This has been an amazing semester. I have enjoyed my selection of classes, worked on some amazing projects, and had a wonderful time doing it all. A few months ago, I never thought I would make the following statement: I am going to miss this place. I will miss the great residents of Sidney Pacific and my fellow officers in the house government. I will miss chatting with the 50+ people associated with D-Lab. I will miss simply being surrounded by such a great group of faculty, staff, and students that comprise the MIT population. Of course, I will still be in the area, so I can always visit; but, it just won’t be the same. By the way, I will be in the area, because in August 2009 I will start work as a full-time employee of VistaPrint in Lexington, Massachusetts. I would have loved to return to my home in Dallas, but the opportunities offered by VistaPrint were too good to pass up. Between now and August, my schedule looks something like this:

  • December 18 – January 2: Home for the Holidays
  • January 2 – 5: Back in Boston to Prep for Ghana
  • January 5 – 28: D-Lab Trip to Ghana
  • January 28 – February 1: Back in Boston to Write D-Lab Reports
  • February – July: Work in India or at Google in California
  • July – August: International Development Design Summit in Ghana
  • August 10, 2009: Start work at VistaPrint in Lexington, MA

The work in India or at Google has not been finalized, so things may change. In any case, I am looking forward to another amazing year and some meaningful work. Speaking of work, have a look at a couple of projects I worked on this semester: Water Wiki: The idea here is that you would perform water testing and input your data into a database here at MIT to share with others. I worked on the user interface (UI), hence the lack of real data points. Gattaca: This was my final project for my bioinformatics classes (HST.950/6.872, HST.951/6.873). Our original idea was to create a program geared toward couples interested in determining the likelihood of future children having various diseases. For the technical folks: behind the scenes a Bayesian network uses the gender, phenotype, and race to calculate the probability that a person is of a certain genotype (AA – homozygous dominant, unaffected; Aa – heterozygous, carrier, aa – homozygous recessive, affected). Currently the demo uses my (somewhat inaccurate) family tree, tests for Tay-sachs disease, and assumes my family is Ashkenazi Jewish (the race primarily affected by Tay-sachs). This was a pretty cool project and I enjoyed working with my other 2 teammates. Our final presentation was amazing and our professors want us to expand it and sell to Google or another firm. We’ll see how that turns out. That’s it. I am unofficially finished with my undergraduate education. Everything becomes official February 18, 2009; and, you are all welcome to come and watch me sit for 3 hours and walk for 1 minute at commencement June 5, 2009 (assuming I am in the country). For those back home in Dallas, I will see you all this weekend. Also, would one of you pick me up from the airport?