To give a brief bio of myself, I was born in Rochester, New York and shortly thereafter moved to the small village (yes, not even a town) of Wheeler in the Finger Lakes region of NY state, otherwise known as the middle of nowhere. It was this area of rural NY that cultivated my intrigue into the realm of Astronomy & Astrophysics.
After graduating from high school in 2001 with about 50 other classmates (yes, it was a public school), I enrolled in the University of Rochester. Initially a computer science major, I decided that spending the rest of my life sitting in front of computer, programming, and developing myopia and an addiction to caffeine wasn't the life for me. So instead, I opted to major in Physics and Astronomy where, as it happens, exactly the same thing happened. The difference being, however, that I'm now focusing those skills into a specific field of study that I enjoy. Also, have I mentioned there are a lot of pretty pictures?
Currently, I attend the University of Virginia in gorgeous Charlottesville, VA studying as a 6th-year astronomy graduate student. During the first couple of years as a grad student, most of my time was spent completing homework assignments or studying for our rather intensive course load, as well as TAing and running telescope/observing labs for the undergraduate Astronomy classes. Unfortunately, this left very little time for the real reason most people pursue this field: research. But, then again, that's why we have fully-funded summers.
However, since I managed to pass the dreaded qualifying exam during my 2nd year and complete all of my coursework, there's plenty of time for research (or so I was led to believe...) and even some not-so-well-documented fun in between. In fact, there are plenty of social events (even fancy, department-sponsored ones) for us grad students so we don't completely lose our sanity.
Currently, I'm in the midst of finishing
up my dissertation, which involves long hours in the office attempting
to accomplish a multitude of tasks including fellowship/job applications,
finishing up my research projects, writing papers, and trying to deal with
the day-to-day necessities of being a functioning human being (such as
eating and sleeping... always getting in the way).
Shake off all the fears of servile
prejudices, under which weak minds are servilely crouched. Fix
reason firmly in her seat, and call on her tribunal for every fact,
every opinion. Question with boldness even the existence of a God;
because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of
reason than that of blindfolded fear.