A born-and raised Illinois-ian, I grew up amongst the corn and soybean farms of the small-town midwest. My hometown is Roscoe, IL, which is a few miles south of the Wisconsin/Illinois border, and I am proud to say that most of my culture relates to that of Wisconsin more than Illinois. I played hockey ever since I could remember, beer brats and cheese curds were essential food items, and the Packers are my favorite team in the NFL (even before they won the last superbowl!).
I then became a Fighting Illini, going to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign after I graduated High School. Studying chemistry, I became immersed within the science culture at one of the best research schools in the country eventually moving more towards the realm of Chemical Biology. I have done a wide variety of research, from making microchips faster to antifungal drugs. My primary research eventually focused on making an antitumor drug for breast cancer.
In the midst of all of this, my summers were spent at the YMCA of the Rockies in Estes Park, Colorado, where I fell in love with both working with people and the Colorado mountain lifestyle. Yes, I do indeed love hiking, backpacking, fly fishing, cycling, running, and swimming--and I hope to continue with it more in the future! After working as a regular counselor, I eventually directed the local youth programs for two years and found that I was in my niche while working with people. Every summer it became harder and harder to go back to Illinois and resume the lifestyle of a chemist, so I made the decision to switch to education and I have absolutely no regrets.
I completed my Masters in Chemistry at the U of I in the Spring of 2011--this involved both teaching college level courses while taking both masters level education and chemistry courses on top of certification (whew!). I am incredibly excited about teaching at Vista because it truly is a unique environment! I look forward to being an ambassador of science over the coming year!
Some other things you should know about me:
While I am not a full vegetarian, I prefer fruits and vegetables over any other types of food. I love France--from the tour de France, to provence, to the French Alpes, to cheese and baguettes! My research took me to Grenoble a few years back and it was one of the best things that has ever happened to me. I guess you can call me a francophile! (French is also my second language!) I am a proud member of the American Chemical Society, the National Science Teacher Association, and the Knowles Science Teaching Fellowship, all of which are designed to help me bring more resources into your classroom!