Photography by Ari Espay
I grew up in Reno, Nevada. I've lived in New York for about three and a half years, shortly after I graduated from college. My favorite thing about the city is this sense that I could live here for a hundred years and still find something every day that surprises, excites, or challenges me. At the same time, there's this incredibly unique energy, this sense of strength and solidarity that pulses through everyone and every place in the city. I've never been in another city that feels so much like a living organism, with every aspect of it coalescing to form one beautiful yet messy and paradoxical beast that is New York City.
Things I like to do in my free time include running, reading, learning, and watching TV/movies. Two passions of mine that have unfortunately fallen by the wayside since graduating college are math and art. I majored in math but took many studio art classes while in college. My favorite was a sculpture class in which I learned the basics of metal working and built a set of lawn chairs that spelled out the word "sorry." My intention after graduation was to pursue art but I lost some focus there once I entered the workforce and haven't found much time for it in the last few years. Regardless, I hope to return to some more creative work as well as some math in the future, because sculpture and math are where my true passions lie.
Before this job I was working at a tutoring center, teaching SAT, SHSAT, and elementary-school-level classes in both math and English. Before that I worked at a dessert shop, where I was responsible for prep, dishwashing, and deliveries. I originally moved to New York to teach math at a charter high school. So my work background is predominantly in education, mainly in math.
I am really hoping that Covid changes the way people think about and engage with their community, locally, nationally, and globally. This pandemic really exacerbated an already massive wealth gap, and it is clear for all to see that this pandemic did not affect all communities equally. I hope people will reflect on this, and the fact that for some the pandemic mostly just an inconvenience, while others were forced to decide whether the risk of contracting Covid at work was worth the income they needed to feed their families and put a roof over their heads. These huge discrepancies should not exist, and I hope more people are willing to engage directly in volunteer work and mutual aid efforts to make sure everyone in their community is being taken care of. It has become very clear that the government is not going to save us from disaster, nor administer aid equitably; it is up to citizens to look after one another. Our ability to survive this pandemic is contingent on everybody being on board with making sacrifices, keeping socially distant, and wearing a mask. I really hope this sense of a "team effort" being necessary for everyone's survival carries over into our post-pandemic world, because it applies all the time, not just during a global pandemic.
We all need to make sacrifices and look out for one another.
I love educating and working with kids, but I also really love working with my hands. I'm hoping one day I will come up with the perfect idea of how to combine math, sculpture, education, and community engagement into my dream career. Until that happens I want to make sure that I continue to hold jobs and volunteer in spaces where I can see the direct impact I am having and be proud knowing that I am helping real human beings. A couple people who heard about the work I was doing assembling testing kits asked me, isn't that so boring? and all I really think was, sure, but I'd rather do it for a hundred years knowing that I could potentially save even just one life than work at a finance firm making good money helping the rich get richer. So that's an extreme example, but when people ask me about my future it's hard for me to put that in terms of a career. I more so think about it as being able to continually put myself into scenarios that ensure that at the end of each day,
I am proud of how I spent it.
I never foresaw a pandemic or the fact that I would be assembling testing kits, and yet I ended up there and was happy to be because it meant that for six months I could go home feeling proud of what we had all done together. So we'll see how that continues to play out into my future I guess!