About Me: Personal Stories and History


I love to travel, and have been lucky enough to take many trips around the world with my family and friends for various reasons. It's always exciting to experience different cultures and ways of life - and I love to learn about new places through their food. It's amazing how much history you can find in a bowl of something hot. Here's a list of all the countries I've visited so far (roughly Eastward, starting with the USA):

  1. U.S.A
  2. Canada
  3. Mexico
  4. Cuba
  5. Barbados
  1. Spain
  2. England (UK)
  3. France
  4. Finland
  5. Switzerland
  1. Germany
  2. Italy
  3. Vatican City
  4. Austria
  5. Lichtenstein
  1. Montenegro
  2. Greece
  3. Cyprus
  4. Lebanon
  5. Syria
  1. Croatia
  2. Jordan
  3. Armenia
  4. Japan
  5. Australia
  1. New Zealand
  2. ... still counting!

Early Life

I was born and grew up in Southern California. My parents each have a Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry, and my father is a professor at the University of California. I learned to swim before I could walk, and was in my first swimming competition at about two years old. During my childhood I tried many sports, but injuries kept me out of land sports and I stayed in the water. In middle school I started playing water polo. I swam and played water polo all through high school. I was also involved in technical (backstage) theater, where I stage managed several shows and worked with sound and lighting equipment. During high school I did reasonably well in my classes, and took several AP courses.

Pomona College

I matriculated at Pomona College in Fall 2006. Pomona is one of the five small liberal arts schools that make up the Claremont Consortium in Claremont, CA (along with Pitzer, Harvey Mudd, Scripps, and Claremont McKenna Colleges). I did not have time for undergraduate academics and all my extracurriculuars, so I stopped working in theater. However, I was a 4-year NCAA DIII two-sport varsity athlete, swimming and playing water polo all four years. Our women's water polo team, consisting of players from Pomona and Pitzer colleges, won the SCIAC Conference Championship three of those four years and played in the NCAA Women's Water Polo National Championships. I declared a mathematics major in my sophomore year at Pomona, having overheard someone stating that "girls don't major in mathematics." Spite was certainly a motivating factor, but I also loved the discipline and found the faculty in the mathematics department to be kind, engaging, and fun. There I became interested in combinatorics, cryptography, and more generally algebraic mathematics. I took a year off after college, during which time I spent a few months in San Francisco, CA, and a few months on the Mediterranean island of Cyprus.

Graduate School

After my year off, I returned to school and entered an MA program in Mathematics at UC San Diego, with the intention to pursue a Ph.D. in the same field. This was my first experience with truly large lecture courses, and my experiences as a GTA for some of these courses opened my eyes to some of the problems with gatekeeper courses. Toward the end of my program, I discovered the existence of the Mathematics Education field, and upon completion of my MA I entered a doctoral program in Mathematics and Science Education.

I entered the Joint Doctoral Program in Mathematics and Science Education hosted by San Diego State University and University of California San Diego in Fall 2013 (program site). There I took courses in theories of learning, surveys of ongoing research, cognitive science, and research methodology. My research advisor throughout the program was Dr. Chris Rasmussen, and under his guidance I began a program of research dedicated to research in undergraduate mathematics education. It was through this program that I became acquainted with Dr. Alan J. Daly and discovered social networks, which have become an integral part of my work. Many faculty there were, and continue to be, highly influential on my thinking and work. My dissertation work, completed in Spring 2018, was a longitudinal study of departmental transformation using mixed qualitative and quantitative methods, including repeated interviews, observations, and surveys over two and a half years. The dissertation committee was chaired by Dr. Chris Rasmussen (SDSU), and included Dr. Alan J. Daly (UCSD), Dr. Joanne Lobato (SDSU), Dr. Daniel L. Reinholz (SDSU), Dr. Gabriele Wienhausen (UCSD), and Dr. Bill Zahner (SDSU).


As I finished up my dissertation, I decided to pursue a postdoctoral appointment prior to entering the tenure track. In part, I wanted to have a bit of a break between frantically finishing a PhD and frantically pursuing tenure; I also wanted to engage in research with a different set of mentors to broaden my conception of what it means to do research. I was lucky enough to earn a research-only postdoc position attached to an NSF-funded collaborative research project: Evaluating the Uptake of Research-Based Instructional Strategies (RBIS) in Undergraduate Chemistry, Mathematics, and Physics. The PI team consisted of Dr. Estrella Johnson (Math), Dr. Charles Henderson (Physics), Dr. Melissa Dancy (Physics), Dr. Jeffrey Raker (Chemistry), and Dr. Marilyne Stains (Chemistry). The project involved research within multiple STEM DBER areas, brodening my network in interdisciplinary ways. For much of my two years on the project (2018-2020) I was engaged in survey-based research, which provided a snapshot of instructional practices, and associated context and beliefs, in use across the country.