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My name is Safkat Islam (pronounced sof-kaht and then like the religion) and this is my blog for writing. I haven’t decided at this moment if I’m going to continue using this site but eh. I’m an electrical and computer engineer at Duke University. I’m interested in a lot of things: sports, movies, music, and etc. I don’t really know how to express myself other than with the essay the I let scores of people (admissions officers mostly) read so here we go:

It is a nightmare, it has to be. I smell smoke. I see flames blazing through the rooms. My mother breaks my deep slumber. She rushes me out the door, down the elevator, and into the streets. It was reality. The apartment had burned down. It was the apartment I was living in, but it wasn’t home. Home was in Florida, the Sunshine State. For months now, my family had been living in other people’s homes, for we could not afford our home in Florida. It was on the edge of foreclosure. Yet, here I was, in New York, living with another family in a cramped, two-bedroom apartment. I felt like a taxi in New York during rush hour. I felt no space to take a deep breath. I wanted to return to the open highways of Florida, to the open backyard at home. I have not lived the life of a typical American teenager. I have gone through many hard times. And just as the sun starts to shine, things fall apart, and the center cannot hold. However, this does not put a halt to my quest – my academic and personal quest to greatness. My story begins in my native country, Bangladesh, where I live without my father. There, my grandmother reads to me in both Bengali and English. The brain starts to develop. Fast forward my life and I am in New York. My grandfather teaches me math that I would not learn for a few more years, thus starting my logical side. A few more years pass and I am in third grade where my teacher contradicts what I had learned somewhere else and I politely try to correct him, thus beginning my affinity for the truth. While in middle school in Florida, my grades are great, I learn quickly and efficiently, and I also like to help others learn. I feel great about my abilities and leadership skills. Even though the sun shines at school, there is a storm at home and everyone has evacuated. My mother works 15 hour shifts, 365 days a year, and my father is working in New York. I have not seen him in three years. At home, it is just my sister and I, alone, waiting for the recovery efforts to start. At home, I somehow manage to complete my homework and take care of her. It is tough but I understand why I must do this and ultimately, it makes me a better person, teaching me to have gratitude for what I have. We now come to the present, which truly is a present. My grades are still good; I am taking advanced classes most others do not dare take, taking classes at an actual college, and in the running for valedictorian. I am in leadership, helping plan, organize, and run all school events. I helped found the chapter of Mu Alpha Theta at our school and I am the coach for both the Algebra II and Calculus teams. I am in National Honor Society, tutoring others who need the help. And finally, I am co-captain of the Academic Team, enriching my mind and hoping to improve our school’s record. During the summer, I completed two internships in both the fields of business and engineering and gained valuable work and life experience. Everything seems good. Oh wait, I spoke too soon. As a result of the economic downturn, my parents had to give up their business and my dad went to New York again to work, whereas my mom is struggling to find work. This time, however, I am a boulder and this measly storm cannot thrash me around. I will continue my high school campaign and get into a great college. I cannot give up when I am so close to the end of the storm. In retrospect, all these hardships have made me the person I am now. Sometimes it is not the things you do right, but the mistakes you make, that teach you the most. In college, I plan to let the sun shine as much as I can. I will continue my work ethic and involvement in both school and the community as I study computer engineering and business. I also plan to get a job to gain experience. To me, it is important that I keep my identity and continue doing what I have been doing all my life. To come this far and let everything go would be a waste of time. The experiences I have had, the lessons I have learned, and my work ethic will guide me to greatness where the sun will shine.


Government can't secure cyberspace alone, says DHS secretary William Jackson, Federal Computer Week, updated 28 April 2011, accessed 8 September 2012 (Securing Cyberspace)

My favorite demo in MATLAB is the minesweeper demo underneath the other demos section because let's be honest, Minesweeper is a boss game. I mean the gallery stuff was cool but Minesweeper is the best classic computer game ever.