Setting Goals: University of Michigan Dearborn

At the beginning of every year, student chapters set out to create, meet, and hopefully exceed  their goals. The University of Michigan-Dearborn AIS student chapter believes, “Setting goals is a cyclical process. The idea is born, belief brings it to attention, whereupon incubation in each person who has been influenced by the goal has a desire to fulfill and improve upon the efforts to accomplish the goal.” Keeping true to this process, the UMD ITM Club set goals, reached them, and immediately asked “What’s next?”  to see the club succeeded beyond expectations. The charismatic and optimistic nature of this chapter, which celebrates every victory big or small, fuels the success of their organization. The UMD ITM Club strives to increase participation in their community service projects, social events, and team-building activities by providing members with first-hand experiences in the IT fields that interested them.

The organization partnered with the school’s Career Services Office to create resume books of all active members. They sent the book to corporations showcasing students who would be exceptional assets to the success of that company. This improved the resume quality of the students participating in the workshop and boosted the number of interested companies that wanted to recruit students from UMD.

One of the many challenges that come along with a small scale university was the lack of funding. While raising money to support the operations of their chapter, the ITM Club also met their goal of offering social events and team-building activities. Their semi-annual bowling night, now in its fourth year, is an opportunity for members to network with other students, alumni, and faculty. The winter session of the event had record high attendance and raised the most money of any fundraiser in ITM Club history. In total between the two sessions of the event, the club was able to raise $1,361.45.

Maintaining Community and Culture: University of Alabama

In the industry of Information Systems, it is important to identify and prepare for potential problems and to prepare for the future. Having an AIS student chapter recognizes a need for change that leads to the improvement of their organization is proof that the future of the IS industry is in good hands. No matter the size of the organization, AIS Students Chapter contribute to their communities, universities and the industry as a whole, even if it means carefully evaluating themselves before continuing their work for others.

One of the challenges for larger universities and AIS student chapters is maintaining a sense of community and organizational culture. However, the keen eye of a group of juniors at the University of Alabama AIS Student Chapter recognized the need to focus on this aspect of the chapter. Because the chapter is so large, with more than 400 members, and the MIS major continues to grow rapidly, there were concerns that these important and integral aspects of the chapter could go by the wayside.

To resolve this problem, the Information Technology Society (ITS) was founded as an extension of the AIS student chapter and a new affinity group focused on continuing, maintaining, and improving the MIS program’s culture and community. Throughout its first year, ITS implemented two events which were led by their executive board. The purpose of these new social events was to maintain the chapter’s strong community and provide opportunities for students to network with other students and faculty. “ITS has become an integral component of MIS students life on campus.  The group provides a means for students to connect with one another, to build deep relationships that assist them in classes, in class projects and develop into long-term professional networks,” said David Hale, MIS Program Director. “The group makes sure the newest students coming into the MIS major are welcomed and provide the opportunity to quickly bond with the existing members and alumni.”  This concern of integrating new members into the program is prevalent
during the “Meet the 295ers” event designed specifically for students to meet, converse, and network with upper-class UA-AIS members.  As their second event, the group hosted a competition style event called “MIS vs. Sales Relay for Life” between the UA-MIS and UA-Sales Programs in an effort to raise funds for the Relay for Life organization.

Since every member plays a vital role in the culture of an organization, it is important to maintain the sense of community. As current AU-AIS Student Chapter president, Josh Douglas says, “The ITS affinity group of the chapter has really offered the ability to keep the culture strong in our growing chapter. This is where ITS shines. It keeps the close-knit feel to the group while maintaining the “Work hard, play hard” motto.” Thanks to the insightful juniors who noticed the need to focus on the fundamentals, the sense of community and culture that ultimately makes up the basis of the AU-AIS student chapter will continue to improve as the chapter expands.

Scholastic & Professional Growth: University of Alabama Birmingham

In order to maintain an active interest and a high level of commitment to the success of the organization, the AIS student chapter at the University of Alabama at Birmingham is an honors chapter with a minimum GPA requirement of 3.0 and expects all members to participate in a specific number of meetings and events. These requirements have not only differentiated the AIS student chapter from other student organizations on campus, the recruitment strategy places a great emphasis on the sustainability of their brand. “Our AIS student chapter truly believes in UAB’s slogan ‘knowledge will change your world;”’ thus, we emphasize on the importance of having our members achieve scholastically and grow professionally,” said current UAB AIS student chapter president, Lila Azerf.

One of UAB’s key goals for their student chapter is for members to achieve scholastically and grow professionally through their involvement in AIS. As a new benefit, the chapter began offering members the opportunity to be certified Microsoft Technology Associate in one of the follow areas at no cost to the member:

  • VC and C# Software Development
  • Windows Development
  • .Net
  • HTML 5
  • Gaming Development
  • Mobile Apps
  • Web Development
  • Windows Server Admin
  • Windows OS
  • Networking Fundamentals
  • Security Fundamentals
  • Database Administration Fundamentals

The UAB Management, Information Systems, and Quantitative Methods Department provides the chapter $1,000 each year for the development of the chapter and its members.  This departmental support allows the chapter to fund the certification program for its members. “This opportunity allows our members to build their resume by allowing them to learn beyond what is offered in the classrooms. Members who take advantage of this certification prepare themselves for the real world by giving themselves an advantage over their own peers,” said Azerf. Taking the certification courses also speaks volumes to future employers, showing them that the student is willing to go above and beyond expectations to acquire training and fine-tune their skills.

The UAB-AIS chapter also “believes in hard work and helping those who are trying to learn,” says Aserf. In addition to offering quality education opportunities and advancements specifically to their members, the officers worked to extend their services to business students needing assistance in IS courses offered at UAB. After lobbying and receiving permission to make use of a campus computer lab for nine hours a week, the IS Learning Center was opened. Officers volunteered their time to assist students seeking help with homework or projects in their information systems courses. Through these efforts, more than 100 students have received assistance at the IS Learning Center, which tremendously benefited students struggling in C#, database, Microsoft Excel, Access, and other IS related courses.

The UAB-AIS chapter, though small compared to some, strives to be the best they can be in every aspect; thus producing quality work and preparing quality students for their future careers in the IS industry. “We really put emphasis on the importance of networking, actively participating, getting involved within the Birmingham community, and showing how being a member of the AIS Student Chapter at UAB would help [students] grow professionally and scholastically,” said Azerf. “With our small group of about 30 members, we strongly strive to promote our organization and actively be linked within the campus and community.”


AIS 2014 Student Competition Awards

We are pleased to announce that the following winning teams from the 2013-2014 AIS Student Competition.  The winning teams competed onsite at the 2014 AIS Student Chapter Leadership Conference and Competition, hosted by Arizona State University and held at Tempe Mission Palms on March 20-22, 2014.  Congratulations!

IT Security

Place University Team Members
1st Place Brigham Young University Anna Maksimkina, Brittany Coon, Ian Jones, Zach Ennis
2nd Place Utah State University Vishal Patel and Divya Reddy
3rd Place Bentley University Mackenzie Segura-Cook, Alina Usmanov, Brendan Colford

IT Service Management

Winners University Team Members
1st Place Temple University Brittany Hafer, Gabrielle Lopez, Thomas Patterson, Veer Patel
2nd Place University of Akron Sean Blasko, Johnny Gless, Mark Mast
3rd Place Villanova University Marc Leprince and Tung Ngo

Social Innovation

Winners University Team Members
1st Place Temple University, Fox School of Business Horatio Thomas, Ryan Boyce, Tatsuya Emoto, Stephen Lauver
2nd Place Georgia State University Nicole Nixon, Joshua Goforth, Jenae Butler
3rd Place University of North Texas Andrew Guiloreza, Adam Thiel, Keith Chamberlain, Pavia Cooper

IT Video

Winners University Team Members
1st Place Utah State University Chad Williams. Conner Sorensen, Allan Follett
2nd Place University of Michigan – Dearborn Joseph Rushing, Zac Townsend, Jacob DiMaria
3rd Place University of Alabama at Birmingham Neeti Thakral and Lila Azerf


Thanks to all those who participated in the virtual round and onsite rounds. We look forward to the 2014-2015 Student Competitions beginning in Fall 2014!


Alex Lopes, Indiana University
E. Carey O’Donnell, Temple University
AIS Student Competition Co-Chairs