My Portfolio

Matters of the Mind: A Look at Millennials and Mental Health

Matters of the Mind logo designed by Ben Gregson

Matters of the Mind is one of the most satisfying group experiences I had during college. The project was created entirely by students, most of us from the same class, and it ended up turning out really well. There’s over a dozen stories, some audio, like five videos.

This project was also created in partnership with NBCWashington— special shout out to NBC’s Wendy Warren for all of her help in the project— and they have already aired us on television and placed the site prominently on their Changing Minds page.

I’m proud to say I contributed the various logos to this website, wrote an article about NAMI’s Ending the Silence program, and did some work to help out the web team.

Coming Out With Coffee: Coming Out Day at The Perch

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Note: This article was written in October 2013. 

The Perch is dim. Soft lights cast an amber hue over dozens of people sitting on couches, arm chairs, coffee tables, a 3-by-2 grid of decorative floor cushions and the laps of friends. More people are sitting around the tall, white, plastic tables that border the room, and after a while the walls are lined with more students still. Everyone is looking towards a single, short stool resting in the front of the room.

It’s the third annual Coming Out Monologues at American University, an event sponsored by the Center for Diversity and Inclusion, which is associated with National Coming Out Day. The day is actually on Oct. 11, the anniversary of the national march on Washington for gay and lesbian rights. Dakota David, LGBTQ Program Staff Assistant at the center and event organizer, says during the introduction, “It is important to remember that the so-called ‘gay community’ is not monolithic. It is more of a confederation of individuals with identities as diverse as the general population.” Continue reading Coming Out With Coffee: Coming Out Day at The Perch

Before and After Everything

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“You’re here in Brooklyn! Brooklyn’s not expanding!”
“It won’t be expanding for billions of years yet, Alvy,
and we’ve got to try to enjoy ourselves while we’re here!”

Everything is what you strain to see from the car window as you’re weighed down by a bulky seat,
and the handle won’t stop taunting because you’re alone and curious and don’t know what will happen if you pull it. Continue reading Before and After Everything

100-Word Short Stories

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I participated in a “Word of the Day” storytelling challenge in 2014. Many American University students and professors were given two or three words, mine were coffee and balcony, and tasked to tell a story, using that word, in about 100 words.


All I can see is the top of dead trees. Every now and then, the top of a truck enters view and I go crazy. Trucks are the best, and trucks are a tease. How can I stay strapped down when big things are peering down and that red line by my handle won’t stop taunting me to see if the door is locked or not? I have asked what would happen; I was told not to. But I’m alone and curious and I need to know, so I slowly reach forward and—
“Shit!” Coffee burnt my step-dads tongue.
That’s not what I expected. I promise I will never try to open the door again.


The ‘70s really knew how to ugly up a place, and it doesn’t help me sell a house now, in the twenty-teens. They would install these obnoxious hanging light fixtures just low enough to hit your head, the most baffling wallpaper, and who is it that decided wasting half of the second floor with an indoor balcony was a good idea? The most interesting things you’ll see from up there are the stains soaked into your shag carpet. Each stain has its own story, but the realtor insists that they all have to be slowly quieted, killed, with chemicals and a few hard scrubs. One story refuses to die, yelling from the grave— the spot that has been rubbed cleanest, no trace remaining that there was ever a collapse. Things are starting to quiet down now, one sale, many months and too many chemicals later. not Inevitable: “Policy is not like the weather”

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Note: This is a case study of the site written in March 2015.

The Origin Story

The Economic Policy Institute (EPI) is a think tank, created in 1986, with the mission of empowering, informing and including lower- and middle-income workers within the greater economic policy discussion that occurs within the United States. While EPI’s research and work has always been about leveling the playing field for the average U.S. citizen, most of their work has been directed towards policy makers and the press. In 2013, with funding from the Ford Foundation and in partnership with the information visualization firm Periscopic, EPI launched a new kind of project: the interactive website Continue reading not Inevitable: “Policy is not like the weather”


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Poppy after orange poppy after poppy the earth laces its lack of ambition into the air as if to blind it. Do spores smell like death? No. Death doesn’t smell like anything. The smell clinging to the humidity in the air is a body decaying. Three billion years ago, maybe more, just a single bacterial spore is frozen in an ambitious comet, the remnant of a collapsed cloud of gases and dust cloaked with a thick over coat, vintage permafrost. After scheming for two hundred fifty-million years of lonely adventures, the warmth of a yellow star and a chance collision plant the seed. It is a devious sort of life that thrives on death, like a crow without a beak made for tearing into flesh that circles a bloated carcass, waiting for a tire to break the skin and continue the tradition of life after decay, after death, after sloth, after solitude, after passion, after purpose after life.


Poem inspired by and first line quoted from Dawn Lonsinger’s “The Lawn Aglow,” p. 66 in The Pinch’s Fall 2009 issue.

Time For Another Gaming Revolution

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Note: This was technically written as an essay in March 2012 for The New Yorker Class. However, given that it is intended to be in the New Yorker style, I have categorized it as an Article.

Time For Another Gaming Revolution:

Mass Effect 3 publisher BioWare sets a new precedent

“The machinery of gaming has run amok. Instead of serving creative vision, it suppresses it. Instead of encouraging innovation, it represses it. Instead of taking its cue from our most imaginative minds, it takes its cue from the latest month’s PC Data list. Instead of rewarding those who succeed, it penalizes them with development budgets so high and royalties so low that there can be no reward for creators. Instead of ascribing credit to those who deserve it, it seeks to associate success with the corporate machine. It is time for revolution.” –Designer X

“Designer X” is the voice of the Scratchware Manifesto, a statement of purpose written by a small group of video game developers in 2000. The Scratchware Manifesto calls out the gaming industry, “An industry that was once the most innovative and exciting artistic field on the planet [that] has become a morass of drudgery and imitation.” In the twelve years since, not only has the “machinery of gaming,” the large publishers and marketing schemes that encourage conformity and profit, become even more virulent, but a new enemy to the artistic vision of game designers stands on the horizon. Who? Why, the video game players, of course. In response to a very loud fan reaction to the conclusion of Mass Effect 3, Ray Muzyka— co-founder of the game’s developer BioWare— promised that BioWare will provide “a number of game content initiatives that will help answer the questions, providing more clarity for those seeking further closure to their journey” (Myzuka). BioWare’s decision to provide alternative, optional or additional ending content in response to community dissent sets a new precedent for the gaming industry and gaming fans, but is that good or bad? Continue reading Time For Another Gaming Revolution

Fun and Furlough in Washington

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Note: This article was written in October 2013, during the period of time when the Government Shutdown had furloughed nearly a million government employees.

Nearly two weeks in, you’ve probably noticed that 800,000 government employees were furloughed on Oct. 1 when the government shut down. With parks, monuments and museums all closed, how can the furloughed workers possibly fill their time out in Washington? Well, if they aren’t living paycheck-to-paycheck, and there are certainly many who are, there are discounts on food, drink and being merry until the shutdown ends. As the shutdown continues, more options have become available in Washington, and online as well.

Dozens of locations across the District are offering free or discounted food to federal employees, and a few are upping the price for congressmen. One CEO, Jeff Bank of Carmine’s, is even offering one of his nine private rooms and a free plate of spaghetti and meatballs to Barack Obama, Harry Reid and John Boehner. No one has taken them up on this offer. Continue reading Fun and Furlough in Washington

Rockville Art League December Member Art Show

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Note: This article was written in December 2013 for a Reporting class, as part of a regional beat assignment. I drew Rockville, Maryland out of a hat.

The art community in Rockville feels much farther away from the art community in DC than the 20 minute commute might lead one to believe, and that’s a good thing. The difference is best characterized by the very apparent support that individuals in the local art community offer each other, and competition appears to be a significantly smaller factor.

The Rockville Art League, founded in 1957, organizes two art shows a year. The Dec. juried member art show will have its open reception on Dec. 8 from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m, in the Glenview Mansion art gallery, and will be open to the public at no cost until the end of the month. The combination of beautiful estate and public gallery makes this a great choice for a holiday day trip out of the city. Continue reading Rockville Art League December Member Art Show

Time Takes Care of Us

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Autumn oughta end when the leaves fall.
When flurries of amber depress into a damp carpet unpleasant under your feet.
Nature is a drag when it stalls.

His hollow bounty overflows most of all:
Limbs, dirty shades of gold and small crawlies from beneath.
Autumn oughta end when the leaves fall.

The forest, now naked and bare, reveals him frail
and surrounded by weeds, crabgrass and trash left by teens being indiscreet.
Nature is a drag when it stalls.

He wasn’t young, but he coulda been so tall.
A long way from the friendly, fertile forest he resides: incomplete.
Autumn oughta end when the leaves fall.

He sags solemnly in silence as the seasons forestall.
Winter waits patiently to pity the deserted with defeat.
Nature is a drag when it stalls.

He wasn’t even visible, after all.
No one was around to hear a fallin’ tree’s warning call.
Autumn oughta end when the leaves fall;
Nature simply lets us stall.

Note: This poem is a villanelle, a form characterized by repetition and circuity. Lines and rhymes from the first stanza are repeated throughout, very specifically, in this 19-line poem.