I started out as the Puffin at the National Aquarium in Baltimore, dancing around and delighting children who were lucky enough to get to spend some time in that magnificent space.
For several summers I was a counselor at math camp -- a summer camp that had high-level math, science and engineering classes in place of canoeing (though we did that once a session) and swimming (though that was an option for an hour or so most days).
Passed through the magnificent Page One desk at USA Today, with multiple front page bylines thanks to Newsline, on my way to becoming foreign desk news aide & first woman blogger at the Washington Post in its last full breaths before being taken over by a monolith, at the beginning of the buyouts. I interviewed world leaders, was part of the Speakers Bureau there, appeared on tv and radio, produced tv and radio, wrote editorials and features and once even landed on the federal page in a (typically journalistic navel-gazing but very sweet) snippet about the time a secret service dog alerted on a package under my desk and caused the entire newsroom to be evacuated in advance of the Iraqi president's arrival.
My chief goal in journalism was to help bring about a more fully informed electorate. I resigned when it started to feel -- what with the increasing emphasis on clicks and page views and speed over accuracy and depth, and the severe cuts targeted toward foreign bureaus, investigative staff, and the crucial editing that had once ensured quality -- that my classical journalistic aim was no longer in alignment with modern newsroom values.
For upwards now of a decade I've happily spent my time as a researcher and editor -- and occasionally very reluctantly writing. These efforts are primarily in service to an awesome conservative think tank full of a variety of top-notch scholars who, though more than occasionally disagreeing with each other, have a common purpose in studying and safeguarding the virtues, values, and fundamental rights that undergird our free society -- a vital enterprise that is very close to my heart.
And over the past few years, I've become the day-to-day manager and swiss army knife for a band of unbelievably talented, superkind, superswish bluegrass hip-hop musicians touring around the world bringing disparate people together through music. At this very moment, we're putting together an album called No Time for Enemies that has been underway since well before it was so obvious that such an album is sorely needed.
A champion debater back in the day -- and top woman speaker at the national championships my last year of college -- I use my spare time to teach public speaking and op-ed writing and do media trainings and interview prep for students and professionals.
Also constantly battling lifelong ADD that causes my prefrontal cortex to go dark and me to get verrrrry sleepy when I try to do something important, like write or meet a deadline. Hydration helps.
My circle of friends is exceptionally diverse in every way -- background and family history, lifestyle, employment or lack thereof, politics, interests. There are hardcore socialists and hardcore conservatives, musicians and lawyers and librarians and retail clerks and doctors and security guards and teachers and scientists and artists and journalists and sailors and inventors and public servants, wealthy and poor, southerners and northerners and midwesterners and people from all over the world, people of every beautiful shade and many different religious affiliations. (Though not all, alas; zoroastrians are hard to find.)
We have much more in common than not, and engagement with each other and mutual respect and appreciation and laughter even -- especially! -- when we disagree are the ways to finding that common ground, which is vital for our mutual survival.