I grew up in rural western Maine, among the Appalachian Mountains. My father was a Game Warden and my mother was a Phlebotomist. There was a falling-down barn to play in, a pond, a brook, and lots and lots of trees. Life was good.
We got our first computer when I was 12, and I started writing my first programs at 15. My first "programs" were diversions on a graphing calculator, but I soon started writing HTML, animating with Adobe Flash, and creating 3D worlds with VRML.
I still hadn't heard of computer science, so I went to college to study mechanical engineering. I loved learning about how things were made. It was fascinating to me, and I found the engineering approach to problem-solving to be enlightening. I was a scientist and an engineer, I could make anything.
Eventually I started to wonder: "why?". And so continued my journey. For I was convinced that without the "why", the "how" wouldn't matter. I started to study the arts, and gain an understanding of the aesthetic experience. People are at the center of all we do. It's very important to understand people, and how they work. To make things easy, I studied visual perception. But a lot of the lessons learned are applicable to other experiential mediums.
Life as an art grad was hard, especially post-recession. I had an OK job with a startup, but I craved more. I rented a studio and developed a new process to apply older woodworking techniques to new materials and skateboard construction. I was able to find a factory to work with, and started producing and selling skateboards. This was fun, but not super profitable. I opted to go back to school, to finish my mechanical engineering degree.
Being back in engineering was fun, if a little dry. I enjoyed my classes and learning the material. But once the semester broke for summer, I got a pretty good gig as a painting contractor, and knew I wouldn't be going back. By the end of the next winter, I was making skateboards again.
This time I tried to scrounge up some extra money to float the venture, and was awarded a grant from the Maine Arts Commission to make a website. This was a good excuse to get back into web development. And it snowballed into computer science.
I've been studying computer science and programming online since 2013, entered into Tufts' Post-Baccalaureate program in 2016, and this fall will start in the Master's program. I work on programs nearly every day in my current job, and apply the principles of information theory to so many other facets of my life. I am so grateful to have discovered computer science, and to have had available to me the means to seriously study it, and now apply it.