Why Learning Sciences?

Or, how I stopped worrying about circuits and learned to love the GVU Center.

In 1998, I was working on my Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering. There was some funding from the GVU industrial affiliates program to work for Siemens in Germany. Since I wanted to spend some time with my extended family in Germany, I jumped at the opportunity to take a 6-months international internship. When I got back to the US, I had some Siemens money to work with somebody in College of Computing. I ended up working with Mark Guzdial on the CoWeb project, which has since become a staple of how we collaborate and communicate at the college. Shortly thereafter, I noticed that the work I was doing and other work being done at GVU was more exciting and challenging than my EE coursework.

Simply put, I discovered that people are much more interesting than circuits. In Summer of '99, I ended up terminating my EE pursuits with a masters and switching to Computer Science to complete a Ph.D. I ended up in the field of learning sciences—about as far removed from circuits as possible. My pursuits in that area have been more rewarding and challenging than I believe EE could have ever been. I'm thankful to GVU and Siemens for giving me the opportunity to find my own way. An interest is a terrible thing to waste. Creating an atmosphere that allows an interest to not only be nurtured but discovered is one of the greatest assets of GVU.

So that I won't be misunderstood, I do not mean to imply anything bad about Georgia Tech's EE department. I only mean to point out that CS was a better fit for me.