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Matthew Green, InfoSci MPS

Matthew Green MPS

Affiliation: Department of Information Science, MPS Program, with a focus on User Experience & Web Development
Hometown: Kingston, Jamaica

Why did you choose Cornell?
The decision to attend Cornell University had many inputs and influences at different points in my life. While in high school in Jamaica I would work in the kitchen at two of the local hotels – The Knutsford Court Hotel and The Courtleigh Hotel. The owner of these properties and his wife would encourage me to consider Cornell because it would afford me the chance to explore so many options and then narrow down on something I liked.
In 2007, the year before I applied to Cornell University I attended a Summer College program hosted by the School of Hotel Administration. It was at this point when I totally fell in love with Cornell and Ithaca. It’s a difficult feeling to explain but while I was here for that program I felt as though I belonged here.
In 2011 when I was in my first semester of senior year at the School of Hotel Administration, I thought strongly about my achievements and takeaways thus far and I felt like something was missing. It was at this point where the MPS in Information Science program became very apparent and then of course, Cornell University was knocking again. I applied to this program only for Grad School because I knew that if I went anywhere else the level of comfort and belonging that I garnered over the five years here wouldn’t be present.

What did you want to know about Cornell before you came here?
Before my undergraduate career I wanted to know more about the life, the workload, the community and the atmosphere of Cornell. I was most interested in how culturally diverse the school was because coming from Jamaica and being Jamaican-British-Lebanese craves diversity.
With respect to my Graduate career, I wanted to know what the shift in that life would be. So far I’ve come to realize that life here is pretty much the same regardless of your study.

Where and what did you do for your Undergrad?
I did my undergraduate degree, a BS, in Hotel Administration at Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration.

Why are you doing an MPS and why InfoSci?
The MPS program in Information Science presented me with a very unique opportunity to extend my very business related background into something more technical and versatile. As mentioned, being a graduate of the School of Hotel Administration provided me with plenty of hands-on experience in communicating effectively, managing teams, working under high-pressure situations, marketing and financial management. However, a part of my background was not tapped enough and I wanted to exploit that.
As a young nine-year-old boy, my Uncle decided that I was ready to begin learning my first programming language – FOXPRO 2. It was from then that my love for computers, computing and the interaction of humans with computing came about. I made a sudden transition from a normal user, to one who was taught about the inner workings of the computer and how we could direct it to do what we wanted. With this experience, I began learning more about computers and how to use them through self-study and practice. By the time I was 11 I was able to build my own machine and to troubleshoot hardware and software issues, which of course only wet my palette to want to learn more.
The MPS in Information Science I feel is the perfect graduate program for me. This program draws from so many fields, the very essence of Information Science, which allows me to cherry pick courses that peak my interests from Computer Science all the way to Design and Environmental Analysis. This kind of uniqueness is what I was looking for in Grad School – it makes the two semesters here feel much more custom tailored.

If you’ve selected a research project to work on, can you describe your experience so far?
Although yet to be confirmed officially, I am currently working with Mark Matthews and Steve Voida on a monitoring system for Bipolar Disorder patients. The birth of my involvement in this class came out of a semester-long project for Francois Guimbretiere’s HCI Studio class (INFO 4420) which required my team and I to go through the design process for such a system. While doing the required work I realized that I had a deeper interest than I had thought in the subject matter that led me to conducting more interviews and doing more research on the subject as a whole. Thus far my involvement has been very exciting and fulfilling and I’m looking forward to working on this project in a more official capacity next semester.

What class are you excited about taking or are you taking now that you love?
When I applied to this program I was really enthusiastic about taking two classes in particular, INFO 4302: Web Information Systems and INFO 4320: Intro To Rapid Prototyping; two classes that were recommended by Carl Lagoze. I am currently enrolled in Web Information Systems and I’m enjoying the very hands on “learning by doing” approach that the instructors, Bernhard Haslhofer & Theresa Velden implement. I really enjoyed courses like INFO 1300: Introduction to Web Design and Programming when I was an undergrad and being able to take Web Information Systems now really pushes my current skillset while adding to it weekly.
As for INFO 4320: Intro To Rapid Prototyping, it’s on the top of my list for classes that I must take next semester. After all, who doesn’t want to build robots?

What other activities are you involved in around campus or around Ithaca?
While not officially involved in any clubs on campus now I try to stay active by playing pick-up soccer on North Campus from time to time. When I was an undergrad I actually joined the Ithaca Soccer League and played games in Cascadilla Park. While I was an undergraduate I also worked in the Statler Hotel as a prep cook, in Mac’s Café as the student supervisor, as a teaching assistant for three classes as well as a software developer/research assistant for Professor Jan DeRoos and Hotel Valuation Services (HVS).

What do you like about living in Ithaca?
There is a lot to like about Ithaca especially coming from a lush country like Jamaica. Ithaca is gorgeous, the scenery, the flora the sustainable omnipresence, it’s just a remarkable little town that has so much influence on so many. Being able to live, work and study beside some of the brightest minds in the world is a humbling experience, and one that I would not have passed up ever. Also, Ithaca sits in the Finger Lakes and being a budding oenophile makes me appreciate this town and its environs even more.

What are your plans after graduation?
After graduation I hope to move to New York City and work there at least for the short term; my girlfriend lives there ergo it’s the natural choice also. Wherever I go though, I want to be able to showcase my unique background in the workplace while applying my classroom knowledge to the ‘real-world’. In the long term I would like to move back to Jamaica but that decision is not set in stone of course.

What would you recommend about this program to potential MPS students?
Apply! This program is one that will afford you the chance to work with very focused, intelligent and groundbreaking individuals that are leaders in this far-reaching field. The chance to undertake research while taking classes from the unlimited Cornell course catalog is a chance that really envelops your character and makes you into a more multitalented person that understands more than just the narrow specifics of one field. The MPS program is one of high-pressure but the results that you begin to see from week 3 are remarkable. Overall, I would highly recommend this program to anyone who has an interest in Information Science, Computer Science or Information Technology as a whole, it’s an excellent program to hone your skills, learn new skills and figure out what exactly you’re good at.