I decided to provide this peek into my personal life so you can see some of the values, ethics, and significant issues that drive my professional and volunteer work. Hopefully it provides credibility to my work and exposes me to you in the same ways I reveal subjects through my own writing. I also want to use this section to introduce myself to the parents of my students.
Journalists and teachers these days are under heavy scrutiny. Both jobs are tedious and difficult and include a lot of rejection. Yet I do both. So, if you are studying my website to decide if I am the person you want to teach your child, edit your work, or write your content, then I think you have the right to know a bit about me.
I am an award-winning journalist. My work has helped pass legislation, saved the lives and income of military veterans, exposed inadequate medical care, opened eyes to white collar crime, explained basic chemical and biological defensive warfare research, delved into business topics and shared the histories of people and places. I enjoy taking unfamiliar and complicated issues and turning them into understandable information.
My work has also received public recognition. This includes The Gavel, first-place award, from the Maryland Bar Association. This 23-story series revealed a scam against homeless military veterans who were housed in dangerous and sub-standard housing. These news stories led to legislation that for the first time required licensing and regulation of domiciliary care homes in Maryland.
Another award followed an investigative magazine story that exposed a lack of services available to survivors of critical head traumas. It was recognized for its excellence and contributions to healthcare by the The Medical and Chirurgical Faculty of Maryland.
There also is a lighter side to my work. For instance, one of my first stories was about the artificial insemination of animals. The technician I needed to interview worked irregular hours, so he promised to call me at my home when he had time to talk. My husband had no idea what I was working on when one night he answered the phone for me. I was upstairs preparing our children for bed. After the caller identified himself only as an artificial inseminator, my husband surprised the man with: “We don’t need you!”
Similarly, I also enjoy developing alternative ways to teach. This is necessary because my students typically are too ill to attend school. Most are in physical or mental pain and cannot concentrate. My students include those with rare diseases such as PANDAS, cancer, eating disorders, migraines, broken bones, anxiety disorders, transgender-related issues, asthma, and lots of other problems.
There is little wiggle room in school curricula for sick students who want to earn a standard diploma. This is a challenge for both the student and the teacher. I work within the system while using creative methods. My first student suffered from a life-threatening bowel disorder. He did not have the stamina to sit in a chair or to read. When it was time to teach a Shakespearean play, I recruited his brother, and together we enacted the whole of it. I followed our performances with a DVD of a modern version of the play. The lesson ended with an oral exam instead of the traditional printed one. All this took time to plan, but it proved that there are many ways to accomplish a singular goal.
So where did my curiosity of everything and everybody begin?
I was born in Baltimore, MD and seldom traveled beyond the Mason-Dixon line until I moved with my husband—an officer in the U.S. Navy—to Norfolk, VA. After his service, we moved to a rural area in Monkton, MD to raise our three children. We now reside in a growing suburban town located outside of Bel Air, MD.
A quick look over my shoulder reminds me that all my journeys began with my first visit to the one-room library in my elementary school. It had only a few books for each grade level. When I years later, wondered: “How can there be so many books? Where did they come from? Who wrote them? What are they about?” I wanted to read all of them, and I tried. My mother told me that I checked out piles of books that were far beyond my comprehension. Sometimes I would ready only a few pages of them; other times I read them in entirety.
I loved the musty smells of the old books. Years later I would tell my husband that I wanted to bottle the stuffy scents and sell it to a perfumery! A career in fragrances undoubtedly would have been a disaster for the entire industry. Perhaps I should have peddled a combination of library scents with the aroma of deep purple petunias, one of my favorite flowers. Humor aside, I do appreciate the fresher smells in today’s modern libraries. My favorite is the Jefferson Room in the Library of Congress, but I see all libraries as cathedrals of the mind.
The truth is, I always hated executing microfilm and microfiche searches. I know how to resort to them if needed, but I applaud the contemporary technologies that has mostly replaced that sort of drudgery. While some assignments still require examination of private libraries and historic records that necessitate white-glove research, I take great effort to learn new ways to do digital research. You can be sure, however, that I do not abuse it.
I have never taped a conversation without the approval of my subject. In fact, I oppose secret recordings, even in states where it is legal. In the same spirit of open reporting, I do not use ‘unnamed sources’ unless my editor approves and, sometimes, the publication’s lawyers. Still, I take a hard-nose approach to getting public information, and I have resorted to using the Freedom of Information Request. When it comes to fake news and sloppy editing, I can report that I once stood beside an editor until 2 a.m. so he did not edit errors into the text. I am proud to say that I have never been accused of writing fake news, nor have I been asked to recant a story.
Digital or print, I enjoy the challenge of learning new subjects whether writing about them or teaching them. My methods of discovery include a blend of old and new. For instance, I continue to use Roget’s Thesaurus; but, instead of using the text of earlier editions, I use the software which allows me to both expand and control my vocabulary. Its synonyms and antonyms are a means to writing accurate stories. Research always has been a critical part of my work as a newspaper and magazine reporter, writer, editor, and school teacher.
Nearly all my students are in high school. I began by teaching English in a private high school for girls. Later I took a job as a tutor for a public school system who provided teacher for children who were too sick to attend school and, sometimes, for expelled students (a bit more complicated). With few exceptions I taught English, History, Biology, Health and other liberal arts or science subjects, but never mathematics. I take great satisfaction when I can help students realize their potential. For example, students often say they “hate writing,” but then blossom after a few lessons. After a few years of observing how students transition from “hate” to “enjoy,” I started, with sponsorship from Maryland Writers’ Association, Teen Writing Clubs in public libraries.
When I look back at all the factors that fired up my desire to write and teach, I see my early family, which included an older brother who was born with a mental disability. Today my husband, our children and their spouses, our grandchildren, and my friends continue to drive me to improve myself and my world. I believe that individual values begin in the family unit then logically extend to community, state, nation, and world.
I did not begin college until my youngest child started school and then only with an occasional class. Eventually I worked full-time for Notre Dame of Maryland University which allowed me the benefit of taking weekend classes. Like other working mothers, I had to muster the difficult job of time management, a vital skill I still need to meet editorial deadlines or set teaching schedules.
For more information, check my Resume/CV and the list of my volunteer activities. Both are located on the About Me page. Or, of course, I encourage you to contact me.
Now it is your turn . . . to write and tell me how I can help you!
By-the-way, my favorite book is “The Power of One,” by Bryce Courtenay. It is more complicated than the first read suggests…best to read it over and over!
If you have questions About Me, please message me here.
Bachelor of Liberal Arts
Notre Dame of Maryland University
Weekend College Program
Emphasis: Political Science & English
Gavel Award. Maryland State Bar Association. First Place
Investigative series of 23 news and feature stories that reported life-threatening abuses of the elderly. Resulted in state legislation to regulate domiciliary care homes. Baltimore Sun. Harford County edition.
Citation of Merit. The Medical & Chirurgical Faculty of Maryland
“After Shock.” Investigative feature that exposed quality of life issues, including physical and mental problems that challenge head trauma survivors. Baltimore Magazine
English Tutor - Baltimore County Public Schools
NOV. 2006 – JU. 2008
Home & Hospital. Part Time Contract Tutor
SEPT. 2014–FEB. 2017
Taught high school students too ill to attend school, also included expelled students when recommended by court.
Responsibilities included lesson planning, setting student goals, teaching, testing, preparing exams, grading and following, IEPs.
Responsible for report card grades.
Many students had rare diseases, cancer, emotional disorders or chronic illnesses.
English Teacher – Bais Yakkov School for Girls
AUG. 2002 – JU. 2004
Part Time/Temporary Teacher:
Taught literature, grammar, writing, spelling, research skills.
Developed creative techniques to increase attention span and subject retention.
Initiated interactive activities, such as spelling bees, re-enacted plays, and started peer mentor program.
Classes included students at mixed learning levels.
(I have letters of recommendation from this school.)
Numerous Publications - see below
STAFF EDITOR POSITIONS
SU 1996 – WI 1997
Bel Air, Maryland.
Assigned & edited all copy.
Wrote stories, publisher’s letter, calendar of events and more.
Set and supervised all editorial deadlines.
ASSOCIATE EDITOR - Trade & Culture Magazine
SU 1994 – SP 1996
Included news and advice on how to conduct business in 22 trade zones worldwide.
Made majority of assignments, maintained deadlines, networked with publishing house.
Traveled to South Africa and Cyprus for cover stories.
Featured speaker at international business women’s meeting in Bermuda.
Worked with embassies and leading business people worldwide.
(Located in Baltimore. Publication Now Out-of-Business.)
Baltimore Sun newspaper
Feb. 1985 – Jan. 1988
Investigated and wrote news and feature stories, including award-winning series.
Covered education, business, social issues, crime, non-profits, society and more.
Baltimore Business Journal
June 1983 – Feb. 1985
Researched area business to determine industry leaders in specific content area.
Required knowledge of multiple sources, exact records, clear communication skills, Freedom of Information Act.
The Army is quietly yet determinedly at work on nuclear, biological, and chemical reconnaissance systems that could detect deadly toxins and agents while they are still miles from soldiers in the field.
Numerous news and feature stories, including medical, business, personal profiles, unique hobbies,
area histories, history of medicine in Baltimore area, nursing shortage, Shock Trauma, history of Baltimore, personal profiles, and more.
Extensive contributions to Metro Guide 2000 Centennial issue and others.
Detailed profiles of area colleges for online special section
Link on to Harford Community College, Villa Julie College and Community Colleges of Baltimore County.
Feature stories on coursework, student affairs, awards, professors, and campus life.
Baltimore Business Journal, staff member (see above)
After I resigned, I continued as contributing writer; wrote numerous stories, including those on banking and real estate.
American Legion Magazine
Stories on chemical defense mask research.
Also, Persian Gulf War.
Worked with U.S. Department of State and the Pentagon.
Stories included features on white collar crime, NBC defense research, area hospital merger, numerous supplements.
Worked with U.S. Department of State and the Pentagon.
Stories on how to invest money for kids’ college education, transition to middle school and more.
Story on how to prepare for a mentally handicapped child’s adult years.
National Press Club of Washington - member
Esperanza Center, Adelante Latina! Program
All-Academy Holiday Ball for midshipmen and cadets attending all five federal academies
Board of Directors
FACETS, a home for dysfunctional teenage boys
Jarrettsville Parent-Teacher Association
Leith Walk Preschool
Maryland Writers’ Association. 2-day program. 100s of participants. 25 presenters. 5 literary agents.
Teen Writers’ Clubs. On-going programs in public libraries in Maryland.
United States Merchant Marine Academy Mid-Atlantic Parents Association
John Carroll Booster Club
Board of Directors
Alumnae Association of Notre Dame of Maryland University
Parish Religion Education
for disabled war veterans at Montebello State Hospital (now closed)
for mentally disabled persons at Rosewood State Hospital (now closed)
Bou-Tem Sci Annual Charity Benefit to support orthopedic care for children at Shriner’s Hospital in Philadelphia.