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Hi I'm Cecily

I'm a computer scientist, a professor, an organist, a gardener, a runner, a cancer survivor, and I'm a Mormon.

About Me

I was born in Utah, but I've left the state and moved back many times during my life. I have a variety of hobbies; they include twisting animal balloons, playing the organ, running marathons, gardening, painting, and others. I am a true computer geek; I have a PhD in computer science. Half way through graduate school, I was diagnosed with Stage 2 breast cancer. I had chemo, radiation, and other treatments. I didn't want to die with an unfinished dissertation, so I tried to finish my degree as quickly as possible. When I finished graduate school, I taught in a charter school for two years before accepting my current faculty appointment.

Why I am a Mormon

I was born into a Mormon family, so initially, my decision to be Mormon was largely based on family tradition. As I grew older and entered my teen years, I began to realize that I was responsible for the consequences of my choices. Like many people at that age, I began to seriously seek truth, and I began to experiment with religion. I began to read the scriptures because I wanted to know for myself if they contained truth or fairy tales. As I read, the stories and doctrines of the scriptures and the hymns resonated in my soul. That resonating feeling formed the foundation of my testimony, my conviction in my faith. My testimony is still far from perfect, and there are moments when I doubt and wonder. For example, I am single in a very family oriented church. I am working on my testimony of marriage and family though, and I believe that one day when I am ready that the Lord will provide a way for that miracle to take place in my life too. I never cease to be amazed at the number of times a kind and loving Father in Heaven has intervened on my behalf to make my life better.

How I live my faith

In my daily life, I am an active member in my family, my community, and my local congregation. Although, I live by myself, I visit my parents and siblings frequently, usually about once a month. I am very close to my family, and I count them among my greatest blessings. When I go home, I love to cook with and for for my family. I also love to work in the garden at my parents' house. These small acts of service bring us closer together. In my current position as a professor, I teach approximately two hundred students a year skills such as how to program a computer or build and program a microprocessor(the brain of the computer). I do research on how to improve computer science education, as computer classes like the ones I teach typically have recruiting and retention problems. I also do research on breast cancer education with computers; Utah has one of the lowest mammogram rates in the nation, and breast cancer is the leading cancer killer of women here. My recent assignments in my local congregation have involved music. I play the organ, and I enjoy accompanying for sacrament services on a regular basis. I have also been the choir director. I love the way the music of the church makes me feel, especially when it has been arranged originally and beautifully. I am currently involved in missionary work as well-- I help teach new members of our church as well as those who are interested in learning more about our basic beliefs.

What are some things that tell you there is a God?

As a missionary in Germany, when I tried to talk to people about God, they would respond with a sentence about war and suffering and disbelief that a loving God would allow such things to happen. Many modern people seem to believe that if God were a loving Father in Heaven, he wouldn't allow them to suffer; a loving God would make life perfect and easy for his children. When I watch good fathers here on earth, I see that they frequently let their children suffer the consequences of choices. If a teenage daughter fails to study for a test, then the father does not try ignore or eliminate the test; instead, the loving father acknowledges that the test was hard and comforts her, and then helps his daughter to study so that she'll do better next time. My own father was such a father, and it isn't hard for me to imagine that God would be a lot like him! I also feel confidence that there must be a god when I see beauty in nature. A few days after my cancer diagnosis, I had an especially rough and sleepless night. I got up before the sun was up, and went out on a swing on the deck. That particular morning, the clouds and the sun worked together to paint the sky pink and black, colors that are especially meaningful to breast cancer survivors. For me, that sunrise was a simple but loving message that God knew me, and He was aware of the pain that I was going through, but He still had beautiful things for me to experience during my time on earth. Show more Show less