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2019 Open House Capstone Showcase a Success

Dean Eric Meyer experiments with a graduate student's virtual reality capstone project

The Texas School of Information 2019 Open House Capstone Showcase took place on Friday, May 10, from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. at the School of Information. Graduating master’s students presented their culminating capstone projects and research findings in diverse areas of the information field –including digital archives, data analysis, library science, user experience design, user interface, data mining and technology.

The Open House Capstone Showcase was orchestrated by Career Development Director Kim Wood, Senior Administrative Associate Rachael Vans Middleworth, and iSchool staff members. 

Although 200+ visitors were expected, actual attendance scaled to 300 on the day of the event. Guests included employers, campus colleagues, field supervisors, faculty, staff, students, friends, families, and alumni. Wood noted that, “The Open House Capstone Showcase was a huge success. We were so pleased to see so many supporters of the iSchool! Thank you to everyone who attended!”

The 2019 Open House Capstone Showcase featured the posters of graduating master’s students. In total, 99 student posters were displayed. These included professional experience projects, master’s reports, thesis, and school library practicums.

The Open House Capstone Showcase concluded with an awards presentation in the Tocker Lounge for the Dean’s Choice Award, which comes with a commemorative plaque and an award of $500. Dean Meyer had the opportunity to review applicants’ submissions prior to the Open House Capstone Showcase on May 10, and selected the winner on the day based on meeting each finalist and discussing their poster and project. 

There were four finalists. The first was Lu Gan with her project, “UT Austin Faculty Diversity,” which built a diversity dashboard for UT which is now featured on the Provost’s website. The second was Xiaoyu (Edith) Zeng, for her project, “Predicting the Cognitive Skills for Automated Visual Question Answering,” which focused on blind users of information and how they can use automated tools to find answers to pressing questions. The third finalist was Allison Joffrion, project title, “For the Record: A Survey of Digital Repositories at UT,” during which she created a series of easy-to-follow recommendations for record-keepers at UT who struggle with determining if the materials they are working with are records that require archiving.  

Finalist Yeseul Monica Cho was the ultimate winner of the Dean’s Choice Award for her project on “Service Design Research for Austin Central Library.” Monica’s project focused on wayfinding at the new Austin Central Library, and created a comprehensive plan for improving informational signs and improving patron flow; she presented the work to the board of the library, who plan to use her recommendations to improve patron experience at the award-winning library.

“We heard from many guests throughout the event just how impressed they were with the high caliber of the projects and research,” explained Wood. Dean Meyer also expressed his appreciation for the enthusiasm and dedication of all the students and their mentors. “Determining the winner of the Dean’s Choice Award was a challenge because there were so many great projects,” he said. “I had the opportunity to speak to many of the students about their projects, and the thing that stood out was how passionate they were, and how this experience really allows them to take ownership of a project.”

“I look forward to seeing the path that students take beyond this semester. These students really reflect the ways that the iSchool is changing the future by engaging the present and preserving the past."