I grew up in Woodcliff Lake, NJ, about 20 miles from New York City. After sixth grade, the local school's math curriculum wasn't working for me, and I was lucky enough to be able to go to Horace Mann, commuting every day into NYC. Thanks in large part to the opportunities I found there (and, I believe, because I started the successful Ski Club), I managed to get into Harvard. Thanks to Advanced Placement credits from high school (and the due share of hard work), I was able to convince Harvard to give me two degrees upon my departure in 2003: a BA in Physics and an MS in Computer Science.
I was at Harvard during (the end of) the dot-com boom. There weren't enough graduate students to staff the undergraduate courses, so professors hired undergrads to be TAs in other undergrad courses. I was a TA for the first course in the CS majors' sequence (cs50) from sophomore year on, acting as one of two head TAs in my senior year. One night during my senior year, as I was getting ready for bed, I found myself thinking that the day had been a great one. Then, I realized that the day had been entirely consumed by my duties as a head TA. Thus, I decided to go into education full-time, and landed a job at Northfield Mount Hermon School.
Northfield Mount Hermon is a co-educational boarding school set in rural Franklin County in western Massachusetts. As is always the case of employees at a boarding school, I fulfilled a number of roles, including computer science teacher, math teacher, math team coach, SAT math prep course instructor, and dorm parent. See my teaching page for more info. I lived in the freshman boys' dorm for all five years. During my last two years, I was the House Director. Helping students day in and day out adjust both to the rigors of high school and to living without their parents was incredibly fulfilling. I still miss the warm, fun community that was East Hall (for two years) and London Cottage (for three).
(Working at a boarding school is a great experience for an individual with the right mind-set. I'd be happy to offer more thoughts on this, if you're interested. Just email!)
The community of a boarding school is fantastic, but it's a little isolating. So, I thought I would try something completely different. I moved to London! While there, I worked at The American School in London. Life outside of my job was very different living overseas, but my job responsibilities remained remarkably unchanged. Again, see my teaching page for more detailed info.
Most notably, London is where I met my wonderful wife, Amanda, though she originally hails from outside of Philadelphia. Our daughter, Emma, was born in London (and has dual citizenship) in June of 2011. We moved back to the US when she was 5 weeks old. Having a first child, moving internationally, buying a first house, and changing careers all at the same time was difficult. I don't recommend it.
While working in London, two things happened: I found myself increasingly itching for more intellectual stimulation, and I met a bunch of professors, all of whom said they had the best job in the world. So, I left a career I loved (teaching high school really was fantastic) in search of one even better and enrolled in the doctorate program at the University of Pennsylvania.
Contrary to popular belief, being a graduate student was fun. I worked with an absolutely amazing advisor, Stephanie Weirich, and got to spend my days tinkering with types, proving properties, and hacking in Haskell. The flexibility of grad school meshed quite well with the inflexibility of raising a child, so timing was good. Penn is a great place for grad school. Go there.
Toward the end of my time at Penn, I landed my dream job at Bryn Mawr College. I say it's my dream job because it's precisely what I was looking for when I started at Penn -- an even balance of teaching and research at a liberal arts college. Even better, my family and I could remain near extended family and I could easily continue the research collaborations and partnerships I built while at Penn, chiefly with Stephanie and her students.