Bridging the Gap: University of North Texas

A primary goal for the University of North Texas AIS student chapter is to provide student members networking opportunities with professionals in the information technology industry. First and foremost, the chapter realized that in order to meet the goal, they must bridge the gap between Business Computer Information Systems students and potential employers. One way they accomplished this was by hosting twelve companies from different industries to present at bi-weekly meetings. I know personally I really enjoyed the range of companies that we had. It helped me learn about different opportunities within IS that I hadn’t even considered, and I enjoyed hearing about the different approaches that each company takes in IS,” said current vice president, Keith Chamberlain. Companies that participated in this event included:

  • Hitachi Consulting
  • CISCO
  • Fidelity Investments
  • SunGard
  • Wingspan Portfolio Advisors
  • Argo
  • No Magic Inc.
  • CSC
  • Santander Consumer USA
  • Sogeti
  • Armeta
  • Labatt Food Services

To prepare members for potential interactions with future employers, the UNT AIS student chapter also hosted a resume and mock interview workshop with two faculty members from the UNT career center. Members could then attend an etiquette dinner that outlined the proper protocol to follow during business meetings and meals.

Bridging the gap between students and professionals goes beyond networking and etiquette knowledge. It also includes fine tuning technical skills. UNT AIS members had the opportunity to attend a two-day Windows 8 workshop to learn about the operating system and how to navigate the new user interface. Those who attended learned to incorporate touch-base input controls, utilize developer tools, and compete in a grouped hack-a-thon game.

Many members appreciated the opportunities their UNT AIS student chapter had to offer them and saw being a member as beneficial to their future. “The professional development helped in showing me real world skills that are needed to successfully get a job and how important networking is. This was my first semester being with AIS and I definitely see the value of being a part of AIS as I continue my education and into my career,” said Chamberlain.

Fundraising for your Student Chapter

Outside of recruiting new members, fundraising is perhaps one of the hardest things to do in a Club. If you’re in charge of fundraising and are fortunate, your University provides some sort of funding for student organizations. In other cases, your club may have to write letters or give a short presentation to the school board explaining why the University should support your club. Sometimes though, you won’t find monetary support at your university.

If you don’t receive funding from your University, be sure to ask around, it could be very rewarding for your club and save some headaches! But let’s say that’s not enough, what other options do clubs have for fundraising?

Partner with local businesses! Many restaurants allow organizations to create a coupon that when used, sends part of the bill back to the organization. The Rowan University Student Chapter partnered with a local Landmark Americana Bar and Grill and were able to receive 25% of total proceeds. With that sort of agreement, a $10 meal sends $2.50 back to the club. If it’s a popular place, and the fundraiser lasts for a month, how many people do you think will dine there?

Host a party! Some businesses allow you to rent out space for large groups, which you can then use to charge admission and host some fun games and food. The University of Michigan-Dearborn Student Chapter hosts an annual Bowling fundraiser, which is their largest fundraiser of the semester. Buying a ticket to their fundraiser gets you 3 games of bowling, pizza, and pop. If you’re going to do a fundraiser, food is a good seller, but why not have some fun too?

As a final suggestion for club fundraisers, consider competitions that your club can compete in. The Bentley University Student Chapter was fortunate to have monetary support from their University and academic departments, but they also earned money from a prestigious competition…The AIS Student Chapter competition! Joining us in our annual leadership conference and competition is a great way to learn new skills and have a great time working as a team, and you may even earn some money towards your club!

Do you have any suggestions that have worked well in your club? Be sure to reply on our Facebook page!

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!

 

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

Having a little Fun

It’s nice to have a chance to take a break and have some fun. Professional development, guest speakers and career fairs are great ways to network and develop career skills, but all work and no play makes College Students…or something like that. The following is a combination of some fun activities that the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford (UPB) and the University of Memphis do to make their Student Chapters not just a professional, but also a fun group to be a part of.

 

Pizza socials are a fun way to chat and meet new people, and it has food. Food attracts college students. (If it’s free food that’s where you really get a crowd) At UPB they had a fundraiser that was made up of a set of carnival games like disk toss. It was a great way to have some fun and raise money for a good cause!

It tends to be the fast-paced games that get crazy, and there’s not too much faster than the “Minute-to-Win-It” series. The University of Memphis hosted a “Minute-to-Win-It” contest and there were two teams – students, and faculty. I can only wish I was there to see it myself! In order to advertise for the event, they created fliers for their Facebook page, website, and the fliers had QR codes so the ones that were printed out could be scanned for more info. Nice touch!

 

Does your Student Chapter have any fun activities you’d like to share? Be sure to reply on our Facebook page!

Community Service That Commands Attention: American University in Cairo

The American University in Cairo’s AIS student chapter is dedicated to helping not only their own students but the entire campus community achieve academic excellence in their MIS studies. For example, the chapter held a mini conference for the Management of Information Systems graduating class. In an order to help the graduates plan for their futures, professionals from the IT industry spoke and provided their insight on the ever-changing field.

In addition to the conference, the AUC-AIS chapter took it upon themselves to promote the new Management for Information and Communication Technology major in the School of Business, which provides students with both business and technology backgrounds upon graduation. In order to inform the student community of activities, announcements, events, etc., the chapter also installed 2 LCDs to display information around campus. By downloading free software and doing the programming themselves, the chapter saved a great deal of money and efficiently handles troubleshooting with ease. Furthermore, the chapter began working on an online historical archive that includes valuable documents like invoices, reports, course outlines, brochures, resolutions, etc.

They also created a GPA calculator that enabled AUC students to calculate and forecast their GPAs. The tool helped students anticipate their grades in future courses, determine their current GPA, and totalize credit hours earned thus far. To keep students from having to recalculate their information repeatedly, the AUC-AIS students devised an option where the results from the GPA generator could be exported to an excel sheet to serve as a personal record for the student.

American University in Cairo’s GPA Generator

 

Offering Students Advanced Workshops: University of Toronto

In November 2011, when the University of Toronto Student Chapter’s student executive, Kim Pham, learned author and well-known usability expert Steve Krug was in Toronto for an event, she invited him to present at their chapter’s inaugural event. Steve gladly accepted the invitation at no charge, and praised Kim for taking the initiative to reach out to him. The session at which Krug presented gave students the chance to learn about usability, design practices, and the principles of human-computer interaction. Over 125 people attended the session, and it was lauded as a major success.

As the year continued, more and more people attended events offered by the student chapter, with an overall average of 42 people per event.  The chapter also offered engaging professional development opportunities through the year, including a 3D printing workshop and hosting the second annual IBM Code Rally workshop.  At the latter, students played and explored the interactive IBM game, Code Rally, to facilitate the learning of Java and team coding in March 2013. While the object of the game was to pass all the check points on a virtual race track, the Code Rally challenged the students to apply their newly acquired and refined Java skills while strategically honing their programming abilities.

The chapter was also successful in creating a formal communication structure, solidifying leadership roles, creating a greater digital and non-digital presence, and developing and maintaining relationships with external companies to host annual events for the future.

Improving annually, the University of Toronto’s AIS student chapter continues to offer its members extremely interactive and advanced workshops in hopes of refining their skills as future IT professionals. View the video below, or click here, to access the full interview of Professor Lyons’ thoughts on Code Rally, the iSchool, and the current technology landscape.

Demonstrating Chapter Success: Temple University

An AIS student chapter’s success can be measured in a variety of ways including increased membership numbers, the development of chapter programs, management transparency, and fundraising revenue. During the 2012-2013 academic year, not only did Temple University’s chapter meet such measurement standards, they exceeded them.

Over the past few years, the Temple AIS chapter has experienced steady growth and continues to provide its 200+ student members with elite opportunities to develop their skills in the IT industry. For example, in order to provide members with more hands-on opportunities that would develop skills not obtainable in the classroom and build a stronger community service presence, they launched several successful programs including the Alumni Buddy System, Friday workshops, and T-DAP. T-DAP is an AIS Alumni workshop series conducted on a designated Saturday for three hours every month. Moreover, their 2012-2013 speaker series provided students with over 40 opportunities to sharpen their skills and attend a variety of professional lectures. Over the course of the year, 43 weekly meetings took place, not including networking events, which fell under the umbrella of professional development. To improve chapter operations and overcome communication challenges among the executive staff, the officers utilized the web-based software “Trello” to manage all operations and keep communication transparent and open.

During their second successful year offering Emerging Consultants, the chapter generated over $3,600 by providing IT services to real-life clients on various projects in a team environment. In order to continue expanding and utilizing this program as a sustainable fundraising tool, services were updated from solely WordPress websites to PHP programming services and Search Engine Optimization (SEO) as well.

Temple’s success can also be measured in the accomplishments their members attained at the Wal-Mart IT Summit, the FOX Design Challenge, and the 2013 AIS Student Chapter Competition, where they took home high honors in three of the four tracks. The Temple chapter continues to grow and maintain a high level of success in the 2013-2014 academic year under the leadership of president Josh Wise, who is a strong enthusiast in continuing their “legacy of offering our members the best in professional development and networking opportunities.”

Temple University AIS Student Chapter Web Site