Dana and her dog, Muffin, on a trip to Ohio to visit relatives.

Throughout my school years, my career aspirations ranged from becoming a veterinarian, to becoming an art historian. I did not actually decide upon my majors of journalism and history until my junior year of high school. Truthfully, the two areas of study have been with me since middle school.

After participating in National History Day for a sixth-grade extra credit project, I continued to create exhibits and experimented in the documentary field throughout middle school and high school. In my five years of researching a new historical topic and preparing a project each year, I advanced to the state competition each year and advanced to the national competition three of those years, earning Outstanding County Award twice and Outstanding Use of Primary Sources Award.

Words cannot express the impact History Fair has had on my life. I have had the amazing opportunity to interview Holocaust survivors, the founders of the Kids’ Guernica Project (one of whom lives in Japan), the donor of the entire Salvador Dali collection in the St. Petersburg Dali museum in Florida, the former governor of Florida, Jeb Bush, and many more inspiring people. My exhibits have been displayed in the Smithsonian Museum of American Art, as well as in Florida’s Historic Capitol Museum. Trusler Hall Staff picture at Epcot for Peer Mentor/Resident Assistant team bonding. Dana is pictured in the Gator shirt, second from the bottom. Through the research, writing, and design skills I have learned through the process, I taught other students how to create History Fair projects. Now I continue to work with History Fair as a judge at the state and district levels.

Yearbook introduced me to the world of journalism. I worked on my middle school yearbook committee, and continued my passion for yearbook creation in high school as editor-in-chief. The local paper, the Tallahassee Democrat, offered the opportunity for local high school students to write for the paper as teen journalists. I was granted this opportunity my sophomore and senior years of high school. My junior and senior years of high school I also served as editor-in-chief for my high school paper.

As a current journalism student at the University of Florida, I write a monthly arts and entertainment article for the Council on Culture and Arts for the Tallahassee Democrat, in addition to freelancing for Tower Publications, Inc. magazines in Gainesville. My articles have appeared in the Independent Florida Alligator school paper, The Gainesville Sun, and the local sections of the Tallahassee Democrat. Over the summer of 2011, I interned at a public relations firm, Ron Sachs Communications, Inc., in Tallahassee. During the same summer I also worked as a journalism and education intern at the James Madison Institute.

Dana painting a Kids Guernica Project mural in Tallahassee, Fla.

As far as my non-major-related interests go, I am an avid reader, a huge dog-lover, a craft artist, and lover of the arts. My favorite books include Harry Potter, The Historian, Jane Eyre, The Importance of Being Earnest, Fahrenheit 451, The Poisonwood Bible, novels by Agatha Christie, and poems by Dorothy Parker. I love crafting of any kind; usually my gifts to others are something I have made. Ballet is my favorite “sport” (I danced for 16 years) and I play the piano. My idea of a great night out is playing games with my friends, especially Taboo, Apples-to-Apples, Monopoly, and Pit. If I am watching television, you will usually find me enjoying a good episode of NCIS, Glee, Once Upon a Time, What Not to Wear, Murder She Wrote, or Poirot.