It seems rather fitting to christen the redesign of my personal website with a look back at the last seven years of my life. Truthfully, there has been a lot happening that has caused me to be reflective. Anytime you start polishing up your resu… er… curriculum vitae and start looking back at what you have done with your life for the last decade, you are probably going to start getting a little reflective, but even then things don’t necessarily seem real.
Taking action, however, makes things real, and the potential for future change became real today. As of December 1, I am officially an applicant to Ph.D. level programs in Information Science at the University of Washington (Seattle), University of Michigan (Ann Arbor), and Cornell University.
I honestly never thought I would be applying to a Ph.D. program. More honesty, I never thought I’d pursue a Masters. When I finished my B.S. in Computer Science at Tech, I was burned out. It took me seven years of back-and-forth between Computer Science and Electrical Engineering to finish a degree, and I was tired. I swore I was finished with school, and I went off to find a job. I guess fate took over.
I left the College of Engineering and Science and moved just across campus to the College of Education. When I started work here, it was a pretty technically abysmal place. Our computer labs were mostly old and broken (the Mac lab was new, but still broken). The majority of classrooms in Woodard Hall were pretty much the same in 2007 as they were when I started school in 1999, with no technology of any kind. Even our website was a wreck.
Since 2007, a lot has changed at Louisiana Tech. Some buildings have gone, and other new ones have been built. As a campus, we have a renovated recreation center, the beginnings of a research park, and we have grown in enrollment by about 1,000 students. All this, despite State administration that has consistently cut higher education expenditures to below… pretty much below everyone.
In the College of Education, we have made tremendous strides. We have almost completely eliminated our circa-1960’s seating. Rather than classrooms with worn out chalkboards and projectors on rolling carts, we have classrooms with built-in technology. Our website, is lightyears ahead of where it was when I started. We have not only caught up technologically with other Colleges on campus and the schools in which we are supposed to be preparing educators to teach, but we are also beginning to lead and innovate on campus through the build out of a student collaboration and study center and through the build out of additional cyberinfrastructure.
Louisiana Tech University has made great progress over the last seven years, and I’m proud to have contributed to the growth and progress. I think, as much as I have contributed to the University, the University has contributed just as much to me. Had it not been for the work experience I have had at Louisiana Tech, I would likely have not built the resolve to attempt my Master’s degree, and I certainly wouldn’t have had the inclination to pursue a Doctorate.
I will always have blood and sweat (and I mean that as literally as I can) invested in this University. No matter where I go from here, this will always be home. Alas, sometimes, we have to leave home to continue our growth. I’m going to miss Tech, but I’m also prepared for a new chapter of life.
Featured photo: Louisiana Tech Band of Pride Drum Corps, own work.