While I was attending Radford University, around 2003, I briefly minored in political science, but I eventually dropped that minor since it didn’t really mesh with my passion. Natural science. I eventually transferred from Radford to The Metropolitan State University of Denver, where I graduated in 2011 with a Bachelor of Science in Biology.
While attending MSU Denver I worked full time at a telecommunication company to help pay for college. I also had my first taste of real lab work. I earned a spot in the lab of a fantastic microbiologist. While working with her, I spent an entire semester trying to transform a gene into a species of bacteria. I never succeeded. However, I learned how to solve problems, and like Thomas Edison, I learned many ways not to do it. Although no fruits were born of my time in that lab, I found out that I loved research. Because I love working towards a better understanding of the truth.
I went on to get my Master of Science degree from James Madison University. While there, I studied the survival of fecal bacteria in turkey waste. The main goal of our research was to help protect our water by improving farming practices. Poultry waste is a great fertilizer, and many farmers apply it to fields to improve crop production. We were able to determine several environmental factors that farmers should consider before applying waste to their fields and we hope to publish that work soon.
When I graduated from JMU I did not expect to run for office. I was set on becoming a full-time research scientist, so I started a Ph.D. program at Virginia tech. Alas, this winter, groups started popping up calling for scientists to take a more active roll in politics. I even attended a training put on by Action 314 which wanted to provide scientists with the tools they need to be successful candidates. So, I said to myself, “I’m a scientist. Let’s do this!” I filed my paperwork to become a Democratic candidate for the 8th House of Delegates seat and went on to win my primary by a wide margin.
People want change. They want a new perspective. They are tired of seeing business people and lawyers representing them. I think that I will bring a unique perspective to the General Assembly. The perspective of a scientist. Scientists are driven by facts and data. I want to use my love of research to find out how Virginia can best serve its people, regardless of how they vote.
I am excited because I am not the only candidate that hopes to bring a new perspective to Richmond. Kellen Squire from Albemarle county is an emergency department nurse, Djuna Osborne from Roanoke County is a licensed social worker, and Lee Carter is a hard working “Wrench Turner” in Prince William County. I hope to join these and the many other Democratic challengers in Richmond to work for positive change in Virginia.
Our government needs a change. We need to expand Medicaid, make higher education more affordable, and improve our public school system. So come join us and we can put some fresh new perspectives in Richmond.