Growing up I never lived in the same place for very long. My family and I were constantly moving because of my father's career in the Air Force. With each journey to a new Air Force base came a lot of change: a new school, different friends, a strange culture, and an unfamiliar new house. Okinawa, Japan was by far the coolest place where I lived and it's home to some of my fondest memories. It had so much to offer for such a tiny island, just over half the size of Long Island. Ancient castles, gorgeous parks and relics from World War II are scattered throughout the tropical island. Eventually, my father retired from the Air Force and we settled in Ithaca, New York.

Ithaca is home to several colleges, including Cornell, and many prominent scientists such as Bill Nye and the late Carl Sagan. I was able to attend lectures explaining the origins of the universe and even given a personal tour of Cornell's particle accelerator. It was in the 11th grade when I really decided that I wanted to pursue science. I took chemistry and found that the subject came naturally to me. The experiments and chemical reactions that I observed were always fascinating to me, especially when the outcome wasn't immediately obvious. The next year I took physics and fell in love immediately. I was finally able to use the math I had been learning throughout school to describe the physical world that surrounded me. Physics required me to think and apply myself in a way that I never had to do before.

Thinking back on it I have always been interesting in learning about the mysteries of the universe and how stuff works. I remember gazing at the stars and moon through a telescope as a child and wondering what other celestial bodies are out there waiting to be discovered. I wanted to know why the Air Force jets flying above my house would create a thunderous boom as they broke through the sound barrier. Many hours of my youth were spent watching the Discovery Channel and Science Channel programs explaining natural phenomena. I would have found it hard to believe if someone told me ten years ago that I would some day have an opportunity to add to humanitie's vast knowledge of the world we live in.

This semester I am taking my first step in doing just that through the Laser Teaching Center. I decided to look into optics research after taking PHY300 Waves and Optics with Professor Metcalf last fall. His unique teaching style and plentiful in-class demonstrations drew me to the subject. He directed me to Dr. Noé and the LTC. I hope to make the best of this opportunity and to learn valuable research skills. Fortunately I already have many of the computer skills needed to maintain my web page from my PHY277 course.