My first computer was my grandparent’s 1997 Compaq computer. At home, we didn’t have a computer until later in my childhood, so I would enjoy going over to my grandparent’s house and playing on theirs. I used to sit on my grandma’s lap and play on the computer. It had less than a GB of memory on it. My grandparents enjoy telling the story of when they bought it. The salesman told them that there was more memory on the machine than they would ever use in their lifetime. Such an underestimate of the growth of technology! The computer had Windows 1995, and I found it really sad when Windows XP came out, since none of my old games were compatible with it.

My favorite game to play was Chip’s Challenge. I played it through the majority of my childhood, coming back to it periodically. I never beat the game, but I got around half way through it. When my grandparents got another computer my grandma and I used to play Chip’s Challenge at the same time on separate computers.  Another favorite game of mine was The Oregon Trail. The computers at my grade school had it installed on them and I used to get to school early so that I could play it. I would name people after my friends or people who I didn’t like (and then subsequently ford many rivers).

Computing technology had a large role in staying with my major, Nuclear Engineering. During my sophomore year of college, I took a radiation detection class. In this class, we learned about different technology that can detect radiation. A detector basically works using knowledge of principal radiation interactions with matter to measure this radiation, through a pulse of current through a wire. The characteristics of this current pulse are used to tell different information about the incoming radiation.

During the class, we learned about the different electronics in the detector and how the data is interpreted to come up with an output. We had a lab in which we actually worked with detectors. In the lab, we used more complicated detectors, which were hooked up to a NIM-BIN that holds the multi-channel analyzer, signal splitter, amplifier, etc. I found how detectors worked and how radiation was measured fascinating. It encouraged me to stay in Nuclear Engineering and shaped what I want to work on later in life.

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