Graduate Ambassadors

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Schedule an appointment with an MS/IM ambassador or MS/LIS ambassador.

Mary Arbor

Mary Arbor, MS/LIS student
I am a second semester LEEP student. I have really enjoyed all of my courses and love the flexibility to choose classes that match my interests and schedule. I was born in San Diego, California, but have lived in Washington D.C. for 10 years. I received a BA in philosophy and women's studies from George Washington University in 2015. After working as a 7th and 8th grade English teacher, I decided to pursue my dream of becoming a librarian. I currently work as a library associate in a school library that serves over 1000 students grades PK-12. My academic interests include intellectual freedom, censorship, Critical Race Theory, and disability justice. Please feel free to reach out to me with any questions you have about the program!

Sushanth Babu

Sushanth Babu, MS/IM student
I am from Bangalore, India, and completed my bachelor's in telecommunication engineering from BMS College of Engineering in 2018. I've worked as a strategy consultant and visual analytics analyst at Deloitte for the past three years where I witnessed how data-driven solutions resulted in increased business impact and performance. Considering that the iSchool provides me courses related to data science and information consulting, the MS/IM course was a perfect match for me. UIUC has a lot of opportunities through the Research Park and several student-run organizations which are enticing to any student hoping to pursue a professional degree. I hope to expand my horizons in the field of data science, information consulting, and project management. I wish to put all the skills I learn into use by creating immediate impacts in the IT industry.

Sarthak Bhingarde

Sarthak Bhingarde, MS/IM student
I grew up in Mumbai, India where I completed my bachelor's degree from the University of Mumbai. After graduating, I worked at Teradata, where my interest in data science and analytics grew a lot and I decided to pursue my master’s degree from the U of I. The iSchool has a very diverse curriculum and has also predefined tracks to help you take up courses that will propel you to achieve your goals. I am inclined towards data science and analytics and see myself working and growing in this field. The U of I, also has opportunities ranging from working at the Research Park, Business Intelligence group, and many more that will help you gain professional experience. The opportunities at the university are countless and I am delighted to be a part of it.

Margot Cuddihy

Margot Cuddihy, MS/LIS student 
I am originally from Schenectady, New York, and I spent the past four years at the Chicago College of Performing Arts (CCPA) studying music and international studies. While at CCPA, I worked as a library assistant at their performing arts library. It was there that I discovered a passion for cultivating accessible and inclusive library spaces. I'm hoping to find future work in the realm of college/research libraries—bonus points if I can work with music/performing arts collections! I currently work as a graduate assistant at the Music and Performing Arts Library on campus, which I thoroughly enjoy. I also serve on the e-board for the iSchool's chapter of the Special Libraries Association.

Shruti Deekshitula

Shruti Deekshitula, MS/IM student
Growing up, I always loved telling people and businesses stories woven out of data. Having worked as a data analyst in aviation for four years, after my bachelor’s degree in computer science, I wanted to explore further in the field and hence, I joined UIUC's master’s program of Information Management. I am currently working as a research assistant for Illinois Water Survey. The iSchool's comprehensive curriculum matches to my career interest and gives me the flexibility to tailor my degree with courses of my own choosing; UIUC provides a wide range of opportunities to its students both at the personal and career front. I hope to pursue every opportunity during my time here, thus enhancing my knowledge and skillset.

Dhwani Desai

Dhwani Desai, MS/IM student
I am from Mumbai, India. I earned my Bachelor of Engineering in information technology from Mumbai University. Before coming to the U of I , I worked as a system engineer in a software company for one year. I chose the iSchool at Illinois because of its flexible course curriculum, exceptional teaching staff for data analytics and consulting as well as employment opportunities. My interests mainly lie in business intelligence, data visualization, consulting, and data mining. 

Mandar Dhande

Mandar Dhande, MS/IM student
I am from Bharat, did my bachelor’s degree in computer science from Rajiv Gandhi Technical University. Prior to joining the U of I, I worked as a business intelligence intern at NxdT. I chose U of I because of its flexible curriculum, exceptional teaching staff. I am currently working with bp at the Research Park as a data science & analytics intern under the spark program. I learned so many things since spring when I joined U of I. One of the best things is" be kind-hearted and help everyone" and take inspiration from everyone out there; everybody has so much to offer and learn from every step as you move forward in life. 

Anjani Shivani Dhavala

Anjani Shivani Dhavala, MS/IM student
I hail from the city of Destiny in India and have graduated from GITAM University with a bachelor's degree in computer science. Post this beautiful journey, I worked as a decision scientist in Mu Sigma where I dwelled deep into data and understood the magic it could create. I chose U of I for its intense yet flexible curriculum that would let me explore into my fields of interest like product management, consulting and business intelligence. I am currently working as a course assistant for iMBA 547 and can only say that U of I is filled with opportunities and is the best place to be at!

Niharika Gurjar

Niharika Gurjar, MS/IM student
I am from Pune, India. I earned my bachelor's degree in information technology from Pune University. Before joining the U of I, I worked with KPMG as a risk consultant and a cybersecurity analyst. I love playing with data and developing secured systems. I chose the iSchool because of its wide range of courses and flexible curriculum. The School offers courses that strike a perfect balance between technical and managerial subjects. I am currently working with AGCO in the Research Park as a cybersecurity analyst and see myself in the field of analytics or consulting.

Bhairavi Jadhav

Bhairavi Jadhav, MS/IM student
I am from Mumbai, India. After earning my bachelor’s degree in computer engineering, I was working as an ETL developer for over three years. While working with data, I was interested in growing my skills in the data analytics domain. I chose UIUC because of the highly experienced faculty, wide range of courses it provides and the opportunity to customize your course. There are tremendous opportunities to gain work experience: by doing internships in the Research Park, working as research assistants, or even working in highly esteemed student organizations. I currently work as a back-end developer in the disruption lab. My interests lie in data analytics, business intelligence and consulting.

Sonam Kumari

Sonam Kumari, MS/IM student
I am a MS/IM student from Jamshedpur, India. I have earned my bachelor's degree in computer science and engineering from Kalinga Institute of Industrial Technology. Prior joining the U of I, I have worked as an application development analyst for three-and-a half years at Accenture where I got the opportunity to handle a lot of data and information & interact with clients on day to day basis. While working at Accenture I realized that I want to learn more about data analysis and business intelligence, and this encouraged me to choose the U of I. The courses provided by the iSchool along with the number of electives are aligned with my interest as well as the Research Park, which provides career defining opportunities. I have joined the iSchool in fall 2021 and am willing and excited to participate in the plethora of opportunities offered by the U of I. 

Drishti Kwatra

Drishti Kwatra, MS/IM student
I am a first-year student from Mumbai, India. Before joining the U of I, I worked as a research analyst for two years at GEP Worldwide and got introduced to the world of consulting and market intelligence. The reason I chose the U of I is because I had the flexibility to choose any courses I needed and create my own pathway. Moreover, the U of I Research Park provides a lot of different job and learning opportunities for students. I am currently working as a course assistant for Gies College of Business. My main interests lie in data science and analytics and knowledge management.

Jou Lee

Jou Lee, MS/LIS student
I am a first-year international graduate student from Taiwan. Being an international student in the program, I am enthusiastic about supporting international applicants during the application process, pre-arrival, and your campus life. While pursuing BA in library and information science at National Taiwan University, I found my interest in solving problems using data and information. Currently, I am focusing on business analysis, knowledge management, and Project Management. Since I am taking a variety of classes, I would be happy to share my experiences to assist future students with similar pathways.

Ketan Mahajan

Ketan Mahajan, MS/IM student
Looking back at my years as a student and an industrial professional, it has come to my knowledge that no two journeys are the same and the choices you make are applied to you and you only. My journey to the iSchool began when I started coding in my junior year as an aeronautical engineering major. My love for coding and technology eventually led me toward the field of software engineering, data science, and machine learning. After I worked for TCS for three years as a software professional, my thirst for completing my education was fulfilled when I entered the MSI/M program. Even though I come from such a divergent background, this program has efficiently familiarized me with the technical aspect while also letting me explore new topics where I might generate interests. My interests lie in solving problems with data using various techniques like machine learning and analytics. I currently work at ROKWIRE as a technical writer where I am exposed to open source community.

Wardah Mohammed
Wardah Mohammed

Wardah Mohammed, MS/LIS student
I earned my bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Loyola University Chicago. I studied bioethics and healthcare ethics, particularly in reproductive care, and coursework studying the modern revolutionary tradition and critical philosophy of race. While working at American Islamic College, I learned about accreditation processes and collaborated with faculty to provide students with programming. Currently, I work with The Network: Advocating Against Domestic Violence as their policy intern and have earned a 40-hour domestic violence certification. Domestic violence training is grounded in evidence-based education and the gender-based movement, which provides people an integrative lens when seeking solutions to domestic violence. The iSchool offers many courses, specifically interesting to me are in archival preservation and practical work within data analytics and management. I hope to pursue all opportunities at UIUC, grow as a learner, and be of service in providing communities access to information and cultivating spaces for others with others.

Thashma Nellira

Thashma Nellira, MS/IM student
I am from Coorg, India. I have a bachelor’s in computer and information sciences from Nitte University Bangalore. I worked as a software engineer before joining the UIUC. Currently, I work with the Rokwire Org for API development and analysis. I chose the iSchool as it offers a customized curriculum and a great set of faculty. I see myself pursuing a career in data and business analytics. 

Akshari Nidugala

Akshari Nidugala, MS/IM student
I am a first-year student currently enrolled in the MS/IM program. I have a bachelors’ degree in information science and engineering from NIE Mysore. Post-graduation, I worked as a business analyst in the retail domain at Shell India. During my two-year stint, I realized the need and a keen interest to develop a stronghold on skillsets pertaining to the industry. My interests lie in the area of consulting, project management, data science and analytics. The iSchool has an immensely flexible curriculum that perfectly matches my career interest, empowering me to own my course; and hence this was one of the reasons behind joining UIUC. UIUC has a wide range of opportunities and has a lot to offer to students on the career front. I hope to pursue every opportunity during my time here and hope to enhance my professional knowledge and skillset. 

Kalyn Nowlan

Kalyn Nowlan, MS/LIS student
I was born in Champaign-Urbana and earned my BA in English from UIUC in 2021. After spending so much time in our tremendous campus libraries, however, I slowly realized that I was interested in science librarianship. This fall I began my MS/LIS, working as a graduate assistant in the Funk ACES library. There, I assist students, collaborate with other GAs, develop online materials and serve as exhibits coordinator. I couldn’t be happier as an iSchool student! Outside of the library, I am a coffee snob and a travel fanatic who loves to play board games with friends, spend time outdoors and binge historical documentaries.  

Ritika Pateriya

Ritika Pateriya, MS/IM student
I am a first-year MS/IM student from India. After completing my bachelor's in computer science from RGPV university, I worked as a system engineer at Tata Consultancy Services for 2.5 years. I became interested in exploring data and analytics field further during my tenure at TCS and decided to pursue an advanced degree. I choose the U of I since it offers a flexible curriculum that lets me tailor-make a degree of my own. Also, the student organizations providing professional experiences and the plethora of internship opportunities available to the students at the Research Park make U of I a great choice. I am excited to be a part of this deemed University and look forward to the opportunities here. My interest areas lie in data analytics, business intelligence, and machine learning. 

Parth Patel

Parth Patel, MS/IM student
Hello, I am from Mumbai, India. I have a bachelor of engineering degree in Information technology from Mumbai University. After graduation, I worked at Larsen and Toubro infotech for around three years as an SAP ABAP consultant and developer. Since my undergraduate, I was intrigued by data analytics and deep learning after I did a project in that domain. Hence, to pursue my passion and interest, I joined the U of I’s iSchool. I chose U of I mainly because of its flexible course curriculum and the myriad of opportunities available at the research park where one can apply their learnings real time and gain corporate exposure while still studying. I aspire for data analyst or data scientist roles after my post-graduation, and I feel that the iSchool’s Information Management program is the best fit for my profile and a foundation to achieve my career goals. 

Neha Pathak

Neha Pathak, MS/IM student
I am from Indore, India. Before joining U of I, I have four years of experience working at different positions: compliance executive, assistant manager, compliance officer and business data analyst. My interest lies in managerial positions like product manager. Currently, I am a consultant at Business Intelligence Group (BIG), graduate student presentative at Illini Union Board and course assistant for Gies College of Business. Apart from a flexible curriculum and experienced faculty, University has countless opportunities for students belonging to a different field, having different passions and skills. I would say UIUC is a complete package to learn, earn, grow and have fun. 

Vishesh Akshat Pathak

Vishesh Akshat Pathak, MS/IM student
I’m from Madhya Pradesh, India. Whilst pursuing my undergraduate program in computer science and engineering, I explored multiple career pathways. During my internship in Honk Kong, I realized I am interested in working with data, and provide strategies to clients to utilize that in an efficient way. Due to the liberal coursework, state of the art mentorship opportunities, I selected UIUC as my graduate school. I was able to be exposed to wide variety of domains including consulting, data analytics, and similar topics in the same avenue. Currently I am working as a teaching assistant for the iMBA program, representative of the diversity committee, and operations supervisor at the Illini Union. 

Ritesh Rajput

Ritesh Rajput, MS/IM student
I am from Mumbai, India. I earned my bachelor's degree from Mumbai University. Before joining the U of I, I worked as a data analyst for two and half years where I realized my growing interest in the field of data analytics. The art of converting numbers to narratives has always appealed to me. I chose the iSchool at Illinois because of its flexible course curriculum, strong faculty profile, and the opportunities offered by the Research Park. Currently I’m working as course assistant at Gies College of Business. My interest lie in data science and analytics, machine learning and business intelligence. 

Aaditya Rao

Aaditya Rao, MS/IM student
I am from Mumbai, India and currently a first-year graduate student at the iSchool MS/IM program. My undergraduate courses and internships fostered my curiosity to explore the field of data science and analytics, and the flexibility offered by iSchool propels me to do so. In analytics, I see a versatile and pivotal vocation, yet its potential of generating insights through the fusion of logic and creativity intrigues me the most. Additionally, living in the university town of Champaign is an added benefit due to its interdependent community in academia, sports, arts and cultural events which provides me the opportunity to network with like-minded individuals and build good relationships. My other interests include soccer, sketching, videography, data visualization and sports analytics. 

Saurav Rathod

Saurav Rathod, MS/IM student
I am originally from Mumbai, India. Having earned my bachelor of engineering in information technology from Mumbai University, I have had the opportunity to professionally work with a tech startup as a project manager. My interests lie in data analytics, image processing, and information consulting. I believe the MS/IM program at iSchool will help me foster my interest in the field of data and cater to my growth as a professional in the information domain. I believe that working with data is no lesser than making art; data is art. Apart from this, I enjoy meeting new people, learning about what backgrounds they come from and what their interests lie in. I believe in the fact that we help each other grow, professionally and spiritually. 

Cassidy Russell

Cassidy Russell, MS/LIS student
I am in my second semester in the iSchool LEEP program. I’ve moved around a lot, but currently live in Chicago where I work as a theater director, improv teacher, actor, and visual artist. I have a BFA in printmaking from the University of Notre Dame and an MFA in printmaking from Savannah College of Art and Design. I decided to pursue an MS/LIS degree at the iSchool because of interests in storytelling and the stories we choose to tell, in creating artistic spaces where people feel comfortable being vulnerable, in information equity, and in literacy and language preservation. 

Rachana Sarvankar

Rachana Sarvankar, MS/IM student
I am Rachana Sarvankar from Bombay, India. I have three years of work experience as a business analyst project manager in the financial services industry. Working on a multitude of system use cases has helped me realize the significance of managing information around us. Apart from leading key digital initiatives in the organization, I have also gained sound understanding of Salesforce CRM Enterprise architecture and learned key stakeholder management skills. I pursued my bachelors in electronics and telecommunications engineering from University of Mumbai and have secured distinction. My primary reason for pursuing UIUC MS/IM is the perfect blend of data science, analytics and consulting courses that it offers I am aiming for my career in a consulting-based role with relevant technical skillset and UIUC MS/IM coursework caters to these needs. Post joining the university this fall, I have been able to secure a course assistant position and am excited to explore tons of opportunities that the university has to offer. 

Aradhya Seth

Aradhya Seth, MS/IM student
I am from Bhopal, India. I earned my bachelor's degree in information technology from Rajiv Gandhi Technical University in mid-2021. As an undergrad student, I interned at an e-commerce firm in Croatia where I discovered my interest in the field of data analytics. To get more expertise in this field I decided to join iSchool as it offered an excellent blend of knowledge management and data analysis whilst also providing an amazing opportunity to choose the subjects of my interest with a flexible curriculum. I am always excited to engage in conversations about emerging topics in the field of data science. 

Saud Shaikh

Saud Shaikh, MS/IM student
I am from Mumbai, India, and earned my bachelor of engineering in electronics and telecommunication from Mumbai University. I am elated to be a part of the U of I for the enriching exposure it offers. I decided to join the School of Information Sciences because of its strong faculty profile, flexible course curriculum, career fairs, and the opportunities offered by the research park. Currently, I am a course assistant for the iMBA program at the GIES College of Business. My interests lie in data analytics, business intelligence, and consulting. I am looking forward to leveraging my undergrad experience with organizations to serve as an iSchool Ambassador.

Divya Tantri

Divya Tantri, MS/IM student
I am a first year MS/IM student at the iSchool. Prior to joining the U of I, I worked as a marketing analyst for over two years at Cisco Systems after receiving my bachelor’s in computer science engineering in Bangalore, India. Since the concept of problem-solving has been the common underlying theme through which I see the world around me, it was only natural for me to choose a career in Analytics. I chose the MS/IM program at the University of Illinois due to its flexible curriculum and the reputation of the program. I currently work as a graduate research assistant at the Cline Center for Advanced Social Research. My interests lie in data science, analytics, and visualization.

Tejas Tumakuru

Tejas Tumakuru, MS/IM student
I am from Bangalore, India. I earned my bachelor of engineering in mechanical engineering from B.M.S College of Engineering. Before joining the U of I, I worked as a software engineer for two years. My work experience got me interested in data science, I chose U of I because of the data science and analytics pathway, exceptional faculty, and the research park that opens many doors to the students. My interest is inclined towards deep learning and natural language processing.

Gabriela Vieira da Cunha Prates

Gabriela Vieira da Cunha Prates, MS/LIS student
I am an on-campus LIS student from Brazil. I was born in Curitiba but lived in Florianópolis since I was 10 years old. I attended undergrad at UDESC and graduated in 2018 with a degree in Library Science with a certificate in Information Management. After graduation, I lived in Holzkirchen, a small town near Munich in Germany. I really tried to learn some German, but that's a very hard language! I ended up learning only the basics. With the pandemic, I returned to Brazil and dedicated myself to applying to my dream master's program at the iSchool. I've been dreaming about it since I visited the campus in 2018. I currently hold an assistantship with the iSchool Help Desk. In my free time, I enjoy reading historical fiction, watching an endless list of TV shows, and being with my family (even if only through technology). After graduation, I hope to be able to start a project for building a library in an underserved community back at Florianópolis.