Teaching Philosophy and experience

Two core values guide my work as an educator and guide: transparency and social justice. I practice pedagogical transparency so that my students never wonder why we are doing a particular in-class activity such as discussing the ethics and politics of community-based research. As their guide, I prepare them with what is coming next, so that they feel supported to take on the challenges ahead. I remember in my own experience as a student loathing assignments to which I didn’t understand the point. I show my hand as an educator. This builds trust in my classrooms, and students have shared with me that they appreciate knowing why I’ve assigned certain readings, or why I have them do three different types of writing throughout the quarter.

As a public scholar, I see my students and classrooms, as venerable ‘publics’. That is, the classroom audience is a public with whom I engage a social justice lens of equity, inclusion, critical thinking, structural change, and anti-oppression. Practically, this means that I speak from my own experience whenever possible, while also centering examples of activism and resistance by Women of Color, queer, disabled, Native, low-income and trans communities so that my students recognize that my own White, middle-class and highly-educated perspective is not the only one that ‘counts’ in our classroom. From Introduction to Human Geography to GIS, I push students to think about non-normative or marginalized perspectives. We grapple with anti-homelessness politics when thinking about urban space; we think about food deserts and indigenous territories in the politics of mapping. We consider the implications of our role as student volunteers on already-stretched nonprofit partners, as well as the difference between individualized services and larger systemic advocacy.

My teaching has run the gamut between formal classroom education (see the teaching section of my CV for more details) and informal opportunities. Over the last ten years, I’ve served in the following capacities:

  • Interdisciplinary teaching Fellow at the University of Washington Bothell, teaching a self-designed class called Reimagining Nonprofits (a 300 level special topics class) and the Power of Maps (a 200 level geography class).
  • Lead Instructor for “Human Geography: More than Maps and Capitals”, a 5 week summer-intensive college level course for advanced 13 & 14 year olds through the Robinson Center for Young Scholars at the University of Washington
  • Teaching Assistant for 4 years at the University of Washington in the Department of Geography
  • College access coach with College Possible in the Minneapolis Public Schools for 2 years
  • 4 summers as a leadership development and cultural exchange trip leader through the Becket Chimney Corners YMCA Travel and Service Programs


I am happy to share syllabi, assignments and lecture materials with other educators. Because much of my teaching materials live online through Canvas, I cannot upload materials here. Please email me if interested!

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