Monday, June 30, 2014

Dad, My First Technology Teacher

My dad was a geek.  It wasn't until recently that I realized all that he did for me in terms of technology skills, but since his passing in March, it's all starting to come back to me.  In the early 80s, he got me using a Commodore 64. Eventually, we were using an IBM compatible desktop 486 from Leading Edge, while my mother still swore by her 75lb IBM Selectric typewriter (both relevant and marketable skills, depending on the context).  He helped me understand floppy discs and how to install and run computer games.  But, by the time I got my first Nintendo, our technology interests seemed to part ways, as more and more products were designed to speak to my age-range specifically.  Meanwhile, my dad climbed the ranks of the science world from 9-5 and on numerous trips around the country/world. 

After my dad passed away in March, my mother and I went to work on his obituary.  The man was so accomplished in his professional life, we really tried to get a lot of it into one story that we hoped would be published by the Washington Post. You'll see in the story obituary below that my father had a lot more to offer than simply upgrading to the latest computer as they came out.  I didn't go into any of the STEM career fields, and he didn't pressure me at all.  It was my belief in social justice that really made him proud seeing his legacy continue.  I hope that my work in the field of adult education will build on his focus on innovation in the public interest with a keen emphasis on equity.

Thanks for everything, Dad. 

Harold E. ("Hal") Guard, Ph.D. retired award-winning scientist with the Office of Naval Research (ONR) for achievements in environmental programs, equal opportunities for minorities and women; and with Historically Black Colleges and Universities, died March 16, 2014, at Carlton Plaza Assisted Living in San Leandro, CA, after several years living with Early Onset Alzheimer's Disease.