CRA-Wx DMP Program
Katie Coons - The University of Texas at Austin
Distributed Mentor Program Summer 2004

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People I've Met in Texas

These are the people that, if you have asked me about how things are going in Austin, I have probably mentioned at one point or another. They are all very cool Austinites so I decided to show you their pictures.


When I first met Allen, he had a large quantity of facial hair and I have had trouble recognizing him ever since he shaved it (though I must say he does look quite nice clean-shaven).  Allen plays frisbee avidly, although I believe he did confess that his girlfriend is really even better at it than he is.  Allen will also play host to the upcoming 4th of July Big Beverage Potluck Blast where everyone is required to bring a 6-pack of beer, and no two people can bring the same beer, if that tells you anything about what kinda guy Allen is.


When I first came to Austin I was told that I look like Alison.  She is a white girl with long, brown hair, so I guess I see the similarity.  Alison is an enthusiastic, fun girl who just recently got married (sorry boys, and congratulations Alison!).  Aside from "You look like Alison" the other thing I heard about her is that her voice carries, which granted it certainly does, but it is a lovely voice so we don't mind.


Chris has got a lot of character.  Chris is Jenn's boyfriend, and rumor has it that he was very sad and lonely during her trip to China.  Chris has a hot tub that he likes to share for our general merriment, and he is definitely very good at telling stories and finding things to talk about.


When I first met Javier, I thought he was this proud, quiet college graduate who taught ballroom and took his dancing incredibly seriously.  Then Vinh told me Javier was in junior high 3 years ago, and I freaked out as I realized he must be like 14 years old.  Then Javier offered me a ride somewhere, and I realized he was at least 16.  Finally, I asked him myself and found out he is really 20 years old, really fun to talk to (although he is the most severely ADHD person I have ever met), and a really damn good latin dancer.  I don't care who you are, his cha cha kicks your cha cha's butt :)


Jenn is a sweet, adorable girl with a cute smile that probably has a knack for cheering people up.  She was on a trip to China when I first got here, and so the first way I heard of her was through her boyfriend, Chris, longing for her return.  In addition to generally being awesome, she is planning a trip for us all to Schlitterbahn, known as one of the best waterparks in the nation, which makes her even cooler.


Jon is the kind graduate student who clearly knows so much more about everything we're doing than we do, yet graciously helps us out at every opportunity cause he's just that nice. He also keeps me updated on the Euro 2004 Soccer Championships, and thus I will forgive him for not being an Italian soccer fan, although only just barely.  Especially since his team, Denmark, made it into the second round over Italy :'(


Julia is my partner in crime for everything I do here.  She's a math and CS double major at UC Berkeley with an awesome boyfriend named Nathan who needs to visit us more often.  She's great at losing umbrellas, isn't afraid to stand up for herself, and is definitely great to talk to.


Kartik plays racquetball with me twice a week, is a fellow vim user which earns him automatic bonus points, and definitely sings more frequently than your average individual.  He can't help but announce the score at every serve during racquetball, and shout "FAULT!" everytime a fault occurs, but we love him dearly anyways :)


Maria is the first person I met here in Austin.  She picked Julia and I up at the airport, made us feel at home, took us to the grocery store, and has done so much to make us comfortable here.  Julia and I owe a lot to Maria and appreciate everything she has done for us very much.  Maria takes me to Town Lake every Saturday morning for a run, and is always eager to help us out if we're bored and looking for something to do.  You rock, Maria.


Matt is by far the most conservative person I have met here in Austin, and I respect him for it very much because he knows enough to justify his reasoning and beliefs when questioned by less conservative people, which equals pretty much everyone else in the city of Austin.  It's a pretty liberal city.  Matt is one of the few people who goes to bed as early as I do, which I think makes him pretty supercool.  He's an awesome racquetball player.  He's in the club here and is kind and patient and anxious to help us lesser beings learn.  I maintain that behind his shy, quiet exterior there is a wild man just waiting to get out, and I hope we set him free before we leave.


Mike went to my high school.  I can't honestly remember how I knew him or why I remember him, or how he remembers me if he does, but he definitely went to my high school.  Mike came up with a potential thesis topic for Julia and I, and so he rocks and I owe him my eternal gratitude.  Also, he plays racquetball with us from time to time.  He freaks out a little when the ball comes at him but when he hits it, he hits it damn hard.


Nick is an AI boy who lives over in the Taylor building with the other AI people.  He appears every day at lunchtime on the 3rd floor of ACES, however, because compiler and architecture people are just that much cooler than AI people.  Seeing Nick always brightens up my day, because when I see Nick that means it is time to eat, and I like eating.


Palani is a salsa dancer at heart.  He is one of those salsa guys who amuse me when they dance anything else, because they dance everything like it is salsa.  He's up for anything though, and has tried out salsa, country, swing, and ballroom.  He is a true gentleman who always drops the ladies off, picks them up so they don't have to walk, protects them from the scary men in clubs, and on top of all that is planning to cook me dinner one of these nights, which makes him truly awesome.


Raj is the only male who requested that his picture not be taken till tomorrow because he did not have sufficient time to primp.  In spite of this fact, Raj is a perfect gentleman who has been great about helping me find stuff to do.  He's an awesome swing dancer, and he introduced me to the Austin Swing Syndicate.  He is known as a "player" among the CS PHD students, as much as any CS PHD student can really be a player... and let's face it, he is pretty.


Serita is an adorably sweet girl with a fiancee named Bob that she will be marrying in August who adores her in an adorably sweet way that would make any girl say awwwww and become envious.  Serita knows Gatorade manufacturing machinery intimately, always keeps the conversation going with random but very cool stories, and is without question a very kind person.


I met Vinh at the Ballroom Dance Club at UT.  Vinh has been dancing for a while and is taking lessons to be an instructor.  Vinh has found me all kinds of places to dance in Austin and I am very grateful to him for that, and he has introduced me to some VERY good dancers.  In addition, Vinh is a totally amazing cook who cooked me one of the best meals I have eaten, and gave me his recipes, too!  Vinh is a great friend and I'm gonna miss him a lot when I leave.


Walter is one of the nicest, coolest people I've come across here in Austin.  He eats like no other and encourages others to do so with a candy jar which he keeps stocked for the apparant purpose of making us all fat.  (Actually, he seems to get a genuine joy out of seeing food bring happiness to others).  He spends all his money on wine and food, and I can guarantee that whatever cool thing you've done with your computer, Walter has already done it in a much cooler way.  Shhhh don't tell the others, but Walter is secretly my favorite.


Zoltan is a very nice European man that I see each week at the Austin Ballroom Dancers dances.  I like dancing with him because he dances international everything and most people dance American there.  He's also very good, and though he claims he doesn't know international foxtrot, he gets me around the floor and makes me feel like I know what I'm doing, which is very rare.

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