Monday, June 4, 2007

A New Game Of Tag

My friend Amy got me involved in a high tech game of tag where it is now my duty to give eight factoids of interest that you may or may not already know. Limiting this to eight might be a challenge...

1. After my freshman year in college, I spent eight weeks working at Camp Discovery Space Camp at Northwestern State University. Each week on Sunday afternoon, a new group of kids came in and spent the week through Thursday evening when we had "graduation". The Director, Mike Hawkins, started his address to the parents and family with the same phrase, "We are officially tired." This has since evolved into a much larger program.

2. Staying with this theme, after my first senior year in college, I spent a total of five weeks (one three week and one two week session) as a resident adviser for the Investigation of Talented Students at the University of North Texas. This was what you would call a different kind of summer camp. Highly intelligent and motivated middle school and high school students came for either a two or three week intensive match course that would advance them one year in their math studies. I can't imagine taking Algebra II in a three week period as a high school student, but there were about 40-50 students at each session. I was the RA for the Precalculus students, and it was one of the best experiences that I had up to that point. For five weeks being a math major made me a hero. This program has also progressed to a new form in the last eleven years.

3. As the previous two items imply, I split my undergraduate work between two universities. I also changed majors from physics to math during my five year journey. Unfortunately, I didn't decide to make the change until I had already invested enough hours in physics that I had to make it my minor. While graduating was a huge cause for celebration, there are few times that I've been as relieved as I was when I finished that last physics class - Statistical and Thermal Physics. Yuck!

4. When I started my career search during my fifth year of college, I only interviewed with three companies. I had what was probably the worst interview in the history of IBM. To say that I was ill-prepared would be an understatement. I tried to sell myself on problem solving abilities and good smile. It didn't work out.

5. My second interview was with Usability Sciences Corporation in Irving. I thought I had this one in the bag, and they even called me out for a second interview. The only problem was the "Dear John" letter that I got in the mail about a week later.

6. I guess you've figured out that the third interview went better than the other two. Raytheon was actually looking for math and physics majors to work on their high performance algorithm software. It's really nothing other than the providence of God that got me this job, truth be told. I can remember being in my apartment and getting a call from their recruiter after submitting my resume. I'm not sure if it was the way that she described it to me, but it just didn't really sound all that interesting to me. She offered (thankfully) to have the Director of my future department call me and give me a sales pitch. After talking to him, I decided to go in for an interview. I interviewed with three different groups, and I actually got offers from two of them. Most of you know that I joined the Software Algorithms Group, and that launched my career in the world of Information Technology.

7. I almost moved to Southern California toward the end of my time with Raytheon. I had been traveling to the Los Angeles Area to work on a project with one of our sister sites in El Segundo. My first trip out there was at the end of July. My boss had commandeered a convertible for our rental car, and it was great riding on the Pacific Coast Highway at 8 p.m. with temperatures in the mid 80s. I can remember my boss saying, "It's 10 p.m. in Dallas, and it's still 100 degrees!" Then he burst into an evil laughter that those of you that know him are too familiar with. Luckily, the cost of living difference was a deal breaker because...

8. Toward the very end of my time at Raytheon, I met my future wife, Christy. What you may or may not know is that we met through an online Christian singles web site. While bored at my apartment one night, I created a profile on this site on a whim. A couple of months had gone by, and I had forgotten about it. Then one day, I was checking my e-mail (in El Segundo) before my boss and I were going to dinner, and I noticed that I had a reply to my profile that I had posted. Pressed for time, I didn't respond right then, but I did so after getting back into town. However, the web site was not the best, and it took me three tries to get it to allow me to respond to Christy's inquiry. The third time's a charm, right? And the rest, as they say, is history.

Since I got tagged by one of the two other bloggers that I know, that leaves Mark as my one and only lucky victim.

Until next time...
PH

1 comment:

Vicki Gupton said...

Wow, I really enjoy reading your blog when I have some time here at the library. It's almost like having you here for a visit. Mom.