Languages: English, Spanish
I earned my Bachelor of Arts in English and Spanish from SHSU in 2005 and a Masters degree in English in Spring 2011 here at UTSA. Through working at the Tomás Rivera Center and as a teaching assistant for the Department of English during my years in grad school, I discovered a great love for teaching and mentoring students and began teaching as the instructor of record here at UTSA in fall 2011. I taught core courses during those years such as Introduction to Literature and Technical Writing that I greatly enjoyed. One semester I was invited by my students to speak at the Terry Scholars Annual Banquet and as fate would have it, was invited afterward to teach a course for the Honors College that summer entitled “The American Dream Through Film and Fiction.” That led to greater involvement with Honors over the years and was eventually began teaching exclusively for Honors starting in 2017.
My favorite thing about working with Honors students is their pervasive intellectual curiosity and an unusual willingness to engage modes of learning and academic exploration outside their normal disciplines. I have the privilege of working with an interdisciplinary group of students that I learn from on a regular basis, and enjoy working with them in and out of the classroom. I love when students come back to catch up years later and share how something they learned in one of my classes has served them well in the years after graduation as they apply for jobs, grad school, make career choices, and raise families.
My courses focus on various modes of storytelling and rhetorical analyses as ways of understanding and exploring the human experience, as well as our current sociopolitical zeitgeist. I have taught various humanities-based Honors courses, but here are my top three favorites in order:
“Honors Service Learning: Communication, Innovation, and Education” - Together we partnered with a local Title I elementary school to conceptualize, design, and install a Makerspace on their campus (STEaM learning). This allows for hands on, outcome based learning outside the traditional classroom setting to support discovery and different modalities to reach classroom learning outcomes and objectives per the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills standards (TEKS). UTSA upperclassmen divided into three teams which focused on: Budget/materials and marketing, design and aesthetic, and educational outcomes and application. We worked with campus administrators and NISD Board members to research the lower scoring TEKS on their campus, and ultimately designed activities meant to strengthen those skills in various stations in a tactile and kinesthetic learning environment. UTSA Students discovered funding for phase 1 (of 3) and installed the makerspace on the elementary school campus - holding a demonstration/presentation for school administrators, faculty, NISD board members, as well as the school namesake Peggy Carnahan. Students used technical writing to collaboratively compile a recommendation report with over 50 pages of primary research supplemented with secondary data, and submitted the school administration. They eventually earned a large grant to grow and sustain the Makerspace on campus.
“Home in the time of COVID” - This was a service learning course where we participated in a narrative change project during summer of 2020, working with individuals living in affordable housing communities who shared their stories. Together, we worked to help reframe the (many) answers to the question “what kind of person lives in affordable housing?” Students worked to explore similarity and shared understanding rather than negativity and difference. You may read about this course here.
Academic Inquiry and Scholarship
“Storytelling Across Media” - An Academic Inquiry and scholarship course where freshmen students worked together in groups to record stories of individuals in the UTSA community (professors, staff, students, alumni) exploring a single topic from multiple perspectives ultimately producing it into a podcast. You can read about the class and hear some of the podcasts here.