Elon alumni celebrate impact of information science major
Offered by the Department of Computing Sciences, the information science program has earned praise from graduates who are advancing their careers or pursuing graduate degrees using concepts honed at Elon University.
As the information science major offered by the Department of Computing Sciences this fall enters its fifth academic year, faculty members involved in the program reached out to young alumni to learn about their post-graduate work in both academic and in industry.
Information Science took the place of Computer Information Systems in 2011, a move that reflected the emerging need for data scientists capable of applying state-of-the-art tools and techniques for transforming a barrage of data to consistent, trusted, and relevant information that provides insight and knowledge to support decision making.
Jeff Stern '14 recently completed his first year in the Ph.D. program in the School of Information at University of Michigan and was awarded a prestigious National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowship, which provides three years of funding for graduate work.
"My time and experiences as an Elon student are what has prepared me to begin graduate study at the Ph.D. level," Stern said. "I was able to design and carry out my own two-year research project with the close guidance of ISC faculty. "This project qualified me to be a user experience research intern at Google in California, where I spent the summer before my senior year. These two pivotal experiences gave me the confidence and skills to pursue a research career at University of Michigan."
By day, David Williams '13 works as an infrastructure engineer for JPMorgan Chase. By night, he studies in the master's program in cybersecurity in the Polytechnic School of Engineering at New York University. His busy schedule is a continuation of his life at Elon, where he was a standout information science student and a defensive back on the Elon Phoenix football team.
"The program provided me with a technical foundation that led to a seamless transition to my current full-time position," Williams said. "The diverse curriculum provided by the Elon Computing Sciences department has proven to be extremely helpful as I continue to develop my technical and professional skill set. My business team was very impressed with the knowledge base that I brought coming straight from undergraduate studies."
Kate Vogt '11 completed the prestigious Master of Human-Computer Interaction program at Carnegie Mellon University, widely considered one of the best institutions in the world to study in the computing sciences. Her Elon and CMU experiences have earned her a position as a mobile designer with IBM Research in New York. Vogt is working on mobile and wearables for enterprise customers as part of a partnership between IBM and Apple.
"In education, sometimes soft skills are underrated," she said. "Being able to persuade, negotiate and present, especially in technical and design fields, has only helped my career. Elon's ISC program gave me the technical foundation, critical thinking, and communication skills to take on any challenge that has come my way."
Jonathan Citty '10 is a solutions engineer with Tryon Solutions, a Triangle (North Carolina) startup that has grown threefold in the past year.
"The program prepared me for my current position by allowing me to practice gathering requirements and developing software that matches the requirements," Citty said. "Being able to speak with a diverse group of people and explain technical issues in easy to understand language is mandatory in my position, and without Elon my skill set would be severely lacking."