1) I have been a sports official for over 25 years, starting as a baseball umpire at my brother's Little League when I was 15. It’s how I made my spending money in college. I now work high school football and lacrosse, which is a lot of fun and great exercise. (By the way, we are ALWAYS looking for new officials, in pretty much every sport.) I even act as the head official/judge for Siena's high school programming contest.
2) When I was a kid, I always said I wanted to make video games for a living - I even put that in my high school yearbook! But I never ended up working for a game company - a single summer internship convinced me that I didn't want to spend 40+ hours/week at work staring at a computer screen when I was already spending a lot of time doing that for fun anyway! I'm still an avid gamer, though. A few of my all-time favorites include Railroad Tycoon, The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, Beyond Good & Evil, Eternal Darkness, Portal I & II, Kerbal Space Program, and XCOM.
3) Possibly even more than video games, I am a huge board/card game fan - I probably have over 200, and my collection (below) is smaller than some of my friends. My top game right now is Spirit Island, a cooperative game that's kind of like Settlers of Catan in reverse - you're trying to drive off the colonizers! Other loves include bridge, Can't Stop, Sentinels of the Multiverse, Iron Dragon, Taboo, and (inevitably) Pandemic.
4) I guess I've pretty much always been a teacher. Before coming to Siena, I spent eight years teaching math, physics, and chemistry at the K-12 level. But well before that, kids were asking me for help with their homework in the middle school cafeteria. My first paying job (other than a paper route - remember those?) was tutoring some neighborhood kids in math - I got $15/hour for it 30 years ago! I also worked at my college tutoring center and as both an undergraduate and graduate teaching assistant.
5) I grew up in Toms River, NJ, which is famous for exactly two things: 1) being the cancer capital of the Northeast - the details of which are brilliantly laid out in a Pulitzer-prize winning book by Dan Fagin. I highly recommend it, especially to anyone interested in environmental justice, and 2) winning the 1998 Little League World Series with a team led by Todd Frazier. Some of you may look at point #1 and wonder if I was there at the same time - nope, that was a few years after I'd left for college. My closest connection to Toms River notoriety is that one year my younger brother played on the same team as one of Todd's older brothers - and Todd's dad was the coach!
6) I went to college at RPI. A major motivating factor behind that choice was that there was no English department! I was an enthusiastic reader as a kid, but I hated writing - and I figured I wouldn't need to do much writing at a school like RPI. I was mostly right - the amount of writing I needed to do for my classwork was almost non-existent. But I also ended up working for the student newspaper, The Polytechnic, initially just reading copy, but eventually becoming contributing editor – which involved quite a bit of writing. Not only did that really help my writing (especially when on a deadline), but I really enjoyed it, too. Even though we're often highly resistant to it, there's no shame in changing your mind about something, and often you end up better for it.
7) It's probably good that I didn't have a strong interest in a political career - I ran for Grand Marshal (head of the student government) at RPI twice, and was thoroughly trounced both times. On the other hand, I ended up running nearly every single club I was ever a member of. Memorably, I joined the Fencing Club my first year there, and I helped organize the annual tournament we hosted that spring. It was a tradition that the entire club went out to Denny's after the tournament. What I was not told was that new officers were picked at that Denny's trip. At the end of dinner, the president of the club says to me, "So, all of the officers are graduating and you did a great job helping out with that tournament, so you're President now! Congratulations!" I stared for a minute, then pointed at a friend of mine, and said, "Fine, but you have to make him Vice-President."
8) In addition to teaching at Siena, I am also the co-chair of the Committee on Teaching and Faculty Development. (See, another group I ended up in charge of!) I really enjoy the work we do on the committee to try to improve the product we deliver to students. And one of my favorite things about the role is that I get to host New Faculty Orientation - I really get a lot out of meeting all of our new colleagues each year and helping them get settled at Siena.
9) I met my wife MK at a funeral. No, really! We had interacted some over IRC (seriously old-school text chat) previously, but the first time we met in person was after a mutual friend died unexpectedly. We were dating a month later, and married five years after that. Also - I have never dated anyone else! Sometimes you get things right on the first try. :D
10) I am a first-generation college student from a small family, which made marrying into my wife's large, intense family a bit... intimidating. My father-in-law is a Harvard-trained architect; my mother-in-law got her Ph.D. in linguistics from Georgetown - at age 60! Their siblings include a computer programmer, a high-powered stockbroker, an interior designer, a professional translator, a district attorney, and a judge who very nearly presided over the OJ trial. One of MK's grandmothers is the former mayor of Richmond, VA; her grandfather on the other side of the family was one of the foremost historians of science in the world. Yikes! Despite this, they have all been extremely welcoming and truly made me feel like part of the family.