I grew up in Shaler Township and graduated from Shaler Area High School. I attended Duquesne University, thinking I would become a French teacher, but soon realized I wanted to join the funeral service industry. As the daughter of a funeral director, I was very comfortable with death. (My brothers and I played hide and seek among caskets!)
My personal experience with loss and bereavement inspired me to search for a deeper understanding of death and has led to an acceptance of my own mortality. Out of this more tangible realization that my life will end someday has grown a deep desire to live wholeheartedly. And from this new way of living I am excited to encourage others to live more fully.
I’m a researcher who studies how health services are provided and used during serious illness and at the end of life. When I first meet people, an overwhelming number of these interactions end with this stranger and me having a deep, human conversation about how the death of someone they’ve loved has touched them (I promise, all I do is tell them one sentence about what I do!). Every person has a story, a story that is aching to be told, that jumps with excitement at the chance to be heard by another human who has created space to receive it. These human connections are at the heart of why I do what I do.
In 2014, I left a career in academia to pursue a calling to help those at the end of life. I work in administration for a local hospice and I am a hospice volunteer in my spare time. I became a certified End of Life Doula with Doulagivers in 2017, I have a certificate in Compassionate Presence from Spiritual Care Programme, and I am also trained as a meditation instructor and Reiki practitioner.