About Me

Traveling abroad in Italy during 2007. Clockwise from top left: reading on a balcony in San Gimignano; atop the duomo in Florence with my mom; light streaming into St. Peter’s Cathedral at the Vatican; a storm brewing over Manarola in Cinque Terre.

I was born and raised in Florida, where I grew to love fresh-squeezed orange juice, the smell of the ocean, and 80-degree Christmases. Throughout my growing-up years, I had the opportunity to travel and serve all across the world, and these experiences fostered my ongoing love for diverse cultures, people, and languages. Both of my parents are also in communication-related fields (journalism and speech pathology), and I was eager to follow in their professional footsteps.

I discovered the field of linguistics during my undergraduate study at Baylor University, and I decided I wanted to pursue a career in academic research. I earned a masters degree at the University of Texas in Austin, and then moved to California to earn my PhD at one of the country’s premiere programs in functional linguistics at UC Santa Barbara.

As a sociocultural linguist, I study how people use language and embodied resources to create identities and cultures. My M.A. research focused on the pragmatic use of laughter to mitigate disagreement in conversation, and my current research focuses on the discourses of sexual ethics among Baptists in the United States. You can read more about my research interests here.

With our 2010-11 SKILLS Program participants

While at UCSB, I have become increasingly interested in academic outreach and higher ed administration. During the first several years of my PhD program, I was heavily involved in School Kids Investigating Language in Life and Society (SKILLS), an innovative program that prepares and motivates California’s public school students for higher education by giving them hands-on experience in studying language and culture. Alongside my graduate program, I have been pursuing a career in academic administration and now serve as the Director of Professional Development at UCSB’s Graduate Division. My hope is to one day combine my research interests and my professional skills to run a program or institute related to the study of faith and sexuality.

When I’m not spending my time doing scholarly stuff, you can usually find me hitting up a local karaoke joint, binging on the latest batch of pop culture, or working GIFs into everyday interactions (#TeamSoftG). Time and money permitting, I also love to travel and explore new places. I’ve been to over half the states in the US, as well as Thailand, France, Romania, Austria, Italy, the Czech Republic, Brazil, Mexico, and Canada. I’d love to add Australia, South Africa, England, and Japan to that list, and I just wish I lived in Italy.

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