I didn't even consider going to college initially. I worked at KFC as a senior in high school, I was being offered my own store with a salary of 40K, I wasn't even thinking college was an option. Then one fateful day I met with my guidance counselor and she told me about the top ten percent rule. I was in the top ten percent and had the opportunity to go to any Texas school I wanted. Even after finding that out, I was considering not going. However, once I looked at where I was and where I wanted to be, there was no way going to KFC straight out of high school, was going to open to doors I needed opened to be successful.
I applied to multiple schools, but once I got into UT, I was set. I didn't want to go anywhere else. I came in as an Education major, changed to sports medicine, then finally settled on Government. I chose government because of all the exposure to that sort of material at my magnet high school in Dallas. I figured my familiarity with the subject would allow me to get a better GPA, which would help me to go to a better law school. I excelled in government classes, as well as Philosophy courses, which led me to making Philosophy my minor. I was very active on my University campus, and lent myself out as a resource to other students in the event they needed assistance or advice.
I finished up undergrad in May 2011, and then immediately went into law school at the University of Illinois in Champaign, Urbana. I studied law generally and had an extended focus on litigation. Litigation is the art of courtroom lawyering. I loved that area of the law because I felt that is where the law was meant to be handled. I have a passion for being able to get people to understand complex information in a short amount of time. You don't have a jury's attention forever, you need to be able to get to the point and be understood on the first go round.
I graduated from law school in May 2015. It was a tough process, but I made it. I am now working and saving money so I can be able to register for the bar exam and become a practicing attorney. I am eager to develop my skills in the area of teaching and believe I can have a positive impact on students overall success and general outlook on academia.
The University of Texas at Austin - Bachelors, Government
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign - Masters, Law, JD
What is your teaching philosophy?
I want to help someone be their best selves. I don't want to recreate myself; I want to help the person I'm helping pursue a goal they want to achieve themselves. They are the driver. I am merely GPS. Either way, I support them and will push them to meet the goals a student has in mind for themselves.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
I would try to understand where they are in the material, gauge that, and then set achievable weekly goals and tasks to achieve mastery in the subject piece by piece.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
I think it’s about giving them the facts, cut and dry, but then challenging them to humanize those facts into real-life scenarios and circumstances that form real life consequences. Yes, the Second Amendment is easy to understand, but what about when we're weighing the limits on the right? It's in this deeper analysis where someone truly understands what they think.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
I would encourage them to see past their present, and into their future. You're going to school and getting good grades because it feels good presently, but also because it's setting you up to reach bigger goals and milestones down the road. Future Self will be thankful Present Self buckled down and handled their business.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
Make it relatable to something the student is actually interested in. Oftentimes material doesn't lend itself well to being relatable, and this can make the material feel foreign and harder to adapt to. However, once that material is made more inviting to the student, they have an easier time digesting the material.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
I give them practical reading assignments. I want them to read something they are interested in, and then report back to me on what they found when they read. From there, I can see if the student truly has a problem with the skill of reading comprehension (unlikely, but possible), or if the student is struggling with the subject area itself.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
Understand how the student feels about their performance. Try to understand what exactly they hope to get from this experience, and from there giving them the steps it will take to reach that point. Also, the student should understand that we are a team. It will take us working together to get anywhere worth getting to.