My path to where I am as a web developer and writer has been a rather interesting one.
I started with a passion for sports, especially baseball, at a young age. I knew around the fourth grade that I wanted to be around sports and the medium would be writing.
In high school I joined the newspaper staff as the primary sports writer. I became the editor of the paper my senior year and covered Summit High School’s run to the 4A girl’s basketball state championship. I also came in fifth in the 4A UIL State news writing competition.
I also started an arena football blog to keep up with my writing over the summer and to grow as a writer. I focused primarily on news and feature writing and started to develop a love for telling stories.
I then moved onto the University of Texas at Austin’s College of Communication as a journalism major. I earned a spot on The Daily Texan, the campus newspaper, in my first semester. But there was a steep learning curve. I started as the women’s golf beat writer and then moved to the men’s golf beat in the spring semester. The next year I started as the women’s soccer beat writer and then became the softball beat writer, traveling to Lafayette, Louisiana, to cover the team’s brief playoff run.
Then things began to move for me. I earned a spot on the senior staff as a senior sports writer my junior year as I covered the volleyball beat as well as the NCAA Volleyball Final Four and the baseball beat. I started my senior year as the associate sports editor covering men’s basketball and finally became the sports editor in my final semester.
I graduated in May of 2016 with a Bachelor of Journalism degree, but my favorite moment came later that summer. I traveled with three other UT students/recent alumni and my favorite journalism professor to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, to cover the 2016 Summer Olympic Games.
We spent almost a month down there and worked for Rio2016.com and took on assignments from papers in the United States. This resulted in us covering a range of sports in a short period of time. I bounced from fencing to pole vaulting to weightlifting to diving among others. Despite the frantic schedule, it was absolutely as fun as it seems it would be.
By far my favorite moment was covering the men’s football/soccer gold medal match between Brazil and Germany. I wasn’t able to get a credential for the match, but I watched the match with 5,000 of my closest Brazilian friends in the Olympic Park with jumbotrons. The moment Neymar scored the winning penalty kick, the place erupted. Somehow I dodged all the beer showers and talked to the happiest Brazilian fans in the world. In the end, I ended up with this story for VICE Sports about the experience.
But during my time in college I developed another passion — web development.
My venture into web development only grew from there. I then started to create plugins and themes for the respective WordPress directories. I landed my first theme into the WordPress theme directory in May 2015 with Nuovo, and my most popular theme, Giornalismo, made it to the directory in the fall of that year. Currently, I have four themes and four plugins in the respective directories, a premium plugin/theme package, Sports Bench, and a theme based on the WP REST API that’s hosted on GitHub.
At the start of 2017, I became a full-time junior developer. I now work both on front and backend, though my primary focus still remains on the front end of things. I also continue to feed my writing passion as I write case studies and blog posts to help grow the company.
And in November 2018, I took a full-time web developer position at the UNT Health Science Center in Fort Worth, Texas. Here I help on the front end, making sure the schools and departments have what they need for their websites and forwarding the UNT HSC brand.
But through it all, one thing underlines both of my loves — storytelling. I love to tell stories, from the athletes at UT, Austin and the Olympics to churches getting brand new websites and now helping stories at UNT HSC be told online as well. I’m set on telling the stories of others. Whether that’s building a new website for a small business so that they can tell their story on the web, writing a case study about a project a company did to help increase business, or just help convey a message through writing, photos or videos, I want to continue telling amazing stories.