I was drawn to the area by people who I met who were doing incredible things, and by a sense that this was a city where young creative doers were embraced and could find plenty of ways to be engaged, challenged, and useful. I have a pretty non-traditional background. Since graduating in 2006, I've led a staff of 80 at a start-up non-profit; managed product marketing for Google's email service for schools; wrangled with international donors at a local NGO in Cambodia; organized briefings on sustainable ag topics for congressional committee staff; and processed chickens on a small bio-intensive farm off the coast of Washington.
I didn't move for a job. I actually have no ties to Michigan at all, but really, I was drawn by inspiration and then had some really lucky turns of fate that allow me to support myself doing work that I love. First, though I hadn't formally applied, my advisor at MSU took a chance on me after we met a conference in Detroit, and helped to arrange a paid graduate student position. Then over the summer, shortly after arriving, with the support of friends and a whole lot of elbow grease, I started a little project called Neighborhood Noodle. Since then, I've been continually humbled by a community of entrepreneurs, activists, and plain-old Michigan lovers who have welcomed and supported me and my small fledgling business in a way that makes this feel more like a small town than a big city. This is a place on a cusp and as a young person, my thoughts and actions seem to matter. I'm still a newcomer and I have a lot to learn about the area, especially its vibrant, sometimes heartbreaking, history, but I'm excited to learn and to eventually play a role in the new chapter that's being written here every day.