I Believe My Interest in the Field of Information Would Be Best Developed Into Something Truly Significant

Rapidly growing in new ways, the digital economy is now ingrained in almost all products and services today. It has become increasingly important to determine how to use data – an asset in the digital world, as concerns regarding consumer privacy are surging, especially with large scale privacy hacks such as the Facebook Cambridge Analytica event. As a direct result, consumers have grown extremely cautious of sharing their data in online forums.

In recent times, measures have been taken to ensure that companies are accountable with their use of data. For instance, in May 2018, the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) came into effect, which allowed customers to protect the information that they share in online platforms. This regulation also has greater control over previously unregulated consumer data, thus, protecting against unwanted information disclosures.

Additionally, issues such as copyright infringement must be combated by emphasizing copy protection measures to ensure that latest releases of movies and songs are not duplicated into thousands of copies. It becomes necessary to protect information technology networks from cyber intrusion, as only piracy protection can allow artists to connect to their consumers securely through a network. This widespread investment in achieving safety and well-being for all individuals makes information sciences one of the most admirable professions, and it would be an honor to say I can contribute to its efforts.

Information sciences addresses some of humanity’s biggest challenges in the era of the digital revolution. The University of Michigan School of Information’s Master of Science in Information program works to analyze the various determinants of societal problems through the digital world, and to implement measures to improve such conditions within communities. Having studied the role of technology in social institutions during my undergraduate sociology studies in India, I have developed an enthusiasm to learn about how information technology acts as a stimulus for the most fundamental social transformations. I hope to leverage these studies during this program by contributing my international perspectives to the classroom.

Furthermore, within the master’s program, students have the freedom to tailor their studies through the option to enroll in tracks and electives based on individual goals and interests. I am particularly motivated to pursue the Human Computer Interaction track which utilizes a human centered approach to analyze the ways in which users engage with information technology. Specifically, I am interested in taking ‘SI 588: Fundamentals of Human Behavior’ taught by Professor Libby Hemphill and Professor Lorraine Buis, as an elective to gain a deeper understanding of the implications of psychological sciences for the use of information systems. I am also eager to pursue ‘SI 551: Information Behavior and Search Experience’ taught by Professor Soo Young Rieh, which takes a user-centered approach to explore topics such as search behavior and search interaction.

It is also particularly encouraging that students are required to be involved in Cognate Coursework which allows them to gain credits outside UMSI to further develop skills and knowledge in another chosen area of interest.

Students also have the option to complete a Mastery course which would allow them to gain practical experience within a specific area of interest in the information professions. Moreover, through the program, students participate in a summer internship that allows them to apply knowledge acquired through coursework to a real-world setting and gain deployable skills from experiential learning. I believe this sort of action-learning is vital to success in the field of information, therefore this component of the program is a significant basis for my interest.

In addition to challenging me to undertake new strategies for qualitative and quantitative research questions, through this master’s program, I would also be better equipped to apply research methodologies rooted in the sphere of information. Ultimately, the opportunity to leverage my undergraduate and graduate studies, enroll in specialized track, participate in an internship and be academically challenged through the Master of Science in Information program, would best allow me develop my niche in the field of information.

The University of Michigan School of Information has leading faculty members who have contributed remarkably to the field of information technology. In particular, I am interested in Professor Mark Newman’s research on health-oriented behavior change through information technology and social computing. I am also intrigued by the research conducted by Professor Tawanna Dillahunt on the use of social sciences in designing technologies for understudied communities. The opportunity to have access to these minds for conversations or future research is one of the greatest resources this program offers.

Further, students can access research on information related matters through centers such as the Office of Research which aids local communities through research, and The Center for Social Media Responsibility (CSMR) which helps media makers and consumers understand how to operate in the realm of media. Again, access to such a center to produce quality, impactful research, is an indispensable resource for a graduate student such as myself.

Students also have the opportunity to join organizations such as Student Organization for Computer-Human Interaction (SOCHI) and Multi-ethnic Information Exchange (MIX) which would further help them connect to professional opportunities and be involved with the inclusive University of Michigan community. Further, through the Office of Professional Engagement (OPCE) students can be engaged in community projects such as the A2 Data Dive and Community Impact Projects, to work on information related projects for non-profits and local organizations.

Finally, as a college, UMSI is committed to incorporating diversity, equity, and inclusion through its Diversity Committee. I subscribe to the notion that the best learning is done in spaces that promote diversity and inclusion. I am excited for the opportunity to work collaboratively in this sort of setting for I believe it is where the highest quality work is produced. As an international student from India, I carry with me my unique experiences and perspectives. If given an encouraging environment, I believe they will be a valuable contribution to the dialogues surrounding information sciences.

In essence, I am pursing the University of Michigan School of Information’s Master of Science in Information program because it fosters an environment for students to produce the very best research. With access to various resources and the opportunity for practical experiential learning—all under the umbrella of the college’s commitment to diversity and inclusion, I believe my interest in the field of Information would be best developed into something truly significant.

With sufficient research experience in a health setting, I am motivated to pursue a career in the health services sector. My background in social sciences has provided me with a lens to view population health within social constraints and opportunities. Further, with a foundation in business management from my forthcoming Master’s in Management, I have gained strong quantitative skills to undertake health research, thus equipping me to pursue the Master of Science in Information.

Upon completion of the program, I aim to be engaged in user experience research at a national or international government agency or a non-profit organization. I hope to apply theories based in social sciences and information studies to understand the processes by which social conditions and technology are interrelated, and to identify explanations for this link while uncovering social variation at the population level. Further, I intend to work to address the fundamental needs of marginalized and vulnerable populations in India, through human-computer interaction, by using information in an ethical and effective manner. The skills and knowledge acquired in this program would also equip me to communicate findings from large data sets to consumers in a comprehensible manner.

Through research, I plan on working towards understanding components which acts as barriers to health equity and reinforce affordable, high quality health care for underserved communities with the help of social computing knowledge. I aim to do so by innovating solutions unique to the challenges faced by the marginalized and vulnerable populations in developing nations. The technical skills from this program will aid me to improve the health and living standards of those in need by allowing equal access to health care delivery, which I firmly believe is a fundamental human right.

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