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About Me

I was born and raised in the Los Angeles, California area. I am the first person in my family to have attended college. I decided I wanted to be an academic after my participation in the Ronald E. McNair Program at UCSD. The program provides opportunities for students from underrepresented backgrounds to engage in a research project under the direct mentoring of a faculty member or members. My mentors were Amy Bridges and Zoli Hajnal. I will always appreciate the guidance of Dr. Bridges and Dr. Hajnal during my undergraduate years.

          

I decided to attend Texas A&M University for my Ph.D. in Political Science for a variety of reasons, especially the high focus on professional development opportunities for graduate students. I am grateful for the resources made available to me by the program and the university as a whole.        

         

After completing my degree, I moved on to serve as a Lyman T. Johnson Postdoctoral Diversity Fellow at the University of Kentucky. Serving as a Lyman Fellow was an incredible honor, as Lyman T. Johnson was a major crusader for minority student rights. The fellowship gave me the chance to map out my goals as a scholar; in particular, the fellowship allowed me to flesh out my research agenda and general teaching philosophy.

             

I was a Visiting Lecturer at the University of South Florida from the fall semester of 2013 to the spring semester of 2015. While at USF, I developed courses in online-only and hybrid formats of instruction that were previously unavailable via these modes of instruction. Developing courses in these formats was very important. USF has a substantial number of non-traditional students that work full-time and/or raise children, which makes it difficult for them to take coursework in the traditional face-to-face format. I'm very proud of designing rigorous courses in online-only and hybrid formats from scratch, while still maintaining an active research agenda.

             

Since the fall semester of 2015, I have been a Visiting Assistant Professor at the University of Central Florida in Orlando. As a VAP, I have graduate faculty status. This allows me to supervise graduate students and serve on graduate student committees. In the summer session of 2016, I was the primary reader of a graduate student's paper to complete the requirements for their master's degree. As part of this, I served as the director of the student's independent study coursework on political leaders and rhetoric. The experience helps to demonstrate that I can supervise and mentor the work of both undergraduate and graduate students. Just like at USF, UCF gave me a teaching certification licence for teaching online courses. This experience has helped to broaden the formats of instruction that I can teach with.  

I think I can make a clear contribution to any school I have the opportunity to work at by mentoring first-generation students and students from traditionally underrepresented backgrounds. I can describe to them my experience, be a sounding board for any issues they might have, offer advice, and assist them in their post-baccalaureate career search. My journey as an academic has been a very interesting and valuable experience.