I grew up right in the middle of WHIO's coverage area – Springfield, OH! And yes, I'm a big fan of all things 'Springfield,' including Schuler's and the Clark County Fair.
A career in journalism never really was a serious thought for me until I was about to graduate from high school. I swear, you just have epiphanies that come to you sometimes, and that's the only way I can explain why I got into this line of work – but I'm happier for it!
I graduated from Southeastern High School (Go Trojans!) in South Charleston with a close family of 48 students. From there, I did a complete 360 size-wise and went on to attend THE Ohio State University in Columbus to study Public Affairs Journalism and Criminology, which was one of the best experiences of my life. Anybody remember the 2016 OSU/Michigan game? I cried after Curtis Samuel scored the winning touchdown, and that's when you know you're truly a Buckeye.
During my time at OSU, I spent a lot of time at The Lantern, OSU's student media group, writing articles, making TV packages and creating some incredible memories. I also interned at WBNS-10TV, which was great exposure to how to make a name for yourself in a big market.
After graduating summa cum laude with over 11,000 of my best friends on the planet, I got my first journalism job at Cox Media Group in Dayton in the Digital Department where I managed websites and social media pages for multiple Cox brands. I learned a lot about incorporating social media and digital storytelling, which has only helped me for the job I have now.
With that said, I'm SO glad to be back home, working as an All-Media Journalist at WHIO's Springfield Bureau. What's that mean? Well, I write, shoot, edit and appear on-air for WHIO-TV, write articles for Springfield News-Sun and contribute content online and for WHIO-Radio.
Working in the place I grew up is an absolute blessing, and I can't wait to tell your stories, Clark and Champaign counties! Let's do this thing.
Where were you born? Springfield, OH
Where did you grow up? Springfield, OH
What was your favorite TV show then? Power Puff Girls and anything involving princesses, then high school came around and there was One Tree Hill with Chad Michael Murray (swoon).
How might someone have described you in high school? Smart and fun to be around
What was your first job? Serving up ice cream at The Polar Bar in South Charleston. I still can't stay away from those coney dogs…
What was your first job in television? Here we are! All Media-Journalist at WHIO-TV
What do you like about your job? I'm never at my desk all day. I'm out meeting new people and allowing myself to be creative in every daily task. Plus, it's cool to walk away with something concrete at the end of the work day.
What do you not like about your job? We deal with a lot of difficult situations, so it's hard to watch other people go through grief and pain. But their insight is important, and their voice should be heard – which is why we do what we do.
What might people be surprised to know about you? I won my school spelling bee in fifth grade on the word, 'bacciferous' and it is still one of the proudest moments of my entire life.
What is the hardest thing you ever did? As I've gotten older, I've had to say goodbye to a lot of my closest friends as they moved away to start their lives. I hate not living 10 minutes away from some of the people I call my family, but that means lots of road trips!
What would be a perfect day for you? I'd wake up and get a work out in, lay by the pool, get some sun and end the day with some drinks around a bonfire (the kind where you wear shorts and a hoodie) surrounded by some of my best friends.
What advice would you have for someone wanting to go into the business? Make sure you're always asking questions from a reader or viewer's perspective. What does the family on the couch at 5 p.m. want to know from your story? Don't forget who you're working for! Also, REAL PEOPLE ARE EVERYTHING. They add life to the story and bring a human element that's critical to a good story.
If you could only keep one 5-minute tape from your career, what would be on it? Easy – first, I'd use a story I did in college. Brutus Buckeye visited newborn babies in the OSU Wexner Medical Center's NICU for his 50th birthday. It really put into perspective how much impact that a cultural icon like Brutus has on the greater community. If I still had room, I'd put a story I did when I first started for WHIO about Jaxon Menda, a Springfield four-year-old who suffers from a rare disease. He's only likely to live into his twenties, but his family was so positive and uplifting. We take so much for granted. And like I said earlier, real people are everything.
Favorite book: A Mother's Reckoning: Living in the Aftermath of Tragedy by Sue Klebold
Favorite CBS Show: Big Brother
Favorite food: Spaghetti
Favorite hobby: Trying new things – restaurants, activities, places
Favorite Miami Valley place: Yellow Springs
Favorite movie: Holes with Shia LaBeouf
Favorite music: Country, the music for all possible emotions
Favorite travel destination: ANYWHERE ON A BEACH! Sunshine and sand -- I’m always in.