When folks ask me how I got in to juggling I say I learned how when I was a kid but got really into it at MIT. I called it my stress relief, and there was a lot of stress. My freshman year I was encouraged by some of the folks in the MIT juggling club (it’s the oldest continually operating drop-in juggling club in the world) to start a student club since it could have access to rooms, money, official status, etc.
There’s a course at MIT called 6.111 (all courses are numbered and that’s generally how students refer to them). The official title was Introduction to Digital Systems Laboratory, but if students refer to it by a name, it’s called Digital Death Lab. It is intense, as are many classes at MIT, but this one takes more time than most. For the second half of the semester students pair off to create a lab project. My partner, Chris Wilkens (now a PhD research scientist at Yahoo) and I decided to create a juggling simulator (in our great wisdom as advanced undergrads we officially titled it “Interactive Virtual Juggling Simulator“).
I have a passion for STEM Education (Science Technology Engineering and Math). I also have a passion for juggling. They may seem to be totally unrelated, and for most, they probably are; but for me, they go hand-in-hand.
I’m going to attempt to break a Guinness World Record soon to promote an event and hopefully get more people interested in STEM while having some fun and pushing myself to the limit.
In my spare time, I’m a juggler, entertainer, and keynote. It’s fun, it’s exercise for both the body and the brain, and I found it blends well with my passion for STEM education (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math).
Juggling by itself is only moderately interesting. It can hold the attention of the average person for only a minute or two unless it’s being used to tell a story. Extreme technical juggling (i.e. 9 balls or a 7 ball 7 up 360) tells a story to jugglers who know how hard it is. But for the average person, 9 balls isn’t much different than 5 and eating an apple while juggling is probably more fun since they can relate to eating an apple.