Education & Experience
I am now entering my fourth year of teaching as a visiting lecturer at Florida International University. My previous teaching experiences include work as an adjunct professor and teaching assistant at FIU as well.
Although currently working as a professor in the Writing and Rhetoric department, my Master’s degree is actually in linguistics. My research still concentrates in the field, dealing with issues related to phonetics, sociolinguistics, and psycholinguistics. Before earning my MA, I received a BA in English from FIU, summa cum laude, and an AA in English from Miami Dade College.
Literature and language have always been passions of mine, long before I ever started teaching. When other children played catch or cops and robbers, I stayed at home and explored a world of books. This love of reading stayed with me through my adult life, but it wasn’t until my mid-twenties that I really considered turning that passion into a career.
In grade school, I was reward for excelling by being placed in the Advanced Education Program and later the Gifted Program. The Gifted Programs at David Fairchild Elementary and South Miami Middle school gave me the special attention and extra work I needed to flourish. I was also a part of the broadcasting magnet program at the latter as well. Later on, I attended MAST Academy for high school, graduating with a major in oceanic and atmospheric sciences. Despite this focus on science and math, I kept my love of literature as a past time and won several awards for writing poetry. After graduation I attended Florida State University as an engineering major at the suggestion of some of my teachers.
It was a poor fit and I did not excel.
Although I did not have a problem with the subject material, I had no more than a tepid interest in the subject and found it difficult to be engaged in class. I eventually left the university, disheartened, and entered the work force. During this time I held a variety of jobs, from legal clerk at a law firm to bartender at a night club. I was fairly successful at each, but I knew I needed a college education to live up to my potential.
Eventually, I enrolled at Miami Dade College and began taking courses part time to get my life back on track. My interest was again, lukewarm, but a very influential professor, Velisse Grimes, changed that. She encouraged me to follow my passion rather than be practical. I did, changing my major to English and turning my whole world around.
My interest in school burgeoned. I engaged with my classes and my entire paradigm shifted. I began writing again and had more of my poetry published in the college’s creative publication. After graduating from MDC with a 4.0, I enrolled at Florida International University and continued my study of English. I found a particular interest in Medieval European literature, and somewhat specialized in the period. It was at FIU that I met my love, linguistics, a field that allowed me to combine my love of language with my scientific background. I continued to excel and graduated summa cum laude from FIU in 2011. The following semester I was enrolled in the linguistics Master’s degree program and began working as a teaching assistant. Teaching quickly became a new passion of mine, allowing me to share my interests of language and literature with students and help them in their own educational pursuits.
As far as educational experiences go, mine was certainly not a typical one. However, I feel that it has given me a unique perspective on education and life in general. Everyone must go through life at their own pace, and not everyone fits perfectly into the ideal “educational mold.” As an instructor I try to be sensitive to the unique learning, cultural, and language particularities of my students so that we can all excel. I also know, from personal experience, exactly how important and life changing a few words from an instructor at the right time can be. I hope I can share my passion for language and literature with my students to get them interested in learning and improve their writing skills. Moreover, I hope I can help students find their own passions and encourage them to follow those passions and succeed.