I grew up in Albany, CA in the heart of the Bay Area. I was shaped by the diverse environments there which inspired me to live in many countries across the globe. I studied abroad in Mexico, France and Italy as a Romance Language major at Colorado College. After graduation I joined the Peace Corps in Paraguay and learned Guaraní. I then taught Spanish at a high school in the Bay Area. I earned my MA during three summers, by taking classes and living with families in Spain, Guatemala/Costa Rica and Peru. I moved to Spain to become an English teacher for business professionals. I went on to pursue a PhD in Applied Linguistics in Spanish at the University of California, Santa Barbara. I have now returned to the Bay Area to teach Spanish language and linguistics at Santa Clara University.
I have spent more than 13 years teaching in high school and university classrooms. As a lifelong-learner, I routinely spend time reflecting on my practice, exploring the research on teaching and learning, and making changes to my teaching practice to ensure that I provide the most effective learning opportunities for my students. (see more)
My commitment to Spanish education drives both my teaching and my research. Through my studies in Applied Linguistics, Second Language Acquisition, and Foreign Language Pedagogy, I have learned how to develop and assess student learning outcomes and design curricula that meet the diverse needs of students. For my dissertation, I examined how creative task-based learning projects shape students’ anxiety and confidence (affect) when speaking. (see more)
In addition to my interest in teaching and classroom-based research, I also have a strong interest in social justice, volunteer service, and service learning. I have participated in and organized various volunteer projects both at home and abroad including spending two years in the Peace Corps in Paraguay.
In 2013, one of my students and I started a Latin American theater group called “Los Dramáticos” to bring together native Spanish-speaking students and Spanish-learning students in order to put on consciousness-raising plays for the community. According to the participants this group has been a welcome and unique outlet for them to interact and use Spanish while gaining literary and cultural knowledge and contributing to their community. (see more)
In 2013, I also started a business called Aprender y Beber to engage adults in fun, informal conversations in Spanish during Happy Hour. This business has moved to the Bay Area with me and is now called Experience Language to incorporate multiple language experiences.