I first picked up programming as a freshman in high school (TJHSST) and its role in my academic career grew substantially since.
I studied chemical engineering at The Cooper Union from 2008 to 2012. I learned how to solve problems and design various engineering equipment (e.g. heat exchangers and chemical reactors) to meet stringent specifications using numerical analysis and differential equations via programming in MATLAB. For my senior capstone project, I worked to deliver a complete design of a hydrogen production plant that met and exceeded various financial and safety specifications. Many of the equipment were designed using MATLAB. The creative design combined with the practical constraints to provide solutions via problem-solving and engineering really resonated with me so I decided to pursue a masters in chemical engineering at The Cooper Union.
From 2012 to 2014, I worked on a thesis that revolved around programming mathematical models for drug diffusion in solid tumors to optimize clinical parameters such as dosage and administration time. Although the research itself was both challenging and rewarding, it was everything around the research that didn't seem as appealing. Writing grant proposals, rushing to get published in top peer-reviewed academic journals, dealing with the pressure to get good results were all aspects that I was not interested in dealing with as a PhD student and beyond. It was here that I realized I was really in love with the design/engineering process rather than with a specific subject matter. So I knew for certain that my level of passion for the chemical engineering field was not enough to carry me through the stresses of PhD and post-doc.
Looking back, I realized that I actually loved designing and engineering through coding. I've been doing it my throughout my academic career and I've been using it more extensively the futher up the academic ladder I went. So I felt that it was only natural for me at this point to jumpstart my career into coding by first learning at Viking Code School (VCS).