She graduated from Dartmouth College, and from Exeter College, Oxford, with a masters in linguistics.
In 2000, she co-led the Royal Geographical Society"s expedition to Tibet. She began as a freelancer in New Delhi, India including for Time magazine. She joined the Associated Press in Portland, Oregon, in 2003.
She spent a year in New Orleans documenting the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
She began reporting out of Dakar, Senegal, as a West African correspondent for The Associated Press in late 2006. In 2014, she was hired by Her reporting focuses on Islamic extremism.
Her poetry has been published in The American Scholar, Oxford, and Black Warrior Review.