Grad degree, unlocked! I got that paper!
Remember two years ago when I got into grad school. Yep, now I am done!
Today, in the mail, I received a degree of Master of Computer Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign. I maintained a 4.0 GPA during the 8 courses in 6 semesters. US News and World Report currently lists UIUC as the #5 Graduate Computer Science schools in the nation (behind a 4-way tie of MIT, Stanford, Berkley, and Carnegie-Mellon). Over the course of the program I took classes on Applied Machine Learning, Practical Statistical Learning, Statistical Modeling, Advanced Bayesian Methods, Data Visualization, Text Information Systems, Data Cleaning and Cloud Computing Applications. It was some of the most challenging math and statistics I have done in a long time. (I did derivatives for the first time since undergrad… where I of course did way too many). I am super proud of this achievement and the work that went into it.
I want to thank all of my family and friends. But especially Kate, my wonderful daughters, and my Mom Sheila and Sister Ashley. It was a very busy two years. I had to make a lot of tough decisions to skip daily things such as watching Netflix or other forms of personal entertainment. We even skipped doing a big family vacation over the summer 2019 when I was taking two classes. How could we know at that time that I should have taken the lighter summer over 2019 and the heavier summer while spending nearly every minute of my time in my home in 2020? We did have a wonderful vacation this summer to a private cabin that the kids talk about regularly so I consider a hit. I really appreciate all of the sacrifices that everyone made to help me study and focus on learning.
I also want to thank my current employer, NAIC. First for the option of having a flexible schedule of working 4 x 10 hour days, reserving Friday for school. Second for being awesome and helping with reimbursing around half of the cost of the program. I am very lucky for this, and hope that we reach a point where education is more accessible for everyone in the country that wants to continuously learn and make things better. This year marks 18 years since my undergrad graduation. It was only this year, where I paid off my undergrad loans.