About Me

The purpose of this page is to provide some biographical information about me, Ben Schumin, the owner and operator of The Schumin Web.

As a child, mid-1980sEarly years

I was born on May 30, 1981 at John F. Kennedy Memorial Hospital (now Jefferson Stratford Hospital) in Stratford, New Jersey.  My family lived in Glassboro, New Jersey, and I attended an early childhood preschool at Glassboro State College (now Rowan University).  My sister, Ann, was born in December 1984, making our family complete.

In early 1985, my family moved to Rogers, Arkansas, where we lived for just over seven years.  In Rogers, I attended a final year of preschool, and completed elementary school.  I was involved in the school system’s gifted and talented program, as well as a Taekwondo (ATA) club at Walton Life Fitness Center.

My time in Arkansas was something of a mixed bag.  On one hand, I learned a lot about the world in Rogers, spending the middle part of childhood there.  On the other hand, I had many problems with the Rogers public school system.  While I had, for the most part, good times in kindergarten, first and second grades, relations with the school took a turn for the worse starting in third grade.  Things were no better in fourth grade, and it hit rock bottom in fifth.  I’ve written about these experiences in more detail over the years in the Journal.

In August 1992, we moved from Rogers, Arkansas to Stuarts Draft, Virginia.  Being in a new town and a new school was a good change for me, as the problems that we had with school in Rogers did not reappear.  Middle school was, overall, a good experience, and definitely my favorite of the schools that I attended.

I started high school in 1995.  High school wasn’t as awesome as middle school was, but I made the best of it.

Beginning of the website

Late in my freshman year of high school, I started this website.  The Schumin Web began on March 23, 1996, as Ben Schumin’s Home on the Internet.  The site was four pages, consisting of the home page, a page about me, a “News of the Week” page (a forerunner to the modern Journal), and a page of links.  The site evolved quickly back in the early days, as I routinely tried out new designs, new formats, and new features.

In September 1996, my “News of the Week” became rather controversial, for an understandable reason: I tended to comment on my school life, naming names in the process, and the school staff didn’t like that.  Thus began a rather rough relationship between the school in regards to the website, because it was something available for reading by the public that discussed their school, and sometimes providing criticism of their policies, that they couldn’t control.  My writings were truthful, and thus I wasn’t doing anything wrong, but because they were the adults, I was assumed wrong by default (how dare you criticize school staff!).

Microwave cooking program at Potomac HallCollege

I graduated high school in June 1999, and began my studies at James Madison University the following fall.  I initially majored in business information systems, but later changed my major to public administration, which was a much better fit.  While in college, I was active in the Presbyterian Campus Ministry group, and worked as a resident advisor for two years in Potomac Hall (now called Chandler Hall).  College was a very stressful time in my life.  I wasn’t that great of a student in college, but somehow, I managed, and graduated in December 2003.  My adventures during college are documented in the College Life section of the website.

The website matured a bit in college, though not as much as it would in later years.  Framesets, introduced in 1996, were dropped in fall 1999, and I would redesign the site on an annual basis during that period.  In fall 2000, I introduced sections for the first time, and started doing a lot of photography with my first Sony Mavica camera.  In any case, the website that existed when I graduated college was much changed from the one that existed when I entered.  This period was also when Schumin Web started to become better known, as I was featured in a UK men’s magazine, as well as a few other places.

Life after college

Immediately after college, I didn’t have much of a plan.  I was working at a job that I was very overqualified for while figuring out what I wanted to do with things.  I wanted to move to the Washington DC region, and was going up there about once every two weeks, typically exploring around via Metro and photographing things.  I also got involved in various political causes during this period, mostly related to anti-war topics.

This period immediately after college was one of great stability for the website.  I redesigned in October 2004 to a classic style, and the site would not receive another major redesign for nearly eight years.  However, the content improved greatly, as my writing and my photography became noticeably better over this period.

In early 2007, I was fired from my job that I was overqualified for, and quickly found what had appeared to be the perfect job with a nonprofit consumer group in Washington DC, where I helped manage operations.  I moved to an apartment in Aspen Hill, Maryland in May 2007, and began a new life in the DC area.  I was still into activism, and was enjoying my work for the most part, which dovetailed nicely with the earlier activism that I’d been involved with.

2011 and 2012 were periods of great transition for the website.  I converted the site to run on WordPress, which was quickly followed by a redesign in order to complete the transformation.

At the Silver Line grand opening in Reston, VirginiaIn 2013, I left my nonprofit job and changed the direction of my career, going from nonprofit operations management to public transportation.  I have always been a transit enthusiast, and with my parting ways with the nonprofit group, it only made sense to follow my passion.  In late 2014, I became a bus operator with a large regional transit agency, and in mid-2016, I became a train operator.  Things had seemingly come full circle, as I began to operate the services that I had admired for so many years.  My agency is one where people tend to stay for many years, which to me meant stability, and that it was possible to spend a career there vs. spending a couple of years there and then going somewhere else like often happened in the nonprofit sector.

I became a homeowner in 2017, purchasing a townhouse in Montgomery Village, Maryland, and leaving my apartment of ten years.  I consider it a commitment to the area in which I live, because purchasing a home indicates that I’m sticking around for the long term, and that Montgomery County is where I live.  Homeownership is certainly an exciting adventure, and I’m up to the challege.

So that’s a little bit about me.  Now watch it all unfold as it happens in the Journal

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