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Purdue Graduate School ('08-'09) - Semester III

The wheels continue to go around. This semester, however, is notably different from any other during my "tenure" here as a graduate student. It marks the first time in three years that I have not been an instructor for a course, and it marks the first time ever that I am not enrolled in any regular courses as a student.

QE - PhD Qualifying Exam

I spent a good portion of this past summer studying for the QE. Rather I should say I spent a good portion of this past summer trying to get myself to study for the QE. The PhD Qualifying Exam (lovingly referred to as "the QE" by graduate students and faculty alike) is one of three large hoops one must jump through to obtain a Doctor of Philosophy degree here in ECE. It is a grueling four hour exam that covers four ECE-related themes of your choice. Many people fail it on their first attempt.

Somehow I miraculously managed to pass on my first attempt. I actually did relatively well on it. I say that because there are two ways to "pass" the exam. There is a conditional pass which basically means "you did poorly, but not poorly enough for us to give you an F." This involves remediation work after the exam (auditing classes, doing homework, etc). Then of course you can really pass the exam. This means you scored well enough on the exam such that you do not need to engage in any additional work. I thankfully fell into the latter category. I would be remiss if I did not thank Rick Kennell for helping me reach this milestone. Thanks Rick!

And so now I only have two hoops left. The next hoop is my "Preliminary Exam." I essentially need to demonstrate that I know what I'm talking about with regard to my chosen research and that, at some point, I will be able to finish my research and contribute something new and useful to the field. This is an oral exam.

NCN - Network for Computational Nanotechnology

Once again I worked for the Network for Computational Nanotechnology. In fact, this was my sole focus and responsibility for the semester. Initial progress was slower than desired, but this happens frequently with new projects. As time progresses, things will get better.

The "project" itself is really amazing, at least I think. It is certainly complex and novel enough to warrant writing a thesis.

That said, it didn't really help that I spent the entire semester counting down the days until I got to leave for Steamboat Springs, CO. That's right - I didn't give up after last spring's fiasco.

Nevertheless, as the semester's end approached we made some significant progress with the project. Look for a website and documentation explaining things in more detail in the near future.

BAND 110 - Marching Band

What can I say? I'm approaching a decade of association with the Purdue "All-American" Marching Band, and I still enjoy being one of the videographers. This year's trip to Michigan State was particularly fun, and I was even able to briefly meet up with my cousin Alyssa who happens to be a freshman at MSU.