Hurricane Irene is making landfall along the East Coast, plowing toward my family, friends, and colleagues in Baltimore, DC, New York, and the surrounding areas. Those of us here in New Orleans and back home in Florida can’t help but feel grateful that it’s not our turn this time, but we watch with a keen eye, knowing the devastation and struggles that come with these storms, our hearts going out to those in the path and hoping Irene will be gentle.

Next week marks the start of a new semester for me, as a PhD student at the Payson Center for International Development at Tulane University. I’m on the verge of completing my coursework and will be spending a lot of time this fall working on my research question, formulating my committee, and studying for the comprehensive exams. I’m also embarking on two new opportunities in my career – teaching an undergraduate course at Payson on Information & Communication Technology for Development (ICT4D) and starting up my own business to conduct consulting and contract work, beginning with a job for New Orleans Medical Mission Services, a group I have been volunteering for over the past year.

It’s as good a time as any to begin a new chronicle of these experiences and sharing new research I have been working on, the struggles and triumphs in the humanitarian aid and disaster response fields, the trials and tribulations of grad school, investigating the ever-changing ICT4D field, and exploring professional options.

“Ports in the Storm.” That’s me!