Samantha Fabros Lee Found Her Place as an Information Science Major
Member of the first class to receive an Information Science degree
When she graduates, Samantha Fabros Lee will be one of the first students to earn an Information Science BS. Lee, a senior from New Jersey, is one of a rapidly growing number of undergraduate students who are majoring in the newly offered Information Science program. While just launched in the fall, the degree already has almost 90 students and Lee will be one of six students to earn an Information Science degree this spring.
When Lee arrived at UW-Madison in the fall of 2019 she expected to study business but after a few semesters she realized it wasn’t a great fit. In the summer of 2020, while exploring alternatives to business, Lee was hired as undergraduate research assistant by iSchool Professor Corey Jackson to help on a project to identify factors that reduce COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy. The work was hands-on and allowed Lee to use programming skills. “I really liked the coding part of the work I was doing, but I couldn’t find classes or a major I really liked.”
Professor Jackson spent time with Lee explaining the diversity of the Library and Information Science classes available to her. She then met with her advisor where she learned that the new Information Science major would be available in the fall of 2022. Lee knew she had finally found her place and declared the major as soon as it was available.
Lee returned to Jackson’s group in the fall of 2022 as a National Science Foundation Research Experience for Undergrad (REU) student working on research related to human-centered computing, which allows her to practice the user experience skills she learned in LIS 470 Interaction Design (an iSchool course).”
“I really enjoy collaborating with undergraduate students like Samantha. Samantha, like most students, brought a wealth of knowledge,” said Professor Jackson. “Our students’ involvement in research is an opportunity for them to deploy that knowledge and I’m eager to support them in that process.”
While Lee is enjoying her classes, work and looking forward to graduating, she also knows the Information Science degree and her work with Professor Jackson has prepared her for a great career. “I’m really able to see exactly what I will be doing after I graduate. My classes have been very hands-on and I really get the opportunity to interact and learn from other students.” As a result, Lee says that she feels “very confident to enter the workforce.”
“It is exciting to have our first students graduate this Spring!” said Information Science advisor Stacy Harnett. “This interdisciplinary major is really preparing students for employment in fields that will make use of their information and data expertise.”
Lee is extremely grateful for the support provided by Professor Jackson, “Working for Professor Jackson shaped my whole career because I was able to get experience and really sit with him and discuss the Information Science major and the iSchool. Doing research with Professor Jackson changed everything.” After graduating Lee plans to pursue a career in UX design.