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I was born July 21, 1969 in Asheville, North Carolina, where the Blue Ridge Mountains imparted in me a love of the outdoors and nature. I spent countless summer days flipping over rocks and logs, wading in ponds and streams - always searching for snakes, lizards, salalmanders and frogs. This worried my mother to no end.

I graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a degree in biology in 1991. After graduation, I traveled for three and a half months in South America, visiting Venezuela, Colombia and Ecuador. I spent part of my trip as a field research assistant to Dr. Marty Condon, a prominent tropical ecologist and former professor. The lush rainforests and soaring Andean peaks sparked a wanderlust that will stay with me as long as I live.

In 1993 I moved to Aspen, Colorado for a ski season, which quickly passed into eight years of outdoor recreation and great friendships. I worked as a waiter, snowboard instructor and music writer for the Aspen Daily News. Hardly a day goes by I don't miss the mountains of Colorado.

I began a graduate journalism program in the fall of 2002 at the University of Florida. During my first semester at UF, I traveled to Ayacucho, Peru with an international journalism course. I worked in and wrote about an impoverished community rooted in the conflict of Peru's notorious Shining Path guerrilla movement. Since beginning my studies at UF, I have gained an interest in photography and started taking photojournalism courses.

My goal is to work internationally, photographing and writing about natural history, the environment and human rights issues. For my master's thesis project, I plan to document the effects of illegal oil exploration on indigenous peoples.

Here is a link to my favorite photojournalist
Sebastião Salgado



mattlevitch@hotmail.com