Hi! I’m Tanya and I am on twitter as Nerdette which causes confusion. Evidently there’s some German pop star by the same moniker. Every once in a while I get tweets in German. My professional background is here.
I had 5 pairs of cowboy boots before I moved to Texas. I said “y’all” non-ironically before living here. I love wide open spaces and the ability to be left the heck alone. One spring of Texan wildflowers was enough for me to know that I had finally found a place to set down roots.
And in case you’re curious, here are 10 random things about me, in no particular order:
1. I live to work. I support the efforts of public education and I love my work and what I do, even if sometimes I swear a lot. Yes, Texas is that great and I now refer to myself as a “first generation Texan.”
2. Growing up I had really disfiguring eczema. Once I got it around my eyes. In a weird way I liked looking like quasimodo. You can imagine what it was like, growing up a gawky nerd with a skin affliction worse than just acne. But I wouldn’t change that experience for a second. Nerds rule. Weird looking nerds rule harder.
3. I pulled my sister out of a pond when we were kids. I guess I saved her life – at the time and the only memory I have of it is laughing at her, because when I pulled her out she was crying and I thought it was funny she was all wet. I vaguely remember a very upset adult rushing over. I can’t tell you how glad I am I dragged her out.
4. I wasn’t allowed to watch much teevee growing up, so I ended up spending most of my time in the creek, making friends with frogs, earthworms and bugs. I spent a lot of time in trees. I loved every moment of it.
5. I had a guinea pig named Cindy Lou and a dwarf Siberian hamster as pets, growing up. Cindy Lou lived for about 6 years – the hamster (named Spunky) met an untimely death, choking on a corn chip. It was tragic. Happily, I have turned out to be an decent dog-mom.
6. I didn’t like pro-sports until I tried measuring the effect of long-term budget implications of spending on educational attainment, for 2 years in grad school. After writing a long paper on No Child Left Behind, I realized what a relief it is to have a CLEAR OUTCOME. Hence, my love of the NFL and the Steelers was born. Since my boyfriend is a die-hard Cowboys fan, football season is both awesome and slightly tense in our household. My one hold out in my Texasification is that I will not root for the Cowboys (unless they’re playing the New England Patriots.)
7. I was an avid reader at an early age. I was raised on a steady diet of Asimov, Bradbury, Gibson, and a lot of pulp murder mysteries and who-dun-its. This might explain my love of the TV show Bones.
8. I was a Girl Scout for 12 years. I love camping. I can start a fire anywhere, made out of pretty much anything. Girl Scouts rock.
9. I used to work with Military families. I learned a lot about volunteer recruitment from helping build strong military family support groups. It helped me as a field organizer, and taught me how to build teams. I also happen to have relatives that served in every branch except the Air Force, and it was fulfilling work to do.
10. Once, when I was in Louisville, KY – a woman told me she didn’t like Asians – to my face. I told her she should try Korean BBQ because it would change her life. I truly believe food is the great equalizer. I don’t know if she could tell I was half Asian (I’m half Brasilian. I like to call myself a “person of Other” because I usually check “Other” on forms.) I hope that woman tried Kalbi some day because kalbi is delicious.
All opinions are my own and do not reflect anything or one or organization except me. Which is likely a good thing.