Phone: (657) 278-7792
I was born nearby in West Covina, CA but have also lived in Hartford, CT for 8 years during my adolescence. I have gotten to know members on both sides of my family through residing on each coast of the U.S. Through this opportunity, I’ve developed an ongoing desire to learn about others by immersing myself in their cultures. This also assists me in further solidifying my own ethnic identity and connection to my varied cultures. Mostly recently, I lived in Knoxville, TN for 5 years, which was my first time ever living in the south. It was challenging to be so far from family and friends, but a great journey, where I met some wonderful individuals and experienced another new culture! As you might gather, I love exploring both my own cultural identity and learning about how culture relates to other individuals’ perceptions of and experiences in life. In addition to my desire to continue along this path, I am also an avid music and film lover. My tastes are varied and depend on where I am in life at any given point. It’s wonderful to rediscover a song or movie that touched me in the past. I am happily amassing a nice vinyl record collection! I must also note that my cockapoo, George has accompanied me on my various journeys and adventures for the past 9.5 years. I love him dearly!
I obtained my B.A. in Music from Cal Poly Pomona in 2004. I then earned an M.S. in Counseling – Student Development in Higher Education from Cal State Long Beach in 2011. Most recently, I graduated this summer 2016 from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville with a Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology.
While pursuing a masters in Counseling, I also worked full time at Cal State Long Beach as an Educational Opportunity Program Counselor. These combined experiences prompted my desire to advance my knowledge in the realm of mental health. I wanted to better understand how to conceptualize student concerns and needs. My continued aim is to proactively assist students in finding meaning in their academic journey. This entails their initial and continued investment in identity development through self-exploration and interaction with others. I see the ability to form and maintain healthy relationships as integral in one’s ability to network through college and life thereafter. Healthy relationships are both protective factors against mental health issues that may impact academic performance, and can provide sources of support during life’s setbacks. Accordingly, I see the relationships I build with students as essential to effective learning. Therefore, I aspire to ensure the classroom is a place where students can feel safe in order to push themselves to grow. This growth involves learning that they can challenge both their own and each other’s thoughts in ways that progress and strengthen their intrapersonal and interpersonal connections. At other institutions I taught both General Psychology and Abnormal Psychology for the past six years. This semester, I will teach HUSR 411 and HUSR 437.
As previously noted, I am very interested in mental health as it relates to student development in higher education, in particular for students of color. For example, with my dissertation, I explored qualitatively the risks and protective factors perceived by Native American-identified students in their transition to a Predominately White Institution. Through my thesis, I explored quantitatively the relationship between attachment style and relationship satisfaction for Latina/o students in college. In an additional Social Justice project, I collaborated with students in a Trio Program on a qualitative project to build a peer mentor program grounded specifically in the voiced concerns of students who identified with first generation and/or low income demographics. My future research will continue to focus qualitatively on the unique needs of students of color in college. Qualitative research provides a platform for individuals to voice who they are, express what they do well, and describe what they need to be successful. My goal is to contribute literature that can inform professionals in human services and higher education on how we can best support student retention, identity development, and promote mental health through assisting in their establishment and advancement of healthy relationships with others.