BA, Philosophy, Vassar College 1999
PhD, Philosophy, University of Michigan, 2009
MFA, Poetry, University of Michigan, 2006
I have been teaching at the college level since 2003, and have taught at big research universities (University of Michigan, Portland State University), small liberal arts colleges (Franklin & Marshall) and community colleges (Portland Community College, Santa Rosa Community College).
Introducing students to the subject of philosophy and the critical thinking mindset remain the most invigorating and fun part of my academic career.
I grew up in Sacramento, CA with two brothers and many dogs. I began my undergraduate career at UC Berkeley, but transferred to Vassar College for my sophmore through senior years. Interested in almost every subject I encountered -- computer science, math, chemistry, art, psychology, physical anthropology, literature -- I had a hard time picking an area of focus. I chose philosophy because it seemed to be at the center of it all, and because it promised to provide a broad and rigorous base of skills. Plus, all the most fascinating discussions always seemed to occur in the philosophy classroom. I completed my BA in Spring of 1999.
After college, I took a three year break from the academy to lead bicycle and multisport trips all over the country for a company called Backroads. As amazing as it was to get paid to bike through beautiful landscapes, after three years of that, I found myself longing for the company of people dedicated to learning and expanding human understanding. I returned to grad school at University of Michigan in 2002, completing a PhD in Philosophy and a MFA in Poetry. In the process, I also got married and had the first of my two sons. (And discovered that parenthood is even more challenging than gradschool!)
After completing my graduate work in 2009, I accepted a two-year post doctoral fellowship in Environmental Philosophy at Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, PA. When that was complete, I finally made it back to the West Coast for good, first to Portland, Oregon, and now here.
I live in Santa Rosa with my husband, my 2 elementary aged sons, a cat, and a dog. When not at work, I love reading novels, knitting, riding the bus, playing board games and parlor games and disc golf, and eating and preparing delicious vegan food. I am trying to learn how to play the piano again, with mixed results.
My philosophical research focuses primarily in ethics, where I am interested in how we establish the boundaries of the moral community, and where such boundaries get their ultimate authority. In particular, I am interested in the question of whose problems are my problems. When are we are morally required to assist fellow beings with the troubles that they face, and exactly how much of ourselves are we required to give in that effort?
I have also worked on problems relating to the metaphysics of self, including the nature of representational thought and experience, the conditions required for identity through time, and the trustworthiness of our experience of unified consciousness.