Mills College, CA
- Director, Hellman Summer Science and Math Fellows Program, 2007 – Present
- Principal Investigator, Student Understanding and Realizing Potential for Attaining Scientific Success (SURPASS) Program, 2016 – Present
- Director, Pre-Nursing Program, 2017 – Present
- Digital Learning Team, 2021 – present
- Director, Science iPad Initiative, 2019 – Present
- Academic Director, General Electric Girls, 2016 – Present
- Participated in private fundraising ($600K awarded) and federal grant writing ($600K awarded)
- Created an alternative Spring break to train and take students Scuba diving in Roatan, Honduras, to participate in Marine Conservation.
- Created a new summer program for incoming first year STEM students to facilitate retention and persistence to graduation in STEM majors.
- Improved retention to graduation of program attendees from 59% of Mills College’s overall four graduation rate to 80%, 74% of these students also completed STEM degrees.
- Worked within budget, reduced by 40%, to recruit and support 12-16 students per year.
- Manage hiring of faculty, student assistants, programmatic expenses, and scholarships with a $170K/annual budget.
- Successfully modified programmatic elements to focus on current student needs, including integrating new Community Engaged Learning core curriculum component in the first year it was introduced.
- Led institutional initiative to introduce iPads in the summer program. Developed strategies in regards to the flow of data from instructor to student, classroom teaching approaches, and engagement of students.
- Responsible for securing funding to invite external speakers to participate in a Minority Women in STEM annual lecture series, as well as additional workshops focused on advocating for student success, retention and mentoring.
- Mentored (past and present) 160 program participants from entrance to graduation, and in some cases beyond to Medical or Graduate School and employment.
- Advocated (past and present) for student success and allocation of resources, including securing scholarship funding for 14 program participants for their full undergraduate education.
- Assisting with technological and pedagogical development for online teaching.
- Led institutional initiative to introduce iPads in the sciences. Developed strategies regarding flow of data from instructor to student, classroom teaching approaches, and engagement of students.
- Created and found corporate funding for a new summer Program for 7th grade girls interested in STEM, supporting a mission to increase awareness and accessibility of STEM from local, diverse school districts.
- Helped bring GE Girls to the West Coast in collaboration with General Electric, San Ramon, CA.
- Study Abroad Committee, 2020 – 2021
- Study Abroad Committee Chair, 2018 – 2020
- Academic First Year Experience Director, 2016 – 2017
- Co-Director, First Year Experience, 2014 – 2016
- Center for Academic Excellence, Director, 2007 – 2014
- Reviewing the process and programs for Mills College study abroad.
- Implemented and transformed the academic first-year activities to provide an integrated program that engaged students at the co-curricular and academic level.
- Helped mentor faculty through First Year Seminar, improving the experience to boost student persistence.
- Combined the newly created First Year Seminar into what is now the First year Experience.
- Created and implemented a more efficient year-long planning process for future program directors, alleviating the administration and faculty from the time constraints of limited summer planning.
- Restructured the First Year Experience to accommodate budget constraints, changing how our Living Communities work, and engaged faculty throughout the process.
- Created, implemented and coordinated a First Year Experience for STEM Students.
- Founded, created, and expanded the new Learning Resources Center, then later developed it into the Center for Academic Excellence, which integrates tutoring and writing support across the curriculum in addition to providing testing accommodations for students.
- Secured institutional funding to provide computers for student use in the Center for Academic Excellence.
- Created and expanded the Peer Tutoring training program to support undergraduate and graduate success.
- Managed a significant number of individuals including faculty, graduate students, and 100 student tutors (the largest student hiring on campus).
- Assisted with streamlining procedures for test taking, moving the college from relying on paper to an electronic format.
- Wrote the qualifying material for the internationally recognized College Reading and Learning Association certification.
- Managed a $35K/annual budget for tutoring and training.
- Successfully restructured an overspent budget caused by two programs merging, while simultaneously maintaining the same number of tutoring services for students.
- Coordinated facilities for operations, working with limited space on campus, but which resulted in a move to a much larger (from 2 to 19 offices) space.
- Developed and documented policies and procedures while coordinated their implementation, which allowed for significant changes to be made in how students were hired and paid on campus.
- Assisted with the successful Western Association of Schools and Colleges re-accreditation.
Institutional Service Statement
In the sixteen years I have been at Mills, I have supported and assisted multiple departments, campus offices, and the college, and created, designed, and led multiple programs, some of which are highlighted below. In addition, I have generated new partnerships that contribute to our community both locally and nationally. I believe that service is an important part of my academic responsibility, as I help our students in different ways so that they can thrive and persist.
Department and Division Service
In 2007, the Provost’s Office selected me to create and direct the Hellman Summer Science and Math Fellows Program, the first summer and fall initiative aimed at the sciences. Summer programs increase the self-efficacy of students, as well as their persistence to graduation. At Mills, Hellman forms the foundation for science retention. Hellman creates a scholarship cohort, provides skills key to success, and allows for an optimal academic transition. Since its inception, 178 students have participated (94 BIPoC, 51 first generation); of these, 75% have graduated with STEM degrees and 54% were awarded Bachelor of Science degrees. Our 4-year graduation rate is 79% (compared to Mills average over the same period of 57%). Many (75%) of our students have pursued graduate or medical school or are currently employed in STEM.
All first-year Hellman students, and many pursuing biology or biochemistry and molecular biology degrees, are my advisees. To be effective, faculty advising must create meaningful relationships with students. These relationships significantly improve their sense of belonging, and thus ultimately impact their confidence. As a mentor and advisor, I am a partner in my student’s academic journey. I listen, offer advice, and encourage them to become agents of change. When the student struggles with institutional practices, I facilitate and advocate as needed. Many of my students remain my advisees until graduation. Ultimately, this means I carry a substantial advising load and average around 40 students per year, but I believe this is crucial to changing the face of science by inspiring our diverse student body.
Another way I influence student success from a leadership perspective is as the Pre-Nursing director. In partnership with my faculty and staff, I ensure diversity, equity, and inclusion is supported. I maintain program standards as well as developing collaborations with other institutions. We have strict GPA requirements, so confirming our students stay on track is essential. Furthermore, our Pre-Nursing students have a tight schedule, so I coordinate classes and communicate with other departments, as well as advisors and students. The program I inherited is very different from the one I lead today, and this year 89% of our students are eligible for transfer to Simmons University. Our students are strong applicants, who are ranked highly at our partner institution.
In 2007, I was appointed as the Coordinator of the Learning Resources Center, a new initiative that would provide centralized peer tutoring to the entire campus. In fall 2010, this program transitioned into the Center for Academic Excellence (CAE), and integrated writing support and testing accommodations. As its Director, I supervised over 90 students per semester and 4 staff members, including a coordinator, a lead tutor, and a multi-lingual specialist. The CAE’s mission was to provide support across the curriculum through one-on-one peer collaboration, group study sessions, as well as workshops, and testing support.
Mills College introduced a First-Year Experience (FYE) in 2014. I was appointed and tasked with transforming a single first-year seminar pilot into an integrated, college-wide first-year program that would engage students at the co-curricular and academic level. For our FYE I collaborated with the Provost’s Office to select faculty. Then, in the spring semester, I trained those faculty in strategies founded in student support, advocated for academic development around topics of interest, and transformed activities to embrace essential co-curricular subjects. During this process, I created and implemented a more efficient year-long planning process, alleviating the administration and faculty from the time constraints of limited summer planning.
Short-term study away classes are another important tool for student persistence. In 2017, I created a class that included scuba diving instruction, marine conservation, and a week-long study abroad, community-driven experience with the Roatan (Honduras) Institute for Marine Sciences. Through this experience, I inspired scientists and nonscientists to become passionate conservators of our oceans and assisted in their growth as global citizens. This cultural and civic engagement provides a framework to demonstrate the interconnectedness of science and social justice. For example, as part of this program, several students started a Scuba club that fundraised for eight new coral trees to restore diseased and damaged habitats. Furthermore, I wrote many of the materials necessary for a uniform experience for all short-term study away programs. Following this I was appointed as Chair of the Study Abroad Committee. During my two-year tenure on the committee, I streamlined our application process, improved accessibility for our students, addressed eligibility requirements and began the review of partner organizations to align more closely with our institutional values.
I firmly believe we should not be limited by technology but inspired by our creativity and preparation. In 2019, I created and led an institutional initiative to introduce iPads in the sciences. While some faculty members were reluctant, I offered training and low-risk pedagogical strategies, as well as encouraging innovation for the more confident adopters. At our Digital Learning retreat on “The ethos of using digital technologies”, I highlighted our responsibility to address access and availability of technology for our students and discussed my work in innovative pedagogical practices. My work laid the foundation for the institutional iPad program launched in Fall 2020. In summer, I organized a workshop that covered active online learning and interactive pedagogies, recording lecture videos, teaching from the iPad, and building an effective Canvas class. Currently, I am a part of the Mills College Digital Learning Team committee. To date, I have helped faculty with technology, recorded training videos, and am currently assisting with workshop development on active learning, assessment, and digital integration in the classroom.
At the community level, I lead the Mills segment of GE Girls, a collaboration with General Electric, Claremont Middle School, and KIPP Academy, which has served 78 Oakland students. This program brings rising 8th graders to campus for a week of science and exploration. I developed the curriculum, organized the activities, the days on campus, planned facilities, and arranged the participation of faculty and staff. Nationally, I have been a reviewer for many textbooks and an author for Mastering Microbiology (Pearson). This includes helping Pearson develop new technology aids. Additionally, I have been a panel reviewer for the National Science Foundation and recently served as a member of the National Science Foundation College of Reviewers for Undergraduate Education (CRUE).
In conclusion, I have designed, or improved, and led several programs that increase student retention and persistence to degree completion. I excel in building strong foundations for initiatives centered in student support for the success of my discipline, my division, and my institution. My leadership is both collaborative and innovative, in which I model professional excellence.