About Me

I was born in Walla Walla, Washington. I grew up in Southern California and both Eastern and Western Washington. When I was six years old, we moved to Redmond, and spent the rest of my childhood and adolescence moving around the Eastside of the Seattle area, near Microsoft, where I was exposed to science and technology. I tinkered with electronics and computers, constructed science experiments, read encyclopedias and sci fi, and lugged around my favorite book: The Way Things Work by David Macaulay everywhere. I developed into a creative engineer.

I was in my elementary school's gifted program and the namesake of the school made me interested in electricity and plasma science. My young astronauts club teacher was in Amelia Earhart's society of women pilots, who introduced me to spaceflight and aviation and left me dreaming of becoming an astronaut. I took classes like video production, engineering, and photoshop in middle school, and a biotechnology class at Juanita High School where we tracked coyote families with their DNA and spliced plasmid vectors from jelly fish and fungi into E. coli. I played flute and clarinet in band, acted in school theatre programs, sang at church, wrote poetry and fiction, painted and took pictures. I was athletic, too—I played basketball and softball, ran track and field, was on flag and drill teams in middle school, and in high school, gymnastics and dance teams. My junior year, I was accepted into a program that allowed students to take college courses for dual credit at Cascadia and Bellevue Community Colleges.

Shockingly, that promising youth ended in my dropping out of high school. I had moved out my junior year after many tumulutuous years in my homelife and was struggling to make ends meet. My life had been hard and I had no support system. I became a single mother soon afterward and wondered if I could code for a job. As it turned out, I could.

A Software Engineer

From 2006 through 2011, I programmed primarily as a freelancer and worked full-time jobs in food service, moving around the country to follow my ex. I tried to go to college several times: for biotechnology, meteorology, environmental science, web design, web development, photography, and architecture. I had gotten high SAT scores and was accepted into every school I applied to, but nothing was sticking. Finally, I enrolled at the University of Missouri in St. Louis and declared an Astrophysics major. I was hooked. I tried desperately to make it work, but immediately took a leave of absence and eventually stopped enrolling. I loved it, but working two and three minimum wage jobs and taking care of a toddler left no room for my education. I scored a 99 on the ASVAB and seriously considered joining the Air Force for the financial stability, leaving my daughter in the care of my ex's parents.

I was barely surviving and facing eviction when a USA Today Digital Products recruiter reached out in the fall of 2011. Weeks later my life changed completely and my daughter and I moved to Northern Virginia, near DC, and my successful software career began.

From 2011 to 2023, I worked as a software engineer for big companies like Activision Blizzard, Starbucks, and Apple, and a few startups here and there. I spoke at conferences, contributed to open source software development, and mentored other women in tech. I became a fierce advocate for change and championed internal change and even legislation that protected workers and fostered equitible, inclusive policies and fair pay. In 2023, I worked with the ACLU of Washinton to strengthen the state's protections of health-related data extrapolated from AI algorithms to be in line with HIPAA protections. I used my Twitter platform to hold corporations and powerful people in technology accountable for the ways women are devalued and pushed out of the industry.

In 2023, I began freelancing as I was pushed out of the industry after holding Apple accountable with the federal government in public. By becoming a whistleblower, I changed many laws in Washington state and assisted with a federal law. I got a literary agent and an offer for a book deal to write my memoir. But I was hiding something and couldn't write my way around it. I fled life-threatening domestic violence and graduated from the Personal Empowerment Program in 2023.

A Scientist

Since then, I've finished my first semester of college at Orange Coast College with Honors and a 4.0 as a Physics major—complete with a 100% in Single Variable Calculus. I am a NASA Community College Aerospace Scholar and am currently a fellow in NASA's Lucy Student Pipeline Accelerator and Competency Enabler Grant Proposal Writing Academy. I work at the community planetarium as a presenter, but I am also hard at work in the background with grant proposal writing.

I am a part of leadership in many clubs and helped found the nation's first Honor Society for Computer Science students at a two-year college—Iota Xi. I was selected as a Jeannette Rankin National Scholar and won a scholarship from the Orange Coast College foundation as well. I hope during my time in community college I can leave a lasting positive impact for community science and public policy.

My goal is to complete my associate's degree in science and to transfer to obtain a bachelor's of science degree in Astrophysics and Planetary Science. I plan to pursue master's degrees in Cryospheric and Atmospheric Sciences and Astrophysics and a doctorate in Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences. I ultimately hope to do research with NASA and academic institutions to find and explore ocean worlds and uncover the history of Earth's life from the birth of our solar system through the study of other stellar-planetary systems.