Education: Bachelor’s Degree, Southern Illinois University
Who are you?
I am the beneficiary of public education in Chicago and southern Illinois. I attended Chicago Public Schools for kindergarten through 12th grade and witnessed dedicated teachers labor to shape young minds into productive futures. I transitioned from the big city to rural town during my college years at Southern Illinois University. It was in this small university town that the world opened up to me. I got my first taste of independent living and decision making, learned to balance academics and leisure activities, and met international students from all parts of the world through my boyfriend who was an instructor in the English as a Second Language Program. My intellectual and cultural journey of primary, secondary and higher education progressively shaped my personal development and stimulated a lifelong interest in expanding my knowledge base.
What are your hobbies?
As a youth, my fondest memories include the weekly summer outing. My father would take the family to the park or lakefront to relax and enjoy the beauty of nature. As an adult, connecting with natural wonders has been an ongoing passion and I have visited national treasures such as Niagara Falls, Grand Canyon, Muir Woods, Yosemite, Red Rocks of Sedona, Columbia River Gorge, Rocky Mountains, Mount Rainier, the Badlands, and the annual Buffalo Roundup in South Dakota. I have traveled abroad to see the beauty and power of nature in Costa Rica, Jaguar Reserve in Belize, and the Caribbean islands. I love the water—staring hypnotically into the movement, depth, color and power instills a sense of serenity, balance and connection with the universe. I live close to Lake Michigan so I can regularly engage in this communion.
My father was a great storyteller who used stories as a vehicle to recount family history and create captivating experiences and memories. I love stories told through books, film, video and theater, as well as stories told more abstractly through music, art and dance. I enjoy listening to life stories—everyone has unique stories to share. When I visit art museums, I take docent led tours to hear the stories about works of art. When I travel, I enjoy taking guided tours by land and water of local attractions to hear the stories. One of my greatest thrills was being inside the historic Apollo Mission Control Center at NASA and later hearing a recording of the famous words spoken by Neil Armstrong as he stood on the moon, “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” The most profound experience while touring was standing before the Lorraine Motel balcony where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated.
When I was a teenager, I would tour neighborhoods to sight see the places where people lived and worked, and from this grew a love of architectural sightseeing tours. I have toured ancient Egyptian and Mayan pyramids and ruins, experienced the genius of Frank Lloyd Wright in Illinois and Wisconsin, and gazed upon the sculptured presidents on Mount Rushmore. I strolled the round-trip course of the Golden Gate Bridge with the scenic beauty of the San Francisco Bay area surrounding me. I have visited George Washington’s Mt. Vernon Estate, Henry Ford Estate, Frederick Douglas Home, Oak Alley Plantation, Graceland, the Taos Pueblo and a host historic homes of various architectural styles throughout the United States, as practically every city has historic homes and most are open to the public. “House Hunters International” is one of my favorite television shows as it allows me to tour homes all over the world.
What makes your job great?
I love working with numbers and enjoy managing administrative functions that support the organization.
When did you come to Healthy Schools Campaign?
Why did you join Healthy Schools Campaign?
I’ve had the privilege of working for organizations with missions that were beneficial and admirable. However, Healthy Schools Campaign’s mission to empower youth with the foundation to proactively shape a healthy future spoke to my heart due to a life changing personal challenge. When I was in college, a doctor recommended surgery for a condition I was able to later resolve with the simple routine of drinking 6-8 glasses of clean water each day and eliminating the soft drinks that I started to drink during college. This was a seminal event that led to the pursuit of health through nutrition and lifestyle. The focus on health maintenance through knowledgeable self-care is increasingly recognized as an important aspect of health care and is essential to combating diseases that are preventable and manageable through a healthy lifestyle.
Where does your motivation come from?
My motivation comes from my parents who taught me to strive to achieve excellence and “Be a Good Girl.”