[Responses from November 7, 2019]
Current Job: Senior Consultant at VMware
Location: Durham, North Carolina
Are you an Alumni?: Yep!
My other favorite story is more recent, I was on the Zebracorns way back in 2004 as a student and I’ve seen the team grow over the years and every now and then it really hits home how much the team has changed. In particular, when the team traveled to Madrid, Spain last year to give a talk at ROSCon, I had one of those moments. We were in the city’s underground subway system and trying to navigate the route to our hotel from the airport and we had two existing students with us and two recently graduated students who were with us that had flown in from Boston, Ma and Dallas, TX. So there we were, in a foreign country, getting ready to have some college freshmen, a highschool senior, and a highschool junior, present to a group of 500+ roboticists from around the word and representing companies like Google, Microsoft, Amazon, Apple, Toyota, and more. To fully understand it, you’d also need to know that we submitted our talk proposal to ROSCon and didn’t have high hopes of getting accepted as there are a lot more talks that get rejected than accepted.
To apply to a school I had never heard about. Literally changed my life completely. As a sophomore in high school at SSS (Smithfield Selma Senior High) in Johnson County, NC; while sitting in a Journalism class one day, this wonderful woman named Letita Mason came to talk to us about a residential boarding school in Durham NC that I had never heard of before.
The school is known as the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics (http://NCSSM.edu). It was founded in 1980 with the mission to bring better STEM education to the state and help keep some of those bright minds in the state and improve education for everyone. Not just education but also foster a sense of civic duty, of volunteerism, of giving back…gee, this sounds familiar. NCSSM was created almost a decade before FIRST was founded which is pretty mind blowing whenever I stop to think about it. It’s touched the lives of many and continues to be held us as the gold standard to secondary STEM schools as a founding member of the NCSS consortium. There are a lot of other schools like it now in a lot of different states.