I helped move my parents to Spearfish when my father accepted a position at the VA/Ft. Meade. I instantly fell in love the day I arrived. Our neighbors were incredibly welcoming and kind and I had never really experienced "neighborly love" like that before. My soul felt at home, and after a hike in the canyon, I thought to myself, "I could really see myself settling down here".
A year later I enrolled at Black Hills State University, thinking I would do my medical school prerequisites and apply to med school to follow in my father's footsteps - a dream of mine. I ended up doing a second bachelor's degree in Biochemistry, and met a wonderful mentor who introduced me to the world of genetics and research. I promptly enrolled in the Master's program in Integrative Genomics, and am currently a Teaching Assistant/graduate student at BHSU where I am researching the effects of a compound called Thymoquinone on the genetic expression of Candida (yeast) cells. I'm also the President of Women in STEM at BHSU. I will be finished with my requirements in December.
Prior to pursuing my Master's degree, I worked at the Pentagon in Washington, DC, in the Office of the Secretary of Defense. I started as a Special Assistant to the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Legislative Affairs. Subsequently, I was selected for the White House Liaison Office Defense Fellowship. As a Defense Fellow, I worked as the Deputy Country Director for Qatar, UAE, and Bahrain, on the Gulf/Arabian Peninsula Team - International Security Affairs/Middle East Division, as well as Country Director for Pakistan in the Asian Pacific Security Affairs/APC Division, for the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy.
Working at the Pentagon alongside our brave men and women in uniform was the greatest honor of my life. Wanting to serve my country further, I spent several months deployed to Camp Eggers in Kabul assisting the ISAF/NATO/CSTC-A/DCOM SPO/Class III Fuel LogOps division and am extremely proud to have volunteered as a DoD civilian to serve in Afghanistan. It was the best decision I ever made. I met soldiers from all walks of life and from all over the country who accepted me as their own and I made so many friends. My admiration for our military soared after seeing what they and their families go through day in and day out during wartime. It's because of this experience that I am an avid supporter of our armed forces.
Prior to my political appointment, I was the New Media Director of Illinois for the Obama for America 2008 Presidential Campaign. In this capacity, I wrote the new media strategy for the Illinois field operation. After the election, I was selected to work as a member of the 2009 Presidential Inaugural Committee in Washington D.C.
I earned my first B.Sc in Communication Sciences & Disorders from Northwestern University and graduated valedictorian of my high school class. I am grateful to God and to my parents, my sisters, my teachers/mentors, and friends for giving me the support, love, and opportunities I needed to thrive. I stand on the shoulders of giants and remain forever grateful and indebted.
I'm running for office because I love my country, I love South Dakota, I love the Black Hills, and I love my community. I've met the most wonderful people here, and I want to do the best I can for the people of District 31. Thanks for reading!
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