I am an ethnomusicologist (a cultural anthropologist who studies music) and writing instructor with over a decade of research and educational experience. I am trained in ethnographic methods, such as participant observation and interviewing, and I have applied those skills to research projects in the United Kingdom, Chicago, Berlin, and Moscow.
I love ethnographic research because of how it centers human connections in the research process. To use Clifford Geertz’s term, ethnographic research is essentially “deep hanging out,” spending time with people as they go about their jobs or their daily lives, learning about their rituals and routines, talking with them about their beliefs and ideas. It is a fundamentally empathetic process, and it provides important balance to the widespread emphasis on data and “hard” science as a way to understanding society and the world around us.
I also apply those humanistic values of the ethnographer to my work as a writing teacher. I have worked with students from first-year undergraduates up to advanced post-graduate students, and covering fields as disparate as the Humanities and Social Sciences, math, law, and medicine. The ability to write well is, at its core, an empathetic process: you need to understand who you are writing for, what they value, and how they can best be engaged by your writing. Writing well for an audience is hard work, but it can be learned through tangible skills on sentence, paragraph, and essay levels, and I love to work with writers to bring out their best, most persuasive, and eloquent voices.
In my free time, I have several pursuits that I enjoy. I’m a beer geek and have been exploring Portland’s apparently endless craft beer community. I also love baseball and follow it year round, especially learning about modern statistical approaches to understanding the game. And I spend as much time as I can around animals, volunteering at the Oregon Humane Society and mediating disputes between my cats and dog.