I grew up in Indianapolis, IN. I went to Oberlin College, where I triple-majored in English, Musicology, and History. During the month of January, Oberlin had Winter Term, a month where students could do personal projects instead of taking classes. For one Winter Term project, I taught myself HTML, knowing that this would be a useful skill to have.
It paid off in my first job after I graduated: I was hired by Oberlin’s local history museum. They were delighted to find someone who could not only give museum tours, but also create their first website. Then I moved to New York City and studied Medieval History at Fordham University. My professors were also glad to have a student with web development skills. I worked on several department websites, and I also helped to build some online databases.
My biggest web project in graduate school was the Online Medieval Sources Bibliography. This is a searchable database of modern editions of medieval primary sources. This project made use of my skills as a historian and a web developer, and gave me opportunities to learn a lot about web development. For a while, the site was built in Ruby on Rails: I taught myself Ruby and Ruby on Rails so that I could develop and maintain it. Eventually, we were frustrated by Ruby on Rails’ limitations, and I rewrote the site in PHP. These days, I am really itching to rewrite it again with WordPress.
Meanwhile, while I was working on my PhD dissertation (“The Manuscript Context of Medieval Welsh Prophecies”), I needed part-time work. I had become familiar with WordPress in 2007 when I was teaching and needed a blog to keep in touch with my students. In 2009, I started picking up some WordPress development work to pay my way through school.
At first, I just used CSS to change existing WordPress themes. But I soon started messing with template files, and before long I was coding my own themes from scratch. This quickly blossomed into a thriving business. I stopped writing my dissertation so that I could devote myself to WordPress development full-time.
For several years, I specialized in working with graphic designers to turn their designs into WordPress websites. I fostered happy relationships with many clients: they were thrilled by my pixel-perfect attention to detail, my good communication skills, and my ability to do good work quickly.
The themes I built became more and more complex, so before long it wasn’t much of a jump to start developing plugins. I built a few plugins for clients that I later released to the public. I really like using WordPress as an application framework: it provides a user-friendly basis for an infinite variety of uses.
After several years of freelancing, I realized that it was time for me to get a job. I wanted to focus on development, instead of spending most of my time running a business. I wanted opportunities to work on bigger projects than I could take on as a solo freelancer. So in 2016 I joined the team at Range, a small WordPress design and development agency. I thoroughly enjoyed my time at Range, but found that the projects there were still not as large-scale as I was hoping to be involved in.
In February of 2018, Range began the process of shutting down as an agency, so I worked for about a year at Pressable, where I was working with Automattic’s Special Projects Team to migrate high-profile clients to WordPress from other platforms. In my time there, I got very good at handling weird migrations. At the same time, I was volunteering with several organizations that build websites for progressive campaigns, and was very excited when Wide Eye needed a Software Engineer with WordPress experience. At Wide Eye, I get to use my powers for good by building sites for a lot of progressive organizations and campaigns.