I am a first generation American and grew up in a suburban community outside Detroit. A more urbanized area, I didn’t have a local stream to play in or parks to run through. I was lucky however in that I did have a small backyard in which I spent the majority of my youth, changing it into a kingdom, a jungle, and a host of other places my imagination took me to. As children often do, I made the most of the natural environment I had.
I began my career after graduating nursing school at the University of Michigan (Go Blue!) I was thrilled to provide patient care to my community. Aware that I could do even more to impact larger swaths of the population, I moved to DC and received a public policy degree with a healthcare specialty from Georgetown University. I worked in community outreach and advocacy as a Director for the National Kidney Foundation, Parkinson’s Action Network, and American Physical Therapy Association. I worked successfully alongside patients, caregivers, providers to advocate for health care access, equity, and research at federal, state and local levels.
My husband and I moved to Fairfax County in 2003 to raise our family. Having turned into avid hikers, we loved exploring our local parks and trails. But it wasn’t until my children started splashing around in our local streams that I came to realize that my healthcare experience was bridging into a passion to advocate for our environment. Through real-life clinical experience and community advocacy, I know firsthand that our natural and built environment is deeply embedded in our overall health.
My passion for connecting individuals to the role our external environment plays in health outcomes has grown as we navigate the consequences of pollution, climate change, and population growth.
“I am running to secure a better future for my children and for the children of Fairfax County. I want to achieve swimmable, fishable waterways and an environment that thrives in our urban communities.”
I believe all children should have the opportunity to safely play and explore outdoors, and in doing so, learn to cherish and protect our natural resources. A healthy environment supports healthy individuals and their communities. I am a strong advocate for sustainable practices, especially those that elevate equitable environmental health in urban and suburban settings.
I possess more than 15 years of experience working with nonprofit organizations in the area of public health and environmental advocacy (specifically in watershed education and stewardship). In my previous role as the Northern Virginia Advocacy Manager with the Audubon Naturalist Society, I have partnered with Northern Virginia Soil and Water Conservation District staff, local schools, faith groups, neighborhoods, and other important local stakeholders like Mount Vernon’s Opportunity Neighborhood program to acquaint children and their communities with their local streams, advance their knowledge of the environment, and embrace individual stewardship. I also serve or have served my community, Fairfax County, and Northern Virginia in the following volunteer positions:
· Commissioner at Large for the Fairfax County Tree Commission
· Environmental Co-Chair of the Fairfax County Federation of Citizen’s Associations,
· Lee District Representative on the Chesapeake Bay Preservation Ordinance Exception Review Committee
· Certified Water Educator, Project WET
· Get2Green Chair, Hayfield Elementary PTA
I plan to continue building on these experiences in years to come, and give back to a community that has given so much to my family.
Thank you in advance for your consideration of my candidacy.