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Growing up in the type of family that carried out chemistry experiments during Thanksgiving dinner — where breathing a little helium now and then was par for the course — I always planned to be a scientist.

But as I worked my way through a series of lab jobs in college, I realized that I was far more excited about sharing discoveries with others than I was about measuring trees or wrangling fruit flies. So I dropped my senior honors thesis and started a science blog in its place.

After a year-long stint writing for the American Institute of Physics just outside of Washington, D.C., I packed my life into my tiny car and drove until I hit the Pacific Ocean. I spent a year in the UC Santa Cruz Science Communication Program getting a crash course in science journalism and befriending the local sea otters.

Degree in hand, I’m now back in D.C. as a general assignment reporter at Science News.

When I’m not hunched over a computer, you’ll probably find me climbing, hiking, or otherwise adventuring outdoors.