I began working for the American Society on Aging in September 2017, covering events for the AgeBlog, while editing content for the online editions of Generations, ASA’s gerontology journal and Aging Today, the association’s bimonthly newspaper. Interviewed experts on senior virtual reality technology, reframing language as a tool toward ending ageism and advocates for elder justice in Washington, D.C. Earned a certificate in Fundamentals of Gerontology from the University of Southern California’s Leonard Davis School of Gerontology.
While working full-time for ASA from the East Coast, I also managed the online presence of Kinston Bluesman James Shorty Smith, who I met as I closed out my art nonprofit work in Kinston. This project led to the February 2018 release of his first online album, The Bluesman, and a live, on-air interview in Carrboro with WCOM-LP 103.5 FM’s Marc “The Bluesman” Lee in December 2019. Shorty was finishing up work on his sophomore album, Kinston Blues, when he died in May 2020.
In August 2017, I began a writer’s residency at Weymouth Center for Arts and Humanities in Southern Pines, N.C. where I set an outline for a book cataloging my experiences as a reporter who traveled across the southeast to find out the truth beyond the headlines. While given access to an old pine forest of walking paths for inspiration and an immaculate garden, I also met writers from all over North Carolina.
In September 2015, a former editor recommended me for a job as executive director for the SmART Kinston City Project Foundation, a nonprofit in Lenoir County and I returned to Eastern North Carolina. Along with overseeing an artist colony project as part of grant-writing efforts in excess of $80,000 and resulting in the town being added to the state’s list of SmART Cities eligible for additional arts and creative placemaking grant funding.
While recruiting artists, writers and musicians to the arts colony, I continued writing for print media, including Kinston Magazine, The Kinston Free Press and their magazine subsidiaries, and followed Donald Trump on the campaign trail as he passed through North and South Carolina. Won third place in professional color photography from the Wayne Regional Agricultural Fair in 2016. I also worked as a correspondent for the Raleigh-based News and Observer and their high school sports subsidiary PrepsNow and developed a journalism lab for covering news, including elections and the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew.
In March 2013, The Brownsville Herald in the Rio Grande Valley hired me as metro reporter to cover the Cameron County commissioner’s court, Brownsville’s city hall and their intersections with the rest of the world as a border city of more than 200,000 set in the southernmost tip of Texas. Reported on colonias, areas removed from city jurisdiction with little in the way of utilities, and the development of the SpaceX launchpad at Boca Chica Beach. Received Honorable Mention for short feature writing from the Texas Associated Press Managing Editors.
After graduating in 2010, I began working full-time for the Goldsboro News-Argus, my hometown newspaper, as the metro reporter, covering City Hall during a recession and the aftermath of BRAC, base relocation and closure, which had only recently left Seymour Johnson Air Force Base intact. I embedded with 916th Air Refueling Wing, riding aboard a KC135 Stratotanker to refuel the Air Force Thunderbirds and documented the 4th Security Forces Squadron on their 145-mile leg of the 9/11 Ruck March to Remember from Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio to Ground Zero in Lower Manhattan. Other headlines include the hotly debated, state-ordered “deannexation” of one Goldsboro’s most wealthy neighborhoods. Gubernatorial candidates passed through fabled Wilber’s Barbecue and nearby Kinston, but when the presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church in the United States made a visit to a migrant congregation in Newton Grove, I was drawn to learn more about the stories on the U.S.-Mexico border for myself.
In February 2010, my journalism minor program connected me with The Garner Citizen, a community weekly that had recently lost its full-time sports editor. I took over coverage and management of the sports section and received two awards for sportswriting from the N.C. Press Association.
The N.C. State Student Media Board of Directors appointed me in May 2009 to lead Technician, the university’s daily newspaper as editor-in-chief. Scandals from the governor’s mansion dominated headlines throughout Raleigh during my time as EIC, with spillover leading to the resignation of the university’s chancellor and provost. H1N1 upended student schedules
N.C. State B.A., history; minors in journalism and women’s and gender studies