Back to school: In 2007 I took an "educational sabbatical" and immersed myself in environmental design for three years. It gave me a profound appreciation for the complexity of natural systems, and ignited a fascination with the way people interact with places.
Polyglot: I'm a language-learning fiend. Even as a child, I spoke fluent gibberish with my imaginary playmates. I studied French and Latin in high school, Italian in college, and American Sign Language in California. My level of mastery varies, but that never stops me from trying — I truly enjoy the learning process and connecting with people in their native language.
Places I've lived: Evanston, Illinois; Providence, Rhode Island; Bologna, Italy; San Francisco, California; and Portland, Oregon. I've lived in Portland since 2001 and it fits me like a glove.
First summer job: At age 15, I was hired to interview senior citizens about their histories and current experiences living in my hometown.
Most adventurous summer job: Maid at a lodge in the middle of Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming.
Most creative summer job: Exhibit design intern at Kohl Children's Museum. The highlight was researching and writing a proposal for an interactive exhibit on the artist Marc Chagall.