I was a junior in college in need of some non-major credits to round out my semester. I'd always loved photography and was notorious for always having my camera with me (and taking pictures of all the things). My boyfriend at the time had bought me my first real SLR camera, and while I knew how to work it--I'd taken a basic camera course when I was a teen--I wanted to really learn.

I signed up for the first of two courses offered at the University of Maryland, College Park--Introduction to Black & White.

The darkroom quickly became my oasis. I found the art of developing film relaxing and the anticipation of what the final image would look like thrilling. I could control the lights and the darks. I could develop the same image in myriad different ways. I would find myself going into the darkroom mid-day and leaving well after the sunset.

I loved being in the classroom, too, and learning about the art of photography. I loved my homework assignments, which of course was when I got to go out and shoot. That semester I found my true passion. I knew I wanted to take pictures for the rest of my life.

What Came Next

I then went on to take Advanced Darkroom, which could be taken twice, and figuring out how I could learn more after I graduated. I photographed friends as they got engaged and took my camera everywhere I went.

Once I found a full-time job, I dug into looking for opportunities to continue my photography education. I came across a local photographer's website, read his bio, and saw he attended The Washington School of Photography. I looked up the school and discovered it was in Bethesda only a few minutes away from my office.

I applied, interviewed, and began in their next session. The professional program was a year-long evening program that I completed while working full time. It taught me more than I could have imagined and started me on my path.