STATEMENT OF PROFESSIONAL PURPOSE

My professional goals are as follows.

Increase equitability to computing technologies for all people regardless of ability.

I discovered the potential of programming in my sophomore year in high school by discovering that I could view the source code of my schools webpage and then learned about html, and how the technologies that the web relies on to present information work. I became interested in how I could use these technologies to make computers more accessible to people with disabilities. As my knowledge of computers increased, I became interested in figuring out a way to make access to a computer more equitable for blind people. As a blind person, I understood that computers had the potential to help bring numerous job opperitunities to many people currently without jobs. It was shameful to me that in order to use a computer with the same level of access as a sighted friend, a  job applicant might required purchasing expensive screen reading software. (Costs can be over $1000 in us. Dollars). This is one reason I became interested in the potential of open sourced development where a few full time members supported by charitable work could potentially have a huge impact, with community members doing things to help the cause.

I was very fortunate that the Kane Family Foundation and See the Future Fund awarded me a full tuition  scholarship to attend the University of Colorado at Boulder. Attending the University of Colorado has given me many opperitunities that I would not have otherwise had. I worked with professors Clayton Lewis and Tom Yeh on various projects. Those projects can be seen in detail on my research page (I haven’t built that yet). Working on various research projects has given me first hand experience with academia and the process of investigating possible solutions to complicated problems. I have also learned a great deal about accessible design, universal design, and usability best practices. It is my passion to become more understanding of the issues people face using computers, and investigating solutions to those problems. As a student who is blind, I have seen how simple misunderstanding of how a group of people use technology can negatively effect success because of design flaws. Thus it is important that training occurs to help content authors and software developers design computing solutions for wide audiences. With these investigative goals in mind, I designed a weather app to investigate how to design web sites that are simple for all audiences to use. I also have become interested in the accessibility and usability of mathematical content, and diagrams/simulations.

Help people understand and effectively use IT Security and protect privacy.

Around this time, I also  became interested in IT security. I had several friends who were interested in IT security who discussed IT security at lunch. They always referenced a podcast called security now which discussed the weeks IT security news. I started to watch Security Now, and started spending time learningn about how I could harden my computer security, and personal security best practicces against ciber crime. I learned valuable lessons that I try and share with others about keeping passwords safe, using encryption, and in general staying more secure. It is a passion of mine to ensure that my friends, family members, and other people I influence  do what they can to harden their computer security. It is not good for one to necessarily be perinoyed about their IT security, but since technology rapidly changes, ensuring people are doing what they can to ensure they keep important information safe is as valuable as locking a house with their things in it. I also am interested in helping people understand their rights in terms of privacy, so that they can get relief from the constant barrage of adds from companies that target and socially manipulate them into buying products they do not need. In the information age, privacy is more important than ever before since information can be often out of an individuals control. It is unfortunate that many technology companies wish to take and use data that is extremely personal and feel that it is ethical to search through this data for the purpose of creating individual experiences on the web, or to minipulate the news feeds that they see to fit the customers interest’s. It is also important that an educated public be exposed to many different political and socioeconomic viewpoints. By ensuring privacy, people who would otherwise be afraid to post things that the public does not wish to see can do so in anonymity and with the security that their viewpoint matters.

STATEMENT OF PROFESSIONAL PURPOSE