What is your favorite animal, and why?
I love cats, I used to have a pet cat when I was growing up.
Where did you grow up? I grew up in Downingtown, PA-a small town outside of Philly.
What is your academic background? I graduated with my BA in anthropology from Franklin and Marshall College and completed my MA in American Studies from Trinity College.
What courses are you teaching? I will be teaching yoga.
What particular “tidbit” should we know about you? I was a NCAA Division III All-American in field hockey. I have a dog named Indy (after Indiana Jones) who is also afraid of snakes.
Are you a sports fan? I am a major Philadelphia sports fan! I have been a lifelong Eagles and Phillies fan. In addition to watching sports, I love running, hiking, yoga, and any chance to be outside with friends.
Tell us about a book, film, television program, performance, etc. that has impacted you, and why. I love music and attending concerts. In 2013, Jason Isbell (my favorite artist) released an album called Southeaster. The music on that record is complete poetry and covers a wide variety of the American experience including falling in love, growing up in a small town, traveling, and just life in general. On top of being a fantastic album, I heard it at a time in my life where the musics impact was even more personal to me.
Where did you grow up? I was born and raised in Duluth, Minnesota before coming to Boston for college.
What is your academic background? I went through the Duluth public school system until Duluth East High School, then attended Harvard College for my BA in English Literature with a focus on Shakespeare. I received a Masters degree in Education from Harvard in 1997 (part-time while I worked for the Harvard Admissions Office full-time).
What courses are you teaching? I’m teaching two sections of eighth grade English, one section of ninth grade English, and a fall semester Political Shakespeare course for juniors and seniors. I will also be assisting the College Counseling office throughout the year.
Who or what has inspired you most in life, and why? I have many inspirations, of course, but my father perhaps inspired me the most when he decided to quit drinking in 1974, when I was five years old. He came from a long line of alcoholics but was able to quit drinking through the AA program, setting the stage for my brother and me to avoid addiction ourselves. “All I have to do,” he says, “is just to decide not to drink today. It’s always one day at a time.” That’s a good way to approach one’s life, I think.
What particular “tidbit” should we know about you? I have several hobbies that I’m passionate about, including comic collecting, roleplaying games, and bridge; in northern Minnesota you learn to play lots of games inside the house growing up. I collect Marvel comics from the 1960’s, mostly first appearances of major characters such as Spider-Man, the Hulk, the Fantastic Four, etc. I also run a roleplaying group for several friends that has been going for seven years now (think “Dungeons and Dragons,” although it’s a simpler system). And if anyone wants to help me find bridge partners at Hopkins, please let me know. On the ‘15 minutes of fame’ side of things, I did serve as Natalie Portman’s academic advisor during her freshman year at Harvard just before she started filming the Star Wars prequels. I remember her very well, although I’m sure the reverse is not true!
Tell us about a book, film, television program, performance, etc. that has impacted you, and why. As a lover of Shakespeare, I have always thought how difficult it would be for a modern writer to approach that playwright’s nuance and brilliance with the sounds of words. I have found a close cousin, however, in Lin-Manuel Miranda’s musical Hamilton, which is at once a rousing musical, the most effective civics lesson I’ve ever had, and an astonishment of wordplay and rhyme. Rarely have I felt such joy listening to a soundtrack; I hope to see the musical in person someday with my family, but for now will just keep humming the tunes relentlessly around the house.
Where did you grow up? I was born in Washington, DC, and from age 8 or so on, I lived in Indianapolis, Indiana.
What is your academic background?
B.A., Comparative Literature, Haverford College, 2006; M.A., Spanish, Middlebury College School in Spain; Ph.D., Spanish Literatures and Cultures, Johns Hopkins. Through all of the above, I’ve been interested in the stories people tell about who they are, where they come from, and what they believe. I’m excited to come to Hopkins, where I look forward to subjecting a new crop of students to my obsessions with how those stories are manifest in the language, literature and cultures of the Spanish-speaking world.
What courses are you teaching? Spanish 3 and Spanish 5 Lit
What has been your most embarrassing moment as a teacher or student? In a college seminar on the cultures of Islam and Hinduism, we were discussing a Sufi love poem in which the poet attempted to describe the sense of exposure and devastation that he felt at the departure of his beloved. In doing so, the professor paused, and then said that the poem reminded him of a Paul Simon lyric. He wasn’t asking anyone for a response, but I felt compelled to immediately blurt out one of my favorite lines from “Graceland”: “Losing love is like a window in your heart / Everybody sees you’re blown apart.” A solid five seconds of awkward silence passed before the professor graciously acknowledged that my interruption was, in fact, what he was thinking about. Or, at least that’s what he said at the time.
Are you a sports fan? Growing up in Indianapolis, I became, and remain, a Colts fan. I love baseball, too, and although I have a soft spot for the Orioles after living in Baltimore for five years, I can’t say that I have a team that I can call my own. As far as participation goes, I have played ultimate frisbee since college, which I’m sorry to say means that I’ve been playing for almost 15 years. I’m also an enthusiastic and mediocre golfer.