I was first exposed to the natural world in the city’s forest preserves and museums, and I fell in love with the written word in its public schools and libraries. In the early aughts I was writing and performing spoken word poetry around the city when a professor at Harold Washington College resolved to interest me in the life sciences. He succeeded, and I got a B.S. in Biology at the University of Illinois at Chicago. I spent a few years in research after graduating: I monitored invasive plants’ takeover of lakeshore dunes, investigated the spread of hospital-acquired infections, and peered into the brains of finches to find the genetic pathways involved in learning how to sing. I’ve been writing about science since 2015. In 2018 I was a journalism intern at The Scientist and a science writing intern at Fermilab, and I was the Spring 2019 editorial intern at Scientific American.