Caitlin Gallagher, For The Miami Student

Miami University students are going to have a chance to learn about one of the premiere professional social networks from one of the people who helps create the site.

Thursday, Anita Lillie of social networking site LinkedIn will speak to students about her own career path into data visualization. Interact, the interactive media student organization at Miami, is sponsoring the event at 7:30 p.m. in room 2040 of the Farmer School of Business.

Lillie is currently a data visualization designer at LinkedIn in Palo Alto, Calif. In her company profile, she described the position by saying, “I work on anything to do with creating visuals of numbers on our site.”

She studied mathematical and computational science at Stanford University and went on to obtain her masters from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology media lab in 2008.

Lillie clearly enjoys her job and has a passion for information visualization. She was drawn to LinkedIn by the large amount of information available to the company and sees the position as an opportunity to recreate the way people use the web. She landed at LinkedIn after dabbling in other jobs and the path she took to get to LinkedIn is one students can learn from.

LinkedIn can be described as a Facebook for people looking to get jobs or maintain networking connections within their profession. Many Miami University students are already using the site to further their developing careers.

Junior Rachel Barr said she thinks the site is a great way to network.

“I think LinkedIn is a great way to keep in touch with professional contacts,” Barr said. “I use it to stay connected to people I have met through the various internships I have had.”

Interact is still a relatively new student organization here at Miami. According to president Nick Masso, the group exists to reach two goals.

“We are looking to create a stronger social community of students interested in interactive technologies and create more awareness of these technologies in order to further educate the campus,” he said.

Bringing Lillie in to speak was a no-brainer for Meredith Willse, treasurer of Interact. “Anita Lillie shares our passion for interactive design and she has successfully turned that into a career,” she said. “We’re excited to learn how she transitioned from academia to industry and how we can do the same.”

The group hopes that students will be able to learn how to achieve a career in interactive media technologies. Lillie’s personal story and climb to the top can show students interested in the field how to transition from academia to a career. Students with an interest in technology, statistics, visual arts, graphic design and social media all benefited from attending the lecture.

If you are unable to attend the lecture, information on Anita Lillie can be found on her personal website,