Informatics student Isabel Lopez was chosen from a nationwide pool of applicants for the iSchool Inclusion Institute, a 20-month-long experience that began in the summer 2019 and will conclude spring 2021.
Lopez, a LiFT Scholar at the IU School of Informatics and Computing at IUPUI, traveled to Pittsburgh for a four-week session of classes and professional development in June and July, 2019, where she was part of a 25-person cohort. She then worked throughout the year on a team project about social media, which was presented to the iConference 2020 in Sweden—online due to COVID outbreak—this March. This summer she is scheduled to return to Pittsburgh to present findings and to continue work on a research paper on the topic for iConference 2021.
Her team’s research deals with the impact of abandonment in social media and was conducted through a survey of 152 Millenial women, ages 23 to 38. The team queried participants and collected responses on such topics as harassment, depression, anxiety, self-expression, and self-awareness, specifically on the Snapchat channel.
Lopez says her i3 participation has opened her mind to do more, saying, “you get what you put into it.” She has met and learned about diverse people and encourages others to drive themselves and ask the tough questions. “I’m very grateful to Davide Bolchini, chair of the Department of Human-Centered Computing, and to Senior Associate Executive Dean Palakal for their recommendation and support in making this opportunity possible,” Lopez said.
Lopez attended Providence Cristo Rey High School in Indianapolis where she took computing classes through the Informatics Diversity-Enhanced Workforce (iDEW) Program, in particular the web design and Internet-of-Things modules. She enrolled at the School of Informatics and Computing in fall 2018 and says she “wouldn’t be the person she is today,” without these experiences, and that—despite her involvement technically ending next year—she will always be part of the i3 family.
Now a sophomore, Lopez is looking to pursue a career in statistics or sports analytics, hopefully within the baseball industry.
About the iSchool Inclusion Institute
The iSchool Inclusion Institute (i3) is an undergraduate research and leadership development program that prepares students from underrepresented populations for graduate study and careers in the information sciences. Only 25 students from across the country are selected each year to become i3 Scholars. Those students undertake a yearlong experience that includes two summer institutes hosted by the University of Pittsburgh School of Computing and Information and a research project spanning the year. i3 prepares students for the rigors of graduate study and serves as a pipeline for i3 Scholars into internationally recognized information schools—the iSchools. Most importantly, i3 empowers students to create change and make an impact on the people around them.