Hello, my name is Kyle. I’m twenty, and I love science and technology.
For the past four years I’ve worked as a computer service technician in North Hawaii.
I love to fix problems, plain and simple. If you’re plagued by a technical issue, or something isn’t running optimally, it’s going to bother me. And it’s not going to stop bothering me until it’s no longer bothering you.
I’ve always been fascinated by anything technical. When I was a toddler, I was obsessed with construction equipment, and when I visited the aquarium, discovering how the water got into the tank was of the utmost importance. Perhaps it was predestined, since my dad was an electrical engineer, but I all I could dream of at an early age was becoming an “inventor.”
A Tinkerer’s Heaven
At age twelve I got my first real computer. I was enthralled. I’d spend hours staring at that screen, tweaking every setting I could find. I broke stuff. I fixed stuff. Life was good.
Learning the Trade
When I was fourteen, my family began moving around a lot. My computer was my portable laboratory. I spent nearly every waking hour tinkering with something on it. I tried replacing the Windows operating system with Linux, designed a basic logo and website for my dad’s one-man company, and found a free ebook online on coding. I had the time and, with my computer and an Internet connection, I had the resources.
I Find Work (Or It Finds Me)
By the time I was 15 ½ my family had pretty much settled. I started collecting old computers, fixing them up, and selling them on Craigslist. My name got out to the community as someone who knew how to fix computers, and soon a local business owner approached me with a website problem.
Now I’d done some tinkering for my dad’s company, but I was by no means a competent Web designer. Yet after some negotiation and assurance that she’d get her money’s worth, I picked up my first gig. I went home and had the problem fixed in 45 minutes. “OK, I can do this,” I thought, feeling somewhat confident.
As time went on, my name spread. I helped individuals here and there, and soon another local businesswoman hired me. I built her one website, then another, and before I knew it, I was her go-to technical advisor and technician. After that came a local gallery owner in search of a website and technical helper.
Paid to Program
In a totally unexpected turn of events, a family friend connected me with the co-founder of a local software company – the only local software company. I walked in one day thinking I was getting a tour, but after a quick interview, I found myself hired as an intern. Strange things can happen in North Kohala…
Yet after a year of interning, I realized what I enjoyed most was helping those in the community with their technical problems.
Back to Tech Support
Throughout the rest of my sophomore year, I continued working with clients when I had the time. This meant mainly working with past clients in established relationships.
Come junior and senior years, however, I had to cut back, as I found myself facing a hectic season of standardized tests and college applications. When the dust finally settled, I had in hand a ticket to one of the best schools I could ever dream of getting into: the Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering, a tiny engineering college founded in 1997 whose faculty and students are “leading the revolution in engineering education” – meaning it is a place where the curriculum is constantly evolving to make engineering education more engaging, effective, and fun.
But it wasn’t a first-class ticket; it was a place on the waiting list. Yet if a spot didn’t open up for me that year, I had the option to take a year off and was guaranteed a spot in the class of 2020. The class filled, but I was so in love with the school that I decided to take the gap year.
I spent the next year focused on helping as many people with technology as I could. In addition to continuing working with my own clients and volunteering with Teen Tech Tutors, I began working with Mobile Computer Doctor, a company serving North Hawaii individuals and small businesses since 2004. As I approached the end of my gap year, it was hard to pull away from the relationships I’d formed, but the attractive forces of college and a wide-open world of engineering possibilities was too much to ignore. In August of 2016, I departed my tropical home for the vacillating temperatures of Massachusetts.
My time spent thus far at Olin has been nothing short of amazing. The people and professors are incredible, and the curriculum is truly one-of-a-kind.
During the summer of 2017, I am working for the Olin College library on a currently unrevealed system for information sharing within a small- to medium-sized community (more details to be announced soon). I am also offering my technical expertise to those in the Needham and Wellesley areas. (My fingers are also crossed for a mild summer to follow the winter, but we’ll see how that goes.)