I am a Southern California native which means I have a high tolerance for traffic and a low tolerance for cold. While working on my undergraduate degree at UC Davis, I worked as an intern in a 4th grade classroom and that was where I began to see a career in education as a good fit for me. I was drawn to the energy and joy of working with children, and I was intrigued by the dichotomy of the implied promises and stark realities of the public education system. After completing my credential program at UC Irvine, I worked in the classroom for 8 years: first as a substitute teacher, then as a language teacher in Shibukawa, Japan, and most recently as a 5th grade teacher for six years at Kennedy Elementary School in Madison, Wisconsin (Go Cougars!). During this time, my views on education evolved and changed and I was eager to learn more about how my skills may fit into the bigger picture of the field. In 2013, I began a master's program in Educational Psychology at UW Madison while continuing to work, and I began exploring leadership positions at my school site, mainly in educational technology and social justice practices.
In 2017, I made the decision to leave the classroom for the time being in order to pursue my PhD. I packed up my belongings, donated my winter coat and enrolled at UC Santa Barbara, where I am currently a 3rd year student in the education policy group. I know that the combination of classroom experience that I bring, along with the research skills that I am learning now, will position me to leverage a greater impact in creating equitable, effective systems in education that support children, families and communities.
My research interests lie in better understanding how our communities intersect with schools and classrooms. I use mainly quantitative methods to understand correlations, relationships and causal mechanisms between policies and school outcomes. I have experience working with large-scale datasets, as well as local data from a single community partner. Additionally, I am experienced in using GIS to add a spatial aspect to social science research. Sharing the work I do with my colleagues and learning from others is very important to me, and I have been fortunate to share work within the UCSB community, as well as at conferences in the field of education research, from Reno to Tokyo, and a few places in between.
When I am not working, I enjoy spending time with family, reconnecting with my home state, reading YA dystopian fiction, traveling and watching reality TV where people are actually kind to each other. While I do miss being in the classroom, words cannot express how grateful I am to not have to supervise recess or the lunchroom anymore.