I am originally from the Chicago-land area but moved to Nebraska when my husband was stationed at Offutt Air Force Base. I attended and graduated from Concordia University in Seward, Neb. with a master's of education in early childhood education, and I am an infant, toddler specialist. I am also a national Child Development Associate (CDA) specialist for the Council for Professional Recognition and can complete on-site observations for home and center-based child care programs. My focus is integrating technology and identifying solutions to increase high-quality professional development and online learning opportunities across urban and rural communities for early childhood educators and families.
What is your position at the University of Nebraska?
I am an extension educator on The Learning Child team. I provide coordination for the Co-Parenting for Successful Kids program, an educational course for parents in the process of custody modification, separation or divorce. I also guide the early childhood education series, which are online professional development lessons covering a range of early childhood topics. My position is statewide, but I am housed in the Douglas-Sarpy counties.
What drew you to the University of Nebraska?
I appreciated UNL’s collaborative approach to providing education and outreach via research, instruction, and genuine engagement as a land-grant university within the community.
What aspect of working in an educational setting do you enjoy the most?
Being new to Nebraska Extension, I am amazed and appreciate the reach…early childhood, community vitality, food scarcity, rural and urban agriculture, emergency preparedness, nutrition and food science, plant diagnostics, entomology, animal welfare, cropping and irrigation systems, water issues and so much more. It's incredible the diversity of needs Nebraska Extension meets statewide to support Nebraskans. I feel very fortunate to be part of Extension because I have an opportunity to support Nebraskans and improve the quality of life, care and education young children receive by channeling research into practice.
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
As a child of an immigrant and both parents having little to no access to educational opportunities, graduating would be one of the achievements I cherish the most. I am the first person in my family to go to college and graduate. So, I am grateful for both the challenges and successes of being the first to go. It has shaped my paradigm in how I view the world and my interactions with others being a first-generation student. I've appreciated the recent attention on uplifting first-generation students, faculty, and staff across the UNL system.
What is something that most people don’t know about you?
I really love Star Wars. If you ever come visit me at my office, it seriously looks like a repository for Star Wars memorabilia.
What is your life like outside of work?
I live in Sarpy County with my husband, Brian, an Air Force veteran, and our young son Mark whose favorite dinosaur is an ankylosaur. I feel confident that we are raising a future paleontologist. We spend a lot of time at the park looking for dinosaur fossils and looking online at the virtual paleontology collections through UNL's state museum website.