I was born in Hartford, Connecticut and raised in Vernon. As a child I enjoyed nothing more than to be outdoors with a book, and that hasn’t really changed. I attended public school in Vernon-Rockville Connecticut from preschool on. I played mellophone in the RHS Marching “Ram” Band, was Head Delegate for the Model United Nations, contributed to The Rampage school newspaper, and was a member of the National Honor Society. I worked nearly full time as a supervisor at a local mega-plex movie theater, and umpired Little League baseball and softball games after school (which became high school fastpitch games when I got to college). I also hated high school with a passion. In fact, it was pretty much all downhill after fifth grade. This tension with my hometown and high school has made great fodder for writing ever since.
In the summer of 2007, I worked as an intern for Michelle Staudinger at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Massachusetts. I caught bluefish on hook and line for laboratory predator-prey experiments, helped set up experiments, analyze data, and did animal care. It was the first time I’d ever been paid to catch and study fish, and I vowed it wouldn’t be my last.
This summer (’08) I returned to Woods Hole and worked full time as a baker at Pie in the Sky Bakery and Cafe on Water Street. I also got the chance to work as a commercial striped bass fisherman for a couple weeks with Captain Nat Chalkley on the Annie P. I was almost continually sleep deprived, my hands bled and became infected, and I didn’t make much money, but I loved every minute. Catching fish for a living, even for a short amount of time, was literally a dream come true.
In addition, this summer I began work as a contractor for Sean Werle, Ph.D. of Axarus environmental consulting. We use SCUBA and snorkel gear to survey lakes and rivers around New England for endangered freshwater mussel species, which are potentially threatened by the creation of new bridges and other construction sites.
I have been fortunate enough to freelance for several publications, including The Journal Inquirer, The Daily Hampshire Gazette, and Bitch Magazine. I am also a contributor and columnist for C.O.D, the Cape and Islands Only Alternative Newspaper. My column, “Washing Ashore,” is about the transitions I’ve made moving to Cape Cod, and the hassles and triumphs therein. My passion is fishing, (I have several International Game Fish Association World Records), but my interests include virtually everything. I have written articles and essays about baseball, almonds, glassblowing, snowboarding, marketing, creationism, organic coffee, and the time I ate whale in Iceland. I will write about anyone, anytime, anywhere.
I’m currently 21 years old and finishing up my undergraduate degree at Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts. I am starting my Division III thesis project on the culture and science of fishing. Having grown up with a rod in my hand, I have always been fascinated by fish and the people who catch them. We are at a critical point in history for fisheries management. Science has shown beyond a shadow of a doubt that overfishing has stripped much of the world’s oceans, yet our hunger for fish, particularly species such as swordfish and bluefin tuna, remains. So does the culture of fishing. People, who for generations, have earned their living from the sea, and wish to continue doing so. This intersection of science, commercial fishing, recreational fishing, and culinary desires has brought us to where we are today, and it is this crossroads that I hope to document in my final year at Hampshire.
After graduation, it’s hard to say where I’ll end up. I will most likely return to Woods Hole to work in one of the several scientific laboratories there, be a commercial fisherman, a baker, a diver, or some combination of the four. Perhaps I’ll do something completely new. Long-term goals include getting my captain’s license, traveling to New Zealand, and hiking the Appalachian Trail.
Wherever I end up, however, I will always be writing and fishing.