Dennis Phillips

The Early Days

Yes, Eloise dinosaur's did roam the earth then!

The computer science department at Michigan State was only a few years old, Dr. Jain had just joined the department as a "young" professor, punch cards were still in use, 300 baud was fast and Fortran was king. This was part of the environment midway through my undergraduate education.

Undergrad was so much fun I decided to stay on and get a Master's degree as well. Part of that decision was to work and take two years to complete the program. One of the professors in the EE department told me about a job at the Plant Research Lab. They needed someone to run their electronics shop and he thought with my EE minor thought it might be a good fit. After interviewing me Dr. Ken Poff decided to hire me. So with that I became a staff member with all the rewards and benefits associated, i.e. I got an employee parking permit and a key to the building.

There were other benefits as well. It was at the PRL that I met this biology grad student who wanted to learn play racket ball. Needless to say one thing lead to another and now after 33 years we are still married, have two grown children and are enjoying an empty house.

Following graduate school there was a move to Massachusetts where I worked for Digital Equipment. While at Digital I was involved in a number of projects from hardware design, to performance evaluation, availability modeling, hand writing recognition and finally distributed systems.

In 1991 I decided to make a career change and go into education. The good news is that this was through a special program sponsored by Digital. As a result of this I obtained another Masters degree. This time in secondary education. In order to become certified it was necessary for the math and physics departments to review my transcripts. Back as an undergraduate one of my minors was mathematics. This lasted until I hit the modern algebra course. I just did not get it and switch to biology as a minor. Now the Tufts University math department got a hold of my transcripts. One look and they quickly decided that in order to certify me I had to take a, you guessed it, a modern algebra course. This time though it wasn't as bad and I made it through.

After graduating from Tufts, it was a move back to Michigan and I taught at a new Math and Science center in Battle Creek. I also was an adjunct professor in the math department of the local community college. Teaching at the math and science center was fun but only lasted a short time. I then went back into the computer field.

For the past 15 years I have been a project manager/operations director overseeing IT support contracts. These contracts provide a broad range of IT services including help desk, desktop support, network and server administration, and information assurance.

Through all of this I have tried to say up on the changing computing environment. But now after all of these years it is time for a change. This brings me back to Michigan State as a PhD student again in the Computer Science Department. The focus of my research is sensor networks and the processing of data collected by the sensors.

About Me

Just a geek at heart. So is my daughter.  I didn't think she would admit it but she has finally come to embrace the fact that being a geek is part of her genetic make-up.