My love for animals and writing both started from an early age. I grew up surrounded by four dogs and two cats, and except during my college dorm days, there’s never been a time in my life where I haven’t had a pet—and that’s not counting the long list of animals I have fostered over the years. I’ve always felt a deep connection with animals, and I can’t imagine life without them.
Growing up, I didn’t know you could be “good” at writing. I only knew that writing made me happy, and gave me a creative outlet. I wrote countless stories as a kid, and I still get a laugh looking back at my earliest “masterpieces.” In second grade, I won first place in a statewide writing competition for a story called “Everything Good is Worth Waiting For.” The story was about a lonely, elderly widow navigating her challenging, yet rewarding, relationship with a frightened dog she adopted from the shelter—to say I was an “old soul” is an understatement. Many stories I wrote as a child focused on the human-animal bond, and I’m currently writing a children’s book along those same lines that I would have loved reading as a kid.
In high school, I wrote for the school newspaper, and was fortunate to have a faculty advisor who taught me about journalism, helped me build my confidence as a writer, and encouraged me to continue exploring my passion. Taking time to meticulously craft my words to tell a story in exactly the right way, and finally seeing my published articles with a byline, was magical.
I majored in communication at the University of Colorado, where I first met Rumpus Writing founder, Sarah Mahan. She was in one of my classes, and I had no way of knowing then how our paths would continue to cross in serendipitous ways.
During my undergraduate studies, I interned as a content writer at a private school, and shortly after graduation, accepted a full-time position in the school’s Communication and Marketing Department. Part of my job involved writing features about the school’s students and teachers, and I spent a lot of time in classrooms. I volunteered to advise the middle school yearbook club, which gave me major flashbacks to my high school newspaper days!
Spending so much time getting to know the students sparked my interest in teaching. I come from a family of teachers, so this wasn’t a complete shock, and soon I was back at CU to earn my master’s degree in education. My path crossed with Sarah again during my first year of student teaching, when who should be in my class of bright-eyed kindergarteners but Sarah’s adorable and spunky son, Henry.
I taught elementary school for seven years and loved my students fiercely. Teaching first grade was my favorite, because most of my students came in as non-readers, but were devouring books by the end of the year. I also loved teaching them to write, and felt so fortunate to witness their excitement and bursts of creativity around writing. We never had a shortage of lined paper in my classroom, and I’d bind and laminate their many stories so they could feel like published writers, as I had so many years ago.
I continued to write on a freelance basis while I was teaching, in addition to writing bios for adoptable animals at the rescue where I have volunteered for the last eight years. Again, Sarah and I crossed paths, as we both were members of the rescue’s bio writing team. My role as the animal rescue’s adoption director and bio writer has given me so much fulfillment over the years, and I’m grateful to be part of a community of people dedicated to bettering the lives of animals.
Full circle to Rumpus
I made the difficult decision to leave the teaching profession in 2021, to pursue a career in writing. I reached out to Sarah to learn about her animal-centered writing business, and realized that combining my passion for writing with my love for helping animals was possible. When Sarah offered me a role at Rumpus, I was thrilled, and I am completely in love with my work for the Rumpus team. I produce a large variety of content—blog posts, biographies, website content, email marketing, product descriptions, webinar and podcast content—which has helped me grow as a writer and marketer, and provides multiple creative channels. If writing isn’t something you have time to tackle, do not hesitate to contact Rumpus for help.
In addition to being a writer, I’m an outdoor enthusiast—rock climber, skier, mountain biker, backpacker, and recently certified open water scuba diver. I’m an avid traveler—in the past year I’ve visited the Galapagos, Ecuador, Saudi Arabia, Nicaragua, and Mexico. I’m a passionate animal welfare advocate. And, last but not least, I’m a huge chocolate and snack enthusiast.
Thinking back to my story about the woman and her rescue dog, I smile at how life has come full circle, and how I now get to write about animals every day. My second-grade self would think that was pretty cool—and so do I.