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Global Information Engagement Program

The Global Information Engagement Program is administered by the University of Michigan School of Information. The Center for South Asian Studies will post information about applying for next year's grants when they become available.


2014 GIEP Project and Student Teams 

Hampi Arts Initiative - Jaaga Trust (Bangalore)

The Hampi Arts Initiative will survey, document, and archive the arts and crafts of the Hampi region in Karnataka with the goal of educating the community regarding Hampi’s rich cultural heritage. This project will be executed with Jaaga, our partner in India, who boasts a diverse community of entrepreneurs, activists, designers, and artists. The team is tasked with designing a rich web experience to engage the public, complemented by a physically interactive installation piece that can travel easily to public education centers globally. This project aims to increase public awareness of Hampi crafts, ensure traditions are preserved, and push the limits of usual mediums (such as an archival website) to create an immersive, engaging experience for patrons of the installation and website.


Michelle Fiesta is a first year master's candidate at the University of Michigan School of Information, specializing in human-computer interaction. Michelle holds bachelor’s degrees in psychology and anthropology, and also brings skills in user experience research, front-end development, and project management to the team. She is excited to be a part of the Hampi Arts Initiative and interested in cultivating skills relevant to the creation of interactive physical technology.

Mark Langrehr is an architectural designer and current master of architecture candidate at the University of Michigan. He brings three years of work experience in Singapore and Chicago in design and construction to the team. His interest and experience in design and graphic communication, whether that be architectural, conceptual, or otherwise, will be valuable in ensuring the Hampi Arts Initiative engages the public dynamically.

Aysha Siddique is a graduate student at the University of Michigan School of Information, specializing in human-computer interaction and data science. She has a background in computer science and information systems, and two years of technical work experience in government and research domains. Aysha brings her skills in design, programming, and user experience research to the Hampi Arts Initiative, and is excited to learn about archival processes and public education through interactive digital mediums.


Human Rights Law Support Network - Alternative Law Forum (Bangalore)

The Alternative Law Forum (ALF) provides direct legal services to marginalized communities and conducts research regarding a variety of human rights issues. This project, in collaboration with ALF, follows two main goals: First, it seeks to create a platform that will allow human rights lawyers across the country to act as a support network for one another, share existing resources, and collaboratively generate new resources; Second, it seeks to create an efficient and effective system for people who need legal services to connect with human rights lawyers in India. 


Sloka Krishnan is a first year graduate student at the University of Michigan School of Information specializing in Library and Information Science. Sloka’s background includes community-building work among queer and trans people of color, as well as research, writing, and editing. Prior to coming to Ann Arbor, Sloka worked as an administrative assistant at the National Immigrant Justice Center in Chicago.

Joyce Sakata is a first year graduate student at the University of Michigan School of Information specializing in human-computer interaction.  She graduated from the University of California -Berkeley in 2008 with a degree in Architecture and City and Regional Planning. Since then, she has worked as a Designer for an architectural design firm in San Francisco as well as Assistant Project Manager for the City and County of San Francisco.  Her background is in user-centered architectural design, project management, and coordination.  She will use her skills in user experience and front end development to help create an intuitive, interactive and more enjoyable system for the ALF.  

Maura Youngman received her BA in Communication Studies and a certificate in International Journalism from Hamline University. Upon graduation, Maura served as an Education Coordinator and eventual New Media Strategist at the Pulitzer Center from August 2009 – August 2012 where she helped develop and manage and train new users on a large-scale Drupal-based website. Currently a graduate student at the University of Michigan School of Information, Maura's work in user experience research took her to work with the visually impaired community in Rwanda last summer as well as serving as a research intern alongside her heroes at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard. Maura was a finalist for the Google-AP Journalism and Technology Scholarship in 2013, and a winner of the Knight-Mozilla Innovation Challenge in 2011. Her digital work at the Pulitzer Center has been honored by the National Press Foundation, the National Press Club and the Society of Professional Journalists.


Disability Policy Analysis Web Resource - National Insitute of Speech and Hearing (Kerala)

The National Institute of Speech and Hearing is dedicated to the rehabilitation of speech and hearing impaired persons across the country. Their goal is to make disability policy accessible to this community and the Indian public. This project will identify United States disability policies and use them as a framework for comparison against Indian disability policies. The outcome will be an accessible website outlining disability policies for a variety of audiences -- from parents, to policymakers, to professionals. This research and website resource will lay the groundwork to improve Indian disability policy.


Caitie Goddard is a second year graduate student at the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy studying international development and human rights. Prior to returning to school, Caitie spent time living and working in Spain, Uganda and most recently, New Zealand, where she was the Program Development Coordinator for a small international NGO. During her undergraduate studies, Caitie worked as a job coach for adults with disabilities in Michigan. Caitie loves traveling, learning about new cultures, and sampling as many new foods as possible.

Elyse Guilfoyle is an Industry Analyst at Google where she conducts market research for music and sports clients. Elyse also acts as the Ann Arbor office's Google for Nonprofits lead and regularly speaks at conferences and evangelizes Google's tools with nonprofits across the country. She is pursuing a graduate degree part-time in the University of Michigan School of Information with a specialization in information policy, and her primary research interest is information privacy. In her spare time, Elyse enjoys attending film and music festivals, traveling, and gluten-free cooking.

Kevin Smith is a second year graduate student at the University of Michigan School of Information. His academic interests include consulting and entrepreneurship in the information field, and he comes from an interdisciplinary technical background. His most current experiences include information policy research and analysis with the U.S. federal government. Kevin is an avid musician and teacher, and is interested in creating social change through enterprise.


Visualizing India's Cities - The Indian Institute for Human Settlements (Bangalore)

In conjunction with the Indian Institute for Human Settlements (IIHS), this project addresses a need for storing, analyzing, and disseminating data about India's urban centers. The project will examine large data sets (such as Indian census data), extract subsets of that data relevant to Indian cities, and maintain them into a repository. The project will study how researches might query these datasets and it will create a portal that will allow the data to be queried, visualized, downloaded, and disseminated. The project will also provide recommendations for how the IIHS might expand this portal in the future to increase its holdings.


Michael Wayne Harris is a second year Master of Science in Information student, with a focus on library science and human-computer interaction. Michael's current focus is on helping academic libraries with their technology and web development needs, especially through using Drupal. Before coming to the University of Michigan to study information science, Michael received two degrees in English at Yale University, focusing on British poetry and American Realism and Postmodernism.

Christopher Herlich is a first year Master of Urban Planning student, with a concentration in Physical Planning and Design. Before returning to school, Chris worked as a government relations and environmental consultant, performing policy analysis at the local, state and national scales on a wide range of topics. His previous long term professional projects have included environmental justice analysis, policy benchmarking, and public utilities and infrastructure analysis. Upon graduation, Chris hopes to become a planning consultant focusing on the impact of data on the urban form.

Wenling (Wendy) Shang is a third year Applied Mathematics Ph.D student, working on quantum chemistry and machine learning. Wendy is especially passionate about manipulating big data sets and applying analysis on them. She also has colorful multicultural experiences--lived in China, US, UK, Hungary and Thailand as well as travelled to more than 20 different countries. She is very excited to spend next summer in India.


Harvesting Knowledge - Digital Green (New Delhi)

Harvesting Knowledge is a website consultation project for Digital Green's farming knowledge initiative.  This project seeks to research and design a training platform for the community knowledge workers in India's farming communities. The Harvesting Knowledge team believes that extensive contextual research of current community workers will allow us to create a system that responds to their unique set of needs.  These interviews will provide the foundation for the planned visual and technical design of this training platform, including a user-friendly interface that can be accessed via multiple devices. Further, the design of this platform aims to facilitate community organization through curated curriculum and we envision a system that can accomplish the accreditation of over 10,000 community service workers.


Edgar Nuñez will be receiving his Master of Science in Information from the University of Michigan School of Information in May 2014.  His previous studies include a Bachelors degree in Mathematics from the University of California, Santa Cruz. After his time at UCSC, Edgar spent two years as a international service leader for Global Glimpse in San Francisco. More recently, he worked at MetWest High School as an Operations Manager, where he was responsible for the day-to-day operations at this social-justice based high school. Edgar's interests include information literacy through the design of user-friendly web applications.

Seema Singh is a first year Master in Public Policy student at the Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan. After graduating with her Bachelors degree in Economics from the University of Michigan, Seema spent a year as a community organizing intern for the National Association of Working Women in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. More recently she worked at Women's Aid Services, Inc. as a women's shelter advocate in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan. Seema is interested in issues of economic development and poverty and inequality.

Krishna Vadrevu will be graduating from the University of Michigan School of Information with a Master of Science in Information in 2014. Specializing in human-computer Interaction, his passion is in ensuring that the user of a system can perform their task in the most efficient and effective manner. With a background in cognitive science and services science, he brings a holistic approach in looking at how to conduct user research and systems design.


Data Driven Healthcare - Quantiphi (Mumbai) and Aspada Investments (Bangalore)

This project will involve partnership with two organizations, Quantiphi and Aspada Investments, to improve the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of hospitals in India. Leveraging the technology and subject matter expertise of Quantiphi, a data and analytics company focused on healthcare delivery, the team will deliver data-driven performance metrics and tools, designed to improve the quality of care in the "Be Well" hospitals, a company in Aspada Investment’s portfolio.


Chris Liu is a second year Master of Health Informatics student with experiences in data analytics and health information exchange at the University of Michigan Health System (UMHS). Prior to joining UM, Chris was a usability researcher for C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital and was responsible for evaluating the usability of a clinical research tool, researching on the needs and preferences of potential users and recommending an enhancement plan. Previous to his work at C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital, Chris was a student consultant at the University of Michigan School of Dentistry for clinical IT integration to improve patients’ care and satisfaction. His interests and studies focus on physician performance improvement and healthcare access enhancement in emerging markets by using information technologies.

Jessica Roch is a second year Master in Public Health student studying Health Behavior / Health Education, with a concentration in Health Informatics. Her studies focus on the behavioral aspects of health and the theories that drive human decisions as it relates to chronic disease prevention and management, and the role that the private sector plays in public health, particularly as it relates to reach and delivery of messages.  Through her work with UnitedHealth Group’s Center for Health Reform and Modernization, Jessica has experience in the development and implementation of evidence-based programs at the population level.

Asif Sheikh is a first year Master of Health Informatics student in both the School of Information and School of Public Health at the University of Michigan. His interests are in developing low cost medical devices for developing nations in order to enhance public health. He chose to pursue his graduate studies after doing his undergrad around global health disparities and informatics also at the University of Michigan. In addition, Asif has spent time working as a data analyst for a local hospital system, as an intern at various think tanks and startups, and even at a prison as a workshop facilitator.

As a second year student in the Master of Science in Information program at the School of Information, Lan VoBa is specializing in information analysis and retrieval, health informatics, and human computer interaction. She has experience in programming, application development, and database design. Her interests are in the design and implementation of electronic health record systems and improving the overall interaction between users and technology in the clinical workflow.