Chief Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Officer
Where are you from and where do you currently reside?
I grew up in the east Bay Area in California and though I have lived very happily for more than twenty-seven years in western Pennsylvania with my partner and our many dogs and cats, my spiritual homeland is in the northwest. I camp in the Trinity mountains in northern California every year and have spent countless hours hiking in Oregon, Utah and Montana.
What college/university did you attend?
I got my undergraduate degrees in English and Philosophy from CSU, Chico. Though I initially wanted to study forestry, a bad grade in chemistry led me to change my focus, and I’ve long been glad that I did. Following that, I headed north to earn my PhD in English from the University of Oregon in Eugene. During graduate school, I studied nineteenth-century British literature, but my teaching and scholarly interests have always been rooted in analyses of gender, diversity and questions about power and oppression. Thus, though I started my academic career at Slippery Rock University teaching English, it seemed like a natural transition in 2013 to become director of the Gender Studies Program. My teaching is shaped by liberatory pedagogy, which means that I work with students to understand how social norms are produced but also how social norms can be challenged. One example of this can be found in Black Lives Matter protests, which have raised profound questions about white advantage and structural inequity. I feel truly lucky to participate in vigorous, engaging and fascinating classroom discussions with so many students.
How did you get your start in your career?
My work as Gender and Diversity Studies Director has influenced my community service in meaningful ways. I’ve served on a board for a women’s shelter, a national non-profit focused on diminishing a culture of violence, and, currently, on a board that works with people experiencing homelessness and as part of a think tank on restorative justice issues. In over 100 campus-wide programs, I’ve worked with 65 campus and community partners to organize panels on topics ranging from mass shootings to trans embodiment to Black voices shaping popular culture.
Do you have any passions/interests outside of work?
When I’m not working, I hike with our four dogs, read widely, and enjoy live music and theater. I’m in the woods every day.
What inspired you to help create TCC?
I’m excited to be part of TCC. The idea for our business actually started when Sharon and I met after a Gender Studies Program. Our conversation focused on barriers to equality and led almost casually to the idea of working together to create a consulting company where we might work with businesses to create an empowered culture.