My name is Marshall Asch (which you may have already guessed).
Throughout my Masters I worked in Dr. Dan Gillis on a project to help close the digital divide in Northern Canada and to help monitor the environment and health of individuals in an Inuit community in Rigolet, Labrador.
Through my Masters I identified a discrepancy between the software development best practices in industry, and those present in academia, and I wanted to not continue that legacy which was a large factor in why my research has been developed so that it can be reproduced and reused.
In the Fall of 2021 I started working on that problem with Dr. Judi McCuaig where we are leading a research project to bring some of the industry best practices and tools into teaching through the development of Self Contained Interactive Open Education Resources
Like my work? Making a small donation to help pay for the domain name that the site is hosted under, and sometimes a nice cup of hot chocolate.
I really do love computers and anything that can be connected to the Internet. I think its amazing that we can tell computers to do something, and they will do exactly what we tell them (although sometimes we don’t tell them what we think we did).
Last year I acquired a 3D printer and have been attempting, and succeeding, at create my own smart home monitoring devices using ESPHome.
Outside of computers, I love dogs especially the two border collies that live with me, making and eating food (mostly the eating part), and nearly any hardware project. In the summer I love being able to go outside and go Kayaking, climbing, and scuba diving. I am currently working on my Nitrox and Advanced Open Water Certifications. And yes I know computer scientists and the outdoors are traditionally mortal enemies.
For as long as I can remember I have loved doing things with my hands and making something useful. I suppose that drive to always need to be making something useful is why I love what I do so much, I have just chosen to apply it to computers rather than physical objects. But I will maintain my love for all projects, from cooking a hopefully delicious dinner, to taking apart my car to add an aux cord or change my brakes, to hand etching glass bowls for my family.
If it’s something I’m capable of doing I want to try it at least once.
“Do it because you can, not because you should.” - me :)
A bit about my history
I am not entirely a traditional “computer nerd” (although I very much am one, and I love it), I never really got super into video games, anime, or some of the other classics that are associated with my self-proclaimed title. In fact, originally computer science is not what I wanted to do with my life.
I started off school wanting to go into medicine and become a Doctor (I suppose I could still become one, just a different kind). In the first semester of my undergraduate degree I thought “nope there is no way I am going to go through all these biology and chemistry classes”, and then promptly dropped all of those classes and switched to computer science. I have been extremely happy with my choice and there is nothing else I would have rather done.
I did not give up all of my interest in the sciences, I kept doing physics since I have always enjoyed that, to the bewilderment of my friends. But, I don’t plan on every really doing anything with that interest.
Thanks to Dr. Dan Gillis for being such an amazing professor, and to Nic Durish for being a super engaging TA, in one of third year courses, I had an amazing opportunity to get involved with the eNuk project which I fell in love with. The eNuk project ended up being a major stepping stone into working on a project that I wanted to be working on rather than one that was assigned to me, and it was the main motivation for me doing my masters.
Around the same time as I started getting involved in the eNuk project I started to get more involved with the school and the student body. I joined the computer science student club on campus, SOCIS. I really cannot express how big of an impact that that choice has had on me, the people I met and remain friends with from SOCIS have had a huge impact on who I am now. I ended up running for an executive position with the student club and was elected to be the system administrator, which began my descent down the rabbit hole into the realm of DevOps, and yet another step into my involvement at the University.
By the time I started my Masters in 2019 I was hooked, I started messing around with some of my own servers to deploy some services for myself (I am planning on writing a bit more about this when I get some time). I have gradually been scaling that up and expanding into various cloud providers to try out new things and play with the cool toys that they have to offer. After all who gets into tech without wanting to play with all the cool toys??
Now that I have finished my Master’s degree, and sworn off further grad studies (Sorry Dan no PhD for me, not yet anyway), I am happily loving my role as a DevOps engineer. I am super excited to be continuing working in the field that I love, and I’m looking forward to seeing where the road takes me and what else I will get to learn as I go.