I ams the Digital Media & Learning Librarian at the Humboldt State University Library where I focus on teaching digital and information literacy using interest-driven methods in which students have the freedom and confidence to design their learning experience, explore new ideas, learn new skills and engage with peers to innovate, create and learn.
I am an HSU alum (BS in Biology, 2000; MS in Kinesiology, 2005) and have been a librarian at HSU since 2014. I grew up in Denver, CO and came out to school at HSU in 1995 because it was one of few schools in the U.S. with a good forestry program and a good cross country program. It took a while for me to acclimate to the small-town culture of Arcata and the isolation of the redwood curtain, but I came to love the area thanks to the running community and the DIY music scene. When I graduated with my BS in biology (it turned out I liked studying life more than trees) I wanted to take a shot at qualifying for the the 2004 Olympic trials (spoiler: I didn’t make it), so I worked as a volunteer assistant coach for the cross country and track & field teams while I trained for the marathon (even though I was an All-American in the steeplechase, I had a better shot with the marathon). During this time I was also working with the Humboldt County Youth Arts Program (a.k.a. the Placebo) helping to put on all-ages music and arts events in Arcata and Eureka. I was also in a couple of bands and toured the west coast and out to the Midwest.
In 2002, my coach offered me a position as a graduate assistant coach and (not having a much better idea for my life), I decided to earn my Master’s degree in Kinesiology because I loved running and coaching. After my Americorps service ended with the Placebo, I became a grad student and put that ed grant to work. While earning that degree I spent two years working as an assistant coach and one year working as a teaching assistant. My areas of study were teaching & coaching, biomechanics, and sport sociology. My thesis was about an expiratory muscle resistance training method for improving performance in rowing (3000m)
. Unfortunately, when I graduated in 2005, the CSU and UC systems were hit with huge budget cuts: no teaching or coaching jobs (and I wanted to stay in California). After moving to San Jose and working as a house painter for a few months I landed a job at the Milpitas Community Library, and soon transitioned to a position running the libraries at the county jail (Elmwood Correctional Facility). I worked at the jail for over three years where I ran the library, taught adult literacy, and coordinated literacy and numeracy instruction.
For some crazy reason I decided to move back up to Arcata (most of us transplants have a love-hate relationship with Humboldt County), where I worked at the College of the Redwoods library and earned my Master’s of Library and Information Science degree from San Jose State University (online, of course). When I finished my degree and came back to work at HSU, it was quite a shock- a lot had changed and yet a lot had really stayed the same. A lot of things looked different (College Creek used to be a muddy soccer field), but a lot of it hadn’t changed at all (like the cinder-block structure I called home in 1995 named Sunset Hall). It’s still a little weird to be back- I can’t say that when I was an undergrad that I ever thought I’d end up as a Librarian at HSU. Growing up in a city, I still miss many of the things that I grew up with and try to take trips often enough to the Bay Area to stay connected to that part of me. I don’t run much anymore, but am a cyclist and still pound out noise on my guitar from time to time. I also really like computer programming (primarily for the web) and love being a librarian because that means that I’m constantly learning new things.
My main research interests are figuring out how best to teach people to find and evaluate information, how to design systems to connect people to information and how to create learning communities that are open to exploration and are welcoming to diverse ideas and people. My other areas of interest are varied and change from day-to-day but include: whiteness and white privilege, privacy and security on the web, antiracist, critical and anarchist pedagogy, metaliteracy, web literacy, 3D modeling and printing, and creating music (playing guitar/bass and recording). I like learning, so if you have something to teach or share with me- get in touch!