TO INTEGRATING TEACHING & RESEARCH
In my work, I integrate teaching and research through a synthesis of strategies.
Teach in multicultural settings: As an undergraduate, I taught literacy and English to marginalized adults through the Stanford Literacy Project. I subsequently taught in an elementary school English immersion program in Chiapas. While in Chiapas, my dedication to well-being also coalesced with teaching as I instructed the philosophy and physical skills of tae kwon do at an academy I co-owned and operated. My teaching has required that I develop appropriate curricula and comfortably navigate the classroom setting. In all three teaching positions, I received positive feedback from students, fellow teachers, and administrators.
Mentor colleagues and students: At the University of Arizona, I participated in a dissertation writing group and advised fellow graduate students on grant proposals, publications, and conference presentations. I coordinated and supervised junior graduate student field work. In Mexico, I served on undergraduate thesis committees and mentored colleagues in their professional and academic endeavors. I often helped them to adopt an English scholarly writing style via consulting and editing in the publication process. As Boulder County Public Health Planner, I am responsible for coaching program coordinators on strategic and operational planning for public health improvement. This entails developing and conducting group training as well as small-group, and one-on-one guidance. Additionally, I mentor student interns in public health planning. Since 2012, I have leveraged my position as Associate Professor Adjunct at the Department of Anthropology, University of Colorado, Boulder, to identify, mentor, and partner with CU students. This offers the opportunity to sit on students' committees and customize internship opportunities for CU students on public health projects. In 2013, I completed the CDC-funded Regional Institute for Health and Environmental Leadership (RIHEL) Advanced Leadership Training Program (ALTP) and I now coach current ALTP fellows. In the ALTP training, fellows immerse themselves in the study of leadership theory and practice, systems thinking, health equity, environmental justice, and communicating through the media, and then apply this knowledge in the workplace. As a current RIHEL coach, I have received extensive resources, training, and first-hand experience as a "strategic thinking partner." Many skills that I exercise in this role are crucial teaching capabilities, such as the ability to foster empowering dialogue, idea exchange, innovation, and opportunities to build skills and demonstrate new capacity.
Merge education and anthropology as a formal course of study: In the absence of a specific multicultural-multilingual education program at Stanford University, I integrated coursework for a Social Science B.A. with classes and research for Honors in Education to become versed in teaching at cultural interfaces. Especially illuminating was my involvement as the sole anthropologist on a team of educators designing curriculum for English as a Second Language learners. Graduate training in anthropology honed my research abilities and my ability to teach these skills. At the University of Arizona, emphasis on student-led seminars promoted my teaching capacity, as I was called on to select and present course readings, develop PowerPoint®-based lectures, facilitate discussion, and critique fellow students’ work.
Conduct research on education and in educational settings: I conducted two NSF-funded research projects exploring education and culture: Taking one’s place: A classroom study of education for indigenous teachers in Chiapas, Mexico (awarded Stanford’s Textor Award for Anthropological Creativity) and Workers speak: A study of language ability, usage, and learning among workers in San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas. I currently coordinate the Youth Risk Behavior Survey, a CDC-developed evaluation of risk and preventive behavior conducted in middle and high schools in Boulder County.
Work at the interface of research and education: My work in Mexico and my Spanish fluency have allowed me to establish a network of contacts bridging academic institutions, professional societies, government and civil society organizations in the U.S. and Mexico. As researcher-scholar-activists, we teach and learn in seminars, workshops, collaborative research, working groups, and joint publications. Currently, for instance, I bridge local public health with the state health department, the Colorado School of Public Health, the National Association of City and County Health Officials, and the Society for Applied Anthropology. My consistent attendance, session organization, and presentations evidence my facilitating role. My work as a reviewer for journals such as Social Science & Medicine and Medical Anthropology Quarterly positions me at yet another research/education interface.
Teach about the research process and findings via print and audiovisual media: To educate on both broad and local levels, I have published my research methods and findings in local, national, and international journals, and have used radio, computer, and newsprint to disseminate findings. Examples include participating in radio shows to sensitize the public about violence against women; developing an Interactive Flash® CD ‘toolbox’ for service providers dedicated to addressing family violence; meeting with local news reporters to draft press releases publicizing elder health care challenges; and drafting content for websites on public health planning, data, and improvement.
Provide on-the-ground training in formative research and participatory methods aimed at translating research findings into appropriate intervention: As a project coordinator and researcher at the Comitán Center for Health Research (CISC), I aimed to promote local research capacity in social science and health; to publicize research results among professional, academic, and lay audiences; to inform regional development policy; and to develop local health intervention models with education components. As Health Planner, I continue to engage public health staff and community partners in learning to better assess, plan, act, and evaluate public health initiatives. While participatory research entails integrating oneself into partner communities, I recognize that the process ultimately belongs to them, which motivates me to teach effectively so that they appropriate necessary skills.
Teach and learn through self-reflection prompted by research: Research promotes self-awareness and reflection. My study of medical anthropology, in comparing how diverse peoples conceptualize, experience, and confront health and illness, has been, implicitly, the most revealing course in my own perspectives, values, and approaches.