In January 2008 I left the PhD program at the Robotics Institute at CMU: I loved the research, but couldn't stand being a graduate student. I started working as a research programmer for an enormous research project spanning 6+ different departments (ISR, RI, LTI, HCII, Design, ML, ICES, ??...), doing user-oriented design, drawing pictures, playing with Hypercard and Flash, being a spare developer, and basically doing all the things that made me think I wanted to go to grad school in the first place, and getting paid twice as much to do it, and not having to pass classes, either. Hooray! After that project lost funding, I switched to a group in Machine Learning, and now I do a similar thing (plus a bunch more researchy stuff) for search engines, knowledge bases, and information extraction on the web. I started classes for an HCI masters in fall 2010 and expect to graduate in 2014 or 2015.
In May 2006 I graduated from Olin College, an entrepreneurial engineering school in the middle of nowhere in Massachusetts. It was an experience that's been likened to building an airplane while flying it -- and having built freeflight model airplanes in high school, I know how silly, and how accurate, that description is. Engineer. Mac enthusiast. Realistic, idealistic. Half Canadian; I occasionally do have the accent. I write code; I am female; therefore I am typically outnumbered. Which is sad -- I'm interested in encouraging young women to get into ece and engineering and computing, to help fix this. Couples dancing makes me happy, so I do a lot of it, especially swing. I like bending my mind in weird directions, for instance, I missed the second half of my first calc lecture because my brain had wandered into inventing 4D integrals. Not just math though; I also like trying to explain concepts in unusual ideaspaces. You can use this to help teach people, which is really cool. I like analogies and metaphor, and good writing, and good design. Music is really important to me: I listen to a lot of different types, including the standby counterexamples like rap, country, and opera; I also sing and play piano when I get the chance.
I'm originally from the Seattle area, but I've gotten to like the east coast and hope to stick around for a while. I used to miss the Seattle summer music festivals most, but have slowly been discovering the hippie scenes in Boston(you'd think there it'd be easy to find...) and Pittsburgh. I still miss cedars and fir trees, and the uniquely interminable Seattle rain (although thunderstorms are a nice trade). But not the public transportation system. The T rocks. And Pgh understands buses. Sorry Seattle.