Individual Skill Development and Enhancement
In the third grade, my teacher called my parents to report I’d been drawing in my textbook during class and not paying attention. Instead of punishing me, my mother signed me up for painting lessons as a healthy outlet for creativity. (She also had my vision checked… turned out I couldn’t see the board and needed glasses.) From a young age, and through high school and college, I was lucky to have caretakers, mentors, and teachers who encouraged creative expression, and even tailored their lessons to my preferred learning styles. I struggled with anxiety, especially while navigating my parents’ divorce, and though my grades were mediocre, I loved learning and being challenged: devouring books, taking a creative approach to an assignment, or trying new mediums like photography, film, drawing, painting, quilting, and sewing textiles or clothes. By the time I was a senior, my grades had improved, so I became a teacher’s assistant for the film photography course, and enrolled in additional courses outside of school, including portfolio development, documentary filmmaking, and alternative photographic processes. Social and classroom situations often triggered anxiety, but learning new things and creative outlets became healthy coping mechanisms.
At eighteen, I moved from New England to northern California for college. After a year of undergraduate studies in CA, I sought experiential learning opportunities and spent two semesters traveling and volunteering in India. In four years, I transferred to seven colleges: living, working, and studying in California, Maine, Virginia, New Hampshire, Oregon, and periodically in Asia. I obtained a BA in Creative Writing, a TEFL Certification to teach English as a foreign language, and an MFA in Creative Writing. Though I took a nontraditional and winding path through education, my underlying focus was language, communication, storytelling, and narrative. The experiences outside the classroom were just as formative as the textbooks.
Since graduating, I’ve helped over seventy writers as an editor and consultant. Since 2022, I have been the prose editor for the literary journal Barstow & Grand. I teach writing workshops online and in person, and participate in my own writing practice, which includes seeking mentorship and support from other writers, as well as a therapist to work on personal and professional growth. Outside work and writing, I enjoy being outdoors, and learning somatic therapy techniques. You can find me hiking or on long walks year-round, ice skating or playing pond hockey in the winter, and swimming, kayaking or paddle boarding in the summer. I also sew clothes as a hobby, knowing it’s important to have a creative outlet that’s recreational and not work.