What was your educational and professional background before coming to SILS?
I've always loved technology and learning about the latest and greatest in the industry. In high school, I participated in FIRST Robotics, which gave me more insight into STEM-related careers and companies. When I started at UNC, I saw myself going into a tech-focused journalism role. I began working at the Daily Tar Heel on the Multimedia desk. I loved working there and learning the skills of a video journalist. I took a couple of classes in the journalism school and enjoyed them a lot, but I found myself enjoying the technology aspect of the classes more than the reporting. My sister was an Information Systems minor and suggested that I take Dr. Bergquist's course on Retrieving and Analyzing Information. The following summer I signed up for another one of Dr. Bergquist's courses, a summer session class on Tools for Information Literacy. In this class, we learned how to create web pages using HTML and CSS, and I loved it. As it turned out, I incorporated a couple of journalism school classes into my degree at SILS. Multimedia Design, Branding of Me, and New Media Technology were excellent courses that complimented my BSIS degree very well.
How has your career progressed since you graduated SILS?
I began my career at MetLife in July of 2016 as a participant in the MetLife Technical University Professional Program. In this program, I built on the foundations of my Information Science degree. I felt incredibly prepared, coming into this job with both business and technical skills that I learned in SILS. Being able to "speak both languages" certainly gave me an edge going into my career at MetLife.
As I progress through the first year of my first job, I continue to network and learn new skills. I put a lot of emphasis on shadowing and asking questions to others in my organization, as I have found that this is one of the best ways to learn new things and pick up new skills quickly. Despite being out of school, I am learning every day. I have found that being in an environment of learning in your workplace is so important to progressing in your career.
In your current employment, what are your job duties and responsibilities?
In my current position, I work as a Business Systems Analyst in IT Solutions Delivery for Agent Compensation. I work with the business and software engineering teams to create solutions that work for both groups. I work in Excel doing data analysis and I write business and functional requirements for the systems we are working to transform and improve.
What were some of your best experiences at SILS?
One of my best experiences at SILS was the capstone course with Dr. Jarrahi. Each class, students presented on hot technology topics and drove the discussion. There were three roles for presenters: Advocate, Neutral, and Devil’s Advocate. This was an excellent way to gain exposure to different perspectives and also a way to challenge ourselves to think differently.
What projects have gotten you most excited and/or what accomplishments have made you the proudest?
I am especially grateful to SILS for the wide variety of classes. From Systems Analysis and Design to Natural Language Processing to Organizational Behavior, I feel particularly up-to-date on the latest technology and industry thinking. The encouragement to learn current topics and current technology provided me with a strong repertoire of knowledge and not to mention a marketable resume! The career panels, interesting courses, mentoring and exceptional professors all played a large part in preparing me for the future.
What inspires or motivates you?
I am inspired by the innovators. I love to keep up on the latest technology trends and understand how consumers interact with the technology. I am driven to succeed by witnessing others' success and experiencing it firsthand. I am excited for the future and look forward to seeing how the Information Science field continues to grow.
Is there any other information you would like to share, or any advice you would like to offer current or future SILS students?
I strongly recommend a program like MTU or a rotational program as a start to your first big job. This provided me with a transitional period between school and work to adjust to a new lifestyle.