My First Official Talk as a Graduate Sudent

Now that I’m a big bad PhD candidate, I was asked to give a talk back at my old college, Hope College, to talk about my experience in graduate school.

The talk has been uploaded to Vimeo.  The link to it will be below.  You should watch it if you think you might want to go into a graduate school for research, especially if you are in the computer or or electrical sciences. Hope you enjoy it!



A Semester of New Experiences!


Yeah, it's  pretty much always cloudy here...

Yeah, it’s pretty much always cloudy here…

And in a flash, my first semester of graduate school and Notre Dame is over! Christmas has come and gone, and we sit and wait with anxiety for the new year to start, along with all the research, classes, and work it brings with it.

But in the meanwhile, lets dwell on the past instead of the future.  What a great year filled with new experiences!  Football games, graduate parties, apartment living, researching, TAing, paper writing – all these things are relatively new to me! I’ve been lucky to meet a great group of friends who have helped me greatly through the learning curve I’ve had to overcome.

Heading to the Big Ol’ Lake Michigan in my party wagon, the 1990 Lexus LS400

I came to Notre Dame with a bachelor’s in Electrical Engineering, so naturally I had a bit of catching up to do in the Computer Science Department.  I ended up taking a single graduate class and two undergraduate classes to try and make up some lost ground in the CSE field.  There were some concepts and practices that were completely new to me, but thankfully I had a great set of friends who helped me through it.

Gotta find something to do that doesn't involve computers!

Gotta find something to do that doesn’t involve computers!

Additionally, I was a TA for a class I had never taken before, Human Computer Interaction.  While the material was very interesting and the class was a lot of fun, it was very challenging to stay ahead of the class in learning the concepts and terminologies enough to grade papers, quizzes, and tests. If there is anything that makes you feel like an adult, it is being in charge of grading and preparing course material for a bunch of students near or at your own age. Talk about stressful. But that’s ok, I’ve found some great outlets for creativity! I’ve joined the campus climbing club, and am even a part of our school’s improv team, The Humor Artists!

Why yes, that center monitor is a 30 inch cinema display! I think I need more screen real-estate.

Why yes, that center monitor is a 30 inch cinema display! I think I need more screen real-estate.

I was fortunate to land a spot in Notre Dame’s Computer Vision Research Lab researching Soft Biometrics and Re-Identification for the the DHS.  I make sure I point that last part out everyone I know, because it makes me sound cool. Lets hope stuff doesn’t turn out like the terminator movies.


I’m totally turning into one of those computer guys you see in like the Die Hard movies or whatever


After all these great experiences, I think I’m ready to start another semester of it all.  LETS DO IT!