Combining Business with Pleasure
Minors: Computer Science, Cybersecurity, Mathematics
Favorite Aspect of SoIC: The sense of community
When Grant Muterspaugh arrived on the IU Bloomington campus in 2013, he didn’t know anyone and wasn’t sure where his college career would take him.
He certainly never expected to end up in Belize.
Muterspaugh was one of a handful of students to travel to the Central American country of Belize to develop the IT capacity of the Tumul K’in Center of Learning, an education-focused Maya Non-Governmental Organization, and the surrounding district of Toledo. Students developed their ability to work with technical equipment and their training skills.
Muterspaugh’s path to Belize started the moment he arrived on campus.
“When I came in here, I didn’t know anybody,” Muterspaugh says. “I came in and heard about Informatics, and I was excited about all the possibilities. I took I101, and I was listening to all the different avenues you can pursue with Informatics.”
He also was interested in Computer Science, and it was during one of his early CS classes that he learned about Serve IT, IU’s community information technology clinic designed to help non-profit organizations with a wide range of technological services.
“One of my classmates who supported me and helped me was in Serve IT,” Muterspaugh says. “He was telling me about all the great experiences he had. He said it helped him with internships, and I thought it sounded amazing. Serve IT is growing and growing. ”
Computers have always been a part of Muterspaugh’s life, and he loves the versatility computers allow. If he wants to get lost in a game, he can. If he wants to create an educational presentation that draws information from a number of sources, he can do that, too. The Columbus, Ohio, native says deciding to mix his personal passion for computing with a positive career choice was a no-brainer.
“I’ve been around (computers) my whole life, so why not combine business with pleasure?” Muterspaugh says. “I really like the freedom and creativity with the problems that we solve and the research we do. There really aren’t boundaries or limits.”
The community at IU’s School of Informatics and Computing was critical in allowing Muterspaugh to make a smooth transition to college life.
“When you have these people come in and say that they’ve been programming for four years throughout high school, you feel like you’re really behind the game,” Muterspaugh says. “But that’s not the case. Your peers are there to help. The collaboration is great, and I can always lean on someone who has that expertise when I’m having a problem.”
That gave him the confidence to first join Serve IT, an experience that is already paying dividends.
“SoIC does a great job of providing you all these opportunities to get real-world experience,” Muterspaugh says.
That includes traveling to Belize. The director at Serve IT, Matt Hottell, organized the trip, and Muterspaugh jumped on the opportunity to help develop the IT capacity of the Tumul K'in Center of Learning.
“I knew it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” Muterspaugh says. “I learned a lot from the trip. It was a great opportunity for me to grow more and experience something most people can’t. It's one thing to learn about technology in the classroom, but it's a unique experience to actually go out in the real world—in another country to boot—and do work in the field that I have come to love. The relationships I formed, the knowledge I gained, and the experiences had during the trip have undoubtedly helped me grow. It was truly a great experience.”
Armed with his experience from Serve IT and the trip to Belize, Muterspaugh is looking forward to pushing the envelope of technology in the future.
“Since it is such a cutting-edge field, I want to be at the forefront of the next innovation,” he says. “I want to be the innovator once I get out of school. I don’t want to just get a job. I want to be making strides and making significant changes to how things work.”