[MUSIC PLAYING] DAVID P. WILLIAMSON: Welcome, everyone, to the 2022 graduation ceremony for Cornell's Department of Information Science. My name is David Williamson and I am chair of the department. On stage with me are several faculty members of the department. Jon Kleinberg, David Mimno, Gilly Leshed, Karen Levy, Aditya Vashist, Nicola Dell, Steve Jackson, Matt Wilkens, Kyle Harms, Francois Guimbretiére, and Sue Fussell. And last but not least, the Dean of the Ann S. Bowers College of Computing and Information Sciences, Kavita Bala.
I want to start out by offering congratulations to our graduates. After the past two years of the pandemic, we realized two things. First, your accomplishment in graduating has taken more work and effort than anyone could have anticipated when you started.
In March of 2020, there was a sudden transition to online coursework and sudden travel home. In fall 2020, many of you returned to campus and started the semi-weekly ritual of nasal swabbing. Fall 2021 brought the sudden interruption to final exams. You are all much better at using Zoom than you ever thought you would be, though there is still someone in every meeting that forgets to unmute when they're trying to talk.
Second, we realize that it's no small thing that we can gather here today to celebrate your accomplishments. We took these big celebrations for granted. Today, we do not. Let's have a round of applause to congratulate our graduates.
I also want to offer my thanks to the staff who have put in the work to make this celebration today possible. While there are too many people to name, I want to call out, especially to people. Janeen Orr, our event coordinator. I'm not sure where she is.
And Ani Mercincavage, our undergraduate advisor.
After many years of tireless service to our undergraduates, Ani is leaving Information Science to start a new life in North Carolina, effective tomorrow. Thanks to Janeen, and best wishes to Ani.
Finally, if you're a graduate here today, it is due at least in part to someone in your life who has made this moment possible for you by their support. Your family, your friends, some loved ones who supported you and helped carry you through the rough spots. Graduates, take a moment to thank and applaud those in the audience who made this day possible for you.
Information science has undergone remarkable growth since its inception about 20 years ago. Our first graduating class back in 2005 had 5 undergraduates. 15 years ago in 2007, I read the name of every graduating undergraduate, and there were 16 in total. Today, I will again read all the names of the graduating undergraduates, and there'll be almost 10 times that number.
Well, it's pretty to think that's because our faculty and staff are so awesome. The truth is that it's a testimony to the growing importance of computing and information technology in our contemporary social lives, from our most intimate relationships to our most central institutions, which has become increasingly clear as the years have gone by and we've started to see both the benefits and the fallout of the digital revolution.
As you might imagine, as chair, I'm asked all the time, what is information science? We aren't an established field the same way that, say, economics, or sociology, or even computer science are.
My definition in a phrase is that information science is where computing touches the human. That can be down at the level of the individual when we think about issues in how one person interacts with one computer, or all the way up at the level of society where we can think about the economic, or the sociological, or the ecological impact of our information technologies.
As a few quick examples, some of our faculty study next generation user interfaces. How much you interact with a computer with a piece of fabric stuck on your hand. What if a necklace that you wore let you speak to Siri without even talking out loud?
Other faculty think about online information and interaction. Can we detect in advance when a conversation might go bad and alert a moderator to intervene? Why do we doom scroll, and what could platforms do to help us prevent us from doing that?
Still, other faculty think about questions like, what can we learn about the late 19th century and early 20th century England by processing a very large number of novels written during that period? Who captures the economic benefits of online services, such as online restaurant reservations and online grocery deliveries?
What are the effects on the lives of workers such as truck drivers of the electronic attempts to monitor them? What are the worldwide ecological impacts of all the resources and energy we need to build and power our cell phones and data centers? These are the kinds of things that we study in information science.
To be able to consider such questions, you, our students, have learned a lot. You have learned about computing technologies and how they work. You have learned about the effects of networks and markets. You have learned about the process of design. You have learned about people, both at the individual and the collective levels. You have learned about institutions from business, to government, to law. The intersection of all these areas is where information science lives.
And the world really needs you. We need people who can think about the effect of technologies before they get built, rather than after the fact. We need the people who think critically about technology to know how it actually works so that their critiques can have real impact.
All of this to say, I think your choice to major in information science will serve you and will serve all of us very well in the years to come. I hope you will take what you've learned and do the work that the world so desperately needs you to do. And later, come back and tell us about it. We'll be here, excited to hear your stories and to learn about the impact that you have had.
And with that, I'd like to turn the ceremony over to Kavita Bala, who serves as the Dean of the Ann. S. Bowers College of Computing and Information Science. Kavita Bala.
KAVITA BALA: Thank you, David. It's a privilege to congratulate you, our 2020 information science graduates, and it is great to see people in person again. It brings us great joy. What a journey it has been. We are proud of all of your work and dedication over the course of your studies, and particularly over the trying times over the past few years. On behalf of the faculty and the staff of Bowers CIS, congratulations.
As you reflect on your journey to this exciting moment, I hope you will remember the positives. I hope you'll remember the great friendships you made during study sessions in dorms, in [? Gates, ?] and for your generation on Zoom. I hope you will remember your instructors who have challenged you to achieve your best.
As Dean, one of the privileges of my job is that I get to spend a lot of time with our alumni. And so now I hope to look forward to meeting you on the other side of the fence, then.
And I hear amazing things from our alumni about our faculty and how much of an impact our faculty have had on their lives. Our faculty are indeed some of the best in the field, and they are deeply committed to your success. So with that, I'm going to ask the graduates to stand up and give round of applause for our faculty here who have dedicated so much effort to educate you.
I try to thank them often. But actually, they prefer hearing it from you. They are really proud to see you achieve this important milestone in your life, and I hope you will remember them and stay in touch with them as you go forward.
I also hope you'll remember all the lessons you've learned from your assignments, from learning how to do research, from learning to juggle deadlines, from working on team projects learning to work with other people, and so many other life lessons you can only learn as a student. It's such an important phase of your life. While it has been a tough few years, the stars could not be brighter for our fields and our college.
For those of you who don't know our college's history, in 1999, Cornell undertook a bold experiment when we created the faculty of Computing and Information Science, or CIS. We believed that computing and information technologies were not only going to have a big impact on various disciplines and our own disciplines, but we believed that they would fundamentally transform our most basic institutions.
So we founded CIS then with the notion that we should not only develop the technologies of the computing and information age, but also, we should study and understand the societal and human impact of these technologies. And David just talked about that a little bit.
So our model brought together under one umbrella computer science, information science, and statistics and data science. And this model was called the CIS model by our peers, and it was decades ahead of its time, and completely revolutionary. At that time, our peers believe, well, they would develop the technology, and the societal impact would kind of sort itself out. And this past decade has shown that is just not the case.
Now, of course, many of our peers are emulating the Cornell CIS model. With that vision in mind, the information science department in CIS was created as a uniquely multidisciplinary department that considers technology and its impact on policy, law, ethics, society, and also its connections to the humanities, economics, and many more disciplines.
As graduates of information science, I know you value and appreciate the CIS mission. And in recognition of the CIS vision in 2020, we were named the Bowers College of Computing and Information Science. The first college of computing and information named for a woman, and the first college at Cornell named for a woman. I'm particularly proud of that.
And many of you students here have been part of this historic moment in CIS's history. I am very proud to be Dean at this time, and to mark the growth of our disciplines and our contribution to society.
You know we are living at a time of both incredible opportunity and deep challenges. I tell my students, this is the best time to be in the computing and information disciplines because there is so much you can do. And you can have a real impact on the world with the degrees you get here.
Whether you're headed to industry, starting your own company, or staying in academia, I encourage you to embody our college's bold legacy to have a positive impact both on your field, but on the world itself. I'm confident your Cornell Information Science education of world class scholarship and experiential learning will empower you to excel whatever you do and wherever the future takes you. And I know you will achieve great things.
As you forge your personal path, please remember you are part of the Cornell Bowers CIS family. Keep us updated on your many accomplishments and achievements that you'll achieve over your careers and in your personal lives. We always take great pride in seeing what you create, what you change, and what you become. I look forward to working with you tomorrow at our University commencement, so this is a plug for that.
For the first time ever, our students will be walking under the Bowers CIS banner-- the banner of your graduating college. Congratulations again, graduates and families, this incredible accomplishment.
And with that, I'd like to introduce the information science commencement speaker. Each year, the information science undergraduates vote for their commencement speaker. And this year, they selected Professor Kyle Harms. So without further ado, Kyle.
KYLE HARMS: Thank you so much for the invitation to speak to you all today. I'm humbled that you have selected me as your information science graduation speaker.
And as I look out into the audience today, I see many familiar faces. This isn't a surprise. Each of you had to take one of two major required courses that I teach, INFO 1300 or 2300, Introductory or Intermediate Design and Programming for The Web.
And because these are core classes, you probably took them in your first or second year here. So not only did you likely start your major with a class with me, but it appears you're also finishing your degree here with one last class, also with me. And I'm grateful that you've given me this opportunity for your last lecture in information science.
And like any class or lecture, there are learning objectives. So in today's class, we will acknowledge the significance of your accomplishments, reflect on what you've gained through this experience, and recognized contributions that others have made to your success. Now there are five activities or quizzes for today's participation credit.
And with that, let's go ahead and begin today's lesson. Today is a big day for each of you. You have earned a degree in information science, and this is a huge accomplishment. You set out on a goal, and today, you've reached that goal. Congratulations.
You should feel accomplished. However, I've noticed that we're all in such a rush to get things done-- maybe it's wrapping up a final project, or maybe it's trying to finish up your final exams, or packing up your apartment-- that we forget to pause and reflect on the significance of our accomplishment. So for your first activity today for today's class, I'm asking you to take a moment and reflect on your successes here in information science.
I suspect that some of you may have defined your success with metrics like grades. I was successful because I got As on my projects or As in my classes. But the final letters on your transcripts don't tell the full story here.
From my perspective, I see all the effort and all the learning that you put into earning those grades. I see the frustration, and the challenges that you faced and then overcame. I see you getting stuck on coding the styling for your website, and after working tirelessly, eventually, figuring out that CSS never works the way that you expect. And you all know what I mean.
All of these little accomplishments are what brought you to this big success. All of these little accomplishments aren't as easy to measure as grades. And yet, they are likely the most significant of your accomplishments.
When you took INFO 1300 or 2300, I asked you to design and code several websites for your projects. Your final websites were both usable and professional. And it's tempting just to focus on the result here-- the final websites. But from my perspective, that omits much of the experience you gain from completing these projects.
Designing a website requires many iterations of the design. And as you likely remember, you documented the iterations in a design journey.
In these design journals, you documented trying out each new design idea. Maybe it was aligning the margins of your content for readability, adding negative space to communicate the relationship between content, or implementing a scanning-reading pattern to improve the usability of a web form. Each iteration built on the last, producing better and better versions of the site. The final website wouldn't exist without the contribution from each iteration.
So for your next activity, I'm going to ask you to reflect on version zero of yourself. Reflect on who you were when you started at Cornell. Reflect on the fears and the doubts that you had, and reflect on what you thought that you knew at that time.
Now take a moment and reflect back on your entire time here in Information Science. Reflect on the significant moments that each contributed to the next iteration of yourself. Reflect on the obstacles and the challenges you faced, and what you learn from those experiences. Reflect on who you are now, what you've learned, and how much you've accomplished.
The best part about watching you iterate on your website designs was watching you grow throughout each iteration. And from my perspective, each iteration wasn't really about improving the website. It was about you. It was watching you learn something that you weren't quite sure you could do, and then succeeding. It was observing you tackle difficult coding problems and solving them for yourself. It was seeing you learn new skills and gain experiences that produce the best version of you.
This is all just to say, it's the journey that you took here that's your significant accomplishment, not just your diploma. And I think it's very easy to lose sight of this in the mad rush to complete the requirements, interview for jobs, and wrap up those final exams.
But remember, you didn't make it to this day alone. When you were designing your websites, the teaching assistants provided you with feedback to help you improve your designs. You visited office hours when you needed additional help or some clarification.
Rarely are our successes accomplished completely on our own. Rather, others helped us along the way. And so for your last activity, please take a moment and reflect on the people who supported you through this journey.
Your professors, the supporting staff, advisors, and teaching assistants were all there to help you learn. Your peers were there when you needed a pick-me-up, and your family was there supporting you. Each of these people contributed to your success. Your accomplishments are still your accomplishments.
And today, you've reached one finish line, but you didn't make it to that finish line alone. Thank the people who helped get you here, especially your parents. Thank you, parents and guardians.
And while it may seem like you're done today, that's not quite true. Today is just another version to add to your design journey-- another iteration towards building the best version of you. And now that you reach this final finish line, you're ready to embark towards the next one.
But on your way, don't forget about today's learning objectives. Acknowledge the significance of your accomplishments, reflect on what you gained through this experience, recognize the contribution that others have made to your success. And with that, congratulations, 2022 graduates.
Up next, I would like to introduce Dr. Sue Fussell as the Director of Graduate Studies for Information Science.
SUSAN FUSSELL: Hi, everybody. Before we get into this part, I think we need a big round of applause for Kyle Harms's wonderful talk. And really, a lot to think about there. Great job. OK.
So today, we are recognizing five students receiving PhDs in Information Science. The PhD is the highest honor bestowed by the University. It marks the end of a long and arduous adventure filled with tears and frustration of doing innovative research, and the joy of discovery and insight. It represents the beginning of a life of learning.
You are all now experts in your chosen field. And the department and field are extremely proud of you, and wish you the best. PhDs are over that way. For the families and loved ones who have stood by and supported you over the years, we heartily thank you.
So to recognize our five PhD students today, we will be hosting them, which is an ancient tradition that signals their entry into the academy. So I'm going to introduce each student and ask them to come up on stage. And their advisor or another designated person will have the honor of hooding them.
OK. So first is Dr. Anthony Poon, who will be a-- yeah.
Who will be hooded by Professor Nicky Dell.
Hooding is more complicated than we think.
OK. Next up is Dr. Maria [INAUDIBLE] who will be hooded by David [INAUDIBLE]
OK. Next we have Dr. Leo Kang, who is going to be headed by Steve Jackson.
DAVID P. WILLIAMSON: The next few graduates are graduates of Professor Sue Fussell, so I'll be reading their names.
I now would like to introduce Professor Gilly Leshed, who's the director of our Master of Professional Studies program to pronounce a master of Professional Studies degrees.
GILLY LESHED: The Master of Professional Studies in Information Science is a one-year master's degree that prepare students for degrees in information science in the industry. I will read out their names. You will go and shake the hand or get a-- yes, whatever you want-- with Professor David Williamson, Chair of Information Science Department
I now invite Professor David Williamson to read out the names of the graduating undergraduate students in information science.
DAVID P. WILLIAMSON: The Department of Information Science spans three different colleges at Cornell-- the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, the College of Arts and Sciences, and the College of Engineering.
The students from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences will be receiving a Bachelor of Science degree in Information Science. The students from the College of Arts and Sciences will be receiving a Bachelor of Arts degree in Information Science and the students from the College of Engineering will receiving a Bachelor of Science degree in Information Science, Systems, and Technology.
As a reminder, please stay in your seats during this part of the ceremony. Our professional photographers will be taking photos both on stage and immediately off of it, which will be available to you for free. And the parents say, finally, something that didn't cost anything.
Professor Matt Wilkens will be here to either shake hands, or bump elbows, or not do anything with our graduates across the stage. Graduates, if you wish to shake hands with him, extend your hand. If you wish to bump elbows with him, extend your elbow. If you don't want any contact at all, don't extend anything.
Once you are done crossing the stage, you'll have another photo taken at the backdrop to the left. Then, please return to your seat. Please return to your seat. We will have a group photo at the end of the ceremony. Without further ado, let me begin reading the names of our graduates.
To all our graduates, it is a usual ceremony to take the tassel that is on your right hand side and push it over to the left hand side, reflecting to the fact that you are now graduates.
I have a few reminders in closing. Graduates, will you please stay in your seats while we take a group photo? Family and friends, there will be a reception on the other side of the red curtain here. You're welcome to meet your graduate over there. You're also welcome to take photos in front of our backdrop over on your left. Let's give one more round of applause for our graduates.
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Information Science Recognition Ceremony 2022.