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“Big Chill” Piece of Cake

“Big Chill” Piece of Cake

It was a perfect day for the 15th annual race on the College Avenue campus Saturday morning, Dec. 2. The temperature reached a high of 51 degrees Fahrenheit under a beautiful blue sky. A few key representatives of the InfoSeeking Lab were there including Chirag Shah, Matt Mitsui, Anastasia Ryssiouk, as well as yours truly, Liz Smith.

Chirag won the race with his positive attitude.

Chirag said, “InfoSeekers have participated in this event for many years and we are proud of it!” Noticed at the race, as well, were Rutgers-New Brunswick Chancellor Debasish “Deba” Dutta, who has been on the job since July 1, and N.J. Governor-elect Phil Murphy.

This is where the truly competitive folks started.

The only entry requirement was a $15.00 unwrapped (new) toy for a child, ages 3-14. (It makes for a nice swap, as every participant is given the “Big Chill” long-sleeve tee shirt, which would probably retail for about $20.00.) After the race, according to The Daily Targum, the gifts are wrapped and sent to various local organizations, such as the Salvation Army of Bound Brook and Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital.

Anastasia pictured far right with her friend and the Big Chill mascot.

The race started at 10:00 am, with those who had paid $5.00 to have their timing tracked leading the pack. Something between 7,000 and 8,000 people participated, according to The Daily Targum. The 5-kilometer (3.1 miles) distance is easy enough for those who walked it, and it plays into Rutgers Recreation’s new initiative, “Exercise is Medicine on Campus,” where a more active lifestyle is being promoted to help students focus and manage stress. They recommend at least 115 minutes of exercise a week.

What the Marines team leader wore. “Pain is weakness leaving the body” is my new mantra.

Matt Mitsui traveled light and carried no cell phone, hence no photo, but he reported afterward by email that he had a great time; he said, “The best part of the Chill, of course, is the people. Races are largely a self-competition. But something I like to do every race (and did this time) is find someone at the end to race with towards the finish line. Regardless of who wins or loses, it’s a great way to have fun with a total stranger and to push each other.”

It was reassuring to see this on College Avenue, though I don’t think anyone needed it.

My favorite stretch was a flat scenic loop through Buccleuch Park just before the final push to the finish line. Peer pressure (total strangers cheering) and music always motivates the slow poke.

My finish line time was 49 minutes. Yay!
Gotta love these pink furry boots.
Thanksgiving Poll Results: We’re a Grateful Bunch!

Thanksgiving Poll Results: We’re a Grateful Bunch!

The jury is in and turkey wins. Of the thirteen Infoseekers who weighed in, eight (61.5%) easily tipped the scale in favor of the fowl. Only two of you prefer turducken (15.4%) and one (7.7%) prefers tofurkey (and of course that is Chirag!). Chirag said, “I’m thankful for wonderful family, friends, and colleagues who surround me. I am grateful for their willingness to embrace me as I am, and forgiving my idiosyncrasies!” Gotta love our fearless leader’s enthusiasm and self-awareness.

One person said their favorite thing about Thanksgiving is, “Turkey in all its glorious forms.” I’ll go along with that. But, thankfully, the now traditional poultry pardon happened on Tuesday this week when two of our fine-feathered friends were granted freedom from appearing on the platter.  President Trump – as is now tradition – proclaimed “Drumstick” and his sidekick “Wishbone,” will get to live out their days on a farm called “Gobbler’s Rest” at Virginia Tech. Now I don’t feel so guilty.

Food-wise, even more popular than turkey was a tie (69.2% of us) between mashed potatoes and pecan pie. Next in popularity is a tie (46.2%) between stuffing and apple pie. And five of us (38.5%) love cranberry sauce. And, there were a few who prefer food from another tradition or “other,” whatever that means.  Maybe it was Jonathan, who said he is grateful for, “Laughs with friends and family.”

In terms of celebrating styles, nine of us (69.2%) prefer being with family (and it doesn’t matter when we eat). I’ll add, as long as we get to eat! One of you said your favorite thing about Thanksgiving is “Food.” Yes. Many of our favorite things are variations on the theme of food and having a break, but one person mentioned Black Friday Sales. Another mentioned Christmas being “right around the corner.”

Several of you said (Alex, Kelly, Vic) you are thankful for family and friends. Jiqun said he is “grateful for having my wife in my life.” He is one lucky guy. Matt said he’s grateful for “my opportunity to be surrounded by a smart, like-minded (yet diverse!) research community,” and he added a smiley face, one of my favorite sign-offs. And Shawon concurred that she is “grateful for starting as a grad student again, and for getting a chance to begin all over again with a new drive, new goals and something new to prove.” You go, girl! Shannon goes along with the group that includes Matt, Shawon, Vic and Yiwei, who are thankful for faculty and colleagues and the trust that has developed that supports growing confidence in their research. Soumik and Manasa are grateful for getting to travel to new and exotic places this year. Sounds exciting.

All in all, I’m happy to report that InfoSeekers are grateful and normal. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

 

 

 

InfoSeekers Rock ASIS&T 80th Annual Meeting

InfoSeekers Rock ASIS&T 80th Annual Meeting

Rutgers University InfoSeeking students and professors were a significant presence at the ASIS&T conference at the Crystal City Hyatt in Washington DC, Oct. 28-Nov. 1. Here are the highlights.

On Oct. 28, Rebecca Reynolds from Rutgers, led a pre-conference SIG/INFOLEARN workshop with Soo Young Rieh, University of Michigan, called “Information and Learning Sciences Research as an Integral Scholarly Nexus.”

On Oct. 29, an all-Rutgers student and professor Community Informatics paper presentation was made by Manasa Rath, Chirag Shah and Diana Floegel: “Identifying the Reasons Contributing to Question Deletion in Educational Q&A.” Pictured at left is Manasa Rath taking questions.

On Monday, Oct.  30, an all-Rutgers Information Retrieval paper presentation on a field study was made by Yiwei Wang, Jiqun Liu, Soumik Mandal, and our fearless leader Chirag Shah, on “Search Successes and Failures in Query Segments and Search Tasks.”  Pictured: Yiwei Wang introducing the paper.

Later, on Oct. 30, Kaitlin Costello from Rutgers served on a panel session concerning “Health Information Behavior Research with Marginalized Populations,” along with Blake Hawkins, University of British Columbia, Tiffany Veinot, University of Michigan, Amelia Gibson, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and Devon Greyson, British Columbia Children’s Hospital.

InfoSeeker posters were presented by Jonathan Pulliza, Souvick Ghosh, JiHo An, and Roberto González Ibáñez.  Below to the right is Jonathan Pulliza presenting his poster on “Investigating the Efficacy of Sentence Filtering in Predicting Analysts Ratings Following a 10-K Filing.”

Immediately below (left) is Souvick Ghosh presenting his and Chirag Shah’s poster on “Information Seeking in Learning-Oriented Search.”

What’s a hard day’s work at ASIS&T without a chance to relax, reflect and socialize? InfoSeekers, pictured at table, never miss an opportunity for good food and conversation.
Oct. 31 was the day for Chirag Shah and Vivek Singh, from Rutgers, to serve on a panel called “From Sensors to Sense-Making: Opportunities and Challenges for Information Science.” Also on the panel were Cathal Gurrin, Dublin City University; Jacek Gwizdka, University of Texas at Austin; and Hideo Joho, University of Tsukuba.

That evening (Halloween), Chirag Shah chaired SIG/CON, where Jonathan Pulliza presented a research talk with a twist!

On Nov. 1, the final morning of ASIS&T 2017, Rutgers Ph.D. student Manasa Rath moderated the panel discussion, “Learnsourcing: Is it Working or Failing, and Where to Go from Here?” Presenters and participants were Chirag Shah from Rutgers; Oleksandr Zakharchuk from Brainly Inc.; Rich Gazan from the University of Hawaii; Sanghee Oh from Chungnam National University in South Korea; and Mega Subramaniam from the University of Maryland.

Also on Nov. 1, Shawon Sarkar, Yiwei Wang and Chirag Shah presented the paper, “Investigating Relations of Information Seeking Outcomes to the Selection and Use of Information Sources.”

Pictured right is Shawon Sarkar presenting her paper.

 

 

 

 

Last but most definitely not least, we must recognize Yiwei Wang for the New Leader Award that she was given at ASIS&T. After considering applications from seven countries, the ASIS&T Leadership Program Selection Committee granted a New Leader Award to Yiwei Wang, a Ph.D. candidate in Information Science at Rutgers. Eight students received the award. Congratulation, Yiwei!

Yiwei Wang Wins New Leader Award at ASIS&T

Yiwei Wang Wins New Leader Award at ASIS&T

After considering applications from seven countries, the Association for Information Science and Technology (ASIS&T) Leadership Program Selection Committee granted a New Leader Award to Yiwei Wang (pictured right), a Ph.D. candidate in Information Science at Rutgers, at the annual meeting in Washington, D.C. this week. Eight students received the award.

The award is given to students who are considered likely to contribute to ASIS&T. It is a financial grant that helps defray the travel costs to two consecutive ASIS&T meetings. As an awardee, Yiwei has been assigned a mentor, Dr. Beth St. Jean from the University of Maryland.

Yiwei will volunteer for the Special Interest Group of Information Needs, Seeking and Use (SIGUSE). She will continue her role as treasurer for the New Jersey Chapter of ASIS&T.
And, Yiwei will be expected to complete several leadership exploration tasks including writing about her experiences, lessons and goals related to her involvement with ASIS&T.

Congratulations, Yiwei!

Sneak a Peek of InfoSeekers participation @ ASIS&T 2017

Sneak a Peek of InfoSeekers participation @ ASIS&T 2017

If you will be attending ASIS&T in Washington DC at the end of this month, plan to attend sessions with fellow InfoSeekers faculty and students presenting new research. And you won’t want to miss the fun party on Monday evening! Sessions begin Saturday morning, October 28 and run through Wednesday morning, November 1.

ASIS&T 2017 Conference Program Sessions

Saturday, October 28 

8:30am – 12:30pm SIG INFOLEARN: Information and Learning Sciences Research as an Integral Scholarly Nexus (Workshop)
Rebecca Reynolds, Rutgers University
Soo Young Rieh, University of Michigan

*****

Sunday, October 29

3:00pm Community Informatics (Paper session)
Identifying the Reasons Contributing to Question Deletion in Educational Q&A
Manasa Rath, Rutgers University
Chirag Shah, Rutgers University
Diana Floegel, Rutgers University

9:30pm Party With The Professors

*****

Monday, October 30

10:30am Information Retrieval (Paper Session)
Search Successes and Failures in Query Segments and Search Tasks: A Field Study
Yiwei Wang, Rutgers University
Jiqun Liu, Rutgers University
Soumik Mandal, Rutgers University
Chirag Shah, Rutgers University

1:30pm Health Information Behavior Research with Marginalized Populations (Panel Session)
Blake Hawkins, University of British Columbia
Kaitlin L. Costello, Rutgers University
Tiffany Veinot, University of Michigan
Amelia Gibson, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Devon Greyson, British Columbia Children’s Hospital

8:30pm ASIS&T Reception, sponsored by Rutgers University

*****

Tuesday, October 31

12:30pm From Sensors to Sense-Making: Opportunities and Challenges for Information Science (Panel Session)
Cathal Gurrin, Dublin City University
Jacek Gwizdka, University of Texas at Austin
Hideo Joho, University of Tsukuba
Chirag Shah, Rutgers University
Vivek Singh, Rutgers University

7pm SIG CON

Chirag Shah, Rutgers University, Chair

*****

Wednesday, November 1

10:30am Learnsourcing: Is it Working or Failing, and Where to Go from Here? (Panel Session)
Manasa Rath, Rutgers University

Oleksandr Zakharchuk, Brainly Inc.
Rich Gazan, University of Hawaii at Manoa
Sanghee Oh, Chungnam National University in South Korea
Chirag Shah, Rutgers University
Mega Subramaniam, University of Maryland

Social Events

Sunday, October 29th at 9:30pm: Party with the Professors

Monday, October 30th at 8:30pm: ASIS&T Reception

Tuesday, October 31st at 7pm: SIG CON


All Work and No Play is…Not Our Style

All Work and No Play is…Not Our Style

Looking at our Facebook and website, it may seem like InfoSeeking is all work and no play. But we’re here to report that, happily, our lab members and their families enjoy socializing as much as they enjoy their research… In fact, they need to socialize in order to complete their difficult work without losing their minds!

The lab organizes a number of fun events throughout the year to get everyone together and unwind (and, of course, a number of less formal events happy spontaneously!). For example, we recently held one of our infamous happy hour gatherings in New Brunswick. (Hey, potential CHIIR 2018 attendees, take note of the fun you can have around Rutgers!)

We take our love of happy hour on the road too. While attending conferences, InfoSeekers past and present meet to reminisce and enjoy each other’s company.

When cocktails aren’t on our minds, we turn to some of our resident foodies for lunch ideas in and around the New Brunswick area. We’ve given a number of local eateries our business and love to celebrate milestones, accomplishments, or even just a nice Tuesday afternoon with some good food and great company.

Parties are also a must. Our director, Dr. Chirag Shah, and his family host excellent gatherings throughout the year for lab members, their families, and other RU faculty members.

And finally, to get our blood pumping (and demonstrate our charitable spirit), we participate in events like Rutgers’s Big Chill 5K!

So as you can see, our lab members certainly don’t become dull from all their hard work. We work hard, we play hard, and we try to enjoy ourselves no matter what we’re doing!

Seeking our Alumni

Seeking our Alumni

If you’ve been following our Facebook page, you know that we’ve recently been checking in with some of our distinguished alumni.

Oftentimes, folks expect doctoral students to enter traditionally academic jobs. While many of our alumni do experience great success as university professors, others utilize their degrees on alternative paths.

Recently graduated Ph.D. Long Le, for example, is a machine engineer at Capital One. He spends his time researching practical problems in the finance industry.

Dr. Chathra Hendahewa is also experiencing a great deal of success as a Data Engineer/Data Scientist at a FinTech start-up in NYC, named “Detectica.” In fact, her team was selected as a recipient of the competitive NY FinTech Innovation Lab 2017 program.

Our Ph.D.s aren’t the only former InfoSeekers to make a difference in the world post-graduation. Kevin Albertson, who recently graduated with his Master’s Degree, currently works as a software engineer for ALK Technologies, soon to be MongoDB.

With the dawning of a new school year that will usher in new student faces and see other lab members successfully complete their programs, it’s important to remember the range of careers that Rutgers SC&I graduate students can choose from. Will you soon join the ranks of these fine folks?

Annnnnnd We’re Back! Happy 2017.

Annnnnnd We’re Back! Happy 2017.

Hello hello hello!

Happy New Year from the InfoSeeking Lab, and apologies for the gap in posts–we spent some time basking in winter break.

What do lab members do over break, you may wonder? To no one’s surprise, we manage to have some fun and do some work over the four-week gap. Here’s an idea of what lab members have been up to:

On the fun side, we visited with family and friends. Members traveled to North Carolina, Tennessee…even Disney World! And of course we spent time together, as well. Here’s a shot from the end-of-semester luncheon courtesy of our resident photographer, Souvick:

Image may contain: 4 people, people sitting, table and indoor

 

Once we reigned in 2017, we resumed some work. Students submitting to the 2017 CHIIR conference and various journals have been busy finalizing their papers, while others traveled to conferences happening this month. We’re all particularly jealous of Matt, who went out to Hawaii!

If you want to see just how spectacular 2016 was for Team InfoSeeking, check out our Facebook page! We’re in the middle of a #17for17 countdown, which will lead us right into our spring semester. Break certainly flew by, but we’re all excited to get back to work and answer some more burning questions about information seeking behavior.

(Big) Chill(ing) Out

(Big) Chill(ing) Out

Think the InfoSeekers are all work and no play? Think again!

 

This morning, a team of lab members ran the Rutgers Big Chill 5k Charity Race, a campus tradition that combines fun, exercise, and a good cause. Take a look at Dr. Shah’s view of the crowd:

 

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InfoSeekers past and present came together to run this race…and engage in some quality carbo-loading before they began!

 

big_chill2

 

But…would it be a true lab event if some work wasn’t completed? Nope. Matt finished up his race on the computer.

 

big_chill1

 

What a start to the fall semester’s home stretch!