEC Conference. TEC provides an opportunity for students, researchers, entrepreneurs, policymakers, and community partners to meet, share ideas, and collaborate. This year, the conference featured speakers such as Dan Woods, CEO of TechShop, who discussed the importance of makerspaces, and Elaine Gomez, game designer and adjunct faculty at Rutgers University, who discussed experimental game design and the various ways in which gaming can be used for more than just entertainment purposes.

We were very pleased to welcome alumni Martijn de Jongh (PhD ’14), data infrastructure scientist at Facebook, back to SIS as our closing keynote speaker. He discussed the various data science challenges he and his team have faced and how they have overcome them as well as Facebook’s current initiative to provide Internet connectivity to everyone around the globe.

Thank you to everyone who made this year’s event a success!


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