Throughout my career I have been blessed with a handful of stellar mentors, and I do my best to pay it forward.  Often this means taking the time to train an intern or coach a new reporter, but sometimes the experience has been more formal.



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Since 2013, I have had the enormous pleasure of working with the newly-founded International School of Billund as Senior Communications Manager.  With backing from the LEGO Foundation and in close collaboration with Project Zero at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, ISB has quickly become a guiding light among educators interested in the concept of learning through play.  As a school that eschews standardized testing in favor of a more holistic approach to education, documentation and storytelling are a critical part in demonstrating to parents and other stakeholders that learning is, in fact, taking place.  Along with helping to share those stories, I regularly teach a communications elective to our students…so they can become the next ambassadors for playful learning.


In the Spring of 2010 I was asked to teach an undergraduate class in Writing for Broadcast for the University of New Mexico‘s Department of Communications and Journalism.  Within the first few weeks I had recording equipment in the hands of every student…among them Juniors and Seniors who had yet to actually venture out into the field (trial by fire worked for me!).  The improvement I saw in their abilities after just a few of these on-the-ground reporting and writing exercises was tremendous and I can’t wait for the day I’m able to employ this approach again.



During my second year at WAMU I had the opportunity to lead Youth Voices, a radio training program for Washington, DC-area teenagers.  Each semester, I worked closely with five or six students to teach them the basics of journalism, and to help each produce a single feature on a topic emerging from their own lives.  The stories were then broadcast across the nation’s capital, potentially reaching the ears of many influential members of Congress. To this day, these are among the stories I’m most proud to have had a part in bringing to life.

Where else could you hear something like Carlos’ honest examination of what it’s like for immigrant kids to translate for their parents?  Or Jennifer’s unexpected twist on obesity among African-American teenagers (perhaps the world’s best sound byte awaits at 1:05).

All of their stories were fresh, thoughtful and personal.  We could use more of these in the world.



Since my own teenage years, Cottonwood Gulch has been my home away from home (not to mention the five years when it actually was my home).  During my time as staff at this camp in New Mexico’s high desert, I led hundreds of students on backpacking and wilderness expeditions, often with microphones and notepads in hand.  The Gulch provided my first experiences in teaching and an opportunity to focus on oral history in a place where the stories couldn’t be more dramatic: pioneers, Native Americans, prospectors, naturalists, ranchers…all clashing and coexisting like squares in a stunning patchwork quilt.