I majored in English and Creative Writing at Oberlin College. After I graduated I did editorial work and drew molecules for a couple of years at the University of Pennsylvania Department of Chemistry, where I had the privilege of working for Alan MacDiarmid. He won the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 2000.
When I left the chemistry department I went to the American College of Physicians (ACP), where I was an editor and led their move into desktop publishing. I liked language, and I had always enjoyed computers as well, so the job was a good fit for me. When the World Wide Web started, I was on the team that built our first web sites.
During my time at ACP I became interested in psychology. Or, I became interested in it again. Had I not studied English in college I would probably have studied psychology. They are both ways of looking at the human experience. I took psychology and statistics classes as the University of Pennsylvania and ultimately completed most of a second bachelor’s there. I also worked in Tyrone Cannon’s research lab measuring brain MRIs as part of a study on brain structure and schizophrenia. (Cannon moved to Yale in 2012.)
After sufficient coursework and research experience I applied to graduate school, and was accepted into the clinical psychology doctoral program at the University of Texas at Austin for the fall of 1996.
Austin is a wonderful city, and their program is among the best in the country, but I did not stay. I had planned to go further into the brain structure research I’d been a part of at Penn. Tragically, the adviser with whom I was to work died over winter break my first year. That, and some factors that made the program not such a good fit for me, led me to withdraw after a year and a half.
Back home in Philadelphia I completed a double master’s program in Information Systems (MSIS) and Library and Information Science (MSLIS) at Drexel University’s College of Computing & Informatics, and went back into technology doing web development, systems work, and project management.
I ultimately returned to the American College of Physicians, where I work mainly on our peer-reviewed journal, the Annals of Internal Medicine.