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B.A., Seattle Pacific University
MSW, University of Wyoming
Health Sciences 330
Office Hours for Spring 2014:
Psychosocial impacts of severe/chronic illness and related treatment; inclusion of patients' religious and spiritual practices in medical settings; medical ethics as related to patient interactions; inter-professional health sciences education; cultural competency in medical social work practice.
My approach to teaching is based on my strong belief in the transformative power of education. Particularly in social work education, I find that encountering new ideas, values, and views can lead to both challenge and discovery of one's own personal and professional identity. In my lectures I emphasize the importance of engaging in critical thinking by posing questions that may be counter to societal norms or expectations and sharing the non-dominant viewpoints we must be able to consider if are are to understand the world around us. While I believe my role as a social work educator is to help prepare ethical, compassionate, and insightful social work practitioners, due to my humanistic teaching philosophy I also affirm the person value of social work education as a way to better understand one's self and experiences; therefore, the assignments that I incorporate into the courses I teach promote self-reflection.
In my work as a medical social worker, I have witnessed the benefit of collaboration and the reality of different forms of expertise. This lesson has translated into my approach to teaching, where I strive to build a classroom environment that is safe for all students to contribute to the collaboration process of learning. One way that I work to build this environment is by learning each of my student's names and affirming the unique perspective they bring to the topics of discussion in our classroom. I work diligently to give students in the course I teach ongoing, constructive, and extensive feedback on their work, emphasizing the importance of strong writing skills, critical thinking, and self-evaluation. I hold the students I work with in high regard and, as a result, I have high expectations of their work and willingness to engage in the material.
I come from a blended family in a rural ranching community in central Oregon. I spent four years living in downtown Seattle, where I learned to love good coffee and developed a passion for pursuing social justice thanks to many great teachers and mentors. During this time, I also earned my BA in Psychology from Seattle Pacific University. Prior to relocating to Laramie and earning my MSW from the University of Wyoming, I worked as the director of graduate and family housing for the University of Idaho, a program coordinator and river ranger with the U.S. Forest Service in Jackson, Wyoming, and as a kayak instructor for a whitewater kayak school I co-founded in Oregon.
I am drawn to medical social work, as I strongly believe health is a basic human right and that equitable access to adequate medical care is a social justice issue we must address. In addition to teaching at the University of Wyoming, I also stay active in the field by working part-time as a medical social worker at Ivinson Memorial Hospital in Laramie. I am passionate about helping students realize their potential to promote human well-being through the profession of social work and greatly enjoy teaching.