I grew up in the small town of Bessemer on the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and I think I had a pretty typical childhood - was part of the cub scouts, built forts with the neighborhood kids, ran way from girls and was overall well behaved.
Growing up in Northern Michigan, two tidbits I always enjoy sharing with non-Yoopers (as we are called) are that we were taken out to a camp in 6th grade and taught to shoot guns [shotgun and a 22 – I did ok with the shotgun, the 22, not so much] and every year in mid-November we got two days of school off for the opening days of deer season.
High school was also fairly typical. I was pretty nerdy and was voted most likely to succeed in the yearbook. I participated in the academic clubs: Science Olympiad, Quiz Bowl and band (tenor sax). At the end of the day, or years I guess, I managed to edge out my friend for valedictorian of the BHS Class of 2000. I gave a speech to the graduating class about tolerance and then came out of the closet two weeks later.
Ann Arbor, MI
Everything that I lacked in High School I made up for in college. I started at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor in 2000 and I still consider it one of the best choices of my life. Friends I made during the first days of school still remain close friends today. The coursework was difficult - I was in the College of Engineering - but after the first semester (well, maybe the first year), I found by groove.
I decided to focus my study on atmospheric science - I had always been interested in being a forecast meteorologist. It was a small department where everyone knows everyone and the courses were always interesting. I graduated with a BS and an MS in Atmospheric Science from the University in 2005. If you need some clouds ID'd, I'm you man. The last year of my studies had heavy emphasis on remote sensing and GIS - I hope to someday find a web programming job in that area.
During college, I worked at Sweetwaters Cafe. Working at Sweetwaters was another great decision - it was my first real customer service job and it was the first job that gave me opportunities to manage other employees. I learned lessons there that I still employ in my work today. However, after two years of dealing with the public, I decided to retreat to the atmospheric science lab. I managed the University's weather data feed, produced a website of weather products and created a database of air quality and weather data from 1900 for use in the department study.
I moved to Emeryville, California in the summer of 2005. It was the beginning of July and I remember going to watch the fireworks in San Francisco. Since it was July, naturally I wore flip flops and shorts. I learned pretty quick what a summer in San Francisco is like - very cold!
My first post-college job was working at Jiva Creative. I was lucky that they decided to take a gamble on me - seeing since web programming wasn't my college degree. Due to the variety of projects, I was able to really grow my knowledge during my time at Jiva. It was also really beneficial to work in a small office just starting out after college - there were only 5 of us!
After living in Emeryville for four years, I moved near Lake Merritt in Oakland - another place I fell in love with. It has been great to see Oakland grow over the years. I ran the lake every other day while I lived there, and I still try to run the lake whenever I get the opportunity.
In August of 2015 I moved up to Seattle! Oddly enough, I actually had always had Seattle in my crosshairs since college, and I've really enjoyed my time here so far!
I was renting in Queen Anne when I first moved, the quintessential Seattle neighborhood. There were days I ran through Kerry park without even looking to the left! [Always running the crown clockwise!]
Since then, I have moved to West Seattle and I couldn't be happier. I have the beach and the city both within walking distance -- and I am still exploring all the fun outdoor activities this area has to offer.