"We learn when we relate to someone or something. That sparks our interest and attention so that we can create meaningful connections."
Salt Lake City, Utah
How did you become interested in the field of special education?
Before going to college, I always wanted to be a teacher. But, when I went to college I ended up getting a dual major in psychology and human development and family relations. I wanted to be a family counselor. When I graduated I got a job working with adults with disabilities. I found my niche. I went back to school to learn more about special education and the rest, as they say, is history.
What is your philosophy of teaching?
I believe that education is relational. We learn when we relate to someone or something. That sparks our interest and attention so that we can create meaningful connections. It all means that materials, conversations, assignments need to be relatable and useful in our lives – professional or personal.
What types of candidates do you hope/recommend to pursue this career field?
Those who are dedicated to improving the lives of people with disabilities through the power of education. You must like working with adults and children.
Briefly describe your own road to higher education.
I am the first person on both sides of my family to earn a college degree. My parents always wanted me to go to college and that was my goal. I was a good student but at times had inappropriate behavior. I had good people in my life that kept me from going off the tracks. Thanks to them, I made it.
What are your research interests?
Social competence, interpersonal relationships and community integration of people with disabilities.
What do you like to do outside of education?
Hiking, walking, running and I love snorkeling, although I haven’t done it in forever…Oh – I love to watch movies too.
Anything else you would like to share?
I do have a wonderful husband who was in the Hawaii DOE for over 30 years. And I have the cutest cat in the world – Scooter. But, that’s probably more than you wanted to know.