Life began on Aquidneck Island, off the coast of Rhode Island. My love for both photography and wildlife grew out of years spent exploring the trails of the Norman Bird Sanctuary. Newport Children’s Theater showed me how amazing it is to share a great story with an audience.

A military brat, I moved to Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany, and completed high school in the middle of the Alps. Concordia Language Villages gave me a chance to learn a new language and see a new type of effective, immersive learning experience.

I attended the University of Maine and found a home in the Honors College under the tenure of Charlie Slavin. I still believe that if you don’t know what you want to do with your life at 18, majoring in Political Science will at least mean that you can make sense of the world unfolding around you. 

My career started with learning to build websites at Pica Design, and I still miss that brilliant, kind, hilarious team. I wanted to understand why on earth people use technology the way they do and made my way to the University of Michigan School of Information (UMSI).

With four family members as teachers, I maintained that someone needed to be a learner. And then I fell in love with teaching people how to program during my master’s degree as a graduate student instructor for the amazing Dr. Chuck and decided…to become a teacher. I have been yelled at, cried on, and seen a whole lot of fist pumps; thinking like a computer is hard until your brain catches on to the logic. I hope ever-more people are given the opportunity to learn.

In order to keep teaching, I volunteered as a teaching assistant for Dr. Barry Fishman’s Videogames & Learning course, and through that the seeds of our gameful learning platform GradeCraft grew. Joining the PhD program at UMSI allowed me to lead the development of the platform while learning how to be a researcher under the mentorship of Dr. Stephanie Teasley and Dr. Fishman. My research interests center around design patterns (curricular, interface, and social) to support engaged and self-directed learning experiences. 

As a graduate student, I got to watch the Center for Academic Innovation’s (CAI) founding in 2014, and be inspired by the crew of incredibly creative people bringing magic to the higher education landscape. After successfully defending my dissertation in January 2018, I started work as the Associate Director for Research & Development at the CAI three days later.  Over the last two years, my team has grown to support research, educational data science, and user experience research around pedagogical innovation and learning experiences at CAI and beyond. I could not be prouder of the brilliant, ambitious team I get to work with every day.

I now live with my husband Ben and two dogs in Ann Arbor, Michigan.