Funding Undergraduate Research: Joelle Benson '95 BSBA (MIS)

Funding Undergraduate Research: Joelle Benson '95 BSBA (MIS)

March 5, 2015
Joelle Benson

As an undergraduate MIS student at the Eller College, Joelle Benson put the cutting-edge information systems theories she learned in the classroom into practice through her work with Regents’ Professor Jay Nunamaker and his Center for Management Information (CMI) lab. Within CMI, she helped conduct research on technology and processes that allow groups to move toward new levels of efficiency and productivity. 

Now a health care and life sciences strategic account executive with Dell in Chicago, she is in a position to give back to the MIS department that helped shaped her success and give future students similar opportunities.

Joelle Benson

Joelle Benson '95 BSBA (MIS). Photo courtesy Joelle Benson.

Joelle, along with Dell’s corporate matching program, has established a new scholarship for MIS undergraduates that will fund their involvement in hands-on research projects, with priority given to students interested in research involving big data in health care.

“Through my work in health care IT and Dell, I have taken a personal interest in individualized medicine and genomics,” she said. “It’s become a passion of mine.”

Two years ago, Joelle was inspired by Dell’s support of the world’s first FDA-approved personalized medicine trial for pediatric cancer, a collaboration between the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) and the Neuroblastoma and Medulloblastoma Translational Research Consortium (NMTRC).

“I truly believe individualized medicine is going to revolutionize our healthcare system,” Joelle continued. “By giving back to the MIS department, and allowing an undergraduate student to research this and related topics, it could possibly ignite the same passion I have, while benefiting the University at the same time.”

Joelle visited the MIS department recently and spent time with MIS students. “MIS is still a very pertinent degree to pursue,” she told the students. “There is technology all around us. There will always be a need improve the world by building solutions and solving problems.” She pointed out that the world’s population is approaching eight billion. “If everyone moves from two devices to 10 – think smart watches, smart TVs, Fitbit, Google Glasses, etc. – the amount of data coming in will be astronomical. The need for data analytics, data security, sustainability, and the cloud, all topics within MIS, is just going to grow.”

In addition, Joelle advises students to

  • Earn the trust within your ecosystem.
  • Be passionate and find something that matters for you.
  • Be willing to take risks and don’t be afraid to make mistakes, almost anything in business can be corrected.
  • Set goals.
  • And most importantly, have fun!

The department thanks Joelle for endowing this new scholarship and for sharing her insights with current students.

 Top photo courtesy University Relations.