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. Moreover, 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 fifth 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.
Currently, I teach government courses at Lone Star College-CyFair, which is about thirty miles northwest of downtown Houston, Texas. The rapid expansion of the area where the school is situated has yielded an incredibly diverse student body. 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. A primary goal of the CCE is to teach students voice and agency. From 2015 to 2017, I served as the first campus coordinator and my responsibilities ranged from chairing the faculty committee to overseeing a variety of events during the academic year. In addition, I co-taught a thematic honors learning community entitled, “Individual Involvement, Group Impact,” in the fall of 2015 that combined Federal Government and Principles of Sociology. This collaborative instructional opportunity allowed our students to examine a variety of topics, including the role of social movements in shaping government policy.
When I’m not writing presentation slides or looking for supplemental materials to use in my classes, I enjoy visiting parks, listening to NPR, reading nonfiction, playing guitar (click here to listen to a track), taking pictures (click here if you’d like to see some), and attending The Moth. Over the last few years, I’ve spent my weekends exploring museums, record stores, music venues, and vegan-friendly restaurants. Today, Houston is my home. The future? We’ll just have to see what opportunities present themselves. Sometimes life changes in ways that we could never anticipate. That’s part of the adventure.
Photo: Up on a rock ledge in Ice Box Canyon in Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area. Las Vegas, Nevada. May 20, 2017