Tell us about yourself and what led you to work on children’s television shows.
I have always wanted to work in the business of storytelling. As a kid, I couldn’t devour enough books, and spent countless summers on a picnic blanket in my front yard absorbed in reading, writing, and illustrating my own stories. And after many more years of picnic-blanket reading, I earned a B.A. in Fiction Writing, a minor in Studio Arts, and a concentration in Children’s Literature from the University of Pittsburgh, and turned my sights to carving out a career in a creative field.
When a former professor notified me of a job opening in production at Fred Rogers Productions, the position was exactly what I was looking for. Children’s television production felt like such a natural fit given my love of storytelling and visual art, and I was thrilled to join a company known for creating such positive content for children. Since first starting at FRP as Production Coordinator, I’ve worked on Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, Odd Squad, and Donkey Hodie, and am now Assistant Producer on both Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood and our newly announced show, Alma’s Way.
What was your favorite television show when you were growing up?
The PBS KIDS shows Dragon Tales and Zoboomafoo were childhood staples for me. Who doesn’t love a talking lemur? To this day, I’m still a shameless consumer of kids’ and teen media (Avatar the Last Airbender and She-Ra and the Princesses of Power, anyone?) and am lucky enough to have a friend group that shares that love. Forever a kid at heart!
What goes into your role for an episode of Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood?
I assist in coordinating various deliveries and providing feedback on all assets. I see episodes from start to finish through the production, beginning with attending the start-of-season story brainstorm with the larger FRP and 9 Story teams, to seeing the script through all iterations of writing and into animation and music, and then to final delivery. It’s a whirlwind process, but so satisfying to see the small seed of an idea bloom into a full-fledged episode that families and children love.
What is your favorite episode of Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood that you’ve worked on?
I’m a big fan of “The Family Campout” episode, where Katerina and her mom go camping. The strategy, “Families are different and that’s ok,” is simple and sweet, but also has a strong meaning about celebrating family in all the shapes and sizes that families come in. I have a lot more favorites in what we’re working on now, and can’t wait for viewers to watch!
What do you like to do when you’re not working on the show?
Plants are my current obsession, and I find it tough to resist a purchase if I spot a leafy-green beauty for sale. There’s something about the small joy that a healthy plant brings to the home. I also love to paint, and have been recently spending time listening to music and painting terracotta pots for the plants inside my house, which is a nice way to disengage from screens and let myself get a little messy.
Since we are in the midst of the holiday season, what is your favorite holiday tradition?
The holiday this year is a little bit different for me as I won’t be house-hopping to the many homes of my extended family like usual, but I’m keeping bits of my family with me in some of the traditions here in Pittsburgh. My mom always breaks out a gorgeous vintage tablecloth and her fancy china for Christmas dinner, so I’ve been doing my best to curate some fancy vintage items of my own to carry on that mealtime tradition. My dad keeps the Yule log up on the TV, so I plan on cueing up that crackling fire and playing some old-timey Christmas tunes for the day.
Watch Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood daily on PBS KIDS and Odd Squad weekdays on PBS KIDS. Donkey Hodie and Alma's Way are coming to PBS KIDS in 2021.