I've long been awed by the power and beauty of well-told tales, and I decided early on that joining the ranks of the world's storytellers would be my life's pursuit – although I wasn't quite sure what shape that would take.
I studied English at Christopher Newport University in my hometown of Newport News and considered a career in journalism, but I ended up spending my first year after graduation telling stories in a different way: as a historical interpreter at Colonial Williamsburg. Although that position allowed me to scratch my storytelling itch, I missed writing and began looking for positions in journalism and public relations.
I was accepted into the U.S. Air Force's PALACE Acquire program for public affairs, and started at Langley Air Force Base's Air Combat Command the day before 9/11. Needless to say, it was an interesting time to begin working for the Air Force's warfighting command.
I spent three years working at Langley in both the Air Combat Command (ACC) and 1st Fighter Wing Public Affairs Offices. During that time, I also attended the Defense Information School's Public Affairs Officer Qualification Course at Fort Meade, Maryland.
After completing the Palace Acquire program, I became the chief of media relations for the 435th Air Base Wing at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, where I spent two years working with news agencies as they covered stories related to both the base and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
During my time with the Air Force, I was lucky enough to work in all three areas of Air Force public affairs: media relations, internal information and community relations. I wrote news stories and press releases, worked with press from around the world and organized special visits and events. I have been quoted as an Air Force spokesperson by various media outlets and had the privilege of traveling to such locations as the Republic of Georgia and even Iraq for a week to conduct public affairs work. I was also presented with several honors, including ACC's Print Journalist of the Year Award and the Air Force's Outstanding Public Affairs Entry-Level Civilian (MAJCOM Level) of the Year Award.
I returned to Virginia in 2006 and soon after took a "temporary" position at William & Mary as an information manager. Since then, I have served University Relations (now News & Media) as lead writer, news manager and, now, associate director of university news.
During my time at the university, I have also served on the campus-wide Diversity Committee as well as the Professionals and Professional Faculty Assembly, where I chaired the communications committee. I received a Diversity Recognition Award from the Office of Diversity and Equal Opportunity and a certificate of achievement from the W&M ROTC program for support of the military science department.
In William & Mary, I have found a never-ending source of compelling stories, and I look forward to telling them for many years to come.