One of my greatest educational experiences has been working alongside my father.  He is a carpenter as was his father and his father’s father.  Cutting and fitting are the skills and everything else is a medium.  Together, we’ve built and remodeled many houses and the building skills I’ve learned have proved a boon again and again.  What was an even greater lesson, though, was the confidence he instilled in me that most anything could be done if one just got to trying it.  Feeling potential is a powerful feeling.


Upon finishing my undergraduate studies, I left with excitement for the Central African Republic, where I stepped into a very different life.  I was a Math and Science teacher and in the midst of the roller coaster of my first year of teaching, I found myself constantly struggling against the rote learning pedagogy that surrounded me and was expected from me.  Reading, writing and rewriting it word for word from memory was virtually all that was expected from students, and many of them were quickly worried when half a class would pass without my writing anything on the chalkboard.  Problem was, I can’t memorize anything, and learning for me relied on my framing things.  So that was how I taught.  Juxtaposed within this same environment was this amazing resourcefulness, where bicycles and cars were kept functioning for decades with a strip or two of rubber, and when their lives finally ended, they were quickly turned into a million other things, such as pots and pans and shovels.  That was what I understood, but found nowhere in the classrooms, and the next four and a half years of teaching and training in CAR, Guinea, and Burkina Faso were about trying to encourage those aptitudes and ways of perceiving. As a result these experiences my current interests are in skills development in Sub-Saharan Africa.


On returning to the United States I was hired by Peace Corps HQ.  With the help of a number of great people I found myself designing financial software solutions and in doing so, increasingly appreciating relationships and the interconnectedness of so many things.  From discovering such complexities, I was sent out for several years to spend time with local Peace Corps staff around the world, trying to demystify the over-complexified computer. 


I most recently have finished building one last house with my father in northern Florida and am excited to be starting up here at the Center.  I feel very fortunate to find myself in such rich and broad learning environment, and very happy to already feel a part of a community of very interesting and interested people. 


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CIE Graduate