I was born in Columbus, Ohio, the second of two boys in a middle-class household. The Midwest defined my personality; my family defined my spirit. My mother, a nurse, and my dad, a mechanical engineer, served as guiding lights on how to behave and what to expect out of the world. I mimicked my thoughts and interests after my brother well into my teenage years: his favorite movies, music, and hobbies became my favorite movies, music, and hobbies.
My parents provided my brother and me with the means to express ourselves and the tools necessary to build lives as independently as we chose. Video games and computer equipment were popular gifts for birthdays and Christmas, our family’s winter holiday of choice. I have a romantic memory of my brother receiving a printer in the mid-90s to use with our family shared PC. We were obsessed with our newfound ability to craft documents on the digital screen to then produce a unique tangible object that didn’t exist before. What was at first a simple gift to escape our mundane school lives became an instrument to explore what would become a necessary component of my educational and professional career.
My parent’s rehearsal of introducing technology into our home and everyday lives had a profound effect on my development as a designer, engineer, and person. My parents were among the first in the neighborhood to get Internet in our house, back in 1992. I was five then; I was fortunate enough to grow up with that utility. The development didn’t end at home: My elementary and middle schools featured computer skills as a core component of the curriculum. I logged countless hours on the classroom’s Apple II, playing Number Munchers with other students competing for that week’s high score.
I adopted the role of computer nerd of my family and friends early on. I held on dear to its niche quirkiness and unique comfort.