I was born in San Diego to a big family and raised in the Washington, DC area. Education and educational opportunities have made a big impression on me, (although my teachers and I would both agree that this is not the same thing as being the super-student in the class.) I attended Immaculata Preparatory School in Washington DC, an all-girls college prep school where I met some very smart and talented young women who are still part of my valued circle of friends.

I started college at Villanova University: great professors with classes in the honors program that really challenged me to think and to learn more. Villanova is also where I learned that “fit” really mattered for college success, and my fit wasn’t there. I transferred after my sophomore year to Wesleyan University, but before that I spent a semester at the University of East Anglia in Norwich, England. Study abroad is life-changing for all the reasons you’ve heard. It certainly changed mine for the better when I met my husband, an American also studying abroad.

After Wesleyan and a brief stint in Brooklyn, New York, I moved to Madison, Wisconsin and never left. I met and worked with some amazingly talented people in graphic design and advertising, opening my eyes to the power of communication done right. I earned my master’s and doctoral degrees in Educational Policy Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, focusing on the history of education. My dissertation examined national communications campaigns to advance public education from 1890-1945: a perfect blend of communications and educational causes in a fascinating historical context.

Professional Background:

Professional experiences have added to—and honed—my interest in education. I’ve taught in formal and informal settings at the high school and college levels. I served as Executive Director for a statewide education nonprofit, where we partnered with K-12 schools, students, and parents on accelerated and advanced curriculum programs. I provided early research and policy support for the launch of WISCAPE, a campuswide research and policy center for postsecondary issues at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. I wrote policy papers and analyses during my time on staff in the Office of the Chancellor at UW-Madison. I developed strategic communications about student access and success for first-generation, students of color, and low- income college students. I have worked with high school counselors and college admissions directors on providing needed, relevant, and timely resources and advice for the college search process. As a parent to three children–recent college graduate, college student, and new high schooler—I have personally experienced the challenges and needs of students as they work towards educational success.

Community Service:

I’ve benefited greatly from service to my community and the dedicated people I encounter. For the last several years, I’ve coordinated the volunteer participation monthly at Luke House Community Meal Program in downtown Madison. I also serve the Dane County Cultural Affairs Commission (Dane Arts), first as an advisory panel member from 2009-2013 and since then as a Commissioner. We review approximately 50-80 grant proposals twice a year for partial funding of a wide variety of arts projects that benefit the people of Dane County, Wisconsin.