Mark Pajor, ECE ILLINOIS
ECE ILLINOIS alums are some of the most interesting people we know. To celebrate them, we’ve decided to ask them questions both serious and fun. Here, you’ll find their Ten Answers.
While a student at ECE ILLINOIS, Shane’s focus areas were high-performance computer microarchitecture and compilers.
What’s your personal philosophy? Remember and respect what earlier generations endured and sacrificed so that we can live the way we do today. Three of my grandparents came from what's now North Korea, so the contrast is very stark.
What was your favorite extracurricular activity on campus? The ECE student organizations: at various times, I was president of Eta Kappa Nu and chairman of the Student Advisory Committee. More than half of my extracurricular time was spent in ECE organizations.
How has your ECE ILLINOIS background influenced your career? It's opened doors that simply wouldn't be possible under most circumstances. I've been recruited for two startups mainly on the strength of my Illinois education, one of which was acquired and the other currently growing. The education leads to opportunities that help you develop a reputation and network for yet more opportunities.
What is the most interesting or rewarding trip you have taken? The trip to the altar, although technically I was married in front of a wine barrel. My wife is an Illinois alumna and we met via Engineering Council.
What are you passionate about? My family, doing solid technical work, and having new experiences on a regular basis.
What’s your favorite season of the year? It used to be winter in Illinois: the weather drives everyone else inside and it's peaceful out. Now that I live in California and my daughter gets me sick every week in the winter, I prefer summer.
Who has been the biggest influence on your life? My father and my paternal grandfather. My father had a lousy job and commute for decades to help people that needed it and so my sister and I could have a good education. My grandfather made millions, but rather than leave it as an inheritance, he gave it all to his alma mater. They set the standards and expectations for me.
What’s your favorite book? The Count of Monte Cristo, by Alexandre Dumas. The protagonist waited 24 years to accomplish his goals. In nonfiction, Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman: the best approachable summary of behavioral psychology work I'm aware exists.
When you have 30 minutes of free time, how do you spend it? Exercise or eating. Hopefully more of the former.
What makes you feel energized? At least six hours of sleep and my daughter smiling and bouncing around.