For the past 20 years, I have been engaged as an educational researcher, evaluator and professor of educational policy. Areas of expertise include education reform, policy implementation and effectiveness, post-secondary attainment and socio-economic disadvantage. My publications address the social institutions and policies designed to promote educational advancement for students, especially the socially disadvantaged. Teaching and research associations over the past 20 years include the University of Illinois-Urbana-Champaign, University of Minnesota and Stanford University. I hold a Ph. D. and M.A. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a B.A. from Lawrence University.
I am a digital business analyst here at Sophia. I have a B.S. in Computer Science from Mankato State University. I am also the mother of 3 teenagers, all with very different learning styles. Therefore, when I am not working on Sophia, I am helping with homework, studying for tests and supplying all the materials necessary for countless projects. Working with my children has given me a new appreciation for how many different ways there are to learn things. It has become very clear to me that what works for one child does not always work for another. I am inspired by the potential of Sophia to teach people in a way that makes sense to them, as well as provide a platform for people to share their knowledge.
Educators often ask students to think of what they are passionate about. The idea behind this is that if a young learners can discover their true interests they may be able to better define their life goals and begin down a path that will leave them happy and fulfilled. As I progressed through my 11th year of teaching, I applied for a new job and was asked to think what I was passionate about. The firs and most obvious thing that came to mind; family. I kept thinking over a few weeks by looking at the things I really enjoy and patterns in my career. What I discovered is that I am passionate about challenges. Challenges keep me focused. They give me something to work on and think about when the monotony of the day-to-day life seems to slow me down. For me, challenges can appear in many forms. They can be physical challenges, educational challenges, or career challenges. But for me, they can all be molded into the same basic pattern. 1. They need to seem large. I once heard a graduation address where the speaker said "If someone tells you that the challenge you set for yourself is too big, you know you're on the right track." 2. They must require planning and preparation. The planning and the preparation are what makes the challenge fulfilling. 3. Failure must be an option. If not, then the challenge is not big enough. Let's be clear here. You have to assume you will meet your challenge, but if everybody can do it, it's not a challenge. Here's the cool thing...once you meet one challenge, another bunch of them open up. And the process starts all over.