One of two siblings, I was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico in 1991. My older sister and I are 15th generation New Mexicans.
When I was born, my father was a public school teacher and my mother was in nursing school. After my mother completed nursing school, her and my father moved us up to Kotzebue — or Kikiktagruk — Alaska, a small village 30 miles north of the Arctic Circle located on a peninsula protruding into the Chukchi Sea and creating the Kotzebue Sound. The population there of just over 3,000 is mostly Iñupiat and the experience of living there as child shaped who I am and where my passions lie today. If interested, see my blog post "Battered, Breached and Bleached", which details some of my experiences from that time.
My family eventually moved back to Albuquerque so my mom could pursue her dream of becoming a midwife. I attended Wilson Middle School in the officially named "International District" but the colloquially referred to "War Zone" of Albuquerque. My dad was also a teacher there.
After Wilson, I attended Highland High School in the same neighborhood and just a few blocks away from my house. I worked as a lifeguard at Wilson Pool during the summers. After Highland, I attended the University of New Mexico. I started in August of 2009 and also got my first of many restaurant jobs then. I graduated cum laude in December of 2013 with a BBA in marketing.
Having stayed home for college, I was eager for a change of scenery. I moved to Breckenridge, Colorado and later Mt. Baker, Washington. When moving to Mt. Baker in 2015, I drove my 1986 Toyota Land Cruiser, outfitted for "glamping," up the West Coast and along the Pacific Highway. I spent about a month living out of that truck and it wasn't until I hit the Bay Area and got a job as a snowboard instructor via the internet that I decided I was actually moving to Washington — not just going on a long road trip.
During this time, I lived a carefree life where chasing powder days on the mountain was the most important thing. However, I didn't feel challenged, and so I began applying to masters programs from the Mt. Baker employee lodge.
I got into all the programs I applied for but the University of Nevada, Reno made me the best offer. I worked that summer at the Chuckanut Manor in Bow, Washington as a bartender and left for Reno in August of 2016.
I immediately fell in love with Reno. With an expansive desert on one side and grand mountains on the other, the blue-collar city felt like my home, Albuquerque.
For my thesis project, I wrote, produced, shot, edited and directed a 30-minute documentary centering around Pyramid Lake, a thought-to-be extinct fish, and the struggle of the indigenous Pyramid Lake Paiute people to preserve their homeland. I graduated with a Master's in Media Innovation from the University in May 2018.
While working a few service industry jobs, I did freelance writing and photography for Reno News & Review over the summer.
In September, I moved to Washington D.C. for an internship on the NewsDesk at NPR, which lasted until December 2018. You can find some of my work for both RN&R and NPR on my +PUBLISHED page.
Coming back to New Mexico, I will start a six-month fellowship at Outside Magazine in January 2019.