In my opinion, education is one of the most important things in the world. Not necesarily formal, school-based education but, as the saying goes, "knowledge is power."
As far as my formal education goes, I was in the public school system through third grade. After that, I was enrolled in private school--specifically, the Pingry School. Pingry is a private K-12 school located on two campuses in north-central New Jersey. From kindergarten through sixth grade, students are at the Short Hills, New Jersey campus. We call it the "Lower Campus" or the "Lower School." From seventh grade on, the students are at the Upper Campus in Martinsville, New Jersey. Just to add some variety to things, this campus has both the Middle School (seventh and eighth grades) and the Upper School (ninth through twelveth).
Pingry was originally founded in 1861 as an all-male school in Elizabeth, New Jersey and later moved to nearby Hillside. It subsequently acquired the Short Hills Country Day School in Short Hills (the current Lower School) in the mid-1900s. In the 1970s, Pingry began accepting female students and, partly in response to this, moved its Upper Campus to its current home in Martinsville. For more information about the school, I refer you to the school's website at <URL:http://www.pingry.k12.nj.us/>.
I graduated from Pingry in 1993 receiving both a Journalism award and the Burgdorff Award. The journalism includes having worked in the school's [Desktop/Electronic] Publications Office from day one, assisting in the design and layout of the various newsletters, newspapers, brochures, flyers and anything else you could think of. The anything else includes the scanning of about thirty pictures and printing them on 8.5x11 paper so that when put together they formed 20 foot high pictures used as the backdrop for one of the school plays. I also worked for the Pingry Record, the "Oldest Country Day School Newspaper in America." I started as Technical Editor in ninth grade and ended as Editor-in-Chief. I was told by some people that I am the only person to have ever held an editorial position on the paper for all four years of my high school life, but nobody has shown me any proof.
The Burgdorff Award, named for a Pingry graduate who is now the president of a large New Jersey-based real estate agency, reads in part "While some students may be selected the most likely to succeed, the recipient is that student who is most likely to help others succeed." Nominations for this award are made by the faculty and senior class and the recipient is chosen by the senior class through a secret ballot.
Unofficially, I also received another honor: The Publications Office was dedicated to me. That room and the adjoining computer room was where I lived--I was there during vacations, during the school day and after school. The full version of what I did appears on a different page, but suffice to say, if it involved computers, I was involved. (The unofficial part is that nobody ever asked the Board of Trustees if they could dedicate a classroom to me.)
I have continued my relationship with Pingry since graduating, but that is better explained on the page relating to my work history.
After graduating from Pingry, I went on to Stevens Institute of Technology (Hoboken, New Jersey) from which I graduated in May of 1997. Deciding a major was difficult for me. I was split between Electrical Engineering and Computer Engineering, but finally compromised on Electrical Engineering with a minor in Computer Engineering. For those not familiar with Computer Engineering, it's a cross between Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. All three were part of Stevens's Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science before the Institute reorganized itself. As of July or August of 1996, there is a Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, part of the Charles V. Schaefer, Jr. School of Engineering, and a Department of Computer Science, part of the School of Applied Science and Liberal Arts. (The Institute is compromised [sic; opinion] of three schools; the third is the Wesley J. Howe School of Technology Management.)
One of the final portions of an engineering education at Stevens is
a design project. It is a two-semester long project to allow the student
to explore his or her specialized interests within the chosen field of
engineering. I belonged to a group which worked on a project entitled
"Intelligent Video Conferencing: Personal Computer-based Video
Conferencing with Automatic Image Following." You can read the groups'
reports at <URL:http://www.ece.stevens-tech.edu/~apu/design/>
on the ECE departmental webserver or, if the report is removed from there
or that server is down, locally.
Brian, Steve, Joanna: If you have new e-mail addresses or personal websites, let me know.
A better history of Stevens can be found on the Stevens website but, in brief, the school was started with funds provided by the will of Edwin A. Stevens. Edwin's father, Col. John Stevens, was a pioneer in the area of steam-powered transportation, specifically relating to the steamboat and steam-run locomotive. Robert, one of Edwin's brothers invented the T-rail used today in railroads worldwide. John Cox Stevens, another brother of Edwin's, was the first commodore of the New York Yacht Club, and, with Edwin, he built and raced America after which the America's Cup is named.
Now, my education is mostly informal. It's guided by web sites, online documentation, personal experience, magazines and books. My feeling at this point is that what I am interested in is so new that it is more effective to learn the material first-hand than it is to wait for somebody else to learn it well enough to be able to teach it. For some topics, where it is helpful to have someone to guide you, the best alternative is a short seminar, not a full blown course. My experience.