This is effectively the dynamic (and, sadly, more up-to-date) extension to my static website. More information can be found there, but for those too lazy to click on the link…
My name is Krista Grothoff . Once upon a time, in a galaxy far, far away (and before the intervention of an evil German guy), I was known as Krista Bennett. I am a Jack of Many Trades, Master of Very Few – a computer scientist by trade (and education) who spent several years working on a PhD in linguistics – yes, I am ABD, and no, I am not going to finish it. Most people wonder what linguistics and computer science have in common, and while the real answer is “a lot”, the answer I usually give is “not much at all” – generally as a way of avoiding small talk. My current research area is in applications of computational linguistics to information security, but I’ve also done research on and maintain an active interest in steganography, privacy, anonymity, censorship, and other security issues. (See here for a list of publications.)
In recent years, I spent time doing my doctoral research remotely from our lovely home in Denver, and then being Mama full-time for my very cute son; now that we’ve moved to Germany, however, and the little guy is bigger, I am gainfully employed as a researcher and, yes, doctoral student (though in a different area this time around). Go me.
In my previous life, I was many things – data entry monkey, preschool teacher, au pair, programmer, engineer, screwed-up college dropout, doctoral fellow, instructor, food service worker, research assistant, tourist shop clerk, you name it – and while I enjoyed some of these things, most of them have taught me that there are much less painful things in this life than working for The Man. This idea was driven home firmly when I left grad school for a year to support our little family unit, working as an engineer for The Man (not to be confused with “The Man” in normal typeface, trust me); while I can’t say much about the experience, I can say that it taught me that the less you are the master of your own destiny, the more your life will suck. I’d rather teach and do research, helping other people, than to do anything just for the money – especially when that money comes at the expense of having a life of my own.
I grew up all over the U.S. and have not really stopped moving since. The place I usually tell people I’m “from” is Shorewood, Wisconsin – this is partly because it’s easier than saying “I’m not from anywhere”, and partly because I was there for a larger contiguous block of time (6 years) than I’ve been anywhere else. Many of my years there were not terribly happy (and, towards the end, not even terribly sane), but I do have some very fond memories and some very good friends from there, so it passes for where I’m from, such as it is. I’ve lived in Utah, Texas, South Carolina, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Wisconsin, California, Indiana, the Netherlands, and Germany. I’m generally of the opinion that Los Angeles is the worst place on Earth, and after living there for a year, I was very sad to find out that it will not fall into the sea due to an enormous earthquake. My previous least favorite place to live, New Orleans, already got smacked hard enough by Ma Nature for both of them, I guess. My husband claims this is my fault; I, however, fervently deny any such abuse of my superpowers.
I now live in suburban Munich with my lovely husband, Christian, and our adorable little boy.