Greetings Prior Lake! For the past five years I’ve been reporting from the Land of Enchantment — New Mexico — but I’m originally from El Paso, Texas — a culturally rich border city that stands on the Rio Grande across from Ciudad Juárez, Mexico.
I graduated from the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP, Go Miners!) in 2011 with a Bachelor of Arts in multimedia journalism and a minor in film. During my time in college, I reported for The Prospector, UTEP’s student newspaper, and Borderzine, an online publishing platform that prepares young bilingual journalists for jobs in news media which is also operated by UTEP.
While I was still in college, I interned at KVIA-TV ABC 7 in El Paso where I learned a lot about broadcast journalism and helped produce the evening news. However, I ultimately decided I wanted to follow my dreams and become a print journalist.
After working several odd jobs out of college, I landed my first professional journalism gig at the Alamogordo Daily News — part of the USA Today Network — in Alamogordo, New Mexico. If you don’t know much about Alamogordo, it’s home of the Trinity Site — the world’s first nuclear explosion that occurred on July 16, 1945 — is located near White Sands National Park and is also home to the world’s largest pistachio. No, I’m not kidding.
I wore many hats at the ADN including being editor of The Hollogram, a weekly military publication for Holloman Air Force Base, which was once home to the German Air Force, located six miles southwest of Alamogordo.
I spent three years working for the ADN and eventually met my now husband, a Minnesota native, who was residing in Las Cruces, New Mexico, working as a NASA engineer. I ended up transferring to the Las Cruces Sun-News — also part of the USA Today Network — in Las Cruces, NM, where I worked mainly as a trending and entertainment reporter for two years. I was also the editor of the Pulse, a weekly entertainment magazine that highlighted the community’s latest events.
Las Cruces is located in the Mesilla Valley and neighbors El Paso in west Texas and Alamogordo in southern New Mexico. Las Cruces is known for the beautiful Organ Mountains, its history with space exploration, New Mexico State University and of course some of the best Mexican food I have ever eaten (I miss green chile).
So, how did a southern girl living in the Land of Enchantment end up in the Land of 10,000 Lakes? Well, I got married in May 2020, during pandemic peak in a virtual ceremony in our backyard and we decided to pack our lives, and our cat, to the Twin Cities shortly afterwards. My husband was born and raised in Minnesota and it seemed like the perfect place to start our new chapter. It is quite a transition for me going from desert to water, but so far I am loving every moment of it. I get to enjoy the outdoors for the first time and experience my favorite seasons, fall and winter.
On a side note, you might catch me saying “y’all” here and there. As they say where I’m from, “You can get the girl out of Texas, but you can’t get Texas out of the girl.”
Other fun facts about me: I am the youngest of four children, I’m an avid music lover, self-proclaimed foodie, I love traveling, photography, I go by Jackie and I am obsessed with iced coffee. If you know of any trendy cafés in the Twin Cities metro area, please hit me up and toss me a few story ideas.