NLPeople: Elizabeth Price, manager of professional learning
This is part of a series that introduces you to the people of NLP.
Elizabeth Price, West Hollywood, California
- Can you tell us a little about your background and what brought you to NLP?
I was born in Washington, D.C., and am a product of generations-long East Coasters but moved with my family to California when I was a baby. My extended family is still based on the East Coast. As a result, I am chronically split on where I land among the critical East Coast/West Coast rivalry (I must say, California is hard to beat). I am a proud Trojan alum and graduated from the University of Southern California with a bachelor’s degree in communication in 2012, and a master’s in communication management in 2014. I’ve had several career iterations since I left school – I even minored in music industry in undergrad, thinking I wanted to explore a career in entertainment. I had an internship at a record label which completely changed that decision! After that, I realized I wanted to be in a more service-oriented role where I could help solve big social issues. I’ve built a career in project management across a couple different industries, more recently in technology as a program manager for Cruise, the autonomous vehicle startup. Tech can be a powerful tool for good, no question, but I felt that it wasn’t the right outlet to grow professionally and personally. So, I started seeking out people to talk to who could give me perspectives on their work. I found out about NLP through my friend, Ebonee Rice, who just so happens to be NLP’s senior vice president of our Educator Network. From the initial conversation I had with her about this organization, I knew I wanted to be a part of it.
- How has working for NLP impacted your life or changed your world perspective?
Working for NLP has really challenged my perception of learning. As someone with a comms background, I love discovering new information platforms, news outlets and voices with unique perspectives. But thanks to this work, I realize that it’s imperative to be more discerning of how I curate my Twitter feed, what I choose to share online, and ultimately, what I give my attention to, both online and off. Not everything merits a comment, like or retweet – especially when those things are proven to be pieces of mis- or disinformation. I also feel like this work reinforces my sense of gratitude — I get to help build news literacy programming for educators who are in the field, doing the work, teaching the next generations of thinkers and doers. I don’t take that responsibility lightly.
- How (if so) has your work to foster diversity, equity and inclusion in the world of high-tech during your time with the self-driving car company Cruise informed your role here?
While at Cruise, I joined a couple affinity groups — Empowering Women of Cruise (EWOC) and Cruisers of the African Diaspora (COAD). I ended up joining EWOC’s leadership board and loved it. As a Black woman, being a part of these groups helped me to feel seen and included in the predominantly male and white environment that is technology. It gave me the courage to stand up and say, “My perspective may be different from the majority, but it is valid, and I have a right to express it.” I think my work at NLP, and news literacy in general, is directly correlated to this experience. When we develop programming for educators at NLP, the thought consistently pops into my mind — “Are we actively including and promoting voices from people of varied and/or marginalized experiences?” If the answer is no, then it’s critical to take a step back and look at what can be changed to amplify those voices. News literacy is for everyone, regardless of where you come from or what you look like. Plus, when I learned about NLP’s Staff Experience and Employee Culture (SEEC) committee, I knew I had to join.
- Since joining NLP, what has been the most satisfying or surprising experience?
The very first NewsLitCamp® I helped produce in August 2021 will always stand out as a favorite experience in my mind. We had the privilege of working with The 19th* News, an independent nonprofit newsroom focusing on gender, politics and policy that I deeply respect. I was running on adrenaline and excitement the whole time — since this event was virtual, I don’t think I got up from my chair for the entire six hours of programming (I vowed to myself afterwards to not make that part a habit). One of the sessions, led by The 19th*’s deputy editor Abby Johnston, was about how news outlets develop style guides — and in the case of The 19th*, their style guide differs from more traditional news outlets because of the kinds of subject matter they report on. This session really reinforced for me the power of the written word, and how it can easily include or exclude entire groups of people — groups within the LGTBQ+ community, for example — depending on seemingly small details like capitalization or the use of punctuation. It was fascinating to see how these details apply in a real-life context.
- What news literacy tip, tool or guidance do you most often use?
Lateral reading! There’s just so much information online, and it’s impossible to understand some articles, posts or comments without more context. There’s absolutely zero shame in admitting you don’t know something — that’s how you learn and grow. I love lateral reading because it makes the process of understanding anything — a featured story from a news outlet, or an Instagram post or a Twitter thread, seem like a treasure hunt — as soon as you uncover one clue, another one presents itself. Once you reach the gem you were after from the beginning, you now have all this treasure in the form of newfound knowledge in your back pocket.
- What is the first thing you will do once we fully emerge from the seemingly unceasing COVID-19 pandemic?
Travel extensively! I have two major trips in mind: a long-awaited European trip that I had originally planned in 2020, and a trip to Egypt with my mom, who is a professor of Arabic and has lived in Egypt and Tunisia on and off since the 1970s. I have cousins in Germany and have been promising to come visit for the last several years, even before the pandemic hit. While I’m in Germany, I’ll make a couple stops in Berlin and the smaller city of Wiesbaden in western Germany. From there, I’ll make my way to the Netherlands, then to France and finally a stop in Spain before heading back Stateside.
- Aside from fighting for facts, what else are you passionate about?
I am a foodie and would now call myself a plant-based foodie after transitioning to a vegan lifestyle in 2017. I went vegan for the animals, the environment and my health, but stayed for the food. I make a yummy vegan Bolognese. I am a big fan of holistic beauty and wellness practices, particularly those that are grounded in ancient wellness traditions. The first time I ever visited a traditional Korean jimjilbang (a traditional bathhouse with hot tubs, kiln saunas massage), I was sold. If you’ve ever tried the Mugwort bath, then you know what I mean! I love music and grew up exploring my parents’ extensive vinyl collection, listening to the incredible Black American musicians and artists of the 20th century — Minnie Riperton, Miles Davis, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, Maze & Frankie Beverly, the list goes on. Their works are timeless. I played the clarinet and drums for 13 years, and my fiancé is a professional keyboardist. Luckily, I can satisfy my dreams of being a musical virtuoso by living vicariously through him when he performs.
- Are you on team dog, team cat, team wombat? Or do you prefer stuffed animals to pets?
I am team equal opportunity for all animals! I don’t have any pets now but look forward to loving some in the future. In a perfect world, I’d get a dog and a cat at the same time, and they’d be best friends.
- What one item do you always have in your refrigerator?
- What’s in your pocket/backpack/laptop case right now?
Keys, wallet, a pen, AirPods, hand sanitizer, face mask, and Dr. Bronner’s cherry blossom and lime lip balm. Lip balm options are important.