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My history in the real world.

I started my career when I bought my first business at the age of 19 and the experience has helped me throughout my working and academic career.

The next major venture came about as the business closed. I needed a new focus or direction in my life. I had taken up photography and decided this new passion would take me in the direction I sought.

An opportunity presented itself in Miami to work as a photographer's assistant. It's a funny thing about opportunities. In my life, they have always been there when I look for them, rarely in the form I expect.

I moved to Miami and began a journey that took many years. In Miami, I worked for a small exclusive portrait studio called Tobias Rohan Photography. I was very fortunate to work closely with the owner, Nancy Rohan. She was the only female photographer I have worked for in the years since. I still regard her work and business as the ideal for the portait studio.

After a while I became quite homesick and decided to move back to my hometown of Gainesville. A kick in the pants was needed to motivate me to find a new job.

"Get off your ass and go find what you want," said Al, a close friend. "Get out the phone book and just go down the list until someone gives you a job."

So I got off my ass, got out the phone book and listed out everywhere I wanted to work. Funny thing about opportunities, sometimes you have to carve them out of air.

I was determined to be a photographer. Consequently, I was hired at GLAMOURSHOTS and Flash Foto. I quickly decided that GLAMOURSHOTS wasn't for me and concentrated all my energy on Flash.

Besides owning my own business, Flash was one of the "best" experiences of my life. I received the best training and broadened my vision of the world.

I traveled all over North America shooting pageants and other events. From New Jersey to Indianapolis to Seattle to the Yucatan. I got to see the nation in the brief visits as well as through the personalities represented in the girls I photographed.

As often happens, change was soon to come. It just seems to come harder and faster with me. Seeking to advance my position within the company I was told that I couldn't go anywhere without a degree. Nothing motivates more than being told you can't have what you want.

Along with the words of wisdom from my wise friend Al, a new phase in my life began. His words of clarity and wisdom were as annoying as they were inspiring.

"Just do it," Al said. "Keep digging."

Knowing someone believed in me was the catalyst behind my new journey in academics. I studied art and photography at Santa Fe Community College and after my transfer to the University of Florida, I decided to go into Public Relations.

I realized I needed practical as well as creative skills. I have a good cross training of art and writing that will make me desirable for the positions I seek.

I hope to work with creative individuals such as artists or actors. I would love to do PR for a theater or guild or film company. With inspiration all around me and opportunities waiting, I intend to pursue these goals.

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