Summer Full of Awesome

Wow, the last time I wrote a serious blog post, it was May! I’ve been needing to write one for a while, just to note all the fun things I’ve been doing. Here, then, is the summary:

  • I graduated from Hopkins! At long last, I’m out of there– two degrees down, time to leave. The next day, my sister, Shannon, got her BS in Biomedical Engineering.

  • I moved to Ballston, which is a heck of a positive change from living in Baltimore. Seriously. Not only can I walk around at night without fear of getting mugged, shot, or arrested by the unbelievably corrupt HopCops, but it’s really pretty, the air is cleaner, and I have an apartment whose walls aren’t slowly falling down. (And I have carpet!) I also acquired new license plates.

  • We brought Shannon to Duke in May, as that’s where she’ll be spending the next eight years, getting her MD and PhD in Biomedical Engineering. At the end of the summer, Quinlan (my brother) and I drove back down to see her get her white coat, which signifies her status as a medical student. Her boyfriend, Tanmay, got his as well, and they even had a reception afterwards.

  • Quinlan spent the summer freeloading in my apartment, working for the Truman National Security Project, which he very much enjoyed. Now he’s up doing whatever it is those Ivy League boys do in school. (Network, as far as I can tell.)

  • I went to my father’s family reunion in Kentucky. Let me tell you– things are strange in Kentucky. On the other hand, I got to see my godson, as well as watch Shannon (and her cousin) kicking the crap out of my father (and his cousin) in a naval battle (watch ‘til the end, it’s worth it).

  • I got to go back to my high school for– this is a bit frightening– my five-year reunion. Yes, it has been that long. At the UWC, reunions are done in tandem with all the groups at five-year intervals, so the 10-year, 15-year, 20, and 25-year graduates were all there with us. Much hilarity ensued, including the epic Blue Moon Cafe. Only one of my classmates came, but it was still a great time– and for me, a real opportunity to revitalize, after the five years of soul-sucking that was my Hopkins experience (my research aside, of course). It was really wonderful to be back. I even got to see my awesome World Religions teacher, Lawrence Chitta Tharp, who now runs a pretty great NGO which educates women around the world. Not only do they have no overhead, they have a ridiculously high impact level for every dollar they give out; in his words, “not every NGO is run by an economist!” (His graduate work was at LSE, making him insanely overqualified, in addition to being awesome.)

  • Along with my advisor, I submitted a paper on Mnikr to the Digital Identity Workshop at the ACM CCS conference in Chicago, IL, which was accepted; we’ll be flying to Chicago to present at the conference in November! We’ll be the first presentation, as it turns out. Slides will be posted here, no doubt, along with the final version of the paper.

  • Finally, I started my new job, at SET Corporation, which is best explained as a DARPA contractor; we do work for many different groups, but it’s all federal, and all high-risk research (where we don’t know if the task is possible, but if it is, we’ll get it done). The company is incredible; in addition to giving me items of shiny, they also gave me a hilarious title, and more sedate business cards. They’re even willing to tolerate my needing more and more computing power, including when I max out my desk’s capacity for monitors.

So, life is good. More blog posts will be forthcoming, especially as people have been nagging me to continue my series on social networks.