What is i3?
The iSchool Inclusion Institute (i3) is an undergraduate research and leadership development program that prepares students from underrepresented populations for graduate study and careers in the information sciences. Each year 20 undergraduate students from across the country are selected to become i3 Scholars. Those students undertake a year-long experience that includes two summer institutes held at the University of Pittsburgh and a year-long team research project. Although an intensive and challenging program, i3 prepares students for the rigor of graduate study and research in the information sciences. The U.S.-based iSchools value the preparation provided by i3 and actively recruit i3 Scholars to their graduate programs.
Introductory Institute (June, Year 1, Four Weeks)
The Introductory Institute spans four weeks and is held at the University of Pittsburgh's School of Information Sciences (iSchool). During those four weeks, i3 Scholars are immersed in special-topics workshops designed to highlight the various fields and research areas in the information sciences. Past workshops have included discussions on human factors and robotics, information access and equality, new media and journalism, gaming, human computer interaction, security and cryptography, and many others. i3 Scholars are offered professional development seminars led by experts in academia and industry, which focus on mentoring, resume writing, graduate school applications, and networking. Also during the Introductory Institute, i3 Scholars select into their research teams and work to identify a topic of research for their year-long project. At the end of the four weeks, each research team must develop and present a research proposal detailing their topic and intended methods.
i3 is not all work though. The Introductory Institute includes annual outings to Kennywood Amusement Park, a Pittsburgh Pirates baseball game, kayaking on the Allegheny River, and the Carnegie Museums, among others. Tickets/fees for these trips are covered by the program and are free to i3 Scholars.
Team Research Project
After the Introductory Institute, i3 Scholars work in their teams on a year-long research project. Each team receives support and advising from a faculty mentor and the i3 Director. Teams utilize distance technology and social media to collaborate throughout the year. The project includes a comprehensive research paper and creative deliverable. Deadlines are set throughout the year for each section of the paper to provide structure and a suggested timeline. The creative deliverable portion of the project requires teams to incorporate some creative element into their research project. Examples of a creative deliverable include: mobile apps, blogs, videos, games, data visualizations, business plans, multimedia displays, or any other idea proposed by the team.
Research projects from the 2011 and 2012 cohort included topics such as the Occupy Wall St. movement and community informatics, pipeline development for minority students into STEM fields, viral videos and sharing through social media, and gender roles and sexualization in gaming. For a complete list of research projects, check out the i3 Cohorts pages.
Concluding Institute (June, Year 2, Two Weeks)
To complete their experience, i3 Scholars return to the University of Pittsburgh for the two-week Concluding Institute. Because the Concluding Institute overlaps with the Introductory Institute in June of each year, i3 Scholars have a unique opportunity to expand their professional network. Returning i3 Scholars offer their guidance to the new students and take part in cross-cohort projects and design challenges. Returning i3 Scholars also receive additional mentoring from iSchool professionals when creating their future academic and career plans.
Teams spend most of the Concluding Institute revising their research and designing a formal poster and presentation. At the end of the Concluding Institute, each team presents their work and fields questions from iSchool faculty and staff. Upon a positive review from the i3 Director and faculty, each team officially graduates from the program and is recognized at a farewell ceremony. The team research project and Concluding Institute are excellent opportunities to gain valuable research experience at the undergraduate level. Once their projects are completed, teams have the option of submitting their work to the annual iConference.
During their time at the University of Pittsburgh, i3 Scholars receive a $50.00 per day stipend. i3 Scholars are eligible to earn a stipend total of $1,200.00 during the Introductory Institute and $600.00 during the Concluding Institute. Travel to/from Pittsburgh, housing, dining, and local transportation expenses are covered by the program, at no cost to i3 Scholars. For more information regarding program expenses and logistics, be sure to check out the Life @ i3 pages.
2014 Program Dates
The Introductory Institute (for new i3 Scholars) will be held June 1-27, 2014. The Concluding Institute (for returning 2013 i3 Scholars) will be held June 14-27, 2014.