February 2012 Student Chapter Spotlight: Alabama Information Management Society, The University of Alabama
The Alabama Information Management Society (AIMS) at The University of Alabama was delighted to receive the second annual Chapter of the Year Award from AIS. The UA Chapter has been dedicated to becoming one of the premier AIS Chapters, and receiving “Chapter of the Year” shows that their hard work is paying off. In the past year, they have hosted over 36 companies on campus for presentations, meet and greets, and an executive forum. The UA chapter has grown to 208 members, and they’re proud to say that each and every one of their members is active through at least one of the AIS-sponsored activities.
The UA Chapter’s main goal is to support the creation of well-rounded IT professionals who can exhibit strong business and technical skills. They believe this blend of skills gives students a competitive edge when applying and interviewing for internship and full-time positions; and as they start their professional careers.
This year, Alabama’s chapter focused particular attention on the utilization of their affinity groups to increase participation across underrepresented groups and to maintain the close-knit, peer support esprit.
Women in IT (WIT) is an affinity group aimed at motivating, inspiring, and supporting women in information technology-related fields. WIT members participate in monthly meetings and activities focused on professional development, outreach, community service, team building, and social and business skills. This year, events included coffee breaks with industry leaders, breakfast with executives, calendar brainstorming and creation session, a trip to a local pottery painting studio to network while painting pottery, and a Holiday Pajama Party. Through these events, WIT enables women to stay active in the major and find a place that women can turn to for support.
Capstone Minority Information Systems Society (CMISS) is a newly formed affinity group aimed at motivating, inspiring, and supporting minorities in information technology-related fields. Like WIT, CMISS members participate in monthly meetings and activities focused on professional development, community service, team building, and social and business skills. This year, events included dinners with alumni and industry leaders, mock interview sessions, a paintball game, and donations to the West Alabama Food Bank. Through these events, CMISS has helped more students to find their niche within the major and meet more of their fellow classmates.
AIMS also focused on building rapport through extensive communications with their members. Highlighted in the annual report (available under the “member’s only” section of this website) is the chapter’s response to the tornadoes that ravaged Alabama on April 27, 2011. The chapter established a Facebook page, which was essential in coordinating tornado relief efforts and locating AIMS members following the disaster. Faculty posted lists of unaccounted-for students and AIMS members responded if they had heard from missing members. AIMS members and faculty also posted volunteer opportunities, information on temporary housing, and requests for aid which helped everyone in the program receive the help they needed quickly.
Overall, it has been an eventful year for the University of Alabama chapter. AIMS hopes to capitalize on the chapter’s growth by offering even more activities for their members and leveraging the extensive network of resources available to them.