Writing is powerful. It constantly amazes me that 26 letters, simply arranged in different ways, have the capacity to inspire, spread critical knowledge, and transform people. Writing can also entertain, or provide the comic relief someone desperately needs that day.
I have always been fascinated by letters and the infinite possibilities of arrangement. When most children wanted to go to the toy store, I spent my spare time and money picking out pens and notebooks. I am forever in search of the perfect pen. As much as I am attached to my laptop, I always carry paper and a good pen with me wherever I go.
When I was a sophomore at Lehigh University I was impatient. I could not wait any longer to start my career as a writer. Like the poet and author Mary Karr wrote in her memoir, Lit, I was also “crazed to see my name in print, which would prove poethood.” Unfortunately looking back on my early work, I can relate to Karr who, “mailed to hapless editors work bad enough that–in retrospect–I’m surprised the rejections didn’t come with a cyanide pill.” After some refining, I was lucky enough to meet a wonderful woman, also a poet, who saw some talent in a naive twenty-year old. She was the founder of Costa Publishing which printed my first book, Quote Unquote–a collection of poetry.
Also as a sophomore, I took an “Intro to Anthro” course and fell in love. I’ve always been quite nerdy, but my thirst for Anthropological knowledge perpetuated my tendencies. I could not learn enough. I graduated from Lehigh University with a B.A. in Anthropology and a M.A. in Political Science (also a strong interest of mine).
Most of my time at school in Pennsylvania was spent reading, researching, writing, and editing in the library. If you’ve ever been to Pennsylvania, you understand why the library with heat and air conditioning was my refuge. It’s too cold in the winter, and too hot and humid in the summer to be outside.
To take a break from reading and writing I began running. The more intense my work became, the more I ran. Eventually I was running 26.2 miles. This new hobby, that counter-balanced sitting at my desk writing for sixteen hours a day, also lead to a permanent interest in health and wellness. Out of necessity, really, because I quickly realized it is not possible to run a marathon without proper training and nutrition. Trust me, I had plenty of injuries to prove it.
Considering my love for knowledge and anthropology, I pursued opportunities to live abroad in Europe and Africa. These experiences furthered my interest in wellness. I saw examples of healthier ways to live in different cultures, and became very interested in how to bring that information home–and share it with others through writing. I also became aware of how fortunate Americans are to have access to many resources, like food and medical services, not typically available to those in developing countries. Knowledge of the devastating health conditions I witnessed in parts of Africa definitely affected my decision to work for the Myelin Repair Foundation (MRF), a nonprofit medical research foundation, when I moved to California.
In my role as the research operations manager at the MRF I learned a tremendous amount about chronic illness, and specifically autoimmune diseases. The process of drug development in both the academic and pharmaceutical setting was also invaluable information I gained in the position. The personal effects of chronic illness were my genuine motivation for me to work in this field. Optimal health is vital to quality of life. The best way I can help others improve their health is to write about cutting-edge health news, and deliver it to the community.
My subsequent position as the managing editor at Bay Bella Publishing proved invaluable to improve my creative non-fiction writing and editing skills. Experiencing the exciting world of magazines was an added bonus.
Over the last few years I have had the fortunate opportunity to live in Mexico and Poland. Additionally I got to travel to Southeast Asia, Egypt, and other parts of Europe. I also recently became a mother. As a result, my writing in the field of health has broadened to include children and cultural differences in addressing the health needs. Much of my current research, writing, and blog focus on applied pediatric anthropology with the goal of improving the health and well being of children globally.
It’s been an interesting journey, but I am pleased to have reached the point in my life where writing is not only my passion, it is my profession … and purpose.