About Leanora Minai

I was born in Africa to Italian-American parents and grew up in Singapore, Indonesia, Nigeria and Cameroon. My dad was a petroleum geologist whose explorations took my family all over the world. I attended The Masters School just outside New York City, where I discovered my love for writing.

After an adventurous childhood, my first real job was at McDonald’s in Plano, Texas, where I managed to win McDonald’s “Outstanding Service Person” during a Founder’s Day celebration. 

Repeated nights of begging my parents to let me stay up for the late news only confirmed my passion for journalism. I graduated from Texas Christian University’s journalism program, now the Schieffer School of Journalism.

After my first reporting job at The Times Leader in Wilkes-Barre, PA., I joined the Pulitzer Prize winning St. Petersburg Times, now The Tampa Bay Times, where I covered crime and city and county government as a staff writer.

I'm now at Duke University, working as the communications director for the Office of Communication Services. I serve as editor for the award-winning Working@Duke and co-editor for Duke Today. I'm pursuing a master's degree in liberal studies at Duke and serve on the board of directors at the Museum of Durham History.

I'm always looking for a good story that can make a difference and affect positive change. I received a certificate in documentary arts from Duke's Center for Documentary Studies after producing a short documentary film about mothers who support each other through grief after losing a child to murder.

I count among my passions looking at old buildings, exploring cities near and far on foot and enjoying life with my family, which includes our mischievous Labrador, Vinny.

Here I am going over a 9-foot high waterfall on the Zrmanja River in Croatia.