Happy People Happy Communities
I have been circling around an all-inclusive philosophy that incorporates my varied interests. "Happy People Happy Communities." By providing people with the infrastructure to live happy lives (city and regional planning for healthy food, nourishing neighborhoods, accessible bike paths), and the support to raise flourishing and educated children, they can in turn focus on their creative inclination (which my book will help them do). If the infrastructure (read planning) in a society supports people's basic needs, they can start to fulfill their potential. When people feel fulfilled, they can take care of the meta-issues of environmental care instead of just trying to scrape by. This is my working philosophy to describe how the things I love tie together. Really, I'm just doing what I love and following those interests wherever they take me.
The hardest thing about having a website is defining a single focus. To give you a sense of how hard this is for me, here are a few of my main interests:
Firstly, I'd call myself a dancer. I grew up in Santa Fe to an artistic family. My mother has taught West African dance for thirty years here and my brother, sister-in-law, and father all participate. That's our community and while I've never considered that my focus, it's what I come back to and, in fact, what I got a Fulbright to study.
Next I'd call myself a parent. My husband and I have a daughter and we had been investigating pedagogical styles and parenting tips for years before even having her. Parenting, for my own child and for the children of our society is a great passion of mine and something I've always dabbled in (volunteering in schools, reading up on, conducting projects in other countries). About half of my home library is devoted to this topic, some of my favorites being "Raising Happiness" "Nurture Shock" and "The Smartest Kids in the World: and how they got that way".
"Professionally" I'm a planner. I work for local government as a community planner. That's what I got my master's degree in and another great passion of mine. Organizing the physical structures that form our society is where I see the greatest potential in mitigating environmental destruction. From where our food is grown, to how our towns are organized, to providing alternative transportation options to everyone, to dealing with waste water and sewage, these are the nuts and bolts of how we interact with environmental systems.
Finally, I'm beginning to call myself a writer, which brings me back to the website debacle. In my last year of graduate school, a book kept coming back to me and after I graduated I finally got a chance to write it. It turns out that writing it was the easy part. Selling it to a publisher and marketing it is the hard part. The book is about how to get funding to do what you love, titled Funded! and was released in May 2016.
Fellowships, Scholarships, Awards and Grants
- Fulbright Fellow, Senegal 2010-11
- Rotary Scholar, Senegal 2010-11
- Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellow, Cornell 2012-13
- Transportation Scholar, National Park Foundation/Bandelier 2013-16
- Kiva.org Microfinance Fellow, Cameroon 2008
- Cornell Community Partnership Grant, 2012-13, 2013-14
- Ruth Dietrich Tuttle Prize, Smith College 2009
- Harold Grinspoon Elevator Pitch Contest 2009
- Ticket to Ride, National Park Foundation/Disney 2015-16