Born in Boulder and raised in Lafayette, I grew up exploring Colorado. My parents would load my younger sister and I into our VW camper and set out to hike, ski, camp, backpack, and fish across the state. Their love of Colorado’s wild spaces became the foundation on which I grew, and which has motivated so much of my life since. To this day, I am happiest exploring this state, either on my feet, bike, or skis.
Spending much of my childhood under the dark starry skies of Colorado gave rise to my first great dream, to become an astronaut and extend my explorations beyond our planet. This fascination with space led me into science. I took every opportunity to learn and explore that I could, from joining amateur astronomy clubs run through the Boulder Valley School District to attending Space Camp.
After graduating from Fairview High School, I went to CU to study Physics and Astrophysics. During my time at CU I was immersed in science and began working on Martian climate models for my honors thesis. But I also took full advantage of all the opportunities CU offered, competing on the swim, ski, and triathlon teams, volunteering to work on an underwater archaeological dig in Turkey, and starting an online bicycle company (that failed in part because the world wasn’t ready to buy bikes over the internet in 1996). I went on to earn my Ph.D. in Planetary Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis. While there I worked in mission control for an attempt at a round the world balloon flight, drove Mars rovers across the desert, and mapped the surface of Mars using radar to find the safest and most interesting places to land.
As soon as I could after graduation, I returned to Colorado as a research scientist at the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics. When not working on robotic missions exploring Mars, Saturn, Europa, and Earth, I’ve put into practice my long standing belief that scientists need to be more involved in policy and the political process. It’s this belief that led me to take a break from research to work on Capitol Hill in Washington DC. There I specialized in science education policy, federal research funding, and community organizing to involve physicists in policy. That experience convinced me not only that scientists should be involved, but that I personally should be more involved.
My experience in national level policy led me to become more and more involved locally. First by volunteering to serve on, then chairing my town’s advisory boards (trails, parks, and open space as well as the planning commission), and ultimately winning election as a trustee and Mayor. I’m very proud of my work for Nederland as it puts into action my beliefs of what a town should stand for, particularly with regard to our work on climate change (signing the Paris Accords and working towards 100% renewables) and instituting a living wage for our employees.
My diverse experiences and involvement in both national and local level policy have led me to this point, asking for your support to take the skills I have learned and carefully cultivated to Congress and work in support of Colorado grown goals and values. I bring a unique skill-set to the position, one which has the potential to find creative solutions to the issues facing our country.
As a scientist, entrepreneur, and leader, I pledge to always keep learning, keep exploring, keep dreaming, and above all, to always #DareBIG.