Toward better communities:
My teaching model embraces the public sociological approach to research and learning by responding to the growing gap between the world we study and the world in which we live (Burawoy 2005). Public sociologists engage research and pedagogical practice that create opportunities to apply what we learn from research toward creating positive change in our diverse communities through policy and practice.
I have had the opportunity to teach a number of courses in the Social Sciences and beyond, including in – Sociology, Criminal Justice, Political Science, Law & Society, Anthropology, and Chicano & Latino Studies in diverse educational settings. In each of my courses, I integrate student-lead learning strategies, collaborative problem-solving exercises, and service-learning opportunities. For example, I integrate my experience as a University Program Coordinator for AmeriCorps, to implement service-learning projects that provide opportunities for students to participate in community service and civic engagement that augments coursework curriculum.
Recidivism rates for those with correction education are significantly lower than their counterparts who do not participate in such educational programs. I recently accepted the new role of program coordinator for the Lake Tahoe Community College Incarcerated Student Program, that grants AA-T degrees in Sociology to incarcerated students throughout Northern California. Launched in 2017, the program is already very successful and I’m excited to be a part of this important social justice work to grow and develop the program.
I recently served as a researcher at the Connected Learning Alliance at the Digital Media Lab Hub at UCI. My research here examines how youth interact with technology and how this knowledge can be used to create and enhance technology to augment higher education.
Assessments: I also have significant experience in teaching and assessing pedagogy in online/hybrid environments. I have developed program assessments to measure pedagogical strategies in relation to student learning outcomes. I served as the lead researcher to construct, implement, and evaluate a new online/hybrid degree program in Human Computer Interaction at UCI in 2017. My assessment program was used to gauge student learning outcomes, including: progress, satisfaction, retention, and success; the program is still being used at UCI as a flexible assessment tool.
I also worked as a lead instructor in the UCI Canvas Pilot Project – an initiative to integrate and overhaul the existing e-learning online instruction platform. In this capacity, we launched the new e-learning online platform and facilitated instruction to over 300 students, in multiple iterations and across time. Our team was also involved in assessments of platform functionality and pedagogical efficacy.
Project based learning: I am currently conducting an inter-university study that compares how differing project-based approaches are associated with improved student retention rates.
AmeriCorps – Community Development
Following my Master’s Degree in policy analysis, I was hired on with the Dean of Students Department at Cal Poly, SLO – to serve as the Program Coordinator of The Central Coast AmeriCorps. Our volunteers served in one year of service to assist in capacity-building and infrastructure development between brokered partnerships with local non-profit organizations and the university community.
During my tenure with AmeriCorps, we also established the Alternative Breaks program at Cal Poly, SLO. This program was inaugurated to provide university students with opportunities to participate in community volunteerism during academic breaks. As a component of these service trips, I developed learning modules to ground the volunteers’ practical experiences in a deep theoretical awareness of the context-specific social problems that they would confront. Some of our volunteer trips included residence restoration, food insecurity mitigation, energy sustainability projects, and general community service in New Orleans in the Post-Katrina period and work on organic farming sustainability startup projects in the rural Caribbean.
Homeless Steering Committee
I served as a graduate researcher on the San Luis Obispo County Homeless Steering Committee. In doing so, I collaborated with committee members, community partners, homeless service providers, the Board of Supervisors, and community educational institutional actors to draft a10 year Plan to End Homelessness and county-wide Homeless Enumeration.