An Aspiring Computer Scientist / Roboticist from the Caribbean
Who is David Paulius? (or what is?)
Here's a little summary about myself: I was born in Caracas, Venezuela, but for almost my entire life (since I was about a few months old), I have come to know, grow, and live in the small island federation of St. Kitts and Nevis.
(I have saved you the trouble of finding it, so check it out on the side!)
Huh? Tell me more!
Sure! Well, it was here where I completed my primary and secondary school education. I attended the St. Theresa's Convent High School (or affectionately shortened to the "Convent School"), a private school attached to the Catholic Church I attend. However, the school was been renamed to the Immaculate Conception Catholic School (or ICCS) a few years after I graduated. I attended my local community college, the Clarence Fitzroy Bryant College, and obtained a Associate's Degree in General Studies (here I did quite a mix of subjects - Computer Science, Pure Mathematics, and Spanish). From there, I went to the University of the Virgin Islands in St. Thomas, VI, and then I ended up at the University of South Florida in Tampa, FL.
I consider both St. Kitts and Venezuela as my home, with St. Kitts being my main physical home. I frequently visit my maternal family in Venezuela for some summer holidays. My maternal family originated from Madeira and relocated to Venezuela, with further roots in Portugal and other parts of Europe. My paternal family has British and West African roots, and my relatives from this side are mostly living in St. Kitts, Nevis, Anguilla and St. Lucia.
Even though it has sometimes been overwhelming for me to have so many identities, I have come to appreciate my multi-cultural background in terms of food, languages and lifestyle differences. I feel that I am more of a Kittitian than a Venezuelan and Portuguese citizen (which is reflected by my sense of time, for instance).
What are my interests?
I have always had an interest in the way technology works, and I have a natural aptitude to mathematics and science.
It started from my fascinations of how airplanes work, to the idea of how handheld electronics and communications worked, and then it evolved to other ideas such as how our bodies and habitats worked. It had been a challenge for me growing up in deciding on one single thing that I would want to do for the remainder of my life, and I still do not think that I have adopted that ideology. However, I have developed a fascination in computing and programming since my days at the Clarence Fitzroy Bryant College in St. Kitts, mainly from the excitement I got from logic and how programs are built and how they work.
From there, I went to the University of the Virgin Islands in St. Thomas as a transfer student majoring in Computer Science. It was during my time there that I fully understood that computer science is a very broad field! With my "indecisiveness", it made matters worse for me because there are now so many other things I want to try! However, thanks to some advice I have obtained from my REU experiences at the Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL) as well as my course projects, I then narrowed down my interests to a prospective set of candidates to study in graduate school; in my head were algorithms (because I enjoyed that class), robotics (because it was new to me and I got motivation from a trip to Carnegie Mellon I made back in 2013), network security, software engineering, and artificial intelligence. I then ended up at the University of South Florida where I was introduced to the world of robotics which I had no prior knowledge about. Despite that, I am enjoying my experience so far as a member of the Robot Perception and Action Lab (RPAL) working with Dr. Yu Sun. I hope that with the work I am doing in service robotics, I can make a meaningful contribution to society and humanity on a whole in some way. I envision myself working anywhere where I can make an impact.
I eventually hope to visit Europe (due to my Portuguese ancestry and family ties) or return or apply my research to the Caribbean to further the use of technology in solving everyday challenging problems.