Computer Science, Psychology
I have always been intrigued by technology which led me into computer science. While I had used computers for many years before, I was ten when I typed my first line of BASIC code. Since that day early in the fourth grade, I have learned a variety of languages suited to the many tasks programmers face. More importantly, however, is the fact that I did this without any supervision as my school district did not offer any programming classes at any point during my primary school career. This really defines my drive to go out into the world and forge my own path to new knowledge.
Coming to Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute was a breath of fresh air from public education. I was free to explore without any restrictions and I quickly chose a dual major in Computer Science and Psychology. My first semester, I joined the CogWorks Laboratories and began the start of my collegiate research career. I worked along undergraduates, graduates, and professors performing experiments studying human cognition and examining cognitive models. This early exposure to research was a driving factor in my application and acceptance into the Accelerated B.S./Ph.D. Program at RPI.
There were a number of additional things which led me to join the Accelerated B.S./Ph.D. Program. The lure of completing two degrees in such a short time frame was a major component in my decision. I am always looking to push myself harder in order to test the limit of my mental abilities and the accelerated program sounded like a perfect fit for someone ambitious as myself. Also, working with my advisor, Jim Hendler, has opened up a lot of opportunities to communicate with some of the most important people in the field of Web Science.
For my Ph.D., I will be working with Jim Hendler, chair of the Tetherless World Constellation at RPI. The Tetherless World is focused on studying and developing the evolving technologies of the World Wide Web. In particular, we work with tools which drive the Semantic Web (Web 3.0). My early research focused more on usability of Semantic Web tools due to my cognitive research background. Currently I work more on developing extensions to MediaWiki to support the new structure of the Semantic Web.