IU: an institution that allows and supports collaboration across disciplines

A large research higher education institution as IU can be daunting as there are so many options. Everyone has a specific specialty and academic niche. There are a myriad of academic disciplines that students can choose from, and there are hundreds of academic research centers to wade your interests through. Although it can be overwhelming to some, it is a paradise to others who enjoy collaborating across disciplines.

I am studying higher education policy at IU; however, I am also a trained secondary education teacher and a lawyer.  From my old days as a lawyer, I still currently serve as Director of Disaster Legal Services, which is a partnership program between the American Bar Association Young Lawyers Division and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). DLS provides pro bono legal services to disaster survivors after a natural disaster strikes the United States.

After meeting Mike H., a fellow IU Emissary for Graduate Student Diversity, we talked about the things we were involved in.  Mike mentioned that he used to work for FEMA and was intrigued with my work through the ABA and FEMA.  After several discussions, we figured that we could collaborate with each other to find better ways our services could be delivered to disaster survivors.

Mike H., is studying for his master degree in Human-Computer Interface Design at the IU School of Informatics and Computing. Through my work and connections with FEMA, I was able to invite Mike out to Washington D.C. for our quarterly meeting with FEMA and his capstone project to design a mobile application to better deliver disaster legal services was approved.

This government/non-profit – academic partnership is possible because of the collaborative nature at IU.  Because of the varied disciplines and opportunities, Mike H.’s past experience with FEMA and his interest to build this mobile app for us as his capstone project will allow us to better serve disaster survivors.

Come and find out more about IU’s collaborative nature among students, faculty, and the community!