I grew up in northwestern Pennsylvania. After high school, I attended college where I majored in English literature and learned to ingest substances that altered my reality.
I finally found my drug of choice - the ultimate mind and mood altering substance - alcohol.
This and a combination of other factors led me to leave school after two years in search
of high adventure. My quest took me to Martha's Vineyard
working in a campground and living next to James Taylor,
driving an ice cream truck and learning that
rich people don't buy from ice cream trucks, shoveling meat, blood, sawdust and debris into a grinder to make 'beef' patties in a meat-packing plant (briefly), managing a gas station,
and continuing through mind-numbing factory work
where I often ended up drinking as much as I served.
My mis-adventures led me to a last-gasp grasp at maintaining some kind of normal life by joining the US Navy
a move that was so illogical at the time that I still am amazed that it saved my life.
I became an Operations Specialist
doing duty on a
Forrest Sherman class destroyer
sailing out of Mayport Naval Station
More importantly for me, my life changed dramatically in the Navy due to the support and help of many, many people including a group of
kind and honest folks
who helped straighten me out.
Some helped me with a hug and some with a kick in the ass; both were essential.
After I left the Navy, the ship that was my home for four years was decommissioned and later sunk by a Mark 48 ADCAP torpedo in a training exercise in 1988.
There's some kind of symbolism wrapped up in that, but I still haven't worked it all out yet.
I left the Navy with my thirst for travel and excitement quenched and returned to school where I completed a BS in Computer Science.
After graduation, I worked in the computer industry for many years in the Washington, DC area.
My work experience was primarily with
(now Grumman) where we researched
and built large systems for various unnamed Government Agencies
While working, I continued my education at Virginia Tech
where I received a Master of Science in Computer Science. I began teaching in Virginia at
Northern Virginia Community College
where I taught introductory Computer Science part time in the evenings.
I have taught Computer Science full time since coming to
I have had the opportunity to teach seventeen different courses,
five of which I developed and all
of which have changed dramatically in my time here.
I have been pursuing my PhD in Information
at the University of Pittsburgh
for a number of years. I am "ABD", but no longer actively pursuing the degree. Life has intervened.
I still think about finishing the dissertation before I die, but I'm exploring the possibility of a posthumous award.
At this point the software that I wrote is terribly outdated
My area of research
has been the visualization of software source code. The visualization process
should promote a quicker and more complete understanding of the code and its structure which will lead to
faster and more precise location of errors when modifying existing software systems.