On this page, I present four varieties of statements:
Please use the links above to navigate to the statement that most fits your interests.
Brief Personal Statment
I am a 27-year-old residing in the suburbs of NYC seeking to develop my career to its next level. As an overview, I am a well-rounded generalist equipped with a unique arsenal of theoretical, practical, and technical know-how spanning the biological, psychological, neural, and computer sciences; and additionally, art and business. At the core of my professional background lies a skill set of excellent programming, statistics, and data-analysis that is perfect for working with large, potentially messy, heterogeneous sets of data. My breadth of skills combined with my passion for working both collaboratively and independently to imagine, create, and understand new frontiers has allowed me to instrumentally contribute to several meaningful scientific discoveries and incorporate a small personal business. I am at a stage where I have a wise sense of my strengths and weaknesses, a mature outlook on my career path, a tenacious work ethic, and wield a solid command over the subject-matter to which the last 9 years of my life have been dedicated. Most importantly, I love what I do and am eager to develop my knowledge and understanding to produce world-class work.
Highlights of My Skills and Work Experience;
and what I can bring to your company
I am currently seeking employment in a field that leverages and develops some or all of my background in general scientific research, cognitive neuroscience, programming, statistics, data science, computational image analysis, digital artistry, and business. My diverse background has developed from an interdisciplinary liberal-arts education combined with a breadth of post-baccalaureate internships and work experiences where I was often mentored or supervised by world-class scientists and physicians. If hired, I would prove to be an innovative and flexible employee with a tenacious work ethic. The following examples highlight some of these formative experiences intended to illustrate what I would bring with me to your organization.
It has been a great privilege of mine to be mentored by and collaborate with the award-winning professor and author of the textbooks, Neural Data Science, and MATLAB for Neuroscientists, Pascal Wallisch Ph.D. In various contexts over the past five years, Dr. Wallisch has trained me in programming, proper research methods, the wise use of statistics, data analysis, and scientific writing. Together we have made several discoveries (in final stages of peer-review) involving human visual attention, perception, and cognition. Of note, Dr. Wallisch and I discovered principles required to produce the world’s first purposefully created stably ambiguous color illusion (see CV for more details). Additionally, I solely discovered a novel class of visual illusions currently undergoing investigation by Dr. Wallisch’s lab. Dr. Wallisch’s mentoring has been instrumental in my growth from a student into a young professional researcher capable of world-class scientific research, elegant programming, and sophisticated statistical thinking. Moreover, Dr. Wallisch was the first to encourage my exploration of developing novel computational methods to create digital art, and to combine these novel methods with principles of visual-neuroscience and gestalt psychology to produce visual displays that "captures the brain's attention", and further, produce positive impressions within a majority of viewers. The experiences and scientific philosophy I gained over our several projects will serve me well in working for you.
In 2017 I was hired by NYU Langone’s Comprehensive Epilepsy Center (CEC) as a clinical research coordinator under the supervision of its famed director, Orrin Devinsky M.D. While working at the CEC, I performed data entry and research coordination for a clinical trial involving treatment of childhood seizures with cannabidiol (CBD) oil. Further, I conducted the preprocessing, analysis, visualization, and reporting of data for a peer-reviewed article published in Neurology. The study involved the exploratory treatment of certain drug-resistant types of epilepsy. The responsibility of correctly entering copious amounts of highly-sensitive clinical trial data and programming custom analysis pipelines for projects that directly help improve the quality of life of people suffering from debilitating diseases allowed me to experience first hand the positive impact a skilled data scientist can have. Beyond gaining useful data science and research skills, my time at the CEC cemented my decision to pursue a career path focused on data science.
Throughout my work, there has consistently arisen instances where learning and excelling in subject areas I was hitherto unfamiliar with became critical for the project's success. For example, the CEC once needed me to rapidly teach myself to code in R because it was the only language equipped with an esoteric statistical test requested by editors during peer-review. Within weeks, I successfully wrote R scripts for conducting and visualizing custom “Monte-Carlo simulations” and other statistics on epidemiological data for two manuscripts currently in press at Neurology. In general, I relish learning new skills and theories to overcome obstacles and cover new ground, and I would take this spirit with me to your organization.
In addition to my scientific work, I have leveraged my understanding of visual neuroscience, computer science, psychology, and art by becoming the sole proprietor of a small online business, Recursia, LLC (www.recursia.design). The company exclusively sells products featuring my art and designs. I structured the business to function as autonomously as possible to afford for me the time and energy needed to focus on successfully working a full-time career separate from Recursia. For example, I partnered with made-to-order print & dropshipping fulfillment companies to handle manufacturing, shipping, and sales-related customer service. Through owning a small business, I have gained many practical skills and have learned both life and professional lessons which provide me insight into building something from the ground up, running a smooth operation, and how to communicate and work well with all types of artistic, business, scientific, and academic minded people.
Although the above examples represent only a fraction of my work history, they hopefully illustrate my capacity to work at a professional level with multiple forms of data across various disciplines. If hired, your team would be gaining a reliable, resilient, and creative generalist with peer-reviewed scientific publications, advanced programming skills, artistic ability, and business experience who takes pride in writing elegant code, handling data responsibly, and creating beautiful, publication-quality visualizations. Most importantly, I have a true passion for what I do. I hope to hear from you soon to further discuss an opportunity to work for you.
On My Art and Recursia, LLC
During adolescence, I became fascinated with geometry. This fascination was quickly fostered by my Grandfather and master woodworker, Harold Thomas. When I was fourteen years old my grandfather gave me my Great-Grandfather's (who was also a master woodworker) antique architectural drafting tool kit. With this high-precision set of squares, scribes, straight edges, and compasses, I explored the first-principles of geometry and the effect of color has on how we delineate boundaries of patterns.
For my first years of college, my pattern making was put on the back burner as I focused on my studies in cognitive neuroscience and philosophy. But this changed when during my junior year of college I was accepted to complete an internship with NYU professor and author, Pascal Wallisch, PhD. In the spring of 2014, Dr. Wallisch instructed me to, "learn as much programming as possible before the summer [internship] begins". To do this I decided to program the logic of the geometry I already understood to see if I could draw figures on the screen. I began by displaying single dots to the monitor, then lines, then polygons, then spirals, and eventually fully dynamic patterns.
During my final year at Union College in Schenectady, NY, I realized I needed to fulfill my art requirement in order to graduate. I signed up for "introduction to digital art", not knowing what to expect.The course valuable for teaching me the fundamentals of photoshop, theory and technical understanding of image files, raster VS vector, resolution, screen vs print parameters, and professional production techniques. But at the time I still had not made a connection between these new digital art skills, recently acquired programming skills, and my long-standing knowledge of geometry. Then at the end of the semester, while trying to get an ‘A' on the final project (and the course), I was experimenting in the digital art lab late at night and happened upon a very… strange design.
This course, "Introduction to Digital Art" changed my life in that it provided me with the opportunity to explore an area that would turn out to be a gift of mine. But, It would not be until after this course that my talent for digital art truly began to come into a form. Since then I have devoted much of my free time to originating and maturing a suite of techniques, methods, and processes for creating bold, transformative art forms that incorporate daring designs utilizing a vivid, virtual pallet.
I also use my knowledge of the human visual system to develop novel illusions, like the Recursia, LLC logo, and “Crocs and Socks", the subject of an innovative research project that hundreds of thousands of people have viewed online.
Although science and data analysis remains my primary focus and source of a sense of "ikigai", my interdisciplinary knowledge of sensation, perception, data science, improvisation, and meditation led me to craft a new way to design shapes, and patterns, utilizing abstract mathematics, virtually limitless colors, and multidimensional thinking.
One holiday season a few years back I had my designs turned into canvas prints, posters, cell phone cases, blankets, and pillows and gifted them to friends, family, and mentors. They kept asking me for more, always adding in new suggestions of things my designs would look special on.
In addition to the excitement of my family and friends, through many serendipitous encounters, I have shared my designs and ideas with highly-successful, veteran fashion industry leaders; boutique designers; mathematicians; and of course, neuroscientists. All are amazed and encouraging in their own way, with many inspired by the sheer size of the design portfolio.
Bearing this out, strangers of all stripes passing in the street or places like the concourse of Madison Square Garden were inspired to stop me and ask: "Where on earth did you get that shirt… how can I get one?" After explaining the designs are my creations, they often self-identify as willing customers: “Please give me your website.” Or: “Can I have a business card?" However, I had neither a website or a business card. For over four years I ignored these calls to action primarily because I was singularly focused on my research and eventually pursuing graduate education and a career in data science. Plus, I knew nothing about forming or running a business or getting my designs manufactured en masse into various products.
However, after several successive, anonymous, unscripted, one-off encounters with absolute strangers, I suddenly realized no one had ever cold-stopped me to compliment my other shirts … only while wearing Recursia designs. Combining this tacit, unforced public endorsement with five years of consistent positive feedback from family and friends, and more recently, trend-spotters, I became confident my artistic creations could easily fit into a variety of mediums that could be widely-valued by people looking for distinctive, creative merch for themselves or as gifts.
This unusual combination of chance encounters with strangers, praise from fashion leaders, encouragement from family and friends, led me to become inspired and confident enough to incorporate Recursia, LLC, in 2019, transforming my self-developed art skills into a small online business.
The Recursia, LLC creative collective comprises myself and three close friends who watched as I accidentally came to realize I was becoming an artist with a virtual brush. They individually and collectively collaborated with me on several creative projects during this transformative process, subsequently joining together as a creative company to help me continue progressing this unique initiative into a successful reality. We also have a support team helping run the business.
Over time Recursia, LLC’s creative team developed a suite of novel methods for producing original, visually-striking, colorful patterns based on mathematical principles.
"The power of recursion evidently lies in the possibility of defining an infinite set of objects by a finite statement."
--Niklaus Wirth, Computer Scientist,1976
This is reflected in one major, distinctive aspect of our work - the inherently predictable manner in which patterns emerge from within each design, depending on viewing distance and focal area, similar to a fractal. Careful scrutiny of a majority of artwork finds hidden, multi-scaled patterns of a “base-image,” which is countlessly replicated, to the viewer’s surprise and wonderment.
Hence, Recursia, LLC. Our mathematically-based and neuro-inspired design methods arose from my academic training and post-baccalaureate research, combining the cognitive neurophysiology of vision, perceptual psychophysics, computer science, and digital art with an intuitive, deep curiosity manifesting in my desire to explore and discover unique, creative processes.
The resulting designs feature displays of patterns and colors straddling the boundary of what has heretofore been conceptualized as possible. Descriptive terms such as “Mandala;” “Arabesque;” “Seljuk;” and “Geometric" have been used to categorize the creations offered in our marketplace. However, I feel the artforms I create are generally in a class of their own.
From my perspective, this process ultimately exists at the intersection of the various forces and factors that have influenced my life and perspective: neuroscience; perception, optical illusions; logic; abstract mathematics; computer science; time in nature; improvisational music; meditation; and woodworking.
As previously mentioned, science and data analysis remain my primary focus and source of a sense of "ikigai", thus, I have structured the business to function as autonomously as possible to afford for me the time and energy needed to focus on successfully working a full-time career separate from Recursia.
A detailed history of my education, scientific research, programming, work, art, and business experience