My resume looks like I joined the witness protection program. Very few could connect the dots between leading bike trips across Europe, counting cholera beds in Darfur and interviewing inmates at maximum security prisons in Texas. But different as they were, each endeavor, in its own way, was a dream job for me. I’ve had the great fortune to pursue each curiosity until I was standing in the middle of it, still trying to figure it all out.
Over the years I’ve had to take some of the crazier stuff off of the CV (if anyone asks, it’s true that I survived for several months on commission from burritos I sold at a Tijuana taco shack in Paris’ Latin Quarter in the late nineties) to leave room for the more serious pursuits. After I got my masters in public health at Tulane, I spent most of the following years in Africa, working as an epidemiologist for Doctors Without Borders (I still do, occasionally). I chased measles, meningitis, war and malnutrition across Congo, Nigeria, Sudan, Zimbabwe and the Somali border, talking to mamas, working with doctors and nurses and playing with more bright-eyed, full of beans kiddos than anyone has a right to. That’s a pretty hard act to follow – so hard, in fact, that when I returned to the US to settle down a bit I had to look for another challenge. Enter: journalism.
For a curious person that probably asks three-to-four too many questions of total strangers than is socially acceptable, journalism is a great front. Congo is exotic, yes, but I got to stick my arm all the way up a pregnant cow in the Texas Hill Country for a story I wrote in my journalism masters program! That program also led me to work at the law school Innocence Clinic, where the human rights concerns I witnessed in Africa were not so far away after all.
All of this to say: I’m a writer now. And always looking for the next curiosity to discover, explore and put to words.