Professor of Psychology

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), Cross-Cultural Psychology (PSY 224), and First-Year Seminar (FYS 110). I also teach an exciting class called Applied Projects in the Community (PSY 200) that engages students in project-based learning, involves partnerships on and off campus, and supports development of professional skills such as leadership, team collaboration, and project management. 


My research and professional work has focused 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 engaged in understanding the experiences of Hispanic/Latino high school and college students, particularly DACA/undocumented students who were not born in the United States but who were brought 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 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, Welcoming Immigrant Neighbors of Blount County (WIN-BC), and my faith community Foothills Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, where I serve on the immigrant justice ministry team.