I have always been a reader and a lover of words. As a child, my favorite way to spend the day was lying on my bed with a book. I still love that, though I get to do it far less often. I got hooked on the New Yorker and John McPhee in high school. I loved how McPhee could take almost anything and show you why it was interesting. Perhaps because of that, I never aspired to write a novel, only nonfiction.
In more than twenty years of journalism, I’ve covered everything from French food to the neuroscience of video games and everyone from Princess Diana to Prime Minister Tony Blair. Now, I write about science and social issues. My work has appeared in Scientific American Mind, Parents, Newsweek, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Redbook and many other publications. I have also been an adjunct professor of journalism at Fordham University and Long Island University. My first book, Toxic Truth: A Scientist, A Doctor and the Battle Over Lead, told the story of how two men risked their careers and reputations to sound alarm bells about how lead was contaminating our environment and endangering children. My latest book, I Can Hear You Whisper: An Intimate Journey through the Science of Sound and Language, is the story of my investigation into hearing, sound, brain plasticity and Deaf culture after my youngest son’s hearing loss was identified.
A native of Philadelphia, I studied history at Princeton and moved to New York City soon after graduation. I have considered New York home ever since—even though I have periodically lived overseas, in France, London and Hong Kong. In Brooklyn, I serve on the board of trustees for the Berkeley Carroll School and previously served as a trustee for the Oliver Scholars Program, an organization promoting educational access for black and Latino students. I was also president of my neighborhood civic association—a role for which I received a Community Service Award and was named an Extraordinary Woman of Brooklyn (that has a nice ring to it!). Although I am a lifelong city person, my husband, Mark Justh, my three sons, and I now also have a foot in the country. We split our time between Brooklyn and our sustainable farm in Central New York, where we raise cows, pigs and chickens, and produce organic hay, all of which is sold up and down the East Coast.