Associate Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience
Hometown: Scottsdale, AZ
Tenure: 4th Season
College: Boston College, Ph.D. and M.A. in Psychology with Cognitive Neuroscience concentration; Harvard Graduate School of Education, Ed.M. in Mind, Brain, and Education; Middlebury College, B.A. in Psychology and Spanish, summa cum laude
Hobbies: Hiking, Traveling, and Group Fitness
Hobbies: Hiking, Traveling, and Group Fitness
Song: "Always Be My Baby" by Mariah Carey
Movie: Center Stage
Travel Spot: Sedona, AZ
Holiday: Labor Day (my anniversary weekend and last holiday of the summer!)
TV Show: Law & Order SVU
School Subject: Geometry
What are you passionate about?
I am extremely passionate about mentorship. As a first-generation woman of color in STEM, my favorite part of my job as a professor is getting to know students individually and sharing the tips and tricks I've learned along the way to help them achieve their dreams.
Where were you born and where do you live now?
I was born in Denver, CO, but spent almost all of my childhood in Scottsdale, AZ. Since then, I've lived in Middlebury, VT (for college), Costa Rica (to teach English), Boston, MA (for graduate school), Singapore (researching the impact of sleep deprivation on cognition in adolescents), and now California! I am thrilled to have landed in such an amazing state and to be able to cheer on the best team in the NFL – I'll be here to stay!
What personal accomplishment are you most proud of?
When my dad became ill in 2016, I moved from Boston to Arizona to live in the hospital room with him and my mom (and finished my Ph.D. there). All the doctors were hopeful he would recover, but since he did not, I could not be more grateful that my mom and I were with him 24/7 for his last two months; I'm so thankful to have cherished every last moment we had.
Tell us more about your job.
I am a professor and neuroscientist, so I spend the majority of my time teaching college students, doing research, and serving the university in various roles. I run a laboratory that investigates the impact of sleep and other real-life variables (such as emotion and stress) on memory. My research has implications both for understanding affective disorders (e.g., PTSD) and for education (e.g., how we can use sleep as a tool to enhance memory for content we particularly want to remember).
Who or what inspires you?
My parents are unbelievably inspiring for many reasons, but three qualities I've strived to emulate since childhood are: 1) Their optimism and positivity never waver, 2) They are the hardest working, most self-sacrificing people I've ever known, and 3) They found careers that both brought them joy and allowed for them to be extremely dedicated parents. My one-year old daughter also inspires me to be the best I can be in all areas of my life.
What's something our fans would be surprised to learn about you?
I conducted my high school's marching band and did marching band semi-professionally via The Academy Drum and Bugle Corps! Don't listen when people say you can't be both a band kid and a cheerleader…or that you can't be both a scientist and a cheerleader J
Who is YOUR biggest cheerleader?
My biggest cheerleader is my mom. She's been unconditionally supportive of everything I've ever done, no matter how unfamiliar or challenging. Her latest and greatest role in my life is as a grandmother and caretaker to my one-year-old daughter. She moved to California the very day my daughter was born, and I find it so special that I get to learn how to be a great mom by watching her with my daughter and reliving anecdotes from my own childhood.
Tell us about your favorite community appearance that you've attended as a Gold Rush Cheerleader.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, I had the opportunity to participate in a virtual Career Panel discussion organized by 49ers EDU for Bay area schools. I had the honor of sharing about my path to and current job as a professor, what it's like to be a Gold Rush cheerleader, and how I balance both. As a first-generation college graduate, I owe so much of where I am today to my supportive parents and many mentors along the way, so to be able to share my journey with young children and to be part of one of 49ers EDU's many impactful programs was extremely meaningful.
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