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Currently, I am an Adjunct Anthropology Instructor at Napa Valley College where I teach Introduction to Cultural Anthropology and the Anthropology of Sex, Gender, and Sexuality. I have experience teaching Biological Anthropology and Linguistics courses as a substitute and feel very comfortable with the subjects. I have extensive experience with the Spanish, Russian, Korean, and Mayan languages. I am also well versed in the theories and practices of archaeology, as I worked for a Cultural Resource Management firm in San Jose soon after graduating from San Diego State in 2001. This experience was unique and I was able to conduct an excavation of an Ohlone tribesman in San Mateo, conduct field reconnaissance, write reports, and do lithic analysis among other things.
My teaching career has spanned nearly thirteen years and included teaching severely handicapped students in grades Kindergarten through third grades and fifth through eighth grade students with learning disabilities, where I conducted IEP’s and worked with developing modifications and accommodations for those students needs. Before moving back to California and teaching at the community college level, I taught Advanced Placement US History, World History and World Governments and Politics to college prep high school students at Seoul International School (SIS) in Seoul, Korea for three years. Many of the students that I taught and wrote recommendations to are currently attending Cornell, NYU, Brown, and UC Berkeley. Living in Korea enriched my life on so many levels and allowed me to utilize my anthropological training as I lived and worked in a very different culture than my own for three years. I cherish the opportunity I have had teaching such a diverse group of students from all over the globe, they truly have added a unique texture to my life.
While teaching in the Hollister School District and SIS I was very involved in the leadership aspects of education. Specifically, I worked as the Head of the Social Studies Department at Seoul International School (SIS) and the Department Head for the English Department while I worked at Rancho San Justo Middle School. I have also participated in School Site council for many years and was a member of the SIS Assessment Committee. I also worked with the Hollister School District as part of the Superintendent’s Committee, and was a member of the Transportation committee and the Bicycle and Pedestrian committee for the city of Hollister.
Aside from being an anthropology instructor at Napa Valley College, I am the co-founder and CEO of a Sonoma County based social benefit corporation (World Progress Now) focused on building responsible tourism. This endeavor has transformed me into an applied anthropologist, focused on tourism and its interaction with culture. I currently work on preserving cultural identity through helping tourists realize their impacts on both local cultures and their environment, while trying to build a responsible tourism infrastructure.
I have had extensive training and experience with qualitative and quantitative research. I received my Master’s of Arts degree in Anthropology, where I focused on Identity of the Yucatan Maya. The cultural phenomena I studied was the spring equinox at Chichen Itza where over fifty thousand people observe the setting sun cast a shadow on the pyramid as a tangible representation of Kukulkan (the feathered serpent god of the Maya). The anthropology of magic, witchcraft, and religion was a guiding focus of my fieldwork. I utilized participant observation, key informant outreach, structured and unstructured interviews, while utilizing qualitative analysis to complete my thesis.
Following the completion of my Masters degree in Anthropology, I went back to graduate school and completed a Master’s of Public Policy degree (MPP), where my focus was on School Choice. Along with being the Facility Master Plan Intern, I developed surveys, developed strategic plans, held focus groups and worked directly with the Hollister School District to develop policies and write a universal magnet school grant. The grant was intended to fund a transformation of all eight of the local schools into magnet schools in order to create a more equitable, interest based learning environment in the Hollister School District.
My current passion and focus is the Anthropology of Policy, specifically, what cultural elements move policy forward and then the subsequent cultural impacts of that policy. Specifically, national education policy as it relates to charter schools, standardized tests, school growth, and the accreditation process is my main focal point. I have been a member of the American Anthropological Association since 2006 and I am currently a member of the Association for the Anthropology of Policy. I have a passion for strategic planning, stakeholder outreach, data gathering, leadership opportunities, school policy, and school culture. My training as an anthropologist has embedded the human element into my quest for understanding larger societal phenomena while learning to become a friend of culture. My policy training has given me practical tools for analyzing and creating policy solutions to issues of inequity, inequality, and socioeconomic inefficiencies.