Fostering connections between students is the number one priority for leaders of the Association for Information Systems (AIS) chapter at the BYU Marriott School of Business. The association encourages connection by providing opportunities for students to interact with faculty members, alumni, and other students involved in the information systems (IS) program.
By encouraging connection, AIS enables its members to find valuable employment opportunities and develop a competitive skill set in information systems. BYU Marriott professor of information systems and AIS advisor Tom Meservy views AIS as fundamental to the culture of the IS program. “As faculty members and student leaders in the information systems program, we seek to create a caring and collaborative community where students feel the support they need to succeed in a demanding career,” he explains.
One of Meservy’s favorite aspects of his involvement in the association is working with the student leadership team members, who focus on giving students the best experience possible. “The student leaders are incredibly talented and devote numerous hours from their busy schedule to help and support their fellow students,” he says. “These student leaders are selfless in their service, and I have so much fun while we plan and work together.”
Joslyn Orgill, a December 2021 MISM graduate from Chesterfield, Missouri, and former copresident of AIS, loved serving other students in her role on the leadership team. "I genuinely enjoyed serving the BYU Marriott IS community and connecting with students at events. Our members made the hard work of planning worthwhile,” she says. The association offers a variety of events each semester, including company information sessions, social events, and Tech Talks, where students meet together with experienced alumni and learn how to strengthen their IS skills.
One popular activity that AIS hosts is the IS Academy, which focuses on helping prospective IS students see if an information systems degree is a good fit for their career goals. The IS Academy happens twice a month and explains the content and skills of the major, discusses career opportunities for IS graduates, allows students to connect with IS faculty members, and explores the application process into the IS program.
For Spencer Jensen, AIS vice president of student experience and a second-year MISM student from Spokane, Washington, one of the most noteworthy AIS events he participated in was the association’s mentorship night, which took place at the beginning of the fall 2021 semester. “Many students attended, along with mentors who were eager to connect with and help new students,” he says. “All the attendees enjoyed the activity and created meaningful connections with other students. I am looking forward to future mentorship nights.”
The AIS also provides unique opportunities for women to network through the Women’s Association for Information Systems (WAIS), a section of AIS. Taylor Rees, the group’s president and a second-year MISM student from Las Vegas, feels grateful for the network she has created with the women in WAIS. “Being a woman in an historically male-dominated career field can be difficult, but WAIS offers a supportive network that makes pursuing information systems so rewarding,” she says. “I have made some lifelong friends through WAIS, and I am forever grateful.”
Orgill shares that while she graduated at the end of the fall 2021 semester, she has no plans of leaving behind the AIS community she belonged to during her time at BYU Marriott. “I hope to keep my relationships from the club throughout my life,” she says. “My college experience would've been vastly different had I not participated in AIS. I hope all students interested in information systems will join AIS and meet their future friends.”
Writer: Sarah Calvert