I am an assistant professor of physics and astronomy at Grand Rapids Community College. I teach critical thinking and problem solving skills to non-science majors so that they are better equipped not just for future classes but for life in general. I am so thankful to work at an open access institution, and it is deeply important to me that education is accessible and inclusive.
I wish I could say I've lived in West Michigan all my life, but I moved here in 2016. I wasn't really rooted anywhere growing up, as my parents' careers brought my family to homes across the country. One constant in my life as we switched from one state to another was finding the library and seeing the magic of what was available there. My sister and I would always participate in the summer reading programs, striving to out-read each other and to hit all the major milestones.
My love of learning and exploring, however, does have very deep roots. I've always loved reading, and I have to thank my parents for using books and trips to the library as rewards. It may have backfired on them a bit as they caught me in bed with a book and a nightlight more often than not when I was supposed to be asleep. My bonus reading was not limited to nights at home; I was sometimes gently reprimanded in school when I would hide a paperback book I was reading for fun inside the textbook we were meant to be reviewing. That didn't slow down my academics, though, since I went on to get two Bachelor's degrees from the University of Maryland for Physics and Astronomy, and then both a Master's Degree and a Doctorate in Astronomy and Astrophysics from Harvard University.
After finishing up all of that learning, I knew that I wanted to be an educator at the college level. My courses are often among the last science courses my students will ever take, whether they are fresh out of high school or returning for a degree after a long career in a different field. I view it as my role in the community to help my students build the critical thinking skills they need to be informed citizens. I love crossing paths with former students and finding out what difference they have made in the community since finishing my course. My goal is always to support students, building their confidence in themselves and their abilities. I hope to be able to support programs at the library that will give every person who walks through the doors the same confidence and skill building.