Husband and Cool Dad. Software Architect, Developer, Engineer. If you can explain it, it can be built!
Between the age of 11 and 12 years old, I was introduced to my first computer. Little did I know how much this device would shape my future in the years to come! (Many thanks to my family!)
I was always very curious, and it wasn’t long before I was running phone cords across the house to connect to the fax line in my parents office so I could hop on AOL and browse the world of interconnected machines everyone was calling the “world wide web”. Back then “www” was just a little snippet in the corner of a few TV commercials here and there.
After a short time online, I familiarized myself with basic HTML, initially in efforts to simply customize my AOL profile page. I then took it one step further and began to create websites on free angelfire pages, devoted to games that I loved to play.
Then I began to wonder.. what is behind the screen? The program? The game? How does this thing work? So between 13 and 14 years old, I started to utilize this awesome new search engine I heard about in a chat room (people laughed when I said the word Google), and I began learning C++ (“hello world!”) and experimented with computer hardware and networking fundamentals (“telnet!”).
High school years flew by (they really did, I ran track). I was a good JROTC cadet, grades were great and I started some college classes at 16 (no AP program in your town?! go to college!). Aside from some life changing experiences that occurred, everything was all set! I had decided early on MIT was going to be the next place for me.
However, it seemed MIT was not the place for me! There were a lot of great schools to choose from, MIT, Carnegie Mellon, Berkeley, RIT.. On one hot Florida afternoon after a few of my friends went to war I even considered going into Military Intelligence (Army)! (they started stalking me after I took the ASVAB :X) Ultimately, I decided to stay in Florida where all my family was (not to mention it was insanely cheaper) and figured I would go out of state for my Masters.
FIT here I come!
For the record, this was an amazing school. I joined Chi Phi fraternity, met some great people and made some good memories. Like High School, it went by fast! (tried cross country, um, not so much) Coming into college I hoped to eventually go into neuroscience and work in the field of brain machine interfaces (someone at FIT probably laughed when they read that on my application). Once I began my studies this changed to artificial intelligence, automation and robotics (robots are much cooler than brainwaves).
These intensive studies did not last, as I realized quickly that if I tried to achieve my goals too independently without significant support or funding it would likely require my lifetime of research that a subsequent grad student would then continue and run with who would then be forgotten until some other random person picked up the work and then 200 years later would turn to fruition after some scholastic panel decides that crazy theory was not so crazy after all (the Earth spins around the sun ??!! :O Sorry Galileo).
So I did what I needed to do and set out into the world. I’ll admit it hasn’t been all gravy, but I’m living proof that determination and fortitude are formidable skills in this world that can really get you places.
With the support of my family and team members on various projects, we have accomplished much in the last 7 years. Even with the uncertainties and variances I have faced, I am always confident of the future. I don’t often quote others, but I have a poster that hangs behind my desk that I see when I come to sit in my office every morning, and even though I am sure the message sits on many walls that disregard it without much thought, I consider it and respect it each day. It shows an image of a road which winds through a tree dotted hilltop into distant mountains with overcast clouds and a flash of lightning in the sky, it reads:
“The best way to predict your future is to create it.” – Abe