"I believe that learning to embrace challenges with optimism and inclusivity is paramount for humanity’s survival."
Ed.D. University of California, Los Angeles, Education – 2018
B.A. Stanford University, Psychology – 2011
A.A. Santa Monica College, Psychology and Anthropology – 2008
I am passionate about helping people and organizations apply insights from psychology research to improve motivation, equity, resilience, and academic achievement. My area of expertise is the social psychological factors that can support—or undermine—our motivation, resilience, inclusiveness, and sense of belonging. These factors include:
What I have learned over my career about affecting meaningful improvements in equity and engagement is that it requires a multi-pronged approach that is coordinated and coherent––one that attends to the recursive processes that unfold within individuals, between individuals and groups, and within structures, all of which can reinforce and amplify long-standing power hierarchies, unequal access to opportunities, and deficit-based narratives about the root causes of inequality.
We know from research and practice that people are more motivated to change when they have safe spaces to develop equity literacy and awareness of the root causes of inequality while also feeling a sense of agency and hope. This requires starting with building trust and a shared sense of purpose, then looking together at disaggregated data from their own context so that they can see the problem. Once people can see the problem with empathy and curiosity, they need access to tools, and evidence-based resources so that they have clarity about next steps and a way to see the impact of their improvement efforts over time.
I believe that our capacity to thrive as a society, and as a species, depends on how well we train our educators and leaders to create inclusive, motivating environments that inspire a passion for learning and that develop key skills such as critical thinking, perspective taking, empathy and compassion for others.