“Congratulations Amanda! You have been admitted to the iSchool,” read the subject line of the email that had just appeared in my inbox. I sat at a desk doing homework on the fifth floor of Bird Library and regardless of the “quiet” rules, I could barely keep my excitement to myself. Not only had I just been admitted into one of the top iSchools in the country, but I would also have the opportunity to explore new subjects in Information Management and Data Science, meet new people, learn from new professors, and spend another two years at a place I considered my second home.

It seems like just yesterday that I received my admittance email, but surprisingly that happened over two years ago. As I look back on my experience as a graduate student in the Information Management program, I realize that my time at the iSchool has taught me a number of things about myself, my future career, and jumping into a new field. Here’s what I’ve learned:

Information technology can be applied to any field


Enjoying an SU event at Destiny USA with friends from the iSchool.

I entered the iSchool as an Entrepreneurship Engagement Fellow and recent graduate of the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications with a bachelors degree in Broadcast and Digital Journalism. When I first enrolled in the IM program, I was very passionate about interviewing entrepreneurs about their startups and emerging technologies and telling their stories. During my first semester, I quickly learned how I could intertwine my love for communications with technology.

The iSchool initially  helped me to explore different career paths that incorporated data journalism, social media and tech reporting. I’ve also had friends who wanted to learn how to apply their fields, such as biology, finance, English, film, and marketing, to the technology world. The iSchool is the best place to learn how to do this!

If you end up loving a different field at the iSchool, don’t be afraid to change

Since I was five years old, my dream was to become a television anchor or TV host. I would watch the news every night with parents and interned at large media corporations such as NBC Sports and NBC Olympics at the London Olympic Games. Yet something changed when I entered the iSchool. I started to realize that I loved the technology field and wanted to explore it further.

So I asked myself two questions:

  1. Do I stick with traditional journalism, the track I had always known? or …
  2. Do I jump into something new with the help of my professors, research directors and classmates?

 I chose the latter once I noticed that technology is the field of the future. Whether you’re a librarian or sports analyst, every job will incorporate some aspect of technology. More importantly, technology is always changing, meaning whatever you choose to do, it will always be transforming the way people live, work, and manage their day-to-day activities.

You can find you own niche as a graduate student at the iSchool

My final project for the Applied Data Science iSchool course compared the quality of red and white wine.

My final project for the Applied Data Science iSchool course compared the quality of red and white wine.

One of the things that I love most about the iSchool is that you can specialize in an area of your choice. I chose the CAS in Data Science because I saw the correlation of data and analytics to business, journalism and consulting. However, I had friends that chose to focus on Information Security or School Media. There are a lot of options! You can make your academic experience your own at the iSchool and tailor it to your needs.

iSchool programs will prepare you for a career in consulting – or another industry!

Working overnight during the "MLB Challenge" at the iSchool.

Working overnight during the “MLB Challenge” at the iSchool.

During my senior year at Syracuse University, I remember speaking with a few different students from the iSchool. Most of the comments included phrases like “the iSchool will literally prepare you for any job”, “The Career Fair was amazing” and, “the iSchool classes helped me learn how to work with a team.”

Now that I have gone through the program, I couldn’t agree more. I’m going to work for one of the Big 4 Consulting firms after graduation and I owe the preparation of my interviews and “working on the job” to both the iSchool and Newhouse. Working on team projects in class and with various research teams as well as learning skills such as statistical analysis and project management have been the key to most students’ success.

Be open to new experiences

The iSchool offers so many experiences outside the classroom. My advice to any student is to join a student organization, become a member of a research group or apply to go on an iSchool trip.

During my final year, I worked at the Center for Computational and Data Sciences with Professor Jenny Stromer-Galley and also served as a faculty assistant for Kevin Crowston and Carsten Oesterlund. While I had never worked on a research team before, I quickly learned the ins and outs of data-related research and worked directly with Ph.D. students and tenured-faculty.

Giving a Periscope Tour at the iSchool for Perspective Students

Giving a Periscope Tour at the iSchool for Prospective Students

As I prepare to graduate, I will never just consider the Syracuse University iSchool or Newhouse School as “just a place I went to school.” From going to my first basketball game at the Dome with my freshman hall mates to seeing the Hall of Languages light up at night, I will always remember the memories and people at SU  the most. I could be anywhere in the world, but whenever I see the Orange “S” hat or ‘Cuse Sweatshirt, I know that I’ll always have a place to call home, especially at the iSchool.