“Volunteering has always been important to me,” said 22-year old Wikipedian Q Miceli. “I believe volunteering generates good karma because it benefits more than just myself.”
Miceli, who hails from Byram, New Jersey, began her journey on Wikipedia when she researched a “tree of life” project for her 9th grade biology class. As time went on, she found herself becoming an active contributor and editor, most notably during her years at Princeton University, where she studied religion and was a Wikipedia campus ambassador, organizing and hosting the school’s first Wikipedia edit-a-thon.
“The purpose of an edit-a-thon is to educate new users about how to navigate Wikipedia and how to write a good article,” she explained. “It’s also to increase the amount of articles on Wikipedia or to make them better, fix links, and do various other types of clean up.”
Two years ago, Miceli decided to become vegan in order to put into practice the mantra of “do less harm.” As she started down the path, she quickly found that Wikipedia was an indispensable ally.
“Using Wikipedia has often helped me figure out the source of foods that I’m eating,” she explains. “For example, I learned about quinoa on Wikipedia. Since I’m gluten intolerant, I found quinoa to be a godsend because it’s a gluten free grain—actually it’s from the goosefoot plant so it’s a grass—I learned that on Wikipedia.”
As an avid baker, Miceli dreams of one day opening her own vegan, gluten-free bakery. She also contributes to many Wikipedia articles on baking, which she hopes will be useful to other interested in the craft.
“Writing about baking affects the greater good because everyone needs to eat and bread is the staff of life,” she explains. “I have found Wikipedia articles explaining the science behind baking better than many cookbooks! I’m also able to learn about the cultural aspect of what I’m eating with Wikipedia. Ultimately, I get to write about what I’m passionate about and I get to educate other people about it. Hopefully someone can use some of that knowledge to do good things where they are.”
Profile by Darrin Fox, Communications intern
Interview by Victor Grigas, Visual Storyteller