Professor of Psychology, Assistant Dean for Retention and the First Year

I am an Associate Professor of Psychology at Maryville College. I have taught 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 Freshman Seminar (FYS 110). 


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/Latino high school and college students, particularly those 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 Latino 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 am developing 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). This fall I also coordinated a conference for 100 school counselors, K-12 administrators, teachers, and community leaders at Maryville College around the theme of "Opening Doors, Changing Lives: Empowering Latino Students & Families Toward Higher Education." 

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, and my faith community Foothills Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, where I am on the leadership team for a project called "Raising Race-Conscious Children in Blount County" (for more on this general idea, see the Raising Race Conscious Children website