It all started in the backyard of my Grandma Whetten's house where she sent me (after saying I was bored) with some blocks of wood, nails, and a hammer. When my parents returned, I didn't want to go home because I was having too much fun hammering nails into wood. That's where my love for vocational education started. This love was further developed as I began collecting tools as a child, and while taking vocational education classes throughout my junior high and high school years, which led to my eventually taking 1st place in State Skills USA Manufacturing Technology competitions and later, as Team Captain, winning 3rd place in the nation in Automated Manufacturing Technology through Skills USA.
While studying Intercultural Peacebuilding at my university I taught carpentry skills and talked to my students about how they could apply peacebuilding principles in their lives. I realized that these two disciplines could fit conjointly together and help to rebuild lives and communities for displaced and targeted youth around the world. I studied peacebuilding in Palestine with the backdrop of the Middle Eastern conflict, and completed an internship in Northern Ireland with the Causeway Institute of Peacebuilding and Conflict Resolution International, where I worked with Middle Eastern dignitaries and religious leaders.
My experiences at home and abroad have helped me decide to dedicate my life to philanthropy and to help those affected by hardship by providing them a new path forward through economic opportunity. I believe that by empowering them to forge new skill sets it will allow them to be self reliant and help others in their communities. I am committed to combining these powerful tools, vocational education and peacebuilding, to help rebuild lives, communities and peace.