Born: Brooklyn, N.Y.
I lived here, in Trump Village, right on the border of Brighton Beach and Coney Island, until I was almost 6 years old. And yes, it is that Trump, but it’s Donald Trump’s dad. Actually, this was his first big real estate venture, according to my grandfather. I called him “papa” (my grandfather, not Trump).
Grew up: Jackson, N.J.
That’s in Central New Jersey, in Ocean County. Many people know it as the home of Six Flags Great Adventure amusement park, a place I used to work. Yep, I worked in the games department and became a pretty darn good Skee Ball player. It also helped that I lived about 20 minutes from the shore towns of Seaside Heights and Point Pleasant Beach, where I was able to practice even more. Sadly, those two towns were devastated in Hurricane Sandy. Many of the piers and rides that I remember going to every weekend were destroyed and the same ones you’ve seen over and over on the news.
College years: Pittsburgh, Pa.
When it was time for me to go to college, I knew I wanted to get away from Jackson. I had never been away from home, but it was time. I wanted to be far enough away from my parents – if you catch my drift – but not so far that I couldn’t easily get home. Jackson to Pittsburgh was a 7-and-a-half hour drive if there wasn’t too much traffic on the Pennsylvania Turnpike.
Why Pittsburgh? Two reasons: First, my high school guidance counselor, Mr. White, knew that I was interested in journalism. That’s because my English and journalism teacher Mr. Miller told me I was good enough to make it in the real world. My dream job was always to be a meteorologist – more specifically, the director of the National Hurricane Center in Coral Gables, Fla. When I was like 7, my grandmother’s rather odd husband dressed up as Santa Claus and asked me “what do you want to be when you grow up?” And I said “I want to be the director of the National Hurricane Center in Coral Gables, Fla.”
Sadly, I suck at math so I had to go into writing. Anyhow, Mr. White told me that this little school called Point Park College was known for three things: A world-class dance program, a baseball team that was always in the championships and a great journalism program. So I applied and got in – actually won a half scholarship. I ended up staying for 5 years, not 4. No, not because I couldn’t do the math, but because I was the first student in that school’s history to take advantage of a combined degree program that allowed me to get my bachelor of arts in journalism and communications and my master of arts in the same field at the same time.
In Pittsburgh, I met some of my best friends, made some huge mistakes and ultimately ended up growing up. The rest as they say is history. Oh, and here’s one more fun fact … why do I call myself a social mediaologist? Because mediaologist is as close as I’ll ever get to meteorologist. True story.