I have always been interested in programming and technology in general, but I wanted a technology degree that was more focused on social justice and had more of a critical lens. Information sciences is interdisciplinary, and it bridges people, information, and technology, which is an aspect that I really enjoyed. It’s sort of socio-technical and it’s a good balance.

The information sciences major was new when I started at Illinois, and I was in the inaugural class. There really aren’t many schools that offer an information sciences or informatics major, maybe just a handful. I founded a co-ed professional fraternity with my friends who were also in the major, because no such organization really existed at the time. We founded the alpha chapter and we’ve grown it to the point where we have corporate sponsors and over fifty members.

What really made a difference for me at Illinois were the resources provided which allowed me to succeed in my education. Some of these included access to journal articles and databases needed for research, all the software and different products that you need for coursework and research, as well as on-campus services like transportation, healthcare, and resources that make college life less stressful. And all the people in my department were amazing, including the academic affairs staff, career services, and professors. I wouldn’t be where I am without all of them.

I decided on my current career path after several internship experiences. I did an internship in IT, one as a financial analyst, and the final one I did was in functional human resources. I discovered through these that I really liked IT and human resources. I wanted to get involved in something where I could do human resources and information systems consulting, but I also wanted to do something where I could make a difference through my work.

My company, Huron Consulting Group, works with non-profit organizations, including the American Cancer Society, lots of educational institutions, and healthcare organizations. As a Consulting Analyst, I help these organizations streamline their resources through enterprise resource planning and human capital management implementations, which allows them to have all their resources in one place, and they can more easily pull real-time analytics. This enables these organizations to better plan for how to use their resources, and ultimately how they can better serve their communities.

I really appreciate the culture of my company and how much they value social justice and giving back to their communities. I also like all the organizations I’ve worked with at my company. All the clients are amazing, and they do amazing work, so it’s great to be able to help them improve their systems. That’s my way of giving back. I definitely think I found my niche, and I look forward to continuing to evolve in this field.

As an alum, I would advise current students to never miss an opportunity to give back. It’s important to serve your community and find something you’re passionate about. I also highly recommend utilizing your internship and volunteering experiences, because that’s what is ultimately going to allow you to ace those interview questions and get you a full-time role that you love.