About Nooriel

As daughter of an Air Force officer, Nooriel had the experience of living all over the US growing up. But, Gainesville has been her home for the past twelve years. Nooriel currently works as Registration & Administrative Coordinator and Committee Liaison for the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery, but her true passions are writing and positively impacting the lives of children. She is particularly passionate about girls/women’s issues, which drove her to seek her BA in Women’s Studies from the University of Florida (a focus that provided her the opportunity to study gender and how societies produce gendered expectations of children.) In her spare time, Nooriel enjoys running and spending quality time with her husband and 11 year-old stepson. Fun fact: Nooriel was born in Alaska!

--Posts by Nooriel:

The Importance of Friendships

The Importance of Friendships

SoleMateStephanie“Growing apart doesn’t change the fact that for a long time we grew side by side; our roots will always be tangled. I’m glad for that.”

― Ally Condie, Matched

I started this post thinking that I was going to write all about my training and how excited I am about my race. While I’ll cover those topics, I wanted to write a little bit about what inspires me sometimes on the days when I’m nervous about running a half marathon, or I just really want to sleep in that extra hour instead of going to the gym for a workout. What truly inspires me are the women that I have come to love and admire in my life and that have become friends, but more importantly they have become like a second family.

Lately, I have been so busy with my training, work, volunteering, and school that I haven’t always been extremely motivated to stick with everything. One of the best motivators has been having a group of women in my life who are strong, intelligent, confident, and beautiful inside and out. They are mothers, sisters, daughters, and friends. All of them have been with me as I’ve grown into who I am. Some of my best memories are with these women! I know that no matter what, we can be far away and busy with our own lives, but our friendship will always be there..solematesteph

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized how important it is that I surround myself with positive thinking women. All of the women I’ve mentioned build one another up. It’s been mentioned so many times how women can tear one another down. It is so important to find true friends who won’t do this. Instead, they will help you grow into a better version of yourself.

When I started training for my half marathon, I wasn’t running the race with anyone. I had registered for the race without talking to anyone about it. I was really excited when one of my best friends decided to run the race with me! It’s been a great motivator to stick with my training schedule! Even more than finishing the race, I am beyond excited that I get to spend the weekend with my friend and her beautiful family!

What I’ve learned, is that more than anything, I hope and pray that every woman has a friend, or group of friends, that build her up. Girls on the Run, in my mind, is creating a generation of women that will do this. They’ll believe in themselves and one another. They’ll motivate each other to follow their dreams and live healthy and happy lives. That’s what all of these women have done for me, and I am grateful for every memory I have or will have with them.

When I wrote this there were only 10 days left until the Lake Nona Half Marathon, and I was already beginning to experience the pre-race jitters. I had one more long run, and then it was time to relax, stretch, and do a couple of short and easy runs before the race.  Now, the race is right around the corner, just two days away!  This Sunday, October 26, 2014 I will run 13.1 miles through Orlando, Florida to complete my 2nd half marathon.  I am grateful to everyone who has supported me in training for this race, and I can’t wait to get to Orlando for a fun and intense weekend! Happy Fall!!

<3 Stephenie


To support Stephenie please visit her SoleMates fundraising page: https://www.raceplanner.com/donate/Stephenie-s-Race-Towards-Nona#.U6CULvS_sl5.gmail


SoleMates is the charity running leg of Girls on the Run of Alachua County (GOTRAC).  SoleMates provides adults an opportunity to raise money for GOTRAC while training for the athletic event of their choice. SoleMates set personal goals such as running in a marathon, half marathon,  or 10k event to raise money for GOTRAC. SoleMates raises critically needed funds that helps our council to serve more girls in our community.

For more information or to become a SoleMate for GOTRAC please visit our SoleMates website http://alachuagotr.org/solemates/


Dad & Daughter Running Duo

Dad & Daughter Running Duo

IMG_1676Nooriel Nolan and her father Steve Nolan have become the first father-daughter SoleMates team!
Below they describe in their own words why they are passionate about running for Girls on the Run.

Steve (age 63):

I have a lifetime (50 years) love of running– it is my weight control , stress control, mood elevator , and morning meditation — at some point along the way my oldest daughter decided to follow in my footsteps and started running– she seemed to have a natural affinity for it at an early age– and I immediately saw how it gave her joy, a sense of accomplishment and a sense of bonding with her dad– we have shared that bond ever since — and we both enjoy passing that sense of joy and well-being to others! It is a healthy lifestyle that lends itself to welcoming others, encouraging others and bonding with others that becomes a basic social bond and subtle pleasure in a world of constant distractions and frequent stress. Girls on the Run is symbolic of the individual trying to outrun the limitations that society places upon us, whether it be gender, race, culture or religious affiliation — we can always outrun the limitations of “past thinking.”

Nooriel (age 33):

Running has always been an important part of my life.  As a young child, I used to ride my bike alongside my Dad as he went for his Saturday runs.  At the age of 8, I ran my first 5K race. By age 13 I was hooked, and running became part of my weekly routine. Encouraged by my parents, I would jog a couple times per week.  My father always seemed so excited by my progress, and by this mutual passion.  He made it a ritual to run his first mile or two with me before going off on his own, faster pace.   That father-daughter running bond lasted over the years, and we became running buddies.  Even as I transitioned into college, I cherished the few times per year we would run together.  This is one of the many ways my father showed me how important I was to him, how much he believed in me, and that I could accomplish anything.  It seemed logical that we would bond together to become SoleMates to help other girls realize this too.


Please sponsor us to run our first run as SoleMates, this December:


SoleMates – Find Your Happy Pace

SoleMates – Find Your Happy Pace

Happy Pace-1Want your next race to help change lives?


SoleMates is the charity running leg of Girls on the Run.  Runners can sign up for any event — runs, walks, bike rides or triathlons — and raise funds that will support Girls on the Run of Alachua County.   Individuals may register and raise funds as a SoleMate for any race/event of any distance.


Whether you are participating in your first or fiftieth marathon, by becoming a SoleMate you are doing much more than achieving your personal fitness goals. By asking friends to support your event training and participation with a donation on your behalf to Girls on the Run, you are showing your true commitment to the values we are instilling in girls everywhere to celebrate their physical and emotional health.


SoleMates funding provides scholarships for any girl who may need financial assistance in order to participate in the program as well as program supplies and running shoes for girls.  100% of the funds raised through SoleMates directly supports participants in the Girls on the Run of Alachua County.


Ready to Run?


If you are ready to sign up to run for a cause and become a SoleMate or would like additional information, please contact Emely

Stephenie Begins Her SoleMate Journey

Stephenie Begins Her SoleMate Journey

Hi Everyone!
My name is Stephenie, and I cannot begin to tell you how excited I am that I have officially become a Girls on the Run Alachua SoleMate!

I’m a newer member to the city of Gainesville, and I was so happy to have stumbled photo (1)upon GOTR! This program is something that I want to invest my time with. I’ll actually be running a race in Orlando, FL this fall, and I’m filled with a mixture of emotions. I have been looking forward to signing up for another race since February 2012. *I can’t believe that’s the last time I ran a race!* My last race was the Disney Princess Half Marathon, and I told myself at that point that running the half marathon was a goal that I wanted to reach within 5 years of completing my very first race, the Disney Royal Family 5K. I just made the cut off! I participated in the half marathon on its 5th anniversary. While it was a great accomplishment, I have wanted to dedicate myself to completing another half marathon before my husband and I decide to start a family. The Lake Nona Inaugural Half Marathon is the perfect opportunity for me to complete this goal. With Girls on the Run, I feel like I’m getting to contribute to the success of the women that will be leaders to my future children. My hope is that by running this race as a SoleMate, my children will later be influenced by the positive influences of GOTR.
Why the Lake Nona Half Marathon, you ask? My husband and I were high school sweethearts that reconnected after 9 years apart. Our first home together was in Lake Nona, so that part of Orlando will always hold a special place in my heart. I started running when I lived in Orlando, and it has been the best way for me to think through my day to day life. When I first started running, I have to admit, it was to lose weight. But, through running, I have fallen in love with the person that I am. I have become a lot more comfortable in my own skin. On the pavement, I can feel myself working hard to reach a goal. Every time I lace up my shoes, I set a mini goal for myself. If haven’t run in a while, I like to start with a 20 minute jog – no breaks. When I finish and I’ve reached my goal, I can feel myself smiling ear-to-ear. There has never been a day when I looked back at a run and been disappointed. Everyone has their own ways of achieving this feeling, and it’s always fun to meet new people to discover what they’re passionate about. Lake Nona is a budding medical community that I believe will be a huge influence to medicine! I love that community, and even though we no longer live there, I want to see it grow and succeed.

I’m gearing up to start my training. My *goal* is to write at least one update a week! I can’t wait to share this journey, and I hope that you enjoy reading my posts. For now, I hope everyone has a FANTASTIC week, and God Bless!


“You’re off to great places. Today is your day. Your mountain is waiting, so …get on your way!” – Dr. Seuss


To support Stephanie please visit her SoleMates page


SoleMates is the charity running leg of Girls on the Run of Alachua County (GOTRAC).  SoleMates provides adults an opportunity to raise money for GOTRAC while training for the athletic event of their choice. SoleMates set personal goals such as running in a marathon, half marathon,  or 10k event to raise money for GOTRAC. SoleMates raises critically needed funds that helps our council to serve more girls in our community.
For more information or to become a SoleMate for GOTRAC please visit our SoleMates website http://alachuagotr.org/solemates/

Love Note to my Nose

SGT-ProfilePic-2501-150x150Dear Nose,
When I was a teenager, I learned that noses that were too big, too flat or crooked were not pretty. I examined my nose often, and I thought it was just right – not too big, too flat or too crooked. People used to comment how I looked like my Dad and Grandmother because of my nose. I thought my Dad and Grandmother had wonderful looks, so I was proud of you.
When I reached my 30s, a friend of mine joked with me about my nose saying it was spread out and flat when I laughed or smiled. She didn’t mean any harm by this. We were in a crazy mood and saying crazy, funny stuff. But from that day forward you looked different! I couldn’t believe it. How did you change without me noticing? You were not small and perfect. You were flat and spread out. I was devastated. Every time I saw myself smile, I hated you!


I am 48 years old today, and I have not yet performed surgery on you. Nor will I ever. I have grown to love you. I am sorry for not loving you always. You are a great nose, and I love you because


  • You look like the nose on my Dad and Grandmother’s face, two people I love very much.
  • Many people on this Earth have flat, spread out noses – I am in good company!
  • You remind me of the fun time I had with my friend when we were joking about you. I love her a lot and cherish all my memories with her.
  • You allow my face to have originality. I love original looks, personalities and spirits.
  • You have helped me actively “do the work” of body acceptance. Thank you for being a great teacher.



Your Face and Body


Stephanie G Travis is a board member of GOTRAC


Love Letter To My Caboose

Love Letter To My Caboose

photoDear Caboose,

I’ve despised you since you showed up at the age of twelve, and I want to apologize. It took many years of mocking and torture on your behalf before I could see the value you add to my being.

See, few – if any – of the models in the magazine and the beauties in the movies sport the rear I do. For years, you were a source of pain as I tirelessly, and unsuccessfully, sought the perfect pair of pants and proper length shirt to try to shrink what you grew to be. See, “skinny is pretty,” and the curves you have graced me with don’t fit into that mold. Yes, you caused a great deal of pain that can’t adequately be expressed in this letter, but I want to apologize for years of disregarding your worth. What I know now is the strength and speed about myself I love comes from you. In case you don’t know, the glute muscles are among the largest and most powerful of the body, so the squats and deadlifts and sprints I love to do are powered by your size. And would you guess that curves are so in right now? It turns out the friends and family (and bullies) who mocked my shape have later admitted they wish they had the definition with which you have blessed me. My husband doesn’t think you’re that bad, either. Major sporting brands actually search for women who have what you have given me.

Turns out thanks to you I’m pretty hip. (Pun intended!) Sure, I spend months searching for the right pair of jeans that can actually fit both hip and waist, and there are women who mock me even as I approach 30, but if that’s a necessary trade-off for the signature stamp that follows me (literally) I’ll take it. Because of you, I am unique and individually beautiful. I have the fibers to grow stronger and faster and excel at the things I love, and while that may not always fit into the “look” I want, I’m learning that it isn’t looks that makes a person, but the heart within. Thank you for teaching me the value in being different, in being confident and in being strong. You’ve certainly endured your share of verbal torture as we stand together in front of the mirror, and I appreciate so much you sticking around. Here’s to another many decades of growth and strength to us both!


With love,


Love Letter to My Postpartum Belly

noorielDear Postpartum Belly,

 Welcome, new friend. Though society would have me believe that you should have left me by now, you, belly, are with me still.  And I am so very grateful you are. I actively refuse to be ashamed of you, or speak ill of you. You are to be celebrated, to be loved. 
I love you because…
  • You are amazing!  You housed my beautiful baby daughter for 10 awe-inspiring months
  • You felt every kick, every movement of her as she grew within me
  • You stretched beyond measure, contracted for 22 hours to bring baby into the world, and retracted again (how?!)
  • You are womanly/motherly
  • You are evidence of my miraculous accomplishment – childbirth
  • You prove I am a healthy weight
  • You give my baby a comfy seat while nursing
  • You remind me of my baby girl even when she is not with me
  • You ARE ME, newly formed
So, stay a while longer, if you like. For you are postpartum perfection. You represent the unconditional love of mother & child, the silver cord that bonds us at our cores, the very center of our beings. You are like my mother’s belly, my grandmother’s, and all the glorious mothers of the world – linking me to the greater circle of motherhood. And that is the most precious gift anyone has ever been given.
The Smiling Mama you made me
Written by Nooriel Nolan, board member GOTRAC
Campaign for Real Beauty: Be the Change!

Campaign for Real Beauty: Be the Change!

When actress Lupita Nyong’o spoke at the 7th Annual Black Women in Hollywood Luncheon (hosted by Essence Magazine) about the beauty industry and how it impacted her as a little girl (when the standard was mostly white skinned models, which caused her to try bleaching her dark skin) she wasn’t only voicing a personal distress that shaped who she became, she was voicing a very scary truth about growing up a girl in American society.  That truth is this: American girls, no matter their race, are constantly bombarded with the message that they aren’t good enough or pretty enough the way they are…and that improving on their looks should be the main focus of their life.

Though it is most pronounced in the beauty industry, where too thin is in and ads insist through not-so-subtle campaigns that no real woman/girl is naturally beautiful, the message is actually everywhere – clothing for toddlers that implores “check me out,” beauty parlor Lego sets, makeup kits for elementary girls, “sexy” dolls with unrealistically tiny waists & large chests, push-up bras for preteens – the list goes on and on.  And that is the scariest part. Our girls get the message from all directions, and from a very young age.

To a certain degree we expect advertising to imply we aren’t perfect as is, because why else would we need their products, right?  But the ad campaigns have gotten out of hand, are more and more extreme in their standards and are marketed to younger and younger girls.  It’s one thing to market beauty care products to grown women, but when you start telling preteens that their bodies are “lesser,” that they should strive to change them, that is a very DANGEROUS thing indeed.

Yes, every little girl growing up in America could give a similar speech to Lupita’s, because what she so eloquently highlighted is the extremely narrow standard of beauty that exists in our culture, and how it gets absorbed by our girls.

How do we combat this? By encouraging our girls to see their REAL BEAUTY, and allowing ourselves to see our own.  That second part is crucial because it’s one thing to TELL your girls to focus on their inner beauty, buts it’s a whole other thing to lead by example.  Our girls learn from us, and not just the things that we TELL them but what they witness us doing.  Our behavior sets the standard for how they will behave.  Thus how we treat ourselves, our inner dialogue, can become how they treat themselves, their inner dialogue.  If you wrinkle your nose at your “chubby thighs” or always insist on applying makeup before going anywhere, or try diet after diet to “drop that last five pounds”, your daughter is watching you and learning to criticize everything about her body.  So, we must convince ourselves of our own message — that we are beautiful as we are–and stop trying to attain that prefab notion of “perfection” we were brainwashed into thinking should be our goal.

One mom, Lauren Fleshman has done just that.  She did the scariest of scary moves for a women in this society…she took pictures of herself on “not great” days, of her flaws, of her insecurities, and posted them on her  blog!  How brave! And she’s encouraging other moms/women to do the same.  It’s her own campaign for real beauty, for getting the TRUTH out there (everyone has cellulite/”cottage cheese” and “flabby days.” It’s just a part of life.)  NO one is perfectly toned, tanned, and runway ready all the time, not even models (despite what the media will try to sell us.)  Changing this standard starts with us.

So, I encourage all you parents to embrace Lauren’s campaign.  Snap a picture that shows you at your most “real,” an average day and post it online.  Show your kids that it’s okay to not be perfect, that we are all beautiful despite our self-doubting inner voice.  Believe me, I understand that this is easier said than done, that it’s intimidating.  But it is SO worthwhile.  Our children, particularly our girls, deserve to have this role model out there for them to emulate (rather than the pouting, anorexic, overly sexualized images online, in magazines, TV ads, music videos, and the like.)  Let your girls see you BELIEVING IN YOUR OWN BEAUTY.

By the way, I am not just instructing you to do so…I am “walking the walk.”  See my average, real beauty day below.  My insecurity: my postpartum belly.  I readily share this image for the sake of my new daughter.  May she grow up believing in herself, in her abilities, her talents, and believing that she and all girls are beautiful just as they are.


Halloween Bully

Halloween can be one of those holidays that promotes bullying.  And one night in my sophomore year of highschool, I’m sorry to say I fell into that trap…

It all started with the simple desire to do something fun for Halloween with friends.  As young teens we were too old for the “treating” part of trick-or-treating (no one was going to give candy to a group of 15yr olds going door-to-door), and yet too young to have a party, aching for some other way to celebrate this fun holiday.  Stuck in that space between childhood and adulthood, where rational thought often morphs into crazy ideas of how to flex one’s “maturity” there were few options that we could see that would satisfy the longing for an “amazing experience.”  But my friend Renee (name changed to protect the guilty) came up with a “brilliant beyond brilliant idea.”  So a group of us agreed to meet at her house that evening to change into our costumes (because we HAD to dress up in something provocative as well) and she would divulge the plan.  As we donned our skimpy clothing items stolen from parents closets & dressers, Renee began explaining.

Naturally, looking back, it was anything but brilliant.  But at 15 yrs old, it seemed inspired!  Unfortunately, as often happens with teens, the plan focused on the “trick” tradition of this holiday, not considering anyone else in the process.  We would have the older brother of one of our friends drive us around the “fancy” neighborhood (very rich area where every mansion was gated) and prank the occupants.  The pranks were somewhat small potatoes–ringing door bells and running, toilet paper in the trees, foul smelling bags on front porches, and egging garage doors.  So, that’s what we did… we felt  wild, dangerous, mature (if you can imagine!) taking our fate into our own hands. “Sticking it to the richies” who never handed out candy.  But after a while things took an even more devious turn. Renee decided that these simple acts were not enough.  SHE wanted to target a young man’s house that she knew (whom of course she had had a crush on for years, and whom did not return the sentiment, in fact he made fun of her constantly. Perhaps this had been her real plan all along.)  As we approached his home, I grew increasingly anxious.  I knew something bad was about to happen and I wasn’t sure I wanted to be a part of it….but it was too late.  I was in the car, I was partaking in this act, whether I liked it or not.  We approached the house, creeping the car along the giant hedges that hid most of the building from view.  Renee pulled herself halfway out of the passenger car window, and hurled one egg after another over the hedge… We heard the splat, as each egg one by one hit on top of the boy’s (and his parents’) beautiful, expensive cars!!!   I was terrified!  Egg yolk will take car paint right off!  I hadn’t wanted to destroy property, just make a statement!  Toilet paper in trees was no big deal.  Garage doors could be washed and repainted easily, and cheaply.  But, a Bentley?  A Mercedes?  These could not be so easily fixed!  Renee screamed and laughed wildly as the driver peeled out of the neighborhood.  I sat there stunned! I had just become an accomplice to an ACTUAL CRIME.  As we sped off, everyone was laughing.  I smiled too, to hide my fear; inside I was full of conflicting emotions.  I had just spent the evening bullying total strangers, for fun!  Why?  At the time, we didn’t consider these pranks a form of bullying, but that’s exactly what they were.

The thing about bullying behavior is that it can sneak up on you, and before you know it you’ve engaged in it.  It can start small, menial—a silent judgment of someone else, a smile or snort at someone’s expense – and then can grow into following the crowd towards harmful actions.   Against all your better judgments, you end up doing something horrible.  This is how I became a Halloween bully.

Nooriel Nolan works as Registration & Administrative Coordinator and Committee Liaison for the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery, but her true passions are writing and positively impacting the lives of children.  She is particularly passionate about girls/womens’ issues, which drove her to seek her BA in Women’s Studies from the University of Florida (a focus that provided her the opportunity to study gender and how societies produce gendered expectations of children.) In her spare time, Nooriel enjoys running and spending quality time with her husband and 11 year-old stepson.

First "Girl Box" Experience: "Hit Like A Girl"

I was very fortunate growing up, I had two feminist parents encouraging me to be an athletic, independent kid.  They made a point to emphasize that I was just as strong and capable as any boy, and pushed me to participate in physical activities– I played in the mud, climbed & jumped out of trees, caught bugs, played sports (could throw a  football, basketball, baseball & swing a bat accurately) etc.  My stay-at-home father was exceedingly proud when I would conquer the next physical challenge, like riding my two-wheeled bike at the age of three, or learning to swim before the neighbor boys.   In fact, we were in “competition” with the other kids, one boy in particular, my best friend.  My father was determined to prove his daughter could do anything a boy could do… and possibly better.  This did wonders for my self esteem, having my father as my cheer leader while I tried out new actions.  However, the interactions he had with other parents also brought into drastic focus the fact that this scenario was unusual.  I became aware very young that what I was achieving was not “normal” for little girls.  It made me proud, but confused.  Why weren’t girls expected to do the same thing as boys?  I was athletic, I was strong, I was capable.

The “girl box” concept always infuriated me.  I’m grateful to my parents for having taught me I didn’t belong in any box, gender-specific or otherwise.  But that girl box follows you anyway.  My peers and other adults tried to put me in that box constantly.  Boys on the playground were always telling me I couldn’t do something because I was a girl.  While I took pride in proving them wrong, they didn’t accept it long-term or let me play with them. (perhaps because of their own parents teaching them girls shouldn’t do those things – I was “weird.”)

I remember one incident in 6th grade that brought mixed reactions.  We were playing baseball in P.E. that semester, and had just started the first day of the activity.  The teacher/coach marched us out to the diamond, divvied up the teams, and sent the first group to bat.  Each time a girl stepped up to the plate, boys would groan (“she hits like a girl” they would murmur).  I can’t blame them because most of the girls were barely able to grip the bat well, and their awkward, wimpy swings were driving me crazy too. None made contact with the ball. Yet I also felt allied with them, as a girl, and angry that the boys were poking fun at them.  When it was my turn to bat, they all let out the obligatory sigh and comments.  Except, this girl was different.  Her grip on the bat was confident, her stance set. (I stood there thinking, I HAVE to hit the heck out of this ball..for all girls!)  As the pitch was made, I pulled back and swung as hard as I could!  I missed, and spun myself completely around.  But, instead of making fun of me, they all gasped in disbelief, and said: “This girl can hit!”   So even though I hadn’t made contact with the ball, the power behind my swing had impressed them.  The second pitch I made contact, and it flew into left field.  I made it to first base.  The sense of accomplishment in that moment was SO great, I stood beaming on the bag thinking, “yea, I swing LIKE A GIRL!”  Some of the boys were very impressed and remained so throughout the semester.  Others seemed to resent this twist in their reality, that I could possibly be good at baseball.  This wasn’t their fault. Just like it wasn’t the other girls’ fault that they couldn’t hit well. Society was dictating the gender expectations. I”m sure they grew up in families that didn’t place value on girls athleticism and so they never learned.  And therein lies the very problem with the “girl box.”  It is deemed innately so, as if girls are born inferior (not just athletically.)  But gendered behaviors are taught.  Those girls didn’t stand a chance.

I wish every little girl had a parent willing to raise them with no limits to their potential.  Thank goodness my father understood.

A story my father likes to tell:  I was climbing the domed shaped monkey bars (age 4 or so), climbing next to a little boy beside me.  Our parents stood watching us.  His mother was visibly anxious as I climbed higher and higher, surpassing her son’s ability.  When I reached the top, the mother said to my father: “You shouldn’t let her climb so high, she could get hurt.”  My father just smiled, knowingly — he was preparing me for the many challenges I would have to overcome as a girl.  He was encouraging me to keep climbing, despite what others would tell me I was capable of.


Nooriel Nolan works as a CME Assistant & Committee Liaison for the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery, but her true passions are writing and positively impacting the lives of children.  She is particularly passionate about girls/womens’ issues, which drove her to seek her BA in Women’s Studies from the University of Florida (a focus that provided her the opportunity to study gender and how societies produce gendered expectations of children.) In her spare time, Nooriel enjoys running and spending quality time with her husband and 11 year-old stepson.