I come to the University of Hawaii's Institute for Astronomy by way of Texas, where I grew up and attended university. I left my hometown high school to start university early, at the Texas Academy of Mathematics and Science. I then went on to study Physics at the University of Texas at Austin, where I also enrolled in the then-prototype UTeach teacher preparation program.
After graduation, I taught English in Japan for two years as a participant in the Japan Exchange and Teaching Program. I enjoyed my time in Japan, but I missed doing and teaching science, so I returned to Texas where I became a high school physics and chemistry teacher.
My interest in astronomy grew out of a series of workshops I attended at the University of Texas when I was a high school science teacher. As these workshops were tied to the development of a mid-infrared spectrograph, many of the sessions involved young stars and circumstellars disks, which I found fascinating. I have retained that fascination, and now study circumstellar disks - the birthplace of planets - myself.
After completing my PhD at the University of Hawaii, I moved to Leiden, the Netherlands, for a year where I did postdoctoral research with the research group of Ewine van Dishoeck. There, I delved into astrochemistry a bit, and had a great time working with data from the new ALMA observatory.
Now, I have returned to Hawaii where I will focus on undergraduate education.
I'm a self-acknowledged nerd, and proud of it. I love science fiction and history, and read both voraciously. Board games and table-top roleplaying games are particular passions of mine - I try to make time for one or the other every week. Fortunately, my wife tolerates my quirks, as long as I make time to take her to the beach each weekend :-)
(Last updated Aug 2013)