I grew up in what is essentially Lake Wobegon: tater tot hotdish,
flannel shirts, people who write checks at the gas station. And,
while I don't see myself venturing back west any time soon, I am
unapologetically committed to the rights of the working class and
For sure I was that kid who was stoked for the first day of school
every year. Ultimately, this explains a lot. I was raised by a
single dad (a K-12 teacher) who instilled in me a profound respect
for education/educators and shaped my view of who the "good guys"
Predictably, I have a huge soft spot for bleeding hearts. I'm a
proud champion of public schools and a quintessential Midwesterner
(except for my penchant for caffeinated everything and fast
What I’m doing with my life
I finished a social sciences degree in May 2010, but spent the
majority of my time working on social justice issues: homelessness,
civic engagement, indigenous rights, affordable housing,
immigration, classism, education inequality.
My postgrad employment has run the gamut of super-liberal jobs,
including legal assistant to a police misconduct lawyer; third
grade teacher in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn; and jack-of-all-trades at an
education nonprofit. (I cast off lucrative professions a long time
I’m really good at
-seamlessly alternating between being a classy(ish)
academic/nonprofit employee and that girl who's totally into dingy
dive bars with sticky floors, Townes songs, and domestic beer
-murmuring witty one-liners to my coworkers during inappropriately
long staff meetings
-making grilled cheese (I don't usually eat them, but I used to be
a director of a homeless shelter, and we literally made hundreds a
The first things people usually notice about me
My "Fargo"-esque pronunciation of the long "a" sound. Bay-gel.
Bayg. Tayg. It's endearing. Or awkward. But it's the most obvious
remnant of my prairie upbringing.
Favorite books, movies, shows, music, and food
MUSIC: Ani DiFranco, Brother Ali, Steve Earle
BOOKS/AUTHORS: Gilead (Marilynne Robinson), In Spite of Everything
(Susan Gregory Thomas), The Road to Wigan Pier (George Orwell), The
New Jim Crow (Michelle Alexander)
MOVIES: Good Will Hunting, documentaries (basically all of them;
it's frighteningly out of hand)
POLITICIANS: Paul Wellstone (D-MN), Jim Abourezk (D-SD), George
The six things I could never do without
2) The library
3) Public broadcasting
4) A job fighting the man (in a polite midwestern way)
5) Long bar conversations
I spend a lot of time thinking about
In a high school graduation card, my uncle (a public
defender/renegade idealist) advised me to "Do well, and do good."
It's been my mantra ever since.
On a typical Friday night I am
Rounding up people to wander around the neighborhood/this mega-city
Drifting to the super low-key bars in my neighborhood.
Watching a documentary about labor, education, activism, etc. and
plotting how best to fix EVERYTHING (ugh, America, we can do so
I also throw a pretty great holiday party (just saying)
The most private thing I’m willing to admit
I love cooking and belong to a food co-op, but I'll always have a
soft spot for single-dad food: Velveeta Shells & Cheese,
Manwich, Hamburger Helper.
I've discovered that a standard-size Klean Kanteen perfectly holds
the contents of a standard-size bottle of wine. It's like they were
made for each other. (You're welcome.)
I probably listen to more folk music than your mom.
You should message me if
you are laid-back and genuine and committed to leaving the world a
little (or a lot) better than you found it. Also, if you think it's
cool to talk about class inequality, education issues, indigenous
rights, or your favorite NPR personalities. It will help if you are
reminiscent for the America that brought us Roseanne, Mash, and
Cheers and/or you believe George McGovern would have been the best
president of the 20th century.