About PISG :
The Public Informatics Student Group (PISG), was founded to support a deeper understanding of the theory and practice of topics that bridge the gaps between information technology and public service. Founded in 2019, the organization is open to Rutgers students who share an interest in discovering how governments, education, healthcare, and social services are learning to be more agile in the age of Big Data, Artificial Intelligence, and the Internet of Things.
The concept of informatics was discussed as early as 1967, with its first mention in the United States occurring around 1972. However, it was in the medical and public health fields of the 1980s that informatics entered the wider American lexicon as researchers generated increasingly larger data sets from their studies. Tech culture writer Howard Rheingold may have been the first person to use the term “Urban Informatics” in 2003 in his blog The Feature. Wider adoption of the term appears to have happened slowly, appearing to have gained traction around 2010 in the fields of public policy, administration and planning. A short time later in 2013, Anthony Townsend, a graduate of the Bloustein School, published Smart Cities: Big Data, Civic Hackers, and the Quest for a New Utopia. Chronicling the trends of “Smart Cities” from Songdo to New York City, his book is required reading for any student interested in the future of technology in the urban setting.
In 2019 the Bloustein School announced that it would begin a Masters of Public Informatics degree program. The program will provide professional student cohorts proficiency in statistics, programming, data management, data analytics, visualization, spatial analysis, as well as theory necessary to apply these skills in the real world. Graduates of the program will bring a critical voice and a deep understanding of context to an emerging field.
Supporting this cohort’s interest in the theory and application of public informatics is the Public Informatics Student Group, created by students at the Bloustein School. More than just a student interest group, this organization looks to be a catalyst for student leadership and engagement on par with that of similar organizations at other world-class universities. As an interdisciplinary organization, the Public Informatics Student Group welcomes students from School of Communication and Information, Graduate School of Education, School of Engineering, School of Management and Labor Relations, School of Social Work, School of Public Health, and others in order to leverage the unique experiences necessary to understand and shape the future of information technology in the public sector.