Informatics in the News

IUSB Grad Uses Informatics Degree

From South Bend Tribune March 16, 2005
By MARGARET FOSMOE, Tribune Staff Writer

SOUTH BEND -- Robert Prange is a pioneer.

Robert Prange, 23, the first to earn a bachelor's degree in informatics at Indiana University South Bend, has landed a job with the South Bend Community School Corp. Tribune Photo PAUL RAKESTRAW

Informatics is a new field of study designed to give students the skills to apply information technology to other fields.

Prange, a 1999 Adams High School graduate, first heard about informatics a couple of years ago. He learned about the new degree program from Ruth Schwartz, an IUSB computer science professor and now interim director of the informatics program.

More than 1,400 students are enrolled in informatics programs at IU in South Bend, Bloomington and Indianapolis. Several other IU campuses soon will add the discipline.

Below is a conversation with Prange about the program.

Question: When you enrolled at IUSB, what was your original major?
Answer: Computer science.

Q. What made you decide to switch your major to informatics?
A. When I was in computer science, I really liked programming in the beginning, but as the years went on programming really became more of a chore than it was fun -- which is not a good mentality for a programmer to have. So I decided after I got my associate's degree (in computer science) to switch to something else.

Q. Had you ever heard the term informatics before starting college?
A. No.

Q. What is informatics?
A. It's the application of information technology in a particular field. That field can be whatever you want it to be. It can be English, history, biology, math. I choose computer science because I was already familiar with that, and a lot of my credits switched over to informatics.

Q. What did you get from an informatics major that you might not have if you had sought a bachelor's degree in computer science?
A. They have interesting classes, like human-computer interaction. And classes on how technology affects society.

Q. You're now employed in your field. What is your job and when did you start?
A. I'm a technology specialist for the South Bend schools. I started in mid-December. My first day was the Monday after finals.

Q. What does the job involve?
A. Mainly what I do is technical support for PCs.

Q. Is it the kind of job you were thinking of while you were in college?
A. I'm doing exactly what I wanted to be doing.

Staff writer Margaret Fosmoe:
(574) 235-6329

Robert Prange

Prange, 23, of South Bend, recently became the first student to earn a bachelor's degree in informatics at Indiana University South Bend.