I am a writer passionate about translating science, technology, and history to middle-grade and young adult audiences with an engaging (narrative) perspective.
But, it wasn’t always this way…
As a kid, I didn’t like to write. I was the one who used the biggest handwriting possible to fill the one or two pages assigned as quickly as possible. I loved reading (a lot!), but my focus was always math and science.
I went to undergrad at Bucknell University and studied both Mechanical Engineering and English. To me, it was the perfect combination! I spent my semesters running between buildings and thinking about Thoreau while designing gears and worrying about internal shear while reading Dickinson. (The American Romantics were my favorite 🙂 ) I wouldn’t have enjoyed either engineering or English much without the other. It was the start of melding my two loves – science and books.
After graduation, I went to developing hybrid cars. It was interesting, but I felt like something was missing.
While working, I went to graduate school at night. There, back in the labs and textbooks, I finally realized what was missing. At my day job, there was never any raw discovery, no search for a great answer to an involved question. I needed to be learning something new. I needed to create something the world had never seen before.
So, I quit my job.
I went back to school (again!). At the University of Virginia, I earned another M.S. in Mechanical Engineering. The school was a fantastic, energetic place to be, filled with passionate people all eager to push the bounds of what we know. There were new subjects to master in class and new problems to explore in the lab. (and, a husband to meet on the softball field 😉 But, that’s a different story…)
My research focused on elite athlete tolerance to injury. Working with the NFL, I described the risk for Turf Toe injuries for professional football players. I tested, analyzed data, and synthesized the results into a meaningful conclusion.
And, most importantly, I started to write.
One of the hallmarks of academia is publishing peer-reviewed journal articles, and I spent a lot of time learning how to write. With a degree in English, you might think that I’d have figured this out already. (and, perhaps I should have…) But – and here’s a secret! – an English degree just means you know how to read, not how to write. I had a lot to learn about transitions, logical flow and progression, writing for an audience, and keeping to a strict word count.
I loved it. The more I learned, the more I published, the more I wanted to write.
With a 130-page thesis and 7 articles to my name, I graduated and moved to Dayton, Ohio to research gait biometrics at Wright-Patterson Air Force base. And I kept on publishing. It got to the point that I wanted to do projects just to have the fun of writing and seeing the results in print.
These days, I no longer work as an engineer, but I am still constantly researching. The same quest for answers that led me to academics spirits my searches and stories. I get excited about questions like “What do we know about the first milliseconds of the universe’s life?” or “Who designs roller coasters and how?” or “How did we beat the Russians to the moon?”
The challenge of explaining the answers to young audiences drives me to understand the smallest details in the simplest terms. Creating articles and books that explain the beautiful complexity of the universe is the best job I can think of.
There is an endless, fascinating world in and around us with fascinating people leading our discovery of it. I am honored to write about it all.
So, that’s the story of what I write and why. I’ve created a page called “Adventures” to help show some other aspects of my life and things I find interesting. I’ve done a fair amount of traveling and had some pretty wonderful adventures so far – every bit of it colors my writing.
I also love coffee ice cream.
I live outside of Dayton, Ohio with my husband, son, and daughter. They are my everything.