My family places strong value on learning, kindness, and integrity. My dad spent much of my childhood as a systems engineer at Microsoft, and my mom, as a minister of Jehovah’s Witnesses.1 Passing their values on, my siblings and I enjoyed regular visits to the library, lively conversations about science and engineering, and hours of creative play and programming with LEGO Mindstorm robots.

I was the school nerd: making toy VB6 programs in 5th grade, spending free time in middle school designing CNC’s, robots, and other machines, and studying Calculus III during 9th grade Spanish class. To pass the time in Algebra II, I wrote a 3D rocket trajectory simulator on the school’s TI-84 calculator. While many of the seniors huddled over their calculators computing chemistry lab analyses by hand, I was the junior passing out CD’s containing my ‘Lab-a-tron’ homework helper. Although not on the normal degree plan, my school paid the community college for me to take several advanced math classes (Calculus I, II, III, and Ordinary Differential Equations) in my senior year, during which time I also organised a 43-person lab group spanning three sections of dual credit biology.

Outside school, I spent time fueling my passion for science and engineering with hours of reading, experiments, designing, and making. At various times, water electrolysis units, robotic arms, and tests tubes of fungus littered our room. After seeing the Makerbot Thing-O-Matic 3D printer at the age of 12, I fell in love with engineering and would often spend after-hours in the garage making sparks fly. Two years later, I (finally) discovered the programming world outside Microsoft, which in my case, started with web 1.0 programming and later included Python. After graduating, I got active in a full time ministry while working part time. Later that year, I stumbled across arxiv.org, started reading the papers, and fell into the `let’s create AI’ black hole. I’m still there, and if I get to meet you, I hope to pull you in!

1. They’re still in related areas.