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College of Information and Communications

  • Quinn Sullivan - Information Science Day

2019 Information Science Day: From research to the real world

Posted November 25, 2019
By Rebekah Friedmancommunications manager,, 803-576-7270
Top photo: Quinn Sullivan was awarded the Overall Best Poster and Presentation award for "Foreclosed: Investigating Fraud in the Mortgage Bond Market."

Is blockchain technology confusing? Will the removal of Instagram likes affect the way people use the social media platform? Students explored these questions and others at the fifth annual Information Science Day, a showcase of undergraduate research and internship experiences.

Twenty-four students lined the halls of Davis College to present posters at the Nov. 22 event, the highest number of participants to date. Information science program coordinator Elise Lewis says this year’s record participation is because the discipline’s versatility is attracting more majors and minors.

“The variety of posters shows the progress of information science and how it’s relevant to any field,” Lewis says. “We have students presenting on sustainability, philosophy, finance and even blockchain.”

This year’s guest judges were Eric Friedman and Lauren McCrarey, representatives from Colonial Life & Accident Insurance Company in Columbia.

Junior Erica Barnette says she was inspired to research how well people understand blockchain after learning more about it from Lewis. The instructor saw how prevalent the technology was becoming during a CIC-funded trip to the South by Southwest interactive media conference. Now, Barnette hopes to work with it after graduation.

“There are incredible possibilities with blockchain, especially with health data, and it can truly be life-changing,” Barnette says. “I was super intrigued after Dr. Lewis brought it back and that’s what opened the door for me.”

Cliff Zhang baked nine apple pies over two weeks to examine the knowledge creation cycle in online media. The senior perfected his recipe along the way using resources available on social media and brought the end result to share with attendees. After graduation, he plans to use his information science degree in the culinary industry.

“There’s a huge gap in knowledge of food nutrition,” Zhang says. “Learning how to cook has helped me turn my $60 per month food budget into more nutritious meals, and that knowledge is available to everyone.” 

Junior Cole Wilson studied how sports fans at the university feel about switching from cable to streaming services. He found that professional sports leagues could maximize their revenue by tapping into the streaming market. While he knows his information science degree will qualify him for a number of careers, his goal is to find a job that also relates to his sport and entertainment management minor.

“Sports around the country are getting more involved in data analytics,” Wilson says. “Getting into a sports team like that, dealing with their analytics, possibly their media – that’s the dream job.”

The winners

Overall Best Poster and Presentation
Quinn Sullivan – Foreclosed: Investigating Fraud in the Mortgage Bond Market

Best Internship
Rob Gamble – AgFirst Internship Experience

Most Interesting Research
Erica Barnette – ­Is Blockchain Too Confusing?

People’s Choice
Cliff Zhang – A Look into the Knowledge Creation Cycle in Online Media

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.