Health Street writer, infographic creator and content distributor
Senior Writer for LearnU.org and Food Blogger for PrimalPaleo.com
August 22, 1984 (31 years old) in Fulda, Hesse Germany
Indian River State College
Nina works hard to be a voice to the voiceless whose stories about drug testing, DNA testing and paternity deserve to be told. It is her goal to always come from a place free of judgment and full of compassion as she brings our readers to a new understanding, offering opportunities to learn and gain insight along the way.
A bit about me...
I was born on a hot August day in a tiny hospital in Fulda a small city in rural Hesse, Germany where my father was stationed with the United States Army. I entered this world much the same way I have spent the last 31 years, stubborn, kicking and screaming.
My family and I traveled back and forth between Germany and the States for the better of my first eight years of life as my father's Army assignments kept us in a continuous game of ping-pong. It was during these formative years that I discovered my love of storytelling, which was often aided by my fairy-tale surroundings of German castles, monasteries and cobblestone village streets.
My creative spirit gave way to hours spent in my room scribbling my stories on paper in picture form. Naturally, I jumped at every opportunity to share them with anyone willing listen. This even resulted in one rather embarrassing moment for my older sister as we were traveling on a bus through Switzerland when I felt compelled to stand up on my seat to proclaim my true identity as a space pig from a planet I had invented.
It's been about 25 years since that happened and I still get such a kick out of remembering how red her faced turned as she tried to melt into her bus seat in a fruitless attempt to distance herself from her odd space pig loving little sister, but I digress.
My creative streak soon morphed into a dream to become a writer, which was proving to be a little difficult since I was stumbling a bit in the areas of reading and writing during my first few years of school. However, my loving grandfather made it his mission to encourage me to pursue my passion and nudged me along by devoting time each day to listening to my stories when we were stateside. He always told my mother that I was going to be a writer someday.
We continued this daily routine even as he battled the lung cancer that was rapidly stealing him from me, as I would climb into his hospital bed after school and whisper to him about the grand adventures for us that I had dreamed up. Far too soon, the cancer became too much for his body to endure and with his loss went my fire to pursue becoming a writer.
I was eventually able to overcome the stumbling blocks I encountered during my early years of schooling and began reading and writing well beyond my grade level. The unlocking of these skills simultaneously revived my dream of becoming a writer, which prompted me to read every book I could get my hands on. I soon began to fill binders with pages of stories that I typed on my great-grandfather’s old 1960's typewriter.
The years passed as I continued to foster my talent as a writer by submitting short stories, poetry and essays to far too many young writer's contests to count. I even won a few and had my work published for others to read. It was just a small taste of the reality I hoped to achieve, but it was a start. I knew then for certain that I wanted to write and for my work to make a difference.
Life as it does, has a way of changing our plans, though. I grew up, got a job, worked through college, married my childhood best friend and become a mother to three crazy, beautiful little girls. Each new phase of my life never dampened my desire to write nor did my need to make a difference waiver. I just figured that it would happen when and if it was meant to be. Lucky for me, it was!
My career as a writer began one day when a good friend of mine, who was also a writer, approached me about doing a small writing job. I couldn't say “yes!” fast enough, of course. It really wasn't much, no one was likely to read it, but it was something and I felt a little piece of the little girl who dreamed of being a writer spark to life again.
That first writing job turned out to be life changing. My friend loved my writing and began sending me assignments regularly for months until one day he offered me my lifelong dream on a silver platter. He wanted me to be the senior writer of a new website he was creating with his business partner targeting higher education. I'm pretty sure I agreed to the project before he was even finished explaining it to me.
I spent over a year pouring myself into the website. Researching and writing until the wee hours of the morning, desperate to be a voice for college students and to make a real difference in any way I could. As with most good things, though, my time there came to an end a little over a year after the website went live as it was sold so other opportunities could be explored by the owners.
I was now without a job and if I'm being honest, feeling totally gutted by the experience and unsure if I would ever write professionally again. Who would hire me, a writer without a ton of experience, self taught and brimming with the need to be read?
I wasn't quite ready to throw in my writer's towel for good, though. So, as is my nature, I pushed forward with the moxie and fiery spirit I am known for in the hopes of finding other opportunities to use my craft, share my passion and to make a mark on the world one reader at a time.
A chance email I sent out on July 27th in response to a listing I found on a freelance writer's site proved to be the single most important thing that has every happened to me professionally. That email set the wheels of my journey with Health Street in motion as Jared and I hit it off pretty quickly, which resulted in me amazingly being offered the job to write for the website's blog. I still pinch myself daily over the opportunity he has given me and doubt I'll stop periodically pinching myself in the near future.
So, that's me. I may not have a Harvard education nor have I won a Pulitzer, but for what I make up in Ivy League degrees and prestigious accolades, I make up for in heart and determination as I make good on my lifelong dream to write and make a difference.
These days Miami, Florida is filled with far more than the sound of the beach, music coming from Little Havana and the sound of car horns honking at the never ending traffic. In fact, it's filled with the sound of tourniquets being snapped around the arms of addicts while they fill their needles with heroin.
The heroin epidemic in our country is so out of control that it is impacting the lives of newborn babies who were subjected to the drug's harmful effects before birth. Hospitals are now looking for cuddlers to help these babies through their withdrawals.