Cyber software engineering manager, Northrop Grumman Corporation
Background: I am a cyber software engineering manager working for Northrop Grumman Corporation in Northern Virginia. While working fulltime, I am also a part-time neuroscience Ph.D. student at George Mason University, having achieved candidacy and expecting to defend in 2015.
Question 1: Why did you become a researcher/engineer/scientist?
Answer: I like building things to solve problems. This is what engineers do. So it was a natural fit for me to become an engineer. My foray into scientific research came about with my continued pursuit of potential solutions to problems that required ever more advanced intellectual abilities to realize automaton. The brain is a logical place to look for good examples of automatous intelligent capability. So, I am now a Neuroscience Ph.D. candidate (i.e. an engineer studying the brain).
Question 2: What fuels your passion for your work?
Answer: Being relevant is important to me. One of the most satisfying moments in my career was learning, about a year after I had moved on to a different project, that a software system I had written was still being use heavily and had been incorporated into a standard engineering design and development process. It was very satisfying to have significantly contributed to that particular workflow. I am motivated to see the fruits of my labor be relevant.
Question 3: Tell us why you chose your particular field of study, why did it grab your interest and fuel your curiosity?
Answer: Neuroscience is the most interesting and potentially useful field of study available to me at this stage in my career. I was trained as an electrical engineer, worked most of my life as a software engineer, but desire to learn how the brain works to glean useful architectural aspects for continued advancement in problem solving.
Question 4: Tell us about a hobby or passion outside of work.
Answer: My passion outside of work is music. I have been playing bass guitar for most of my life and have recently graduated to double bass. In high school, I played trumpet in the marching band, bass guitar in the concert band, and played bass in many rock bands. I continue to jam with others as often as possible. Jazz is my favorite form of music, but I appreciate all types of music.
Question 5: If you were president for a day, what would be the first law you would want to pass?
Answer: Term limits and flat tax.
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