ANN ARBOR — Online Tech, Michigan’s largest data center, has awarded $1,000 scholarships to two University of Michigan students in the fields of information technology and healthcare IT.
The Ann Arbor-based company has many strong ties to UM talent — including company co-founder Yan Ness, a UM graduate and lecturer at UM’s Stephen M. Ross School of Business, and Online Tech Co-CEO Mike Klein, a graduate of UM’s Ross School.
Daniel Mayer and Paige Grettenberger, both Michigan students, are the recipients of Online Tech’s 2012 Data Security Scholarships. They were selected from a field of candidates with an interest in cloud computing, data security, disaster recovery and colocation.
Grettenberger is a sophomore engineering student at Michigan. The 2011 Haslett High School graduate developed an interest in data security while completing a summer internship with the Information Security department at Delta Dental Insurance.
“I had to write a lot of corporate documents and policies at the internship,” Grettenberger said. “One of them was the mobile device policy, so I got a pretty thorough understanding of the risks.”
Candidates for the Data Security Scholarships were asked to answer one of two essay questions. Grettenberger answered the question “What do you see as the most serious mobile security threat facing consumers and/or companies and why?” with an explanation of the three most common ways a mobile device can be compromised through Bluetooth technologies; practices referred to as “bluejacking,” “bluesnarfing” and “bluebugging” in the industry.
“Everybody’s got so much personal information stored on their phone, so it’s easy for somebody to do harm,” Grettenberger said.
Mayer, a 2005 Clarkston High School graduate, is part of the inaugural class at Michigan’s new Master of Health Informatics program. After graduating from UM with a dual major in biology and economics, Mayer spent two years working for healthcare IT firm Epic Systems Corporation before returning to continue his education.
“After working for Epic, I saw the possibilities that are there to improve the health industry through technology,” Mayer said. “I decided to come back to further my education in that area in hopes of developing something, or contributing in a significant way, to the field of healthcare. My future goals are to work in a leadership position at an organization, but more importantly, I’d like to create an innovative tool to somehow significantly advance the industry. If I can make a significant impact by creating some piece of technology, that would be an ideal situation for me.”
Mayer is specifically interested in consumer-facing applications that will help patients take advantage of resources to improve their own healthcare. He currently works with the Cancer Informatics team developing the registry management tool at the Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center.
“My Online Tech scholarship has decreased the burden on me and puts me at ease a little more so I can pursue things that will further my knowledge in health informatics rather than focusing on getting a job that’s going to pay me what I need to cover tuition,” Mayer said. “If anything, it allows me to focus more on my studies rather than money.”
A video interview about the program can be viewed at http://youtu.be/k_WD63qPNuk.
Meghan Genovese, the Senior Associate Director of the Health Informatics Program, said Mayer’s background makes him a perfect fit for the school’s new program, established to develop leaders and solutions in the growing industry.
“He brings interesting perspectives developed through his academic background and work experience and also through his current experience as a student and the work he’s doing at the cancer center,” Genovese said. “He’s a very bright student and we were so delighted that he earned the scholarship.”
The new Health Informatics program at Michigan is offered jointly by the School of Information and the School of Public Health and places emphasis on developing leaders in the health informatics field needed to develop the next generation of information solutions related to health, and to ensure that the current generation of solutions is used to full advantage. Mobile and other emerging technologies will play a key role.
“What we’re doing at the University of Michigan, specifically, is preparing people for leadership positions in health informatics; students are learning ways to leverage information and information technologies to improve healthcare and individual health,” Genovese said. “We’re taking a consumer-facing approach as it overlays with clinical health informatics and population health informatics because we see these subdomains of the field as inextricably linked. Students leaving this program will become visionaries and game-changers who think about what we can do to solve tomorrow’s problems. It’s not just about implementing today’s technologies. It’s about looking forward.”
The field is growing quickly. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that health information management and health informatics employment will grow nearly 18 percent by 2016, and predicts a need for more than 6,000 new professionals each year through 2014.
“Health informatics is burgeoning as a field because there is increasing demand for people who think strategically about health information,” Genovese said. “The more consumers learn about health information, the higher demand they place on those working in the health informatics space. Consumers are becoming more savvy and developing a sense of what is possible — whether it’s a mobile application or a portal related to their health — and they are beginning to demand stronger solutions or managing their own health.”
More at www.onlinetech.com.