My Story, So Far

This is a bit more information than I want on my About Me page, and perhaps more than anyone wants to know, but I figure it’s a good way to start my blog off. If nothing else, it should give me some momentum to keep writing!

I actually wanted to be a writer for most of my early life, spurred on by winning some minor school awards. Then in sophomore year of high school, I read A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking—because I wanted people to think I was smart. The joke was on me, because I fell in love with physics and pivoted my life goals. When a schedule conflict kept me from taking AP physics senior year, I spent my free period each day studying the textbook, and ended up acing the AP test.

As an undergrad at University of Oregon, I suffered some minor health problems of indiscernible cause, but generally managed to put a fair amount of energy into my life. I spent my time studying, volunteering with Alpha Phi Omega, and participating in some amazing physics research. In Dr. Dean Livelybrook’s geophysics group, I assisted in the development of a magnetotelluric model of the earth below the Cascadia region, and helped bring education about earthquakes to local schools as well as ones in Thailand.

I also joined Dr. Eric Torrence’s experimental particle physics group in senior year, and wrote code to help detect product particles in collisions at CERN. Unfortunately, a viral infection (later shown to be Epstein-Barr, the cause of mono) caused me to fall ill enough that I left both of my research groups and focused on graduating. With plenty of rest over the summer of 2017, I started to feel much better, and left my home state in the fall to pursue a doctorate at Cornell University.

My time at Cornell was overwhelmingly positive. I spent my first term making friends and working as an assistant for an introductory physics course. My second term, I was lucky enough to work with Dr. Matthias Liepe’s accelerator physics group, where I began designing a lab-made cryocooler unit. Unfortunately, my health took another downturn. I went on health leave with the hope of coming back soon.

It eventually became clear that resolving my health issues was not going to be cut-and-dry. During the quiet months between inconclusive specialist visits and negative tests, I feverishly took down symptom data, and compared my findings with any information I could find online—from medical papers to personal anecdotes. After almost two years of unexplained symptoms, we settled on a diagnosis, and it was one that sadly guaranteed chronic health problems.

Since then, I’ve focused on reducing my symptoms as much as possible. After about a year and a half, I’m lucky enough to have made it to a spot where I can work on other things. Though with the effort and resources put into symptom management, and the effects of the ongoing pandemic, I’ve decided against returning to higher education any time soon. Currently, I’m exploring the world of data science, learning more about tech, and figuring out how I can best contribute to the rest of the world.

Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoy your time on my blog!

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