I grew up in the kind of community that so badly needs urban planning that it makes you want to study it. My first high school job was typing contracts in a real estate office (air conditioning!), where I played my small role in turning my hometown into the 11th fastest growing county in the US. Within a few years, the new outlying neighborhoods had overwhelmed their infrastructure and the whole community began choking on traffic and water restrictions. This was my first exposure to unintended but shared consequences.
Studying transportation and land use planning at MIT and later UC Berkeley, I began learning how to ask “why?”: Why do people live where they do? Why do they move how they do? And then: Whom does it serve? The history of urban development repeats itself, and knowing our past is the best way to shape the future.
Eventually, I asked “why” so much that I became a product manager, which is a nice place for people who need to think how things work. I built features to help people ride transit for Apple and Lyft. I designed programs to support transit operators at Caltrans. I directed product development for Boston’s transit agency, the MBTA. I started advising early stage startups and taking on consulting work.
Living in Oakland, California for 12 years, I met many of my best friends through volunteering. I served on two boards and advised other nonprofits. I arrived just in time for tactical urbanism and organized neighborhood groups to design and build their own installations. I designed the light pole banners that welcome travelers into Uptown. And I organized many successful fundraising events to support progressive causes. Throughout, I applied the principles of user-centered design, active listening, and rapid prototyping.
I was also fortunate enough to live in and contribute to other communities. I trained farmworkers to use Facebook safely in Southern California, supported community broadcast radio in Uganda, and helped organize a hackathon for refugees in Berlin. I traveled to Peru and Guyana to build offline mapping tools for indigenous human rights defenders. I also lived in Truckee, California for two years, where I served on their local Planning Commission and helped manifest both microtransit and bikeshare.
In 2022, I moved back to Boston, and am excited to continue learning, teaching, and growing.