I am student-centric. My pedagogy is driven by the pursuit for cultivating rigorous yet supple teaching practices that operate through an anti-deficit framework. Drawing on my own doctoral work in psychoanalysis, my pedagogy is grounded in the assumption that the student (likewise the teacher) inhabits the world in dynamically complex ways, giving them unique access to both experiential knowledge and rarified information otherwise unavailable to the teacher. I assume that such knowledge and information constitute a cornucopia of opportunity from which the teacher could learn in order to best tailor their curriculum to the student. But, most importantly, I believe that mutual respect is the ideal condition for teaching and learning, whereby I, the teacher, must earn the student’s respect without compromising or blurring nor exploiting the hierarchical student-teacher relationship. I received formal pedagogy training from feminist scholars and cultural practitioners such as Dr. Bettina Aptheker, Dr. bell hooks and Cherrie Moraga. For over fifteen-years, I have mentored and trained a diversity of learners and knowledge creators: ranging from highly competitive middle and high school students to undergraduate students. With my student-centered pedagogy, I help empower these students with the technical and conceptual skills necessary for successfully graduating into top-tier undergraduate and graduate programs, many of whom now enjoy promising careers in law, medicine, education, art and business. My tutoring expertise is extensive; here are only some of the subjects I cover: SAT/ACT verbal, AP English, AP English Literature, AP US History, AP World History, AP Geography, AP Government, AP British Literature, AP Psychology, AP Spanish Language, AP Spanish Literature, religious studies and philosophy.My extensive academic training further reinforces the interdisciplinary dexterity necessary for preparing complex, high-achieving students.
Having received film production training in high school in San Diego, CA, and having earned citywide recognition for my experimental video essay Help Me Sam, For I’m Dying, I attended UC Santa Cruz with a declared major in Film & Digital Media. But after getting involved in student activism, I changed my major to Politics. Not satisfied, I pursued an additional major in Latin American-Latino Studies. Having fallen in love with academia as a site of hope for social justice, I pursued a third major, Feminist Studies. As a triple major student activist, who would ultimately graduate with honors, I enjoyed the personal mentoring of various professors and graduate students. I particularly received specialized training in academic writing and research from participating faculty in the Faculty Mentorship Program (sponsored by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation) and the Undergraduate Research Apprenticeship Program. I refused to leave UCSC after graduating, as I felt a profound need to continue my activism in bridging professor and students. I was able to do so in my capacity as, first, as assistant to the director of the Chicano Latino Research Center and then as the Programs Coordinator for the Ethnic Resource Centers, where I was in charge of training and supervising thirty undergraduate inters per quarter. Needless to say, my experience at UCSC gives me intimate insight into how a Research-1 university works, giving me, that is, working knowledge that I not only impart to my students, both high school and college students. But I also continue to expand my working knowledge as a doctoral candidate at the University of Arizona in Tucson, Arizona. Under the supervision of Dr. Susan Stryker, a pioneer in transgender studies, my doctoral research is situated at the intersection of French psychoanalysis, philosophy of religion and comparative literature, specifically centering on literary representations of suicide. The nature of my doctoral research allows to work remotely. The breadth and depth of my research, along with the emotional empathy and ethical sensitivity my research demands, gives me unique insight into what it takes to cultivate the necessary conditions for students becoming voraciously curious learners as creative agents rather than as rote automata of knowledge.
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