C. Shaun "Kainaw" Wagner

About Me

I was born. I lived. I died.

More About Me

More? I am a Luddite programmer. I began programming a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away... Kansas City circa 1977, to be exact. I initially learned machine language programming, but soon received an amazing book, The C Programming Language. From there, I became a programmer.

When I was supposed to go to college and become a professional, I realized that I didn't exactly enjoy being around computers. In fact, I rather detested sitting in front of a computer. I wanted a job where I was guaranteed three meals a day, a bed every night, and no computer in sight. I enlisted in the Marine Corps. They made me a computer and electronic engineer.

In a second attempt to run away from computers, I developed two movie theaters in Charleston, SC: The Roxy and the American Theater. I approached both with the same proposal: When people are at home, they sit on a comfortable couch and eat real food while watching movies. Why not give them a more comfortable couch and better food (and alcohol) at the theater? With both theaters, I was given the latitude to design what I wanted. Both times, my design was hacked into a basic theater full of crappy seats, no tables, and a full restaurant menu. How is someone supposed to eat real food in a theater seat with no table? I even proposed using airline seats so everyone could have a tray. Needless to say, both theaters failed and I took the brunt of the blame.

After going back to computer programming, I did a lot of soul-searching - and got married! I realized that I wanted to teach. I needed a PhD. So, I began a fifteen year trek through the College of Charleston and the Missouri University of Science & Technology. Eventually, I received my PhD. Along the way, I found a conflicting interest - well, a few.

My son and daughter were born while I was in graduate school. While they were a distraction from the necessary studies, I made them part of my goal. I wanted to get my PhD for them. With it, I could teach. I could get away from programming every day. I could have summers off. I could be happy.

Apart from family, I began working in a field that I had never learned about: health informatics. I initially worked for the Hypertension Initiative at the Medical University of South Carolina. That evolved into working for the Outpatient Quality Improvement Network. Then, it evolved again into a job as a senior administrator for the Care Coordination Institute. I found a job that, if I do a good job, helps people. I'm not making silly games to waste time. I'm not making pointless web pages to advertise businesses. I am digging through medical data to try and improve health care while reducing health care costs.

So, I have now found a job that I am good at - very good - very, very good. I've also finished my PhD so I can quit working and start teaching (for me, teaching comes naturally, so it is not work in any way). I have to choose between working or teaching. What would you do?

You've read it. You can't unread it.
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