My family roots are in Western Pennsylvania where most of my extended family still live on or near the family farm, although I grew up outside of Philadelphia and went to college at Penn State. I identify culturally as Pennsylvania Dutch at my core with a mix of other influences tossed in. I have lived with my husband in the Mat-Su Valley since 1991. My mother recently moved to Alaska, and my daughter and her family also live close by. I feel deeply connected to both places, and I would say I am both from Pennsylvania and from Alaska now.
I am a Licensed Professional Counselor and am approved by the Alaska State Licensing Board as a Counseling Supervisor. I have experience with a wide range of Human Services agencies, including work in the domestic violence and sexual assault, community mental health, and child development fields. Counseling specialties include working with children, working with groups, and working with folks who have experienced trauma. I began teaching at APU as an adjunct in 2001.
As an educator, I hope always to develop caring relationships with students that allow for the safety of taking risks and appearing foolish. I believe that to truly learn, one must be open to new perspectives, be willing to explore alternatives, and be curious about the unknown. I try to create assignments that have practical application to the wider world and that require students to move beyond the classroom in search of additional resources and information. I try to choose texts that provide a basic vocabulary and grounding in the field, and then encourage students to challenge the authority of that text. I hope to create a collaborative classroom where each student’s experience and perspective is woven into the fabric of the learning environment. I also believe that most students benefit from experiential learning opportunities, and so I incorporate them as much as possible into the courses I teach. I try to approach each student, each class, and each course with enthusiasm. Playing with ideas, in my opinion, is the best sort of fun.
I also have a love of laughter and play in general, and I love a good story. My other passions include my family and creativity. My hobbies change regularly, probably because there is always something different to explore.