As I grew up, learning and storytelling were a constant presence in my life. My mom would read to me and my brother almost every night, covering everything from Japanese folktales to Sherlock Holmes. My personal favorites were The Odyssey and Robin Hood. I quickly made the leap from reading stories to writing my own, and I committed myself to mastering the use of language.
I’ve lived all my life in California, graduating as valedictorian from Burlingame High School and going on to study politics and English at UCLA. While there, I started work as a literacy tutor, and I saw the true impact of opening the door of language to those who had been excluded from it. I was driven to help spark the same enthusiasm for learning I had had growing up.
After a year, I made the difficult decision to transfer to Brown University in order to take part in their creative writing program. I deeply appreciated the chance to personally connect with my professors and fellow students in a more personal environment, and I was constantly inspired by the work of my fellow classmates. It was at Brown that I also began to combine my love of writing with my love of history, diving into archives and historical records, sifting through research in order to find those stories from history that had not had the chance to be heard. I graduated with honors in the Literary Arts department after completing an interdisciplinary thesis on the history of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston.
I think it is incredibly important for students to see the practical applications of the knowledge they gain from tutoring. One of the greatest roadblocks for me while at school was feeling disconnected and frustrated when I couldn’t understand how to use what I was being taught. It was not until I was shown the ways that history had shaped the realities of our present day that I truly became excited to learn more. As a result, when I am teaching I always aim to make those connections for students, to show them how important knowledge is in their own personal agency. I want my students to feel excited to improve and to know that what they are learning has a purpose and will help them better understand the world around them. As such, I also deeply value the ability to connect with students personally and individually, to learn what will spark their enthusiasm and tailor lessons to further that drive. I often pull in learning tools from unexpected places, finding music, poetry, and other primary sources that make historical events more tangible.
Outside of writing and history, I have a love of art, with a particular focus on watercolor, printmaking, and bookmaking. I also make excellent banana bread and am currently trying to teach myself to be ambidextrous with limited success.