Eleanor Mattern Interviewed about Year of Data and Society in Pittwire

This past academic year, the Year of Engagement taught us the value of staying connected during difficult times and the importance of collaboration. As that campaign culminates, the University of Pittsburgh Office of the Provost has announced that the 2021-22 academic year will be the Year of Data and Society.

The Year Of at Pitt is entering its eighth year of elevating important topics of universal interest across the Pitt community. Past Year Of initiatives have taken deep dives on themes ranging from diversity and sustainability to our health and global impact. Through prolonged focus, the Year Of has challenged how we incorporate creativity into our daily lives and heightened our understanding of the humanities at the University.

Though plans for the Year of Data and Society are still in the early phases of development, Eleanor Mattern, director of the Sara Fine Institute and teaching assistant professor in the School of Computing and Information, has been named campaign chair. In that role, Mattern and a committee of University stakeholders will create opportunities for all members of the Pitt community to engage, explore and experience the Year Of.

Pittwire reached out to Mattern (SCI ’14G) to learn more about her, her career and her vision for the Year of Data and Society. Watch for more details about the year, including grant opportunities, in the coming months.

Tell our readers a little bit about yourself.

I'm from Pennsylvania but from the other side of the state; I grew up in the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton area. I first came to Pittsburgh a little over than 10 years ago to study here at the University of Pittsburgh for graduate school, and then I entered the School of Information Sciences (now the School of Computing and Information), where I completed a PhD in library and information science.

What kept you in Pittsburgh?

I was fortunate to build a wonderful community network here for myself. When I moved to Pittsburgh, I think what was immediately apparent to me was that there was an awesome cultural scene here. And as a museum lover, I was impressed by the phenomenal museums in the city. (Students: Access many of the city’s museums for free with your Pitt ID.)

But what really struck me and made me fall in love with Pittsburgh was the libraries. They really energize me.

Read the full interview on Pittwire.