Class Year


Current Hometown:

Chicago, IL

Job and Employer

Author, HarperTeen & Delacorte/ Random House


Being an author is amazing, but it’s also challenging. There’s a whole business side to publishing that I never dreamed of when I was an aspiring writer. I love telling stories, especially children’s stories. My first novel, In the After, is a post-apocalyptic survival story with a teen protagonist. I try not to follow trends in my writing, but instead write the story I want to read. I was very lucky that my book was sent out to publishers when post-apocalyptic/dystopian tales were the hot new thing. My next book is a paranormal witch story set in Scotland. That was another book I wrote purely for the joy of it, and that is the best thing about being an author, creating stories from my crazy imagination.

Community work & family

I do a lot of school visits to high schools to talk about being an author, reading, and books in general. The best part of my day is when a student who hated reading approaches me to say they’re interested in a book I suggested.

Senior project:

A teen novel (of course!)


Interned for the Centre for Human Ecology in Edinburgh, Scotland.

Human ecology in action:

Writing post-apocalyptic fiction has more to do with human ecology than you would think.  A lot of my knowledge of how humans interact with their environment came from COA courses. Although my stories are fiction, basing them in real life facts makes them more realistic.

A COA experience that was particularly significant or memorable:

I think my most significant experience was being in a lit class and disagreeing with a professor and voicing my opinion. What followed was an intellectual debate that made me realize how important differing opinions were and how they fostered critical thought. Bill Carpenter (Hi Bill!) then said in my evaluation that he had no doubt I would one day be published. Those two instances are extremely significant in my choice to pursue a career as an author.

Considerations for prospective students:

One of the things I loved most about COA was it allowed me to find what I truly wanted to do with my life. I may not be working in the most important job or at a non-profit, but I feel like my books make young readers think about the environment in which they live, one of the core principles of human ecology. Any prospective students should know that a course of study at COA will allow them to discover how they themselves fit into this world and perhaps how they can strive to make the world a better place.