A blurry picture of Cortney at some club.

So, I’ve been at this for a bit. Half my life, maybe a touch more.

Humble beginnings; part time at a tiny book publishing shop in Northern Virginia as a junior in high school, working my way up from formatting catalogs and schlepping boxes in a warehouse to designing actual for-real books. Standing in a mall bookstore (remember those?) holding a book I designed for the first time and seeing my name on the endpages was a singular thrill. Since then I’ve run the ranks through mostly small businesses; I became fast friends with the sensation of balancing many stacked hats.

I’ve produced print materials, digital products, and branding campaigns for food banks, ASL interpreters, dance collectives and culture shindigs, raves and animal shelters. I’ve touched up crumbling historical photographs of (very) native Washingtonians standing stoic in cow fields, and shot candids of a parade of sequined Carnival dancers in the early-summer streets of Adams Morgan. I’ve sat with kids half my age learning how to address their biggest fears regarding their recent diagnosis, and talked a friend or two out of getting one of my logos as a tattoo.

In my last position I engaged with Americans living with HIV and their health providers, helping facilitate care that saves lives via best-practices reports, provider guides, infographics, websites, and more. In my current position at the Energy Department’s Public Affairs Digital Department I am privileged to tell the stories of a vast network of brilliant scientists, engineers, and energy geniuses. They are quite literally changing the world and our understanding of it through groundbreaking work, both here in DC and across the country in our 17 National Labs.

To say that I love where this work has taken me is underselling it. But I am always excited for what’s next.