A Community of Wizards
Program: Ph.D. In Informatics, Social Informatics track
Hometown: El Dorado, California
Best of Bloomington: The farmer’s market on Saturday mornings during the warmer months. The music and smell of all the fresh veggies make for a fantastic atmosphere.
Energy, culture, freedom…and Wizard Rock. This is how Jennifer Terrell describes her life at the IU School of Informatics and Computing.
“When I came to visit the campus, I was interested in the interdisciplinary nature of the school and I looked forward to the opportunity to work with several different faculty members,” she says, “There were a number of really cool projects going on, and the school had an energy I wanted to be a part of.”
Her own cool project is currently in the works. She studies “Wizard Rock,” the original music created by musicians who are inspired by J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series. “In this particular project, I am looking at the way that this group uses new media to create and maintain affective social ties and foster a sense of community. It is interesting to do work that can inform our thinking about the nature of sociality online. Plus, it is a lot of fun.
“I chose the degree program in social informatics primarily because it fit my research interests quite well. My undergraduate degrees are in cultural anthropology and computer science, and I wanted to research cultural aspects of online interaction. Social informatics allows me to combine these two areas of interest and engage my passions for people and technology.
“The most exciting and rewarding aspect of the social informatics program is that I have the freedom to explore many areas of study and incorporate theory from these areas into my projects. Not only do I get to ground my studies in science and technology studies, but I can also explore theory from cultural anthropology, sociology, fan studies, media studies, and design.”
Jennifer also enjoys the academic atmosphere of the school. She says, “The best thing about the community here is that I have made friends from all over the world. Because of the Ph.D. space and the need to work together with people outside of my discipline in some classes, I have met people from each area of the school. The interdisciplinary space gives students the chance to learn about what projects other people are doing. It gives us a foundation for getting to know other people as well as offers the opportunity for collaboration between programs.” Rock on, wizards.