I’m from Illinois and come from long lines of farmers on both sides. Working with cows, pigs and crops gave me an appreciation for life and its ways. I was born in the 1950s and was fortunate to be mainly taught by nuns in Catholic schools.
In high school a Chinese nun turned me onto biology, especially evolution—it explained so much. I pursued a Bachelor’s degree in Animal Science at the University of Illinois in the mid 1970s.
My junior year was spent at the University of Leeds, England. The rigorous curricula was designed to produce scientists, not livestock producers. Traveling in Europe during the month-long breaks was a blast.
At school’s end, an Englishman and I accompanied our Malaysian friend overland to visit his home. Like other backpackers, we hitchhiked or used local transport across Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India. After Malaysia, I returned home in the fall of 1977. I had turned 20 in London and 21 in Bangkok.
After completing my B.S. degree, my first position was as a high school Agriculture teacher. I opted next for self-employment and sometimes partnering, to commercially dig trees, do landscaping and renovate real estate we purchased.
I married a registered nurse in 1982 and we had child in 1984. Our daughter is an Emergency Room doctor in San Francisco—when she’s not teaching in Asia.
In the late 1980s I became a lab technician at the University of Illinois. It was a great job working with with graduate students on sheep and swine. Among many experiments, we mapped genes—mainly swine. I soon became a graduate student in molecular genetics. After studying biochemistry, microbiology, statistics, etc. I wrote my thesis and received a Masters degree in 1994.
I was a lab tech at the University of Illinois for 17 years. My next position was as a high school Biology teacher. I believe if you can teach you should—as payback to your great teachers. This made me explain basic biological principles in clear simple language.
My retirement in 2011 allowed me to pursue a writing career. To prepare I returned to the U of I for creative writing classes and went to a community college for graphic design. My intent is to use narrative to produce an easy-to-read biology book.
Blogging allows me to add my voice to those changing our unsustainable practices. I especially want to help stop fossil fuel subsidies so we waste less. This waste is contributing to the mass extinction of our planet’s species.
Life’s been good to me and I want to help improve our planet’s health for future generations.