Student spotlight: Melina Zarboulas, Information Science major

Melina Zarboulas, Information Science major (photo courtesy of Zarboulas)

At first, Melina Zarboulas x’25 was reluctant about coming to UW–Madison. It was far from where she grew up on Long Island, New York, and she was on the cusp of committing elsewhere. Then, she visited Madison with her parents the weekend before her decision deadline.

“It was so beautiful and lively, and I just fell in love with the campus,” she said. She recalls staying up until 5:00 a.m. that night, researching programs at the university. After that weekend, Zarboulas said, “I couldn’t even consider going anywhere else.”

Zarboulas, a student in the Information Science (iSci) undergraduate major, has long been passionate about both computing and design, which she attributes to her parents, a software engineer and a graphic designer. She originally declared a double major in psychology and computer sciences, until the iSci major launched in 2022. When someone shared an article with her about the new major, she immediately knew it aligned with her interests. 

“I looked at the requirements and the website, and I said to myself, ‘this is perfect,’” Zarboulas said.

“Information science combines everything we need for the future.”

Melina Zarboulas

The flexibility of the iSci program allows Zarboulas to pursue her many interests simultaneously, from computing to fashion to leadership. Alongside her iSci major, she is pursuing four certificates: computer sciences, textile design, digital studies, and leadership. She is also a leader of multiple student organizations, including The Vault, a group exploring the business of fashion, and the TEDx chapter at UW–Madison. In these roles, she said, her iSci education helps her understand “how to make informed choices that can drive the success of an organization I’m running.” She adds, “iSci provides us with methods for how we can understand data and new technologies to build our teams in the most effective way.”

Zarboulas is co-founder of The Vault, a campus organization that allows students to explore the many facets of the fashion industry. Photo courtesy of Zarboulas.

Zarboulas also leads the TEDx chapter at UW–Madison, which is holding a live panel event on AI this fall, a topic she pushed for because of her iSci experience. “AI is extremely relevant to so many fields with enormous implications for the future, and it’s critical that we understand the linkage of technology, data and society,” she said. “That’s what information science is all about.”

Looking ahead, Zarboulas feels the iSci major has prepared her for “virtually anything” after graduation. With a newfound interest in cybersecurity and cyber law, thanks to some of her favorite iSchool classes, she is exploring a wide range of career options. 

“I’m so happy I took a chance on [Information Science]”, Zarboulas said. “It has allowed me to explore all of my interests, academic and beyond.”

 

For more information about the Information Science undergraduate major, visit its webpage.

Written by: Thomas Jilk, marketing & communications specialist