Thoughtful reflection yields emotional and intellectual growth if you’re willing to evaluate, and reevaluate, who you are and what you’ve done in your life. Self-examination has the capacity to fuel a personal evolution. Our experiences may change us in a myriad of ways if we summon the courage inside to allow them. At times, my journey has been incredibly rewarding, but it has also presented challenges that have strengthened my resolve as I follow my path. I’m always searching for the lesson ensconced within an experience because doing so fosters the growth that I need to sustain myself.
After accomplishing my goals as a high school social studies teacher, I completed a doctorate in political science to better understand how governing institutions function in our democratic republic. Many of the theoretical and empirical works that I’ve studied to date inform my classroom instruction. In addition, a latent effect of my training is that it influences how I analyze news reports about major developments around the world. While teaching is my chosen profession, I’m a human being who’s deeply concerned about the implications of political decisions and events that affect the human condition as we understand it in local, regional, national, and global contexts.
Fully immersed in my seventh year of teaching at the college level, I find myself more passionate about education than I ever have been before. This stage of my career began when I accepted a position that took me to a remote city on the Colorado River in the low desert of western Arizona. While there, I learned a great deal about my craft, organizational operation, and interpersonal relationships. Furthermore, I learned how they are all intertwined. The people we surround ourselves with at our place of employment are vital to our professional success and emotional well-being. Who we encounter throughout the day influence both our mindset and trajectory. I’m thankful for the valuable friendships that I cultivated during my time there.
For more than four years, I taught in the Government Department at Lone Star College-CyFair, a large suburban community college that is located about thirty miles northwest of downtown Houston, Texas. The rapid expansion of the area yielded an incredibly diverse student body composed of people from all over the world. In August of 2017, I began my tenure as department chair. This position included a variety of responsibilities such as recruiting quality adjunct instructors and putting together the semester schedule of classes that we offered. What’s more, in an effort to build social capital and improve the completion rate, my colleagues and I instituted the Center for Civic Engagement (CCE) on our campus as part of a system wide initiative that began at LSC-Kingwood. We sought to teach students the importance of voice and agency and how to become advocates on issues that matter to them. From 2015 to 2017, I served as the first campus coordinator, which required me to chair the faculty committee and oversee a variety of events during the academic year.
Longing to explore more of my sub-fields and move westward again, I accepted a tenure track faculty position at Lake Tahoe Community College last June. My teaching assignment includes a variety of both history and political sciences classes – some of which are on campus while others are online. I’m really eager to incorporate different topics such as comparative political culture into my curriculum for students. Moreover, I’m serving as chair of the department. This will afford me the opportunity to further develop some of my administrative skills. Beyond teaching, I would also like to collaborate with like-minded colleagues who are interested in hosting civic engagement events on campus in the years to come.
When I’m not writing presentation slides or looking for supplemental materials to use in my classes, I enjoy day hiking, observing wildlife, taking pictures, listening to Capital Public Radio (and sometimes Nevada Public Radio), reading nonfiction (Foreign Affairs, anyone?), and playing guitar. So, what’s the next step? The plan is to make South Lake Tahoe my home and reintegrate the term “elevation gain” into my vocabulary. Sometimes life changes in ways we could never anticipate. That’s part of what makes it an adventure.
I want to be understood, validated, respected and loved.
Make changes, not excuses.
Love over anger. Love over bitterness. Love over spite. Love wins, every time.
Above photograph: Standing on the pier at Public Beach on Dauphin Island, Alabama. July 24, 2017
Header photograph on my homepage: The view from a ridge while climbing Turtlehead Mountain in Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area in Nevada. April 3, 2019