My road in life has been direct.
My HS studying paid off when I got a full scholarship to college!
In college I had serious depression and had to be hospitalized - it meant I had to take time off.
I started graduate school with no idea what to do and got so nervous that I didn't finish my thesis on time. It took an extra month. That was really scary because I didn't know if I would finish.
In my doctoral program, I failed the first comprehensive exam I took. Thankfully, you were allowed to try one extra time!
I graduated after 5 years with my PhD and had two job offers to choose from!
I didn't like my first job - the people were great but I wasn't spending my time the way that I enjoyed. So I left.
I got offered my dream job but it meant I had to move to TX - 3500 miles from friends in family. But I said yes and I'm still happy I made that decision!
I got tenure at my university, which means that they think my work is good enough that I can keep my job for life if I want to. That's pretty cool.
Keep following my journey


Associate Professor of Criminology

I conduct research on school and youth violence. I also teach classes to college students on criminology.

Career Roadmap

My work combines:
My work combines:
Helping People

Day to Day

While days vary, I spend a lot of my time reading research to keep up with my field. I write grants to help me conduct my research, which focuses on keeping students safe in school. When I am conducting research, I spend a lot of time in schools, talking to students and teachers. Then, I write up my results and publish them in academic journals. During the school year, I teach one or two classes at the university, about topics as diverse as juvenile justice, the death penalty, and policing.

Advice for Getting Started

Here's the first step for college students

The first step to be a professor is to start down the road of higher education. You will need a doctorate (aka: PhD) to work in any university. So once you've decided what you love (it's really important to love it - because there are days when it's really stressful), you have to find a program where you can study that topic. The quality, or ranking, of the program matters. It matters more in graduate school than for your undergraduate degree. Make friends with your professors - they will help!

Recommended Education

My career is related to what I studied. I'd recommend the path I took:


The Noise I Shed

From Teachers:

"When I started my doctorate program, one professor in my master's program wrote me a very mean email telling me that I wasn't good enough to succeed and he regretted giving me a recommendation because it took me an extra month to graduate."

Challenges I Overcame

Physical Issues
First-Generation College Student