After years spent at the front of the classroom, I recently shifted seats, moving from the teacher’s chair to a student desk. Now I am a doctoral student in the Department of Educational Psychology at the University of Texas at Austin, with a specialization in the Human Development, Culture, and Learning Sciences (HDCLS) program. Here I am building on my experience as a college teacher and faculty developer by studying how we can improve student learning and motivation.

In HDCLS, I am part of the Learning and Motivational Beliefs (LAMB) lab directed by Dr. Katherine Muenks, the Access and Equity Lab directed by Dr. Stephanie Cawthon, and participate in joint lab meetings with the Science of Learning and Metacognition (SLAM) lab directed by Dr. Veronica Yan. In my research, my goal is to discover how we can make higher education more equitable for a wider range of students. In particular, I study how instructors can create more motivationally and learning-supportive courses and classroom environments.

Previously, I have led programs that brought educational research to college faculty, curricula, and programs. From 2016-2021, I was the founding director of the Center for Teaching, Learning, and Scholarship at Southwestern University (Georgetown, TX), and from 2007-2016, I was the director of the Center for Teaching Excellence at St. Edward’s University (Austin, TX).  In these roles, I worked closely with college instructors, helping them learn to teach in ways that are evidence-based, inclusive, and innovative.  Over the years, I have also continued to develop and study my own teaching practices, beginning in 2004 when I taught full-time on the tenure-track at Denison University, and continuing across teaching appointments at St. Edward’s and Southwestern. I hold a B. A. in mathematics and humanities from Valparaiso University, an M.A. and Ph.D. in English from the University of Texas at Austin, and an M.A. in Educational Psychology from the University of Texas at Austin.

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