CURRENTLY LIVING IN: Cambridge
ALMA MATERS: Andover High School ’08, Elon University ’12
JOB: Senior copywriter, CJP
FAVORITE FOOD: Lobster dinner
FAVORITE MUSIC: Rock, jazz, and blues, past and present
FAVORITE BOOKS: “A Little Life” “We Were the Lucky Ones “The Expanse” series, “Behind the Beautiful Forevers”
FAVORITE MOVIES: “Almost Famous” “Shawshank Redemption” “Garden State”
FAVORITE TV SHOWS: “The Office,” “How I Met Your Mother,” “Lost,” “Breaking Bad,” “American Horror Story,” “Scrubs,” “Parks and Recreation”
FAVORITE TRAVEL DESTINATIONS: Favorite place I’ve been is Peru, and I’ve never been to Europe – I would like to take a long trip all over Europe
FAVORITE JEWISH PERSON NOT IN YOUR FAMILY: Natalie Portman
FAVORITE JEWISH HOLIDAY: Purim
WHAT IS YOUR JEWISH BACKGROUND?
My family’s Reform – I grew up going to Temple Emanuel in Andover and that’s where I had my bar mitzvah and confirmation. I went to Hebrew school during my childhood and actually grew up very close to the temple, so I spent a lot of days walking there back and forth from my house, and it was definitely a huge part of my childhood. I was involved in Hillel a bit when I went to Elon University and after I got out of college for a few years, I did Birthright – I was 25 in 2015 when I did Birthright and since last year I’ve been working at Combined Jewish Philanthropies in Boston as the senior writer on their creative team. As the senior writer on the creative team here, I get to work on a lot of different projects. I write remarks and scripts for our events, I write letters to our constituents, I help put together digital and print assets and articles and collaborate a lot with our designers on that work, and will be working on our annual donor report in the not-too-distant future.
BEFORE THAT, YOU WERE A SPORTSWRITER.
When I got out of college I got into sports writing – I started in a small newspaper in Georgia and spent a number of years working for the Atlanta Falcons as their in-house beat reporter. Even though I grew up in Andover, I was born in Atlanta, so that really was a dream come true. Being a beat reporter in the digital age I think is really different from what might’ve been a few decades ago – it involves a lot of social media work, a lot of blogging, a lot of short updates, and I had the opportunity to do a lot of long-form storytelling as well. I’d be at all practices, press conferences, games, locker room interview sessions – really just trying to give fans a little bit of what was going on with the team at all times.
YOU’VE ALSO DONE FREELANCE REPORTING ON THE WAR IN SYRIA.
I’ve had the opportunity to work with a lot of people: a lot of civilians, activists, journalists, artists, who have been affected by the fighting, and really tell their stories in an in-depth and intimate way … I worked for a number of different publications doing that. I’ve gotten to meet a lot of incredible people – it’s been a privilege to be able to tell those stories, and an honor to have those people entrust me with their stories. These people to me are definitely some of the bravest and most inspirational people I’ve worked with – I haven’t met most of them, it’s mostly over the Internet – they’re people who are really passionate about what is the Syrian Revolution, fighting for a democratic country, and I think the resilience they express is more than anything that resonates with me. The war has been one of the biggest catastrophes in my lifetime – that I’ve been able to follow, and through all that, they maintain this kind of optimism and this drive to keep fighting for the rights they desire so much.
WHAT WAS ONE OF THE STORIES YOU COVERED?
My first story was about an activist living in a besieged region called Eastern Ghouta, where hundreds of thousands of people were trapped. So [I wrote about a woman] named Miriem, and she was an activist who lived in the city of Homs and she was also an artist – she worked as a painter, sculptor, and she became very outspoken against the Syrian regime and unfortunately, she started receiving threats and no longer felt safe living in Syria anymore, so she and her family escaped to Lebanon and they became refugees and have been resettled in Australia. While she was in Australia, shortly after she arrived, she came across a photograph that was taken by an activist whose name is Firas, and the two struck up a friendship. She painted the photograph, and the image of the photograph and the painting side-by-side went viral – the painting and the photograph are of a man holding his two children, and the bodies are covered with soot and dust in the aftermath of a bombing and they’re sitting in the back of an ambulance.