I was born in Atlanta, GA and shortly thereafter, my family moved to North Carolina. As a kid I had two primary interests, biology and fine art. I spent hours walking through woods looking at birds, reptiles and amphibians and learning about the natural world. I would also spend many days at home painting birds and landscapes.
I managed to make my way to college at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. I was the third in my family to attend UNC. By virtue of this, I was raised a rabid Carolina basketball fan.
After graduating with a degree in Biology, I had ambitions to become a Wildlife Biologist – a Herpetologist more specifically. I spent a summer splitting time between living in a tent on a mountain (getting struck by lightning in the process) and in an abandoned steam station on a national wildlife refuge at the coast, releasing, reintroducing and monitoring Peregrine Falcons and Bald Eagles for the state wildlife commission.
Realizing that it was extremely difficult to make a living as a herpetologist, I returned to Chapel Hill where I found work in a molecular biology lab. This move would lead to a very productive decade in the budding biotechnology industry and brought me across country to Seattle, where I worked at Bristol Myers Squibb. After a few years, I migrated down to Tucson, AZ where I worked at a small start-up biotech company called Selectide (now Aventis Pharmaceuticals). My work in molecular biology and biochemistry involved searching for potential therapeutics to treat breast cancer, arthritis and alternatives to antibiotics.
Both my experiences in wildlife biology and biotech were highly gratifying, exciting and provided an extremely valuable education. However, around 1996, I became interested in the Internet and began to see potential for combining art and technology. In my spare time, I began teaching myself digital fine arts and later, web design and development. Landing some freelance gigs with a popular software company in Tucson, I made the jump to full-time illustration and web design/development and I have not looked back.
Realizing Seattle was a much more active technology environment, I made the move back to continue my career in design and development which eventually led to a position of Director of User Experience and Interactive at Hacker Agency. Throughout this journey, I have maintained a strong interest in molecular biology, wildlife, herpetology and continue to paint.
It’s been an incredible journey filled with many challenges. But I made the right choices all along and look back proudly at the things I have accomplished. As I do this, I also keep in mind the supervisors, mentors and advisors that taught me, helped me and supported me along the way.