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Psychologist Dan McAdams posed in a 1995 journal paper the question “what do we know when we know a person?” According to his research, there are multiple levels at which differences in personality may be described. One of them is the life story that we “[continue] to author and revise over time to make sense, for [ourselves] and others, of [our] own life in time.” (McAdams, 1995)

For myself, that story takes shape somewhere around the time I’m 16 years old. I’m working in open source software communities. And I’m mistaken by one of my closest co-workers (who had not yet met me in person) for a teacher. My path since then has been shaped by a nontraditional educational institution: I’ve spent my time at Olin College of Engineering, a small school outside of Boston with the declared mission of transforming engineering education. At Olin, students engage in a largely problem-oriented, project-based curriculum and enjoy a significant amount of autonomy, allowing them to pursue their passions.

These experiences have naturally shaped my relationship to my learning, which is exhibited in my narrative. As I’m about to graduate from Olin and leave this place that has made up so much of my life over the last four years behind, I want to reflect on my story in this portfolio.


Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the Franklin W. Olin College Grand Challenge Scholars Program.