About Me

My name is Courtney and I am the author of this blog.  (obviously...)
Anyway, a little about myself...

I was born in Muncie, Indiana while my mom was in graduate school at Ball State University.  When I was 11 years old, after moving around a lot with my parents and my little brother (who I'm 9.5 years older than), we settled in the small town of Coldwater, Michigan.
This is a picture of me and my family, shortly after we moved to Michigan in 1996.  My brother, Graham, was in a Montessori daycare at the time.
I went to Coldwater High School and graduated co-valedictorian in 2003.  From there, I went on to Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana, to major in Physics and minor in Math, Astronomy and German.

This is my parents and me at my high school graduation in 2003
At Ball State, I worked a lot, doing research in the Physics and Astronomy Department and being a bouncer at the Planetarium (really!).  After I graduated, I decided to follow my dream to get my PhD in Physics and I applied and was accepted at the University of Toledo, in Toledo, Ohio.  The Physics and Astronomy Department there was very active in Photovoltaic research, and I was getting very interested in issues with energy consumption and sustainability.  However, after about a year of grad school there (where I had much fun teaching physics to undergraduate students), I found out that the research was too specialized for my interests (or boring-- I was doing ellipsometry on thin film photovoltaics) and decided to try to get more into applied areas of research.
I looked at Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis, both at the Engineering Technology graduate programs and the IU Law School.  (I did good on the LSATs and was accepted to the law school, but decided that engineering was more my style).  There, I was able to work with Dr. Rongrong Chen on alkaline fuel cell research, even getting to work at the Army Research Laboratory just outside of Washington D.C. the summer of 2010.
This is me, working at ARL in summer 2010
I really enjoyed working at ARL and was even offered to come back and work after I finished my Master's degree at IUPUI, but unfortunately, due to government budget cuts, they were unable to have the funding to hire me.
While I was at IUPUI, I also had the opportunity to work at the Richard G. Lugar Center for Renewable Energy, where I helped organize events, write the Center's newsletter, and work on the website, blog and YouTube channel.  I very much enjoyed the ability to work with the researchers at IUPUI that were involved in alternative energy and sustainability.
Senator Lugar (middle), Kyle Cline (far left), Manager of the LCRE, Dr. David Goodman (next to Kyle) and me (to the right of the Senator) and two other IUPUI students at the Lugar Collegiate Energy Summit in September 2010
After graduation at IUPUI in May 2011, with no full time job lined up, I ended up working for Dr. David Goodman with several projects he has going at IUPUI and tutoring math, physics, statistics and accounting at Ivy Tech Community College in Indianapolis.  I was applying to all sorts of jobs online and going to job fairs, but I wasn't finding the ideal job and I didn't want to settle into a career that I wasn't sure that I would thoroughly enjoy.
In August 2011, I was invited to a summer sustainability school at the University of Warwick.  I went with Kyle Cline (pictured above).  There, I met several individuals (see the About this Blog section for more details).  I felt like this programme (program!) was the right fit for me- I will still be getting the Doctorate Degree that I've dreamed of getting since I was 17 years old, but I will be enjoying my work and I think it will be a better use of my talents.

I was very lucky growing up to have excellent parents, that always supported me, my dreams and accomplishments. In 2008, my father passed away suddenly.  He was an inspiration in my education, always reading to me and encouraging me in my studies.  I promised him that I would get my doctorate degree and I plan to.  My mom continues to be a great support through all of this (watching my dog until I get it all worked out to bring her over and storing all my stuff that I can't take with me)
My dad and me, birding when I was very young (~3 years old?)

So that, in a nutshell, is the about me section!