I am an adjunct professor and freelance writer with a PhD in history. I write and teach a lot about women's studies, cultural history, and transnational studies with a particular emphasis on the Modern Middle East and US-Turk relations. As for teaching and outreach: Ive found that making the material pertinent and connecting it to who you are and where you want to be will make it come alive. Hence, in tutoring and teaching I enjoy teasing out the material into a story. That way we have something to entertain us as we build a timeline and craft a memory of the past, of peoples, and of communities.
I'm also the author of numerous books, the most recent being Comics as History, Comics as Literature and book chapters, reference entries, book reviews, and journal articles. My busy publication career deals extensively on nationalism, womens rights, women's liberation, Turkish-US relations, transnational feminism, and travel literature. Most recently I completed two smaller pieces: Failing New Women: Anne Shirleys Legacy, The New Woman, and World War I and Importing the Ethnic: Voyeurism on Your Dinner Plate (concerning the permeation of American Chinese food). Both are due out in the ensuing year, and both were absolute fun to write. In teaching and writing I like to focus on how to engage and make the story come to life.
I also publish travel literature and some fiction outside of academia and serve as co-chair of the European Association of American Studies Women's Steering Committee.
This past summer I crafted travel writing while spelunking in the Iowas Women's Archives and the Oregon State University Archives, as my co-writer and I have been crafting a discursive examination of food safety, activism, and grassroots women's voices. This project Safety For Our Souls has received funding from several libraries. That being said . . . the fuel that makes this endless hard work worthwhile is engaging students and building skills in creative ways that make the mundane really feel less like work and more like an excursion into something entertaining.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: Kentucky Wesleyan College - Bachelors, English and History
Graduate Degree: Stony Brook University - PHD, History
writing, sewing, reading, running (badly), travel, travel writing, mystery novels, gothic novels
College Application Essays
College Level American History
College Level American Literature
College World History
COMPASS Reading Prep
COMPASS Writing Skills Prep
Elementary School Reading
Elementary School Writing
GED Reasoning Through Language Arts
GED Social Studies
High School English
High School Level American History
High School Level American Literature
High School World History
High School Writing
Middle School Reading Comprehension
Middle School Writing
Study Skills and Organization
Q & A
What is your teaching philosophy?
As an instructor--from composition to history based courses--my goal has always been to engage the student on a fundamental level. A student can only be inspired if he or she feels that spark from the professor, in a genuine and tangible way. To be a tad cliche, the student needs to feel empowered. Empowerment from knowledge, skill, and understanding will take that student beyond the safe walls of a classroom and enable him or her to translate book knowledge into real-world products. Of course, capturing the students can be daunting, challenging, and a battle of persistence, but the most intellectually stimulating classes--and personally invigorating for me--have been the ones that force me out of my own comfort zone and when I push students out of theirs. Anyone who has ever taught a history course has heard, "I don't like history."? Of course, we can all regurgitate diatribes from students. Though, surpassing the barrier is tricky. What to do? I convey history as a multi-layered story, with deceit, destruction, and dismay as hooks per se. I tell the students that we are not looking at memorizing rote facts. Instead, the material needs to connect to the students on some level, in a tangible way, or them to connect, engage, and use elements of critical thought to make to come to life. I admit to students that I know they may not become a historian but they will need the skills I teach. A banker needs to understand balances, the value of documents, and how to layer material together to get a clearer, more accurate picture of someone requesting money. I remind students that just because someone has a large and steady income does not mean that person is reliable for payments. The last time I used this example in class, the group I had diverged into a comparison of politicians, and since we were looking at Yellow Journalism and Progressive Reforms they did a wonderful job of looking at documents for content value versus face value. I particularly enjoy using advertisements or drawing from the era to lure students into the story. The visual, and tangible, image works to help--and force--them to place that placard within its circumstances and create a story for it. This atmosphere, in general, creates a thriving sense of development while encouraging and demanding growth. Lecture components are key to the course, as they convey the material expected. Yet, as I integrate learning platforms as an extension of the material videos, news articles (current and older), and other multimedia aspects enhance the student's learning experience. The visual learner is stimulated with images and textured material that engages his or her core. Of course, the auditory material and written text round out the experience that connect the classroom as an extension of daily life in lieu of an aside to it. Though, to make the classes more dynamic discussion falls as another essential element.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
On a first session with a student I typically like to A) see what he or she wants to gain, B) so some light, fun, and quick questions to see where the student is academically, and C) find out a little about our personalities so we can see what approaches to take.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
Showing students how to create moments of interests, find examples, and connect concepts and moments across time pushes them to independent learning and creative spaces to construct, use, and remember knowledge.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
We all have hiccups. Here we find different ways to look at the problem and figure out where we want to go. Sometimes we draw maps. Sometimes we make timelines... sometimes, we have to start over so we can begin anew.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
We would start with the basics. Notes: how do we take notes on reading? Then we would look for key ideas, topics, and points... essentially, we would start at the ground and move our way up to develop a method and plan to create sound skills.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
I like to start out small. We start by assessing skills, and then we start with one or two questions and start to progress from there.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
Easy! Find an example that draws excitement... if we are looking at the Revolutionary War, then what about troops without shoes fighting in the snow... or what about non-consumptive agreements and women refusing British goods even when it made life harder? Then we would think about how these are moments of real-life, if we could do that ourselves (most of us would say no), and then... we develop a connection.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
Review. Remember. Refresh. What that means is, as we discuss the points, suddenly I ask questions of how this connects to something we already covered. Sometimes we tell the story backwards... why? It makes us stop and think what the larger picture really is.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
That's actually pretty easy: A) all those little questions I ask about what something means or connects to build beliefs in mastering the subject. B) Go back to that belief I have about making it fun. We find a way to connect. :)
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
Needs... we start out with what the student wants tutoring for, and then we look at skills: what is there, believed to be there, and perceived to be there? From there, we start with the basics and build our arsenal to a full bag of goodies that will give the student the skills to remember and retain.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
That depends on the student. Sometimes we use visual aids. Sometimes we use outlines. Sometimes we have to rely on the question and answer, and continual round robin, to make the material make sense, have presence, and have sustainability.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
I'll use textbooks, online visuals, cartoons, comics, videos, handwritten notes -- a variety of things based on a student's needs and attention span.