Love of tech and desire to help draw student to nonprof-IT  

Lauren Rodriguez, Information Science & Technology Student and nonprof-IT participant

Lauren Rodriguez knew she wanted a major related to technology, so she started her studies at UWM in computer science. 

“I’ve always been interested in computers and technology, so my major was going to be something related to that,” she said.   

However, after her first year she switched to the BSIST program (bachelor of science in information science & technology) because she wanted to expand how she used computer technology. “I never considered BSIST before coming here, but once I was in the program my advisors showed me a path I could possibly take, and it ended up working out. I enjoy it.”  

“I’m getting more out of IST because it’s a combination of client communication as well as IT network, website building and social media management. I just really appreciated the program”
Lauren Rodriguez, IST Major and Nonprof-IT Intern

“I’m getting more out of IST because it’s a combination of client communication as well as IT network, website building and social media management. I just really appreciated the program,” she added.  

Rodriguez, a junior who is from Milwaukee and now lives in Greendale, has especially enjoyed her experiences in the nonprof-IT program, which pairs students with nonprofit organizations that need help with IT-related issues. The organizations save money, and the students gain real-world experience. “It’s a combination of communication as well as back-end work,” Rodriguez said. 

Being able to work nonprof-IT is one of the reasons she stayed in the BSIST program, Rodriguez said. “It’s great to have experience before you graduate and have to find a job.”  

During the fall semester, she was part of a project with the Wildlife in Need Center. She found that fun and interesting, she said. “The Wildlife in Need Center rehabilitates and cares for wild animals that have been injured, diseased, or orphaned,” she said. “Through their care the nonprofit aims to return the animals back to their appropriate habitats in the wild.” 

During the spring 2023 semester, she worked with a team that helped the Milwaukee Turners migrate their “Jane’s Walk MKE” website content to their main site, providing cost savings and easier management of the event. Jane’s Walks share urban activist/author Jane Jacobs’ legacy by organizing free, resident-led neighborhood explorations. 

Lauren Rodriguez, UWM Bachelor of Science in Information Science & Technology Major and Nonprof-IT Intern

Rodriguez, who is Hispanic, chose to come to UWM because of its strong Hispanic representation and overall diversity. The BSIST program is one of the fastest growing and most diverse programs in the School of Information Studies with 500 students, according to Chad Zahrt, SOIS assistant dean for student services and operations. Unlike some other technology fields which involve a majority of white males, BSIST attracts large numbers of women as well as African American, Latinx, Native American and Hmong students.  

Students also benefit from the ease of credit transfer and the minimum courses required for the major, according to Zahrt.   

Rodriguez has an internship at MGIC providing technical support to end-users and managing and deploying hardware. “That’s another good opportunity I’ve had through UWM,” Rodriguez said. 

“Once you get that ball rolling, it’s very easy to continue getting the opportunities here.” 

While she’s enjoying the work at MGIC, her long-term goal after graduation in May 2025 is doing something similar to what she’s done with nonprof-IT. “I lean more toward a manager and leader position in IT.”