I am a happiness engineer and team lead for the Zen team. I am currently nomading so who knows I could be in your city right now! I’m a self described introvert, minimalist, and optimist. I am a lifelong athlete who loves a long bike ride and a grueling lifting session at the gym. I always am up for any form of caffeine especially if it comes with a side of good conversation. I’m from Florida originally and am looking forward to seeing where I end up in this world. I believe in the power of little things and have found myself drawn to capturing them through photography. I live by the mottos: Leave people better than you found them & be kind for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.
“What you are in love with, what seizes your imagination will affect everything. It will decide what will get you out of bed in the mornings, what you will do with your evenings, how you spend your weekends, what you read, who you know, what breaks your heart, and what amazes you with joy and gratitude. Fall in love, stay in love, and it will decide everything.” -Pedro Arrupe
Learn something new everyday and lessen the sufferings of others (inspired by Neal deGrasse Tyson’s quote)
Own a coffee shop designed for facilitating connections between people over coffee. Live in a tiny home in a semi remote area. Live near those I love. Leave people better than I found them.
My perspective has been profoundly shaped by the two worlds I am wedged between: Psychology and Technology. On a day to day basis throughout my college career, I found myself bouncing back and forth between the two with my mind buzzing with ideas. As soon as my technical skills caught up to my never ending ideas, I began creating sites built on the idea of connecting, sharing, collaborating, and supporting. Below is what I wrote on a team site my freshman year for future “fun” website ideas:
“photography of the different sports teams and post there along with comments, maybe even interviews. mostly a site for fans. The womens’ soccer team and mens’ basketball team would have a large fan base.
have a site for each dorm on campus and have either RA’s or students log on and use the comment format/forum as a way to have them contribute their opinions about the dorm. add pictures. links to reviews. pros and cons. prices. e
have a site about unknown places on campus/things you should do before you graduate (hiking trails, cool hang out spots, quiet study spots, good areas to bike between class, etc) I have talked to a couple students (a senior, a junior, and two sophomores) who claim that they still dont know everything available on campus. they also have given me advice on classes they would have taken if they could have and what professors are the best, interesting classes, easy classes to take to meet requirements etc. maybe add in something about the best jacket to get for when it’s cold, simplified information about buses, etc.
have a site about the psych experiments on campus and the results (not sure if this already exists). I went in for my first psych experiment participation part today and the guy said he would email me afterwards if I was interested in the results.. could be helpful for undergrads looking into psych!
have a site for people to post funny things that happen on campus everyday. people can post comments about funny stories or things seen on campus. would have to be monitored and comments would have to be approved. could upload pictures as well.”
From there, ideas just kept coming. Examples of some sites I actually created my freshmen year include a site called IAmHungry.web.unc.edu where I could post reviews of food in the Chapel Hill area online for other people to use to decide where to eat. I then created UNC Stories.web.unc.edu where people submit and read posts based on different locations, story theme (happy, random act of kindness, cute, funny, etc.), and school year. Neither of these aforementioned sites took off but through the process of building them I learned a ton about site design and thought a lot about how you would create a site that would cause users to want to be engaged in your content.
After tearing my ACL and going through an incredibly tough recovery process, I created Crutches.web.unc.edu my sophomore year as a way to connect those on campus who have torn their ACL or are in the process of recovering from an ACL tear. With multiple rugby teammates (yes, I played rugby at UNC) with torn ACLs, I quickly gathered their stories, advice, and resources they used to create the site centered on giving people going through the process the information they would need to have a successful recovery. I interviewed the doctor who performed my knee surgery as well as the athletic trainer who helped me during my recovery. Finally, I created a forum for people to post questions and see other’s responses. Thanks to this work, the site is now linked to the UNC Campus Health homepage as a resource for those going through recovery. I like to think that in some small way it is helping.
I ended up graduating a year early and my last year at UNC (2013-2014) I decided to created a site called iLifeChat.com as a way to pursue something I loved doing with so many people over the years. Basically, lifechatting is the phrase I use to describe those conversations where you truly connect with someone soul to soul for however brief or however long a period of time over whatever subject. Vague, I know. In many ways, it is more of a philosophy than an act as the idea of lifechatting is that we can all learn from others and we just need to step outside of ourselves and look to others and our own story as ways to learn, grow, and live better. We only have one life and there are so many experiences and thoughts we will never have but that others have all around us all day. The goal of the site is to create a space for these lifechats to occur with people I would otherwise never meet. I had a bit of a crisis of conscious as I realized this isn’t something I want to “market” or “sell” but is simply the way I try to live and to approach others. However, if I have learned anything it is that what works for me may not work for someone else. There are a lot more thoughts on this subject but, for now, I will leave it at that!
Throughout all of these projects, I developed skills in WordPress, HTML, CSS, PHP, Google Analytics, Adobe Photoshop, amongst others. More importantly, I developed the ability to meet people and turn their ideas into a site that reflects their values, goals, and ideas. I love facilitating that creative process and showing people how much can truly be done on their website. I think for many technology can be intimidating and my passion is to mediate that relationship with technology. The psychology side of me affects how I approach technology and my technology side helps me to find new ways to improve the lives of others through what I know about psychology. In many ways, two disparate parts of myself have found a wonderful and creative middle ground. Thankfully, I’m able to use this mix each day with my job at Automattic.