My career in journalism started at age 14, when I won the Breaking Barriers: In Sports, In Life essay contest sponsored by Major League Baseball and Scholastic in 2011.

The contest, inspired by Jackie Robinson’s historic breaking of the color barrier, encourages kids in grades 4-8 to write about how they overcome barriers in their own lives. As a baseball lover who faces a fairly significant barrier myself, I had the perfect angle.

I was born with a very rare neurological disorder that rendered me unable to feel pain, temperature and touch. I also have no reflexes and am deaf, but wear cochlear implants (essentially “bionic ears”) during the day.

After winning the essay contest, I was offered a job by then-MLB Commissioner Bud Selig as MLB.com’s first-ever Youth Correspondent. I started work in November of that year and, ever since, have written a column as one of MLB.com’s featured personalities. I have been able to interview players and coaches from all 30 MLB teams in my frequent trips to Great American Ball Park, home of the Cincinnati Reds (about a half hour’s drive from my family’s house). MLB has also credentialed me for “jewel events” such as the All-Star Game, World Series and spring training.

As part of my job, I’ve had the opportunity to venture into multimedia and filmmaking, as well as hone my skills in researching, interviewing, storytelling, and writing – the four elements I consider key to every piece I produce. I’ve also been able to write on deadlines and word limits, work with an editor and improvise angles and questions for interviewees.

I look forward to applying these and more skills as I start the next phase of my career as a Scholar in Writing for the Media at Miami University, and anticipate a lifelong career in writing and storytelling, advocacy and public speaking.