Current city of residence: Pasco
How long have you lived in the Tri-Cities?
My whole life except for when I moved away for college.
Briefly describe your company:
The U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) 580-square-mile Hanford site in southeast Washington state was created in 1943 as part of the Manhattan Project to produce plutonium for the nation's defense program. Today, Hanford's primary mission is treating tank waste through the Direct-Feed Low-Activity Waste Program and risk reduction on the Central Plateau, while also conducting site operations that enhance the safety of our workforce and the public and reduce environmental risks.
How long have you worked there?
One year at DOE, 13 total years at the Hanford site.
Education: Please list any degrees and professional certifications.
Master's in communication and leadership studies with emphasis in community relations and event management, Gonzaga University.
Bachelor's in communication management with emphasis in public relations and mass communications, University of Alabama Birmingham.
Briefly describe your job and how you got into it:
In 2010, I began my Hanford site career at the HAMMER Federal Training Center as an intern while completing my master's degree at Gonzaga. After working a few years in various training departments, I made the transition to communications where I've recently landed a public affairs position with the U.S. Department of Energy, Hanford Office of Communications. I have the responsibility to conduct assignments in support of the public affairs program at the Hanford site. I manage, plan, coordinate and execute all functions related to public activities required by law, while coordinating with the Tri-Party Agreement agencies.
How did you earn your first dollar?
Aside from the many lemonade sales stands I held as a child, my first taxed paycheck was from the Tri-City raceway in West Richland in 2004. I worked summer evenings selling entrance tickets and passing out trophies to the race winners.
What advice would you give to your younger self about achieving success?
To never set limits on your goals and go for whatever it is you're after while being true to yourself. Trying to please others is too exhausting and limiting.
What was your dream job as a child?
I have always had a knack for organizing, cleaning and decorating. My goal was to live in New York City where I could live out those dreams. Maybe it's not too late?!?!
What would make our community a better place to live?
Less wind? Just kidding.
I believe we need more public spaces that don't require the spending of money. A place/location or annual event(s) where people from all walks of life can feel welcome, safe, and create connections to form community.
What would be your top 3 priorities to make our community a better place?
"Day of" events to bring people together. Example: Get off your phone and into the community day (get off your phone and be the change you to want to see).
If you had unlimited time, what volunteer work would you be interested in doing?
I currently spend time at my church volunteering in the preschool room, but eventually I would like to branch out and serve in other capacities of the organization.
If time were unlimited, I would spend more time supporting and spreading love for the LGBTQ+ community with my friend's organization, The Uptown Rainbow Connection. One day, I would like to be a member of an organization that focuses on women and children and spend time in the local community helping and serving others.
How do you achieve work-life balance?
Planning and prioritizing my work (professional and personal) helps me keep a healthy work-life balance. With young children, I've learned to establish boundaries around my career. Putting in extra hours and long weeks isn't the way to an effective and fruitful career. I believe that establishing limits and restrictions, and having perspective around one's career is a recipe for success and long-lasting happiness. While it's not easy, I continue to remind myself that family always comes first. I am really fortunate to work for a company that feels the same way.
Do you have family? Pets?
I'm surrounded by extended local family to include parents, aunts, uncles, siblings, cousins, nieces and nephews. I have added a couple branches to the tree myself with my identical twin daughters, Harper and Hudsyn, who are soon to be 7 years old. We have a yellow lab named Edgar. My daughters are always hoping (asking Santa) to add new furry friends to the family.
What brought you to the Tri-Cities? Did you grow up here?
I was born and raised in West Richland and graduated from Hanford High School in 2005. In fact, I remember when Bombing Range was a dirt road. Out of high school, I moved to Hawaii then Alabama for my undergraduate studies. After earning my BA from UAB, I got a full-time job in Birmingham, Alabama, where I intended to stay. Until spring of 2010, when I became an aunt to my niece Rylah Jo. All bets were off, and I decided to move back home and be closer to the new bundle of joy. This is and always will be home for me.
What's your dream vacation?
Fiji in an overwater bungalow
What would people be most surprised to learn about you?
Not all chocolate is created equally.
Most disliked food?
Onions (aka yuckions)
What do you wish people knew about the Millennial generation?
We value work-life balance and have healthy boundaries around our careers.
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