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Intellectual Fulfillment


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									Intellectual Fulfillment

My grandfather is an inventor; he the family fortune a great deal with his simple but
revolutionary high-power switch design. My father works with artificial intelligence; he
has been at the forefront of his field for years and is currently heading a lab that is
working with Bayesian learning.

        Ever since I was a young boy, I’ve had a keen interest in engineering. I
remember telling all of my friends in kindergarten that I was going to be an architect; I
knew how to handle the oversized building blocks and I let them know it. I’d been playing
with blocks since pre-school making ships and guns and things that could be either one
if you held them differently (and liberally used your imagination) since well before I could
remember. As time went on, the Duplo sets were traded for Lego sets and k’Nex and
eventually Lego Mindstorms. These sets were easily my favorites. I would always build
the suggested designs the day my parents brought a new set home. Soon after having
built one robotic contraption or another I’d get bored and do what I loved best: toss it in
with the rest of the parts and build myself something new, something without instructions
or pictures. I was a builder and I always wanted to be one.

I was born in Saddle River (NJ) and have lived there all of my life. My parents met while
at Princeton. My mother was an undergraduate economics major while my father worked
on his doctorate in computer science. My grandfather envisioned me as a scientist
following our family tradition since before I was born; probably even since before I was
conceived. He knew that I would be going to Princeton for college. I guess I wasn’t
completely what was expected.

I never really found school to be very interesting until high school. Before that point, all of
the science and math were things I’d already seen; occasionally they’d explain
something that made a science set I’d worked with more clear. My grades were perfect;
that’s what my parents expected of me and it was made very clear that any less was
unacceptable. I had no good reason to get worse grades and too many privileges were
riding on my grades to risk any trouble. In return for good grades I was allowed to get
programming lessons from an older kid who lived nearby. My grandfather had bought
me a computer for my 10th birthday and has bought me one every other year since. He
tells me that, as long as I put it to good use, I shouldn’t worry about the cost.

When I went to enter high school I found myself making a hard choice. All of my friends
were going to go to Saddle River High, but I wanted to go to the Bergen Math and
Science Academy. The Academy had science equipment that I’d only read about or
seen in pictures; it was incredibly alluring. At the same time, I’d have to wake up much
earlier if I was to go to the Academy and none of my friends would go to the same
school as me. To top it off, I’d also be getting home later and I’d have more work to do.
After agonizing over this choice, I eventually chose to go to the Academy; I’m convinced
that choosing to go there is the reason I was later able to choose to go to Olin. I did
work, got good grades, did extracurricular activities and generally had a great college
application ready to go by the time it became relevant.

I have always liked building. I like the act of creating something that is far, far greater
than the sum of its parts. Olin represented an incredible opportunity to me. At Olin I
could build my college years themselves. I am not passive; I am an aggressive builder. I
have clear goals from which I don’t plan to stray. I will learn how to be an engineer; I will
learn how to build more complex things than I have ever seen. Olin is a fantastic school
for me because it also has the entrepreneurial slant on engineering; I plan on starting my
won business when I graduate. Once it stabilizes, I will go to Princeton for my doctorate
in order to fulfill my deal with my grandfather: I go to Princeton (and act polite around his
friends’ children) and he pays for all my education.

Olin is a great place to pass through on my way to greatness.

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