Andrew W. Mellon Foundation awards grant to support i3 diversity program


The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has approved a three-year grant of $819,000 to the School of Information Sciences, to support the iSchool Inclusion Institute (i3). The institute is working to increase the diversity of students enrolled in graduate programs at U.S.-based Information Schools (iSchools). This is the third grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to support the development and hosting of the i3 program, bringing the total donation to more than $1.5 million.

The i3 project is an undergraduate research and leadership development program that prepares students from underrepresented populations for graduate study and careers in the information sciences. Each year, 20 undergraduate students from across the country are selected to become i3 Scholars. Those students undertake a year-long experience that includes two summer institutes held at the University of Pittsburgh and a year-long team research project. Through this program, the students explore the educational and research opportunities at each of the iSchools, an international coalition of Information Schools dedicated to advancing the information field in the 21st Century. While each individual iSchool has its own strengths and specializations, together they share a fundamental interest in the relationships between information, people and technology. More information about the iSchools is available at An intensive and challenging program, i3 prepares students for the rigor of graduate study and research in the information sciences. The U.S.-based iSchools value the preparation provided by i3 and actively recruit i3 Scholars to their graduate programs.

On June 28th, the iSchool concluded the third i3 summer residential institute. To date, the i3 program has attracted 58 undergraduates from universities across the United States and earning degrees in such diverse disciplines as business, English literature, political science, engineering, psychology, history, statistics, public health, computer science and information science. As of early 2013, two i3 scholars are enrolled in a graduate information science program and eight more have applied for admission to one of the U.S. iSchools.

The project is run by the University of Pittsburgh School of Information Sciences under the supervision of the Principal Investigators, Dean Ronald L. Larsen and Assistant Professor James “Kip” Currier and is managed by i3 Director Michael Depew. The project has been developed by the School of Information Sciences at Pitt in conjunction with two partner iSchools – Drexel University’s College of Information Science and Technology and the College of Information Science and Technology at the Pennsylvania State University. In addition, the project draws upon and incorporates the significant experiential information and relevant knowledge of a variety of academics and Information Professionals. Other US-based iSchools contribute to the program as recruiters, teachers, and mentors, participating in select phases of the Summer Institutes and during the year-long research/development project. Several iSchools have offered scholarship funds to graduate applicants who have successfully completed the i3 program.