Co-Dept. Head of Physical Sciences & Professor, Chemistry
Education and Background
My fascination with chemistry goes all the way back to childhood, when my mom taught me how to bake and then gave me freedom to mix and cook in the kitchen. My dad made a game out of finding solids, liquids, and gases, and he brought puzzles and problem solving into just about every adventure he took us on. Both of my parents taught me that learning was really fun, and was just a part of everyday life.
I grew up in Fullerton (north Orange County), but moved away to the University of Illinois for college, ready for a fresh start and some snow. While there, I ran track for a year and changed my major a bunch of times (kinesiology, pre-med, physical therapy, bio) until I realized that I most enjoyed teaching chemistry and started down that career path. Shortly after college, I got married and lived in Wisconsin with my husband. We then went to graduate school together at the University of Florida, where I earned my Master’s degree in chemistry. After graduating, we returned to Illinois and I began teaching community college while he continued in school.
In 2010, I moved back to Fullerton and taught at Cal State Fullerton and Fullerton College. I’ve had the opportunity to teach chemistry at nine different colleges and universities around the country, and I have learned so from my students and colleagues in each place. (I’ve also seen armadillos running wild in Florida, tasted Maryland crabs, walked on icy Wisconsin lakes, and driven through many Illinois cornfields.) I’m interested in connecting chemistry to everyday life, improving as an educator, and learning about anything and everything. I started teaching full-time in chemistry at LBCC in 2014.
I like trying new things: visiting new places, cooking and eating new food, meeting new people, trying new sports, reading new books, finding new hikes, and figuring out new ways to help my students. Most of those adventures happen with my entire family along for the ride – my husband John, my daughters Abby and Rachel, and my twin boys Danny and Jimmy. Lately I’ve been trying out mountain biking, body surfing and even short triathlons. I run a few times a week (never very far) for fun and quick stress relief.
Since moving back to the LA area, it’s been a lot of fun exploring places I never knew were here as a kid, and my appreciation for what is in my own backyard just keeps growing. I’ve also been to 49 states (Alaska is calling me!) and a couple dozen national parks. I love a good road trip with some camping and hiking thrown in, and I’m always hatching plans for my next few adventures.