Biography: A helping hand

Me as a baby ready to eat some yummy food.
I volunteered to help repaint a park building this past summer and forgot to close the paint can before I inverted it.

Covered in paint, messy hair, burnt nose, and still smiling. This is me. I am a mix of many countries and traditions that all seem to blend evenly into my everyday life in Wisconsin. I have never known specifically where my ancestors came from, and I would say I relate most to Wisconsin, not any country in my lineage. If I had to choose a cultural staple I’d say that it is the cheese, if I had to choose a landscape that reminded me of home it would be the big, open, green spaces and long stretches of farming fields.

I am almost always outdoors, doing something crafty, and smiling. My most predominate characteristic is that I’m eternally positive, and that attribute was very helpful when trying to search through the history of my ancestors. I looked and looked for hours calling relatives and looking on ancestry.com before I finally traced my family back to their homelands. I felt more connected to my past, and even 1,000 miles away at school in Georgia, I felt connected to Wisconsin, to home

Our first family portrait. My father, mother, and me, the bald baby.

I was born on February 27, 1996 to two wonderful people when they were both very young and unmarried. My parents pulled their lives together, moved in, got married, and have been raising me together since I was born. I have had the incredible opportunity to watch them fall more and more in love with each day that passes. I was the first grandchild to both of my sets of grandparents and I had the opportunity to meet five of my eight great-grandparents. I am the oldest of all of my cousins, with my cousin JJ being born just a few months behind me. I grew up an only child and I looked forward to every chance I got to see my cousins, because they were, and still are, some of my best friends.

My cousin JJ and I when we were three. Because we are the same age, and both only children, we grew up as best friends.

I love to learn and explore. My parents drove a lot to see old friends and so I spent a lot of time in the car, but they always entertained me by telling me stories of presidents and wars and random facts that popped into their heads. I learned how to read early and fell in love with it. Reading was an adventure for my mind, and it fueled my crazy imagination. I wanted to be able to talk with intelligence like my parents so I would read a section from my kids encyclopedia each night. I read about the trees that I saw when my great-grandpa took me hiking, and the history of the knitting that I always watched my grandmother do, and most of all about the human body and science.

I grew to love helping people and for my tenth birthday I asked that my mom take me to the local soup kitchen so that I could volunteer. I quickly caught the bug for volunteering and spending time helping others. This love of mine coupled with my connection to my family and my love of science have lead me to pursue medicine and genetics in college. I hope to become a specialist who can help families understand genetic diseases and help them find the support they need to lead as normal of lives as they can.

Family has always been incredibly important to me. I have thrived off of family reunions and birthday parties that bring all of my cousins together to run and play and explore. I love taking pictures to mark the years as they tick by, and am grateful for all of the photos I have with my family.

My cousins and me in pajamas for Christmas day. From left to right: Meghan, Isabelle, Me, Alexis.

I have been blessed with such a close and supportive family. I have always heard about my friends who have family disputes and who hate holidays because of the chaos and disorder. I am lucky however because I would say that my family is more ordered when we are all under the same roof. The meals come together more seamlessly and the time always passes too quickly.