Friday, September 26, 2008

Who is my advisor: personal life and background

My advisor John Carroll likes people to call him Jack. He was born in Bethlehem, PA, but in terms of decent, he is Irish, Welsh, and Schwaebish. Upon graduation from Columbia University with a Ph.D. degree in Experimental Psychology, he worked for IBM for around 18 years, where he met and got married with Mary Beth Rosson, a pretty elegant lady who has a very good taste and concern about her dresses and accessories J.

Jack and Mary Beth are now both professors in IST at Penn State. They live in the beautiful university town State College, with their adorable daughter Erin and friendly Lab Kerby. Before they came to State College, they lived in Blacksburg, another university town and were both professors for the department of computer science at Virginia Tech. One of the luckiest things to Jack and Mary Beth is that they can always find satisfying jobs in the same place, from IBM, to Virginia Tech, to Penn State. They are not only a couple, but also best work partners. This is very rare for renowned couples. Erin is a Penn State junior in sociology. She once said to her dad, “I don’t wanna be like you.” So when she later decided to apply for the graduate school to stay in academia, Jack was really surprised. This might be the biggest impact Jack has on his daughter.

In his spare time, Jack brews beer and hikes with Kerby. He also likes music, especially Bob Dylan’s. He played folk guitar since he was 13 years old till his first five years at IBM and had his own band. This old photo portrays an aspect of his band life. I actually froze when seeing it for the first time; it is not an easy thing to link this punk-style youngster to a debonair but prestigious scholar.

Jack is not the kind of person who needs a bunch of friends. He is enjoying the easy life, multicultural climate, plus a little excitement in State College.

*Both images are from Jack's personal web page.

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