Advisors from ACT’s educational research, test development, and statistics departments stress the importance of exploring different departments at ACT. This exploration has allowed Oates to find a project aligned with her career objectives as a Ph.D. candidate in the educational measurement and statistics graduate program at the UI.
“The staff at ACT has been very welcoming and have gone out of their way to make sure that my experience there is most rewarding,” Oates said. “I have been able to observe professional meetings in the test development and measurement research departments at ACT as well as a job talk in the measurement research department.
“I have also been able to use ACT data sets for two of my class projects. This was especially helpful as it is very hard for graduate students to obtain data sets from testing companies. However, ACT has been very gracious in providing me with all of the resources that they can to assist me with my classes.”
ACT, founded in 1959 as the American College Testing Program by UI education leaders E.F. Lindquist and Ted McCarrel, committed $5 million to the University of Iowa Foundation in 2009 to endow the ACT Scholars Program. While pursuing graduate degrees at the UI, recipients will simultaneously obtain on-the-job training at ACT. Oates was the first scholarship recipient.
The ACT Scholars Program, co-directed by ACT and the University of Iowa Graduate College, selected Ikenna Obiora Anyanetu and Samantha Sanchez as its scholarship winners for the 2011-12 academic year.
Recipients receive an annual nine-month stipend equivalent to a half-time research assistantship ($20,000), benefits, and a full resident-rate tuition scholarship.
Anyanetu earned a bachelor of science in computer engineering from the University of Michigan in 2011. At the UI, he would like to work on interesting problems at the forefront of computer architecture, VSLI design, and software systems. He is interested in the design of integrated circuits that reduce the ever-increasing power consumption of current CMOS technology.
“Being able to receive on-the-job training while doing graduate work propels the scholarship into a whole new level of importance and significance for me,” Anyanetu said.
Sanchez received a bachelor of arts, business administration degree from Truman State University in 2007.
Prior to enrolling at the UI, Sanchez was a business sales supervisor for a telecommunications company. She led a sales team of up to 15 agents who were selling and troubleshooting Internet and phone services.
“The ACT Scholars Program made going to business school to get my MBA feasible for me,” Sanchez said. “For me, the on-the-job training is going to be essential to my future endeavors. Ultimately, I want to be involved in building sustainable communities.”
The ACT Scholars Program serves the diversity goals of ACT and the UI. The scholars have ACT mentors, who help them gain experience in projects related to their fields of study.
Scholars spend an average of 10 to 20 hours per week throughout the academic year in both individual and group learning activities at ACT. Some scholars may be considered for summer internships or other summer employment at ACT.
ACT Scholars must be nominated by their departments in several areas of study, including business, communications, education, engineering, information technology, and statistics. ACT welcomes nominations from underrepresented populations, including African-Americans, Latinos, and Native Americans.
For more information, visit http://www.grad.uiowa.edu/ACT-scholars-program-fellowships.