If I've learned nothing else in my years of reporting it's that everyone has a story to tell.
For more than a decade, I wrote longform narratives, profiles, first-person pieces and more at CNN Digital. This followed a number of years in newspapers, where most of my time was spent at The Salt Lake Tribune. Along the way, I've been recognized with awards and various fellowships.
My interests are vast, but by virtue of designated beats and needs I've often been drawn to stories related to women, health, faith and quirk. Now, as a freelancer, the doors are wide open -- and I'm excited to explore the writing possibilities both inside and outside traditional journalism.
I'm a proud native of Detroit, but I bounced around the country and globe before putting down roots in Atlanta, where I live with my husband and a goofball mutt named Yogi.
I hold a bachelor's degree from the University of Pennsylvania and a master's degree from UC Berkeley's Graduate School of Journalism.
Since leaving CNN at the end of June 2019, I've done some freelancing, spent a few months ghostwriting a book proposal, explored several podcast ideas and revisited some passion projects that have been on the back burner for too long.
Below is a broad sampling of my published work, including freelance pieces that appeared in Smithsonian Magazine, The Washington Post, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, AARP.org, AARP Bulletin and The Forward.
Paulette Leaphart was the perfect hero: a cancer survivor baring her double-mastectomy scars on a 1,000-mile walk to Washington. But then her own words got in the way.
Liberated 70 years ago, only a fraction of the prisoners at Auschwitz survived. Beaten but not broken, they built new lives, new families. But wartime scars changed them -- and their children -- forever.
Aesha's story of torture by the Taliban made her the iconic face of the oppression of women in Afghanistan. The world reached out to help, but the fairy-tale ending everyone hoped for has proven elusive. In this exclusive report, CNN's Jessica Ravitz documents the inspiring -- and beguiling -- Aesha and her nearly two-year quest for surgery, stability and a sense of belonging.
Wineland, 21, captivated millions of people around the world with her honest talk about illness and mortality while living with cystic fibrosis.
They're not slumped over in alleyways. They haven't lost everything. They are the heroin addicts living next door and fooling their families.
STORIES FROM ACROSS AMERICA
Rural suicides outpace those in urban America, and Montana's suicide rate leads the nation. One farming family in north central Montana shares their story of loss in the hopes that their anguish can save others.
Grant County, Nebraska, has the highest rate of Obamacare enrollees in the US. It also voted overwhelmingly for President Trump. A disconnect? Not to residents.
Pregnant women infected with the rubella virus, or German measles, during a 1960s US epidemic, gave birth to babies with multiple birth defects. More than 50 years later, their children still need care.
For 16-year-old Tre'anna Shaw, the church massacre was personal. So is the debate about the Confederate flag -- and how her nation grapples with race.
Next to the 24-hour Czech Stop off I-35 in central Texas, travelers line up to get a taste of the pastries and breads that define this community. But to really know West, a small town catapulted into the news last week, you have to venture about half a mile east. There, past the Ole Czech Smoke House selling sausages and the flags flying at half-staff, the people tell the story.
The Anderson Monarchs, a Philadelphia baseball team that includes Little League phenom Mo'ne Davis, embarks on a bus tour to learn civil rights history.
MATTERS OF FAITH
Three people died in self-help guru James Arthur Ray's sweat lodge. But in a real indigenous sweat, people get a second chance at life.
A Boston-area pastor stood in a church parlor talking about abortion -- her abortion. By speaking about a subject so many deem unspeakable, she empowered others to come forward. She says it's always this way.
Corporate greed and potential environmental disaster are arguments against the Dakota Access Pipeline. But a big issue for the Standing Rock Sioux and other Native Americans is the threat to sacred land.
The spiritual community that wowed the world with its forgiveness comes together and celebrates history -- both recent and past.
France has the largest Jewish community in Europe. But the Paris attacks, amid rising anti-Semitism and increased immigration to Israel, may take a toll.
December marks the 25th anniversary of a massive rally that helped change the world. The Soviet Jewry movement once enjoyed the support of top-tier politicians, congressional wives, Catholic nuns, actors, musicians and civil rights icons, including Martin Luther King Jr. Now, it stands largely forgotten. If a new coalition has its way, the movement's story will find its place in history books and serve as a model for change in a time when global human rights abuses continue.
If the friendship between a black Christian mayor, a rabbi running for Congress and a Mormon university president wasn't so real, this would sound like a bad joke. Instead, it’s a reflection of how three men from profoundly different backgrounds met 20 years ago, connected and changed one another.
Mohammad Salahuddin Chowdhury was one of 32 Muslim victims on 9/11. He left behind a daughter and a pregnant wife, who gave birth to their son two days after the Twin Towers fell. If there were a roadmap when it comes to grieving, the family's journey since then was unmarked.
Mitt Romney has been deeply influenced by his experiences as a Mormon. CNN.com's Jessica Ravitz explains.
If you thought you had less than three perfectly healthy months to live, what would you do? This group of faithful ambassadors hopped in a caravan of RVs to warn people about the end of the world.
SOMETIMES I GET PERSONAL
It's been a Hindu holy spot for millennia and a spiritual playground for Westeners since the Beatles put it on the map. CNN's Jessica Ravitz came to Rishikesh to try her hand at everything it offers. What she didn't see coming: How this place and its people helped her find wholeness.
As my mother lay dying last September, we surrounded her with song. Music had filled her life and often our household. Now it became our way to connect with her, when her deteriorating brain allowed for little else.
We were 20-somethings, living in Israel, searching for where we fit in. The promise of peace hung in the air until a gunman changed everything.
THE TOLL OF GUN VIOLENCE
Three bullets hit Rachel Sheppard when a gunman opened fire on a music festival in Las Vegas. A stranger and a woman she barely knew saved her -- and changed them all.
When children are killed by guns, the voices of the young brothers and sisters left behind are seldom heard. Theirs is the untold story of this American tragedy.
Brooklynn Mohler, 13, died when her best friend unintentionally fired a gun that wasn't safely stored in her home. Mohler's parents are fighting to save others.
MY WORK ISN'T ALWAYS SO HEAVY
Susan Bennett of suburban Atlanta says she is the voice of the original U.S. version of Siri on Apple's iPhone. CNN's Jessica Ravitz wasn't looking for Siri when she found her by chance.
Four decades after Teamsters boss Jimmy Hoffa went missing on July 30, 1975, the search for his body lives on.
She created a magical forest in a Kansas suburb. Her artistry touched the lives of others and sparked a short film. But who is she and what's she up to now?
WOMEN'S ISSUES AND REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH
Bills are being introduced in state capitols to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment, an addition to the US Constitution to protect women's rights and prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex, according to proponents.
Women who've had abortions later in their pregnancies are "bonded in a sisterhood through a club nobody ever wanted to be a part of," one woman said. Strangers have called them monsters, trolled them on social media and said their living children should be taken away.
Signaling a new chapter in the battle over abortion access in the United States, a European organization is providing Americans a way to get doctor-prescribed pills by mail to medically induce abortions at home.
Decades-old allegations against Judge Brett Kavanaugh have introduced a new chapter in the #MeToo movement. Some women are thinking and talking about their own sexual assaults for the first time in years. And they're asking themselves if they could come forward.
A gay couple wanted a family and, with the help of two women, had a son. When a storage tank holding frozen embryos, or future siblings, failed in San Francisco, the outcome touched them all.
The effects of a Texas law before the U.S. Supreme Court have already been felt: Clinics across the state have closed, leaving many women in an abortion desert.
RECENT FREELANCE PIECES
Gloria Single was 82 and had dementia when the Sacramento nursing facility where she lived with her husband, Bill, sent her to the hospital and, later, barred her from returning — a move often referred to as resident “dumping.” She's since died, but her son is on a mission to make sure what happened to her doesn't happen to others.
A brain aneurysm and massive stroke did not stop Arline Chesley after she suffered both more than 21 years ago. Then she contracted COVID-19 at her nursing home in Maryland and died, after 17 days on a ventilator. Nine months later, he still struggles to accept her death and mourns that he couldn't give her the funeral she deserved.
As COVID-19 began to roil through nursing homes, facilities across the country scrambled to keep it at bay. They girded themselves for battle against this unprecedented scare with one goal in mind: to protect their residents. How they've fared has varied wildly. Some facilities have emerged unscathed, while others took a beating. This is a look at just two nursing homes, equally committed to those they serve. Their journeys, however, could not have been more different.
Most older Americans in generally good health may not get the vaccine for months. But many of those getting the first vaccinations are older health care workers. After more than nine months of battling the virus, the significance of this turning point isn't lost on them.
Frontline workers in nursing homes have remained, for the most part, overlooked and underpaid. But they have put their lives at risk to protect the most vulnerable, people who often feel like family.
Nursing homes are ground zero for the pandemic, and each resident, family and worker connected to these facilities has their own story to tell.
Hoke Edward "Ed" Benton is part of the first generation of people with Down syndrome who are reaching old age. But their newfound longevity is ushering in a host of challenges, including higher rates of physical health issues and dementia. As they begin to outlive their parents, many families are grappling with devastating questions: Who will care for them? And how will they pay for it?
Approximately one in 40,000 to 100,000 infants is born with "bubble boy" disease, a rare genetic disorder that leaves patients without functioning immune systems. A simple cold can be deadly. Research scientists at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee, may have discovered a cure.
Brian Sorrentino, a hematologist and gene therapy researcher at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee, made it his life’s mission to cure a rare disorder known as the "bubble boy" disease. His widow reflects on his pioneering work and her late husband.
While new mothers are showered with love and often share a path well-lit by friends and neighbors, the road is often dark and hard to navigate when it comes time to mother their own mothers, or any relative, for that matter. But there is some help.
On Monday, the Atlanta Jewish Times published an article about a flyer - featuring swastikas, a rat adorned with a Star of David and language denying the Holocaust - supposedly distributed in the city's Orthodox neighborhood. On Tuesday, the story was debunked.