What’s your story? I’m a historic preservation graduate student at the University of Florida. I was born in Indiana near Chicago, and I lived there for the first 16 years of my life, until my family moved to Sarasota, Florida. We were there for less than a year before moving to Brandon, Florida, where I finished high school. I received a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the UF and worked for a newspaper in Naples, Florida, for three-and-a-half years before returning to Gainesville for graduate school.
How did you pick historic preservation? I didn’t know you could major in historic preservation until I was looking into colleges while I was in high school. I sent away for brochures from exotic places like Mary Washington, Goucher, and Roger Williams. Ultimately, Florida’s Bright Futures Scholarship program (read: free tuition) kept me in-state. But after college I knew I wasn’t going to stick with journalism forever and had sort of fallen into newspaper copy editing in the first place. That’s when I re-stumbled upon HP. I looked into SCAD and the Art Institute of Chicago until I discovered my alma mater had a graduate program. So here I am.
But why historic preservation? I’ve always enjoyed history (I minored in it), and my family has always visited historic places. Plus, spending the past 10 years of my life in Florida with its cookie-cutter developments has given me a great appreciation for traditional craftsmanship.
Why did you start this blog? In two-and-a-half weeks I’ll be traveling to New England to attend Preservation Institute: Nantucket and I wanted to chronicle my time there. Before and after Nantucket, I plan to write about my travels to historic places and dealings with preservation. Also, I haven’t found many preservation blogs that are updated regularly so I hope to do something about that.
What’s with the name? Gator Preservationist is a take on Gator Nation, what Florida Gators fans are sometimes called. Yes, I do realize that just about every fanbase adds “nation” to the name of their respective team. But I see “The Gator Nation” on the back of my license plate every day so it’s sort of ingrained in my head.