I grew up in Saint Cloud, Minnesota. After attending high school at Saint Cloud Cathedral High School, I went to the University of Minnesota Duluth to study Psychology and Experiential Education. I joined the Fighting Penguins women's rugby team as a tighthead prop and found the most empowering, badass, strong women I am lucky enough to call friends today. In 2008 our team competed in the National rugby tournament for the first time in its history. We took second place, and I had the distinct honor of being named an All-American. I completed my Masters of Educational Leadership and Director of Community Education administrative licensure at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities.
Experiential education has been a cornerstone of my life. When I was 16, I went on my first 28-day canoe expedition on the Bloodvein River in the Northwest Territories with Les Voyageurs. The following summer, I went on a 40-day expedition to the Kazan River, where we paddled class four rapids in the subarctic circle. My most extended expedition has been 50 days in the San Juan Islands and mountains of Washington State. These experiences lead me to spend ten years working at Voyageur Outward Bound School in both Ely and St. Paul. I became certified as a Wilderness First Responder, and, in my time with VOBS, I lead 30-day expeditions for at-risk youth. When I moved to St. Paul, I became the Program Coordinator and worked with metro school districts to develop leadership and outdoor education experiences for over thirty different schools. I created the Winter Expedition program out of the Twin Cities Center so that schools could experience the joy of winter camping. I built and taught the STRIVE program, which was considered an exemplary program by the Susan Crown Exchange out of Chicago and was the basis for the international curriculum Preparing Youth to Thrive: Promising Practices in Social and Emotional Learning.
The two biggest lessons I have learned through wilderness expeditions and the rugby pitch is that I love a challenge, and everything is better when the community is involved. There is a quote by Bob Pieh that says, "Be tough yet gentle. Humble yet bold. And swayed always by beauty and truth." This is my approach to life. If you ask most people who know me, they will tell you I am driven and resilient, I am a fierce advocate, and I have an uncanny ability to bring people together and move projects forward in uncommon ways. I have a deep sense of purpose in helping silent narratives be heard. I get things done, and I do it with competence and compassion.
I have applied this in my current role as the Youth Programs Coordinator in North St.Paul-Maplewood-Oakdale Community Education. My programs are built on a foundation of inclusion, service, mentorship, and leadership and seek to develop great citizens of our world by creating access and exposure to various experiences and perspectives. I fight every day for equity and inclusion; it is at the forefront of everything I do.
I want to take my experience in community engagement, advocacy, and equity to the North St Paul City Council because I believe in the potential of North St Paul. We are a town with a rich history and many citizens who have lived here for generations. North St Paul is changing, our diversity is growing, and young people and families choose our 3 square mile town to call home. We need leadership which understands that our diversity is our strength, and the future of North St. Paul needs to involve the voices of ALL of its citizens. I have a demonstrated record of building community, advocacy, and making change. I want to continue building a strong, inclusive, and welcoming community in North St. Paul.