The School of Information Studies (iSchool) graduated three doctoral students last weekend, and the breadth of their information science and technology program is illustrated in the different career paths each of them are taking.
Brian Dobreski is becoming a tenure-track faculty member at the School of Information Sciences at the University of Tennesee, Knoxville. Bryan Dosono is heading into industry for a job as a user-experience researcher at Airbnb in San Francisco. Corey Jackson is spending the next year in a post-doctoral role, lecturing in data science courses at the University of California, Berkeley.
Dobreski has long planned on an academic career and his half-teaching/half-research role as an assistant professor permits him to teach while continuing his research efforts. It’s a role for which the iSchool prepared him well.
“I had a lot of opportunities to do all the kinds of things a faculty member would do—teaching, research, helping with admission and hiring committee activities. I’m really fortunate I was encouraged to try all kinds of things while I was here,” he says.
Selected for the 2019 Doctoral Prize for outstanding academic contributions, Dobreski credits his advisor and other faculty members for his success. “The relationship with my advisor has been key to getting me to where I am right now. Barbara Kwasnik made a ton of time for me and gave me so much feedback and so much support. Having that really good advisor relationship was really critical to my success. Though she’s retired now and I’m her last student, we plan to keep doing research together. I may also continue to collaborate with other iSchool faculty members, because I’ve had a really good experience doing research here,” notes Dobreski.
Influenced by the iSchool, the new faculty member sought a place with an interdisciplinary approach. “I was looking for a school with an affinity for library science because the students I am most well-prepared to work with are those going into library programs. Tennessee was looking for someone in the information space, but who also knew about libraries, archives, and museums; someone doing socially informed work who knew of the social aspects of information. They were receptive to my area of focus and the courses I’ve been teaching at the iSchool—information organization, metadata, cataloging, indexing, classification. It seemed like a good fit and I’m excited to be starting there.”
Bryan Dosono knew that industry would allow him to use his research theory and methods training while enjoying a lifelong research career, and an internship at Airbnb a year ago illustrated those parallels. With the company’s public offering happening soon, he also thought of this as an exciting time to join the firm. The company’s mission of diversity and inclusion, and its dedication to creating a world where anyone can belong anywhere, also were attractive, he adds.
Dosono expects his job to integrate human perspectives in Airbnb’s products and processes from its application to company finance, privacy and security aspects. He’s excited to be at the forefront of designing and defining future human-computer interaction from process to product implementation, and to helping create experiences for guests “at a scope that lets me create impactful research, particularly when the product touches millions of users.”
Entering the doctoral program right after his undergraduate years, Dosono spent six years at the iSchool. He credits a caring faculty environment and a commitment to HCI learning as essential to his current standing. “I’m really grateful for how nurturing the faculty are here and for those on my dissertation committee who focused on human computer interaction, including my advisor, Bryan Semaan,” Dosono says. “I’m glad they’ve been connected to the HCI community. They were able to provide excellent introductions to a lot of leaders in the field at conferences like CHI and CSCW. The iSchool encourages students to go to conferences and funds doctoral students to attend them, and that support goes a long way to help students broaden their horizons.”
Born in Washington State and attending the University of Washington as an undergrad, Dosono is pleased to return to the west coast, though plans to continue his relationship with the iSchool.“I want to build a pipeline for other graduate students to experience what research looks like in industry and to broaden participation among doctoral students and graduate students of color,” he notes.
A Post-Doc Lecturer
Corey Jackson says his iSchool years have helped him gain all the skills “to be an independent thinker and now to go out in world and implement some of my own ideas to do impactful work.”
In the coming year, he’ll teach research design for applications and data analysis in the U.C. Berkely Information School’s data science master’s program. He felt a post-doctoral lecturer position would provide him with additional teaching experience. He’s particularly interested in learning from teaching online courses, and to discovering how faculty facilitate a classroom environment online, he says.
The Syracuse iSchool’s “Faculty of One” culture will influence his choice when it’s time to find a full-time faculty role, Jackson notes. “At the iSchool, we often talk about our faculty as a faculty of one, but that culture also permeates to the doctoral students. Being able to be paired with renowned scholars in the field really positioned me to go out and get an independent position. My time with my advisor (Kevin Crowston) and other faculty, and the ability to attend conferences and meet faculty from other universities, as well as connect with collaborators outside of Syracuse, has really helped me make connections outside of this school.”
Once he’s ready to move on, Jackson adds, “it’s the iSchool’s ‘faculty of one’ idea and having a friendly and welcoming faculty and colleagues that will be one of the main factors that drives my decision.”