A couple folks at my alma mater, Olin College, are trying to connect current and past students via a project they call "Banter." I can't make the first (online) meeting, so I'm making up this little intro to introduce myself. Some acronyms may not make sense to non-Oliners.

Hey, Banter folks. I'm Mel, Olin '07.

This is me during my first year at Olin -- Spring 2004. I was 17. I think I pulled an allnighter immediately before this video was shot.

I don't pull allnighters any more -- I gave them up for Lent my Junior year at Olin and never went back. I do pull the occasional late night for grad school (I'm in my 2nd year of the Engineering Education PhD program at Purdue, where my professors let me do things like turn in comic books instead of papers) but since I'm dancing now (modern and blues, taking my first jazz class this semester; I started last May as a 26-year-old beginner), I actually take recovery time from that afterwards.

Aside from engineering education and the dancing thing, I've gotten increasingly involved in hearing technologies, mostly because I'm considering a cochlear implant (I'm deaf) and, as a SparkE, want to understand anything I'm thinking about putting inside my skull. Weirdly enough, I have affinities for audio-dependent (for most people) hobbies -- music, dancing, languages, that sort of thing.

While at Olin, I did ARB and FWOP (the backstage portion) and Frankly Speaking and some SMAC and accidentally designed a teddy bear that (just as accidentally) got on Engadget and NINJA'd every non-AHS first-year class except Design Nature and a lot of other things that contributed to a large sleep debt. I have a big, loud, crazy Chinese family I love to pieces, and one of my great joys now is reconnecting with them (I wasn't great about that when I was in college).

What else? Oh. Between Olin and grad school I spent my time in the open source world, travelling around the world to hack on things around the "open source and education" intersection. Here's a longer video that gives a snapshot of some of the stuff I did, but it's long (5 minutes) so you can skip it. I love travel -- flying to new places, wandering through old ones, long drives with friends, late nights, good food. I write like a maniac. I grew up in Illinois and am in Indiana right now for grad school and really, really miss living in a city.

That's probably enough for now -- feel free to ping me if you've got any questions!