Growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area, I had a passion for both journalism and psychology. At various times I wanted to pursue one more than the other. In 2001 I graduated from Williams College with honors in psychology. And then journalism won.
My first break (not counting the “Love of News” award bestowed on me by fellow high school newspaper students) came as a regular correspondent for the Boston Globe from 2001-2002. And whoa, Nelly, I recalled instantly what the high school reporter in me already knew: that discovering characters, unearthing news and evoking the great grit of humanity lit up my heart and mind. This was what I wanted to do. So I crossed my fingers, quit my day job as a clinical research coordinator at Massachusetts General Hospital, and jumped into journalism.
I landed a job as a staff writer at the Eagle-Tribune of Lawrence, Mass., a medium-sized daily where I worked from 2002-2005. On a community beat and then the education beat, I made myself a part of suburban North Andover and later urban Lawrence. It was at the ‘Trib’ that I learned to press local officials with tough questions, knock on the doors of grieving families and steer deftly through the controlled chaos of a daily newsroom. I also was fortunate to work on a team that won a Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News.
In 2005 I joined the staff of Edutopia, a national magazine and website published by the George Lucas Educational Foundation and dedicated to telling the stories of innovation in K-12 public education. Throughout my five-year tenure my role there grew from staff writer to multimedia producer to senior producer, as I added audio and video skills to my repertoire and took on more leadership. Among other duties, I edited Edutopia’s Health section, directed video shoots in the field and coached fellow staff and freelancers to produce their own multimedia.
In early 2011 I had the opportunity to spend four months living in Mexico, getting to know the culture in all its captivating complexity and gaining fluent Spanish. Since then, I have worked to weave Latino issues into the core of my reporting. I’m inspired by how being bilingual allows me to cross the borders that exist within our own country; in those cultural borderlands live dynamic, ever-evolving questions that touch the core of the U.S., its Latin American neighbors, our histories and our future.
From late 2011 to 2012, I covered public health full-time for the Sacramento Bee in a grant-funded position focused on minority and low-income communities. I also have written for the Atlantic online, the New York Times, the San Francisco Bay Citizen and Parenting magazine. Now I serve part-time as multimedia editor for TED Books and report regularly for KQED radio.
Outside of work, you’ll typically find me reading, cooking, salsa dancing, watching Giants baseball or hiking through the beautiful hills around the San Francisco Bay. I feel lucky.