In 2013 I graduated Summa Cum Laude from Gettysburg College with a degree in Economics and Sustainability, focusing on energy economics. Until college I barely left the state, let alone the country. Yet in four years I traveled to more countries than I traveled to states in the first 18 years of my life. I learned about sustainable development in Denmark and experienced a huge variety of transportation systems throughout Europe. The juxtaposition between wealth and extreme poverty in the Dominican Republic forever changed how I thought about my own, somewhat rocky childhood. And the years without experiencing the world, without knowing my own country, left me with an itch to travel.
The summer after graduation I spent bicycling across the United States, roughly following the Northern Tier route for 4,432 miles with 4K for Cancer, a charity ride organized for the Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults. Along the way I raised over $9,000 for young adults with cancer and organized a dozen service events for my team to present award checks and assist in cancer care centers. When I arrived in Seattle at the end of that summer I knew I needed to find a job because Seattle was not home, and I knew Pennsylvania was not the place for me. Armed with a duffel bag, a book bag, and the support of friends and family I searched for a job and found a position in a food bank where I coordinated the home-delivery program and supervised over 50 volunteers. This began a new chapter in my life, on I’d probably title “Searching.”
For the next three years I held seven positions and lived in six apartments, never quite finding finding my niche but never giving up the search. I helped launch Seattle’s first bike share, campaigned to pass Seattle’s largest transportation ballot measure in history, and developed street safety improvement’s to further Seattle’s Vision Zero. Between these transportation jobs I served as a substitute courier delivering essential blood products to hospitals throughout the region, assisted a new bike-delivery startup change the way goods move throughout the city, and experienced the new ‘app’ economy as a contractor for a tech valet service.
As I embark on my new great adventure I cannot help but think about how much Seattle has given me and how much I leave behind. The Seattle Department of Transportation is doing great things in a city still struggling to overcome the “war on cars” mentality. Leaving was no easy decision. Still, the road calls to me. For the next six months I will explore the western and southern United States and reconnect with small-town America. Follow me on my adventure!
Areas of Expertise (coming soon)