I'd like to tell you a little bit about who I am and why I care so much about helping you to succeed in college and beyond. I am a native of Corpus Christi and lived my whole life in South Texas until I went off to college at Texas A&M in College Station. After changing my major five times, I graduated with a B.S. in Genetics. I was admitted to medical school but decided that wasn’t what I really wanted to do. I love teaching and research, so I chose graduate school instead! In 2006, I finished my Ph.D. in Genetics at Texas A&M College Station. I study gene evolution within and between closely related species—ask me about it and I’ll tell you more than you ever wanted to know!! Most of my Ph.D. work was with fungi that live inside plants, but at TAMU-CC I had the opportunity to work with Dr. Deb Overath investigating an invasive grass species, King Ranch Bluestem. We were Co-PI's on several grants funding various research projects, which has let me do research during the summers. I’ve also maintained an interest in marine organisms. (Hence, the move to TAMU Corpus Christi, with one of the best collections of marine biologists in the country!)

As I said before, I LOVE teaching. I have been teaching at TAMU-CC for ten years, and I am VERY excited to be a part of the First-Year Learning Communities Program. I have also taught Genetics here and TA’ed for several courses at Texas A&M College Station, but I prefer working with freshmen and sophomores. I appreciate their enthusiasm and fresh perspectives. I remember what it was like being a freshman—talk about a little fish in a big pond!! Like many of you, I never really had to study in high school. About the time I started dropping classes my first semester, I realized that I had to LEARN HOW TO LEARN. And, since I was about to go on scholarship probation, I had to do it fast. Hopefully, I can help you BEFORE you you reach that point! I had almost as much to learn outside the classroom as inside. I want to help you to succeed far beyond your freshman science courses. You are entering a field of science professionals. This will require a lot of hard work but the benefits are worth it!

I am proud of the kind of person I have become. I see in everyone a great potential. I don’t think it matters whether you choose to pursue a career with maximum earning power or prestige or not. What matters to me is that you recognize what you COULD BE and make conscious choices throughout college and beyond. College will offer opportunities you would never have considered, but you have to be prepared to reach for them. Welcome to Texas A&M Corpus Christi. What will you achieve?

Go Islanders!