A little bit about me...

I was born on November 2, 1986 at the Bryn Mawr hospital in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania.  I attended East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania and received my undergraduate and master’s degree in biology. I'm a public speaker, a member of the Explorers Club, and a visiting scholar at Rutgers University. One of my deepest passions is education. When I'm not on an expedition, I teach biology, microbiology, and chemistry at Northampton Community College of Pennsylvania. My current research investigates the characterization of the human microbiome and its link with diet, lifestyles, chronic inflammation, and disease.

My parents are American anthropologist Dr. Kenneth Good and Yanomami Amazonian Yarima. Over the course of 12 years my father studied and lived among the Yanomami people in Venezuela. It was there where he fell in love and married my mother, Yarima, the daughter of the village headman. Their unique story captured the hearts and interests of millions worldwide and can be read in the memoir, “Into the Heart: One man’s pursuit of love and knowledge among the Yanomami,” by Kenneth Good and David Chanoff. 

 

I spent the first 5 years of my life traveling between the suburbs of New Jersey and my tropical rain forest home in the Upper Orinoco of Venezuela. In 1991, our family was featured in an award-winning documentary, “Yanomami Homecoming,” produced by National Geographic Explorer Series. Shorlty after, my mother could no longer withstand the extreme culture shock and isolation of living in New Jersey. Her disposition shifted towards a state of anger, bitterness, and loneliness. In 1992, on a return trip to Yanomami territory, my mother made the difficult decision to permanently separate from the family and the Western way of life. She remained in the Amazon while I, my father, and my siblings remained in New Jersey. That would be the last time I would have any contact with my mother for almost 20 years.

In 2011, I embarked on a quest to find my mother. On August 8th, 2011, I successfully reunited with my mother and Yanomami family. I rediscovered my native heritage and started a new relationship with my mother. My account of growing up without my mother, the struggle in coming to terms with my indigenous identity, and the eventual reunion can be read in my memoir, co-written with Daniel Paisner, “The Way Around: Finding my mother and myself among the  Yanomami.” This story has been featured in various media outlets such as NPR, BBC, People Magazine, and CBS Sunday Morning.

After the reunion, I quickly understood that as one of very few Yanomami individuals raised and educated in the world of the nabuh (non-Yanomami), I have the responsibility in helping the Yanomami people confront and navigate the various challenges of today. While my village is quite remote and relatively isolated from direct outside influence and exposure, there are many communities that are battling illegal gold miners, introduced diseases, and exploitation. In order to protect my family, I must help my fellow tribes people serve as their gatekeepers.

In 2013, I and my team founded the Good Project, a non-profit that supports education, healthcare, and preservation programs for the Yanomami people.  Integrating intercultural and participatory perspectives, we collaborate on local, national, and international levels to develop projects that address the contemporary challenges and needs of various Yanomami communities. We document, learn, and share their way of life to foster cross-cultural awareness and promote the recognition and protection of indigenous rights and ancestral lands.