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Meet Joe Rawson
Meet Joe Rawson

Class: Super Senior since I have 249 credits at the time of this writing.
Accomplishments: Living to my 30's and maintaining my sanity is probably my biggest accomplishment.
Clubs/Organizations: The Computer Action Team, Systems Admin. for MCECS, loose affiliation with the IEEE chapter on campus, and a general friend of the ECE department.

From where do you hail?
Spokane, Washington

Was it straight to PSU after High School?
Nope. After dropping out of high school and getting a GED, I joined the Army and was an Ammunition Supply Specialist for 3 years. I've been to Germany, in support of Yugoslavia operations because of the genocide in Kosovo, and Johnston Island, where I did chemical weapons disposal, and a few places in between. After covering half the globe on active duty, I moved to Portland and joined the Army National Guard for another 3 years, and reclassed into being a medic and graduated third in my class in medic school. This began to change how I thought about myself, since my high school days left me with low self esteem and questioning my ability to learn.

I decided to go to college, take placement tests and no matter where I scored, I wouldn't even think about it, I would just start there and see how far I could go. I graduated with honors from Clackamas Community College in 2006 with my associates degree, after having maintained a 3.8 GPA and having completed two years of chemistry, 2 years of math, the anatomy and physiology sequence and all of the other classes people don't want to take because they're “hard.” This experience changed not only how I view myself, but how I view education and the learning experience.
Unfortunately, I grew up poor and had debt I was carrying around from leaving the military, so joined the workforce driving fuel tanker trucks around the Portland area until my debt was paid off. When I had all my debt taken care of, the only thing I wanted was to return to school, and Portland State seemed the logical destination for me because of how close I lived to it. I re-evaluated which degree I was going to shoot for and chose a Computer Engineering / Physics dual major degree and have been here since Fall of 2008.

Did you start your college career knowing you wanted to get a degree in engineering?
Is that what I'm getting?

Why PSU?
PSU is close to where I live, and seems as good of a place as any.

What project/class/lab/idea are you most excited about right now?
Passing my classes has me pretty excited, if that's the word. I don't have much time to think about much else.

What are your plans for after graduation?
Paying off the next round of debt, hopefully by getting a job in my new field.

What is your favorite thing about Portland and/or Oregon?
I've been to lots of different places, and the people here are the best I've ever known.

Do you think you’ll stay in the area after you graduate?
Its possible, but no one knows the future.

What’s your favorite food cart and dish?
Currently, Kabob Ja's lamb kabob, in the 76 station parking lot, but it changes almost weekly.

What hobbies do you have/what do you do for fun?
For fun I work on the servers and systems at Portland State in the Computer Action Team, (I sure don't do it for the money so I must do it for fun...) and help our new volunteers learn the ways of the CAT, as well as generally keep the college running smoothly on the lower levels of the Fourth Avenue Building.

What would most people be surprised to learn about you?
I have a tattoo.

When we read about you in 20 years, what will it be for?
Hopefully medical advancements in cybernetics and nanotechnology.