Finding His Purpose in Informatics
Program: Ph.D. In Informatics
Hometown: Arlington Heights, IL
Best of Bloomington: Culture and community sets IU apart.
Jordan Beck is all about paying it forward. After completing his Ph.D., Beck hopes to take it to a large University that does not yet have an interaction design program and collaborate on building one from the ground up. Jordan chose the HCI/d program at SICE after an exhaustive search because of its core philosophy, faculty, and strong sense of community. He would love to be able to create an opportunity for students at other schools to experience similar programs.
“I love the tight-knit community of scholars here. In addition to the sanctioned seminars and research groups, SICE students are the type to gather informally to discuss research and other academic issues,” he says.
SICE faculty have also played an important role in making Jordan’s graduate experience a positive one.
“The faculty bring an astounding breadth and depth of knowledge to research groups and the classroom, and they’re highly accessible to students,” he says. “I’ve never had trouble scheduling meetings, or even dropping in for impromptu ones. They care.”
The City of Bloomington has provided the perfect setting for Jordan to explore his interest outside of the classroom. An avid outdoorsman, Beck makes frequent use of Brown County State Park’s 16,000 acres with his wife and Australian shepherds.
“It’s hard to believe that a small town can have as much culture as Bloomington does, but therein lies one of the benefits of Indiana University,” he says. “We go to the IU cinema on campus for screenings. Soma for coffee. Laughing Planet for burritos. The 4th Street Art Fair. Lotus Fest… The town has such a diversity of restaurants and festivals I would need to dedicate an entire website to listing its many offerings.”
To prospective students, Jordan advises they define a clear sense of purpose. “You ought to take some time to figure out why you want to pursue graduate studies and why you want to do it here,” he says. “Students in the HCI/d program have something special, too. I’m not quite sure how to name it, but it’s there. And if you think you’ve got it, then submit an application.”