I have been a faculty member in the Psychology department at Maryville College since 2000. Prior to joining the faculty at Maryville College, I earned a PhD from the University of California, Santa Barbara, focusing my academic study and research in the area of Social Psychology. My undergraduate degree is from the University of Richmond, where I majored in Psychology and had minors in both Spanish and Women's Studies.
I regularly teach Social Psychology (PSY/SOC 221), Experimental Psychology (PSY 312), Cross-Cultural Psychology (PSY 224), and First-Year Seminar (FYS 110).
PROFESSIONAL INTERESTS AND EXPERIENCE
My research and professional work focuses on academic and social self-efficacy among first-generation college students, or students who would be the first in their families to graduate from college. I am also very interested in understanding the experiences of Hispanic/Latinx high school and college students, particularly DACA/undocumented students who were not born in the United States but who came to this country as children. I have been very involved with the Villamaría initiative at Maryville College, an outreach program focused on Latino students and families that developed out of a grant opportunity through the Appalachian College Association and Excelencia in Education. For more on Maryville College's outreach to Latinx communities, read this Knoxville News-Sentinel editorial by Dr. Tom Bogart, President of Maryville College.
Through a grant from Conexión Américas and with the help of two Maryville College student interns, I have developed a variety of community programs and initiatives to support Hispanic students who desire a college education. I partnered with school counselors and teachers at Lenoir City High School to develop a college preparation and mentoring program called "Puertas" (which means "doors" in Spanish). I also coordinate an annual conference at Maryville College for school counselors, K-12 administrators, teachers, and community leaders around the general theme of supporting the higher education dreams of Latinx students.
As a result of these interests, I have also worked to become proficient in Spanish, as many of the students and colleagues I work with are bilingual, and some of their families are more comfortable communicating in Spanish. I enjoy speaking Spanish very much, so I welcome conversations with Spanish-speaking students and their families visiting our campus!
I am also actively engaged in social and racial justice work through Maryville College's Diversity Action Team, the Blount County chapter of Showing Up for Racial Justice, Welcoming Immigrant Neighbors (Blount County; WIN-BC), and my faith community Foothills Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, where I serve on the immigration justice ministry team.