I was raised in Evansville, a couple hours South of here on the Ohio River. My parents still live there. My dad is an engineer, just like his father, my Grandpa, who was an engineer in the Army during WWII and then later at the Whirlpool plant in Evansville. My dad started as an electrical engineer, so I grew up around circuit boards, voltmeters, and oscilloscopes. I was never scared of electricity, like many people rightfully are, because I was taught how to understand it. My dad now deals mostly with medical gas systems. He founded and continues to operate GasMedix, and his entrepreneurial spirit has influenced me a lot.
One day when I was laying on my bed staring up at my ceiling fan, my Dad came in and we started talking about light. He laid down next to me and said, "You know, you can describe everything in the world with math." He described how light from the bulb could be calculated. The colors and sheen of the paint can be calculated. The roundness of the bulb, the velocity and trajectory of the blades through the air, the resistance the air provides. All of these things can be written in equations. That conversation opened my eyes to a new way to see the world. And it changed how I thought about math at school. Instead of a subject to be memorized and tests to be passed, it became a tool to be practiced so that I could use it in the real world. It taught me that what you see with your eyes is not all there is - there is always something else happening beneath the surface of the world. That was incredibly exciting, and has continued to inspire me to this day. It made me realize that you can figure things out for yourself, if you know the right way to look at stuff.