Hey everybody!  It’s great to be back at school after an awesome winter break.  It is always nice to have time off of school, but I’m too excited for what this semester has in store- read on to see what I have coming up in Spring 2014!

First, a quick recap about my winter break.  While I didn’t do anything too out of the ordinary, I had a great time relaxing, soaking in a bunch of football, catching up with high school friends, and doing some learning on cyber security.

This semester, I’ve got a pretty nicely laid out schedule with plenty of interesting stuff on the slate.  I’ll go through each of my classes and I think why I’m looking forward to them will be pretty clear:

EE459: Embedded Systems Laboratory- This is my only class left for my Bachelor’s degree!  This is a capstone project class where we will be working in groups to build what is known as an embedded system, which is basically anything that involves a CPU but is not a general purpose computer.  For example, your microwave has a chip embedded (but good luck doing your homework with it).  Our groups will consist of 5-6 engineers, 2 marketing students, and a fine arts student– meaning it’s a cross-discipline project.  Essentially, the marketing students develop an idea and hold focus groups to determine what features should be, the art student does mock-ups of the packaging and branding, and the engineers build a prototype.  Also, we are building an appliance that would make some home appliance “smart”- an example could be light switches that can be controlled by a smartphone app!

CSCI 531: Applied Cryptography- One of my graduate level classes.  As it suggests, this will be about cryptographic ciphers currently in use and how they work, and how to use them effectively.  I know a bit about this already, and am really excited to really work out my security chops in this class!

CSCI 551: Computer Communications- Another graduate level class that looks at advanced computer networks, including the Internet but also other novel networks (USC is doing some work on “Body Area Networks”, for example)!   As you know, since you are reading this on the Internet, computer networks are extremely important, and are incredibly complex.  I also need to get this down really well for my interest in cyber security, so it should be fun!

CSCI 545: Robotics- USC has some really awesome robotics research going on, so I wanted to see what the buzz is all about.  In this class, we’ll learn about the theoretical operations of robots as well as getting some hands on time with programming humanoid robots!

In addition to those, I am likely on the verge of starting an internship that’ll go from the end of this month through summer at least- it’s not set in stone yet, so I’m going to keep it a secret for now- expect an update on that soon!

Anyways, I hope you guys are also ready to close out the year strong.  2014 is poised to be a great year!