To Be Black at Robert E. Lee High School, New Yorker online, September 2017. An East Texas town struggles to resolve a fifty-year battle over race and history.
A Makeshift Navy Struggles to Respond to Hurricane Harvey, The New Yorker online, August 2017. As Hurricane Harvey barrelled toward Houston, Cajun Navy volunteers loaded up their boats and hit the road on the four-and-a-half-hour drive to Houston
Semi-Automatic Weapons Without A Background Check Can Be Just A Click Away, NPR, June 2016. I analyzed 15,000 listings at "the Craigslist for guns" to explain how easy it is to get a military-style weapon without a background check.
Life Hacks for the Reluctant Home Cook, New Yorker online, December 2017. Foodie types insist that cooking yourself a healthy hot meal night after night is a total breeze, if you simply follow their oh-so-simple tips. Don't believe them.
Why is the Onus on Women to Stop Workplace Interruptions? The Atlantic online, June 2017. Some businesses are actively taking steps to solve a problem that is too often left to female employees.
Fight Trump. Work from Home, Mother Jones, March/April 2017 issue. Remote jobs are great for work-life balance—and democracy.
Is Coding the New Literacy? Mother Jones, July/August 2014 issue. You've heard it a thousand times: everyone should learn to code. Well, should they? In this 7,000-word print magazine feature, I delve into the history of software programming and the state of American K-12 computer science classes to figure out what our kids need to learn today to make it in a totally wired world tomorrow.
"Gangbang Interviews" and "Bikini Shots": Silicon Valley’s Brogrammer Problem Mother Jones, 2012. I exploded the conversation on sexism in the tech industry with this exposé, which has been widely cited in news stories and academic papers.
You can find more of my Mother Jones stories here.
selected magazine work (print and online)
NPR's Code switch podcast
I led the development and launch of NPR's new hit podcast from its award-winning Code Switch team. I also starred in a couple episodes:
Say My Name, Say My Name (Correctly, Please) In this popular episode, I talked to comedians Aparna Nancherla and Maz Jobrani about navigating life in America with a "hard to pronounce" name. We also crowdsourced Google voicemails asking people to tell us their own stories about their "difficult" names. Over 500 people sent us their stories; we were blown away. We also did a fun gameshow-style Facebook Live segment in a park in D.C. where people had to guess how to pronounce other people's names.
What's So Funny About The Indian Accent? I talked to two Mumbai-based comedians about whether it bothers them when ABCDs like me (American-born confused desis) mock their way of speaking. It was awkward in a good way.
You can find more of my Code Switch stories here.
I was lucky enough to start my career as a features reporter at the Chicago Reader, under then editor-in-chief Alison True, who has deservedly been called the William Shawn of alt-weeklies. It was an incredible experience, and I wrote several cover stories that I'm still really proud of:
The Aging of the Moors Ninety years ago, a prophet came to Chicago's south side and drew thousands of followers. Today, the remaining few face an uncertain future.
Born Bad? Everyone knows abused pitbulls can be dangerous. The question is: can they be safe?
Who Should You Trust to Train Your Dog? I investigated the practices of a popular Chicago-area dog trainer, who, it turned out, was using controversial, potentially lethal methods on her clients' dogs without their knowledge.
The Politics of Braids Black women have made a living braiding hair in Chicago for generations, and until 2006, they didn't need a license to do it for a living. A new state law required braiders to spend thousands of dollars on beauty school, where they had to learn to cut, dye, and perm — services they said they didn't need, and didn't want to offer.
The Bootleggers One night in the life of two street hustlers.
Boy Wonder Peter Gundling's just your average third-grader. He goes to school. He likes Abba. He's got a movie studio in the attic.