I was born on April 25, 1965 in Indianapolis, Indiana. My family moved to Tennessee when I was only two. I started cashiering at one of my family's two restaurants when I was three. I began waitressing when I was eight years old. Later that year, I was in a terrible car accident. The car I was in hit a semi-truck head-on. I broke my wrist, crushed and almost severed my leg, suffered a spinal injury and lost most of my face. I then proceeded to die on the operating table five times, had three reconstructive surgeries to rebuild my face, was in a body cast for months, had physical therapy, and had to learn to walk again. My doctors and nurses told my parents that I would never have survived the crash if I hadn't been so stubborn. That may be partially true, but I believe that God spared me for a reason, even if I don't know what that reason is right now. I believe this with all my heart, because an angel stayed with me in the hospital, telling me to hang on, when my mother couldn't.
In high school my dream was to be an interior designer. With this goal in mind, I started designing houses and working for an Architect part-time. After graduation, I was accepted into a private art school. I went to a community college during the day to get my basics out of the way and worked full-time at night at a restaurant to pay the bills. That's where I met the man that I let sweep me off my feet with his good looks and silver tongue. I made the biggest mistake of my life when I dropped out of school and married him. I barely got out of the marriage with my life.
I later met and married a wonderful man. Don and I have been happily married for 27 years. We have been blessed with a beautiful daughter. Kait is now 18 years old and will be starting at the University of Tennessee at Martin, UTM, this fall.
Over the years I have had a variety of jobs including: cashier, waitress, photography assistant, hostess, architectural assistant, draftsman, secretary, manager, CEO, executive assistant, floor manager, assistant manager, licensed optician, staff writer, copy editor, photojournalist, designer, co-executive editor, features editor, executive editor and I'm sure that I've forgotten several.
I am a UTM alumna and currently hold bachelor degrees in both English with a concentration in writing and Communications in the news editorial sequence. My career goal is to be a writer and an editor. So far, I have had three short stories published, a poem published, ranked Third Best 2014 Feature Writer by the Southeast Journalism Conference, had numerous articles and photos published, conceptualized and created UTM's first-ever interactive magazine, and served as editor for a newspaper and five magazine issues. I am currently serving as the Special Issues Editor of The Pacer, UTM's student newspaper, where I am working on two additional magazine issues.
*Oversee, design and edit 2013-2014 Special Commencement Issue
*Photograph and write feature articles
*Conceptualized and created first interactive Taking Flight magazine
*Designed, compiled and edited 2014 Taking Flight magazine, print version
*Initiated website design for mobile compatibility
*Introduced comic strips and memes to the paper's format
*Redesigned the paper's flag and all logos promoting school spirit
*Designed newspaper print page layouts
*Edited all print and online material
*Created photo galleries
*Supervised editors, writers, photographers, graphic artists, sales staff and webmaster
*Conceptualized and created UTM Unlimited, a special series of UTM features
*Conceptualized and created Voice It! a blog for students to voice their opinions
*Designed all feature print layouts
*Photographed and wrote feature articles
*Created both photo galleries and videos
*Copy edited both print and online material
*Wrote articles, designed page layouts and copy edited 2013 Taking Flight magazine
*Helped to compile 2012-2013 Special Commencement Issue
*Researched, wrote and copy edited articles, including: news articles, feature articles, theatrical previews and reviews
*Wrote articles, designed page layouts and copy edited 2012 Taking Flight magazine
*Helped to compile 2011-2012 Special Commencement Issue
*Critiqued all literary and art submissions
*Compiled chosen art submissions and edited literary submissions for publication
*Planned and oversaw magazine reveal events
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