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Will Hartzell-Baird, Computer Science, Alumni

Computer science degree sets stage for career in patent law

Will Hartzell-Baird | 2008 Alumnus, B.S. Computer & Information Science (Pre-Law), IU School of Law | Department of Computer & Information Science One day, a designer of computer games; the next, a student of law.

It may not have happened that quickly, but Will Hartzell-Baird’s leap from computer science to law illustrates how science can serve as a foundation for many careers. In Hartzell-Baird’s case, he plans to turn his passion for computer science into a career in patent law.

During his years at the School of Science, Hartzell-Baird planned for a future in software engineering – spending half his senior year developing a real-time strategic computer game. Conversations with his mother and sister, both of whom graduated from the IU School of Law, convinced Hartzell-Baird that he could combine his science degree with law.

“I never intended to go to law school,” says Hartzell-Baird, a recipient of IUPUI’s prestigious Bepko Scholars and Fellows Award. “My mother and sister told me about patent law because they thought I would enjoy it.”

Hartzell-Baird enrolled in the IU School of Law after graduating from IUPUI in May 2008. After years of studying the “firm and fixed” laws of science, Hartzell-Baird says it’s been challenging adjusting to the “fuzzy and flexible” characteristics of law. He is enjoying the transition, however, and hopes to practice intellectual property law at a firm, or pursue a position in cyber law with the government.

A native of Indianapolis and graduate of Warren Central High School, Hartzell-Baird left his mark on the School of Science. He served on the student council and was elected School of Science senator for the campus’s student government organization. An active member of the Computer Science Club, Hartzell-Baird helped develop and execute the inaugural IUPUI High School Programming Contest – a day-long software programming competition attracting dozens of high school students.

Headed toward a graduate degree in law, Hartzell-Baird intends to stay connected to the computer science field. And, as for his original plan to become a software engineer, Hartzell-Baird admits, “I still haven’t ruled that out completely.”