Undergraduates receive $1,000 scholarships

December 6, 2011

Katie Hawthorne

Two $1,000 merit-based scholarships for newly admitted undergraduates in SILS’ bachelor’s in information science degree program, have been awarded to Benito Luciano and Katie Hawthorne. The scholarships, which are awarded spring and fall semesters to students who meet the criteria of high scholastic achievement and a stellar essay, will be effective spring 2012.

"I've taken many different paths so far in my undergraduate career, each one getting me a little closer to the abstract, misleading concept of "what I want to do with my life," said Hawthorne. "Before I switched into the School from Chemistry, I talked to Dr. Marchionini to figure out if this was the right place for me. I think it is. I think I finally found it! This scholarship shows me that SILS believes in me as well. Even being so new to the school, I realized that a lot of the subject matter has been churning in my head for years, and it wasn't until I found SILS that I could put a name on the field. It's a fantastic program, and I'm lucky to have found such a wonderful opportunity at UNC. I'm excited to be a part of SILS, and I'm looking forward to the semesters to come."

Benito Luciano

"Against unusual odds and circumstances, my admittance into the SILS information science program proves to me and my family that if you ask and believe with a sincere heart no dream is impossible for God to bring to life," said Luciano.

Hawthorne and Luciano join a rapidly-growing undergraduate major, and, even in difficult economic conditions, one of the most promising in terms of job prospects. A 2009 “First Destination Survey” by the University's Career Services found that students graduating with a bachelor's degree in information science had the highest rate of employment (85.7 percent). UNC Chapel Hill has the only bachelor’s in information science degree program in North Carolina.

“Benito and Katie are highly motivated and ambitious students,” said Kaitlyn Murphy, undergraduate student services manager at SILS. “They truly have a passion for information science, which is evident through their academic accomplishments and professional work experience. Both students are excellent candidates of this scholarship and we look forward to having them in our program."  

Two $1,000 scholarships will once again be offered for the fall semester for newly admitted students in the BSIS major who meet the criteria. Undergraduate students who have completed at least the first semester of their sophomore year may apply for admission. For those interested in learning more about the BSIS program, an information session is scheduled for Wednesday, Feb. 8 in Manning Hall at 5 p.m. in room 208 to learn more. Pizza and refreshments will be served.

About the BSIS Program

The BSIS curriculum is the only program of its kind in North Carolina and one of only a few nationwide. It is one of the fastest growing fields in the nation.

Information science (IS) combines working with people, designing technology and developing information content. For example, as an IS major, a student might be involved in designing/developing the Web site that reports the scores of the Tar Heel teams. The student would be concerned with the people trying to view the site (True Blue Fans), the technology used to support the site (the Web and perhaps a database behind the site) and the game scores (along with relevant quotes from the players, news items, etc.).

The BSIS program draws on our faculty's strengths in fields like usability, human-computer interaction, open source development, database design, information retrieval and human-information behavior and is designed to prepare graduates for a variety of careers in the information industry. Graduates go into positions of:

Project Manager
Corporate Blogger
Web Master
Knowledge Management Analyst
Information Technology Analyst
Software Quality Engineer
Risk Management: Vulnerability Analysis, Disaster Recovery and Business Continuation
Research Assistant
And many more!

Graduates go on to work at organizations such as Credit Suisse, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Progress Energy, SAS, CISCO, the Department of Homeland Security, Aetna, Lulu Enterprises and the United States Census Bureau, to name just a few.

According to the United States Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics, the 30 fastest-growing occupations from now until 2016 include a number of information science occupations. The field of network systems and data communications is listed as the number one fastest growing occupation in the nation. Occupations like computer software engineers, systems software developers and database administrators are included on the list that require a bachelor's degree are included on the list as well.

Some of the exciting, emerging and growing fields of information science that students may wish to explore include:

Social Networking (Facebook, Twitter, etc.)
Open Culture: Open Source Software, Open Access
Intelligence: market intelligence, business and competitive intelligence
Search Engine Marketing or Search Engine Optimization
Cyber and Internet Security
Data Forensics: e-discovery, data recovery
Scientific Informatics