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Bryan Nakawaki

Grant Writer
Hometown: Erie, PA

Born in Los Angeles but raised in Ontario (California, not Canada), Bryan has traversed the country in pursuit of higher education and nonprofit work. A former academic and university writing instructor, Bryan has collected a complete set of English Lit. degrees, including a B.A. from California State Polytechnic University of Pomona; a M.A. from The University of North Carolina at Charlotte; and a Ph.D. from Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana. He currently lives in Erie, Pennsylvania, not far from the final university at which he used to teach.   

Bryan began his nonprofit career in 2008 as an AmeriCorps member in the Inland Empire region of Southern California. A specialist in volunteer recruitment and management, Bryan also utilized his two years in AmeriCorps to develop and hone an array of complementary skills, including grant writing and nonprofit storytelling. He used these skills to support the work of large nonprofits, such as United Way and The Boys and Girls Club, as well as numerous small-but-mighty local organizations. Since leaving AmeriCorps, Bryan has applied these skills in support of diverse nonprofits wherever he has lived: food banks, literacy centers, homeless shelters, libraries, and more.      

Outside of work, Bryan enjoys many pastimes that suggest he was born several decades later than he should have been. An enthusiastic consumer of old sci-fi movies and television, Bryan is also a regular attendee of Minor League Baseball games, an obsessive worrier about traffic and the weather, a proud supporter of the 5:00 PM dinner time, and an unapologetic champion for Shakespeare’s comedies.

What is your hidden talent?

A lifelong fan of Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune, I am pretty good at both general trivia games and word puzzles.

What punctuation mark would you be and why?

I would be the em dash. I like to consider myself a versatile individual. The em dash is versatile enough to function as a substitute comma, parentheses, colon, semicolon, and more.

What is your grammatical pet peeve?

You are supposed to use a comma to offset the name of a person being addressed. That said, I find it odd so many people begin emails with "Hi Jane" instead of "Hi, Jane." (To be clear, I am also guilty of this. I have no idea why.)

What is your favorite way to spend a Sunday afternoon?

It depends on the time of year. During the NFL season, I like to watch football and lament the performance of my fantasy football team. I otherwise enjoy reading nonfiction books and taking in the ambience of Lake Erie.

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