Greetings and welcome to my Explorations website! As a reader, if you’re anything like me, you are curious about the person behind the writing. Here you go…
When I started this blog in 2014, I had spent more of my life in school than out of it. That may still be true, but my brain is too fatigued to actually do the math. I always liked school, but I was also always the incredibly quiet and shy kid in the class who would rather absorb all of the info on my own than burst out speaking about what I may or may not have known. I now feel differently about my journey through the traditional educational system and what I absorbed around learning and teaching. Regardless, I suppose I am still considered to be “highly educated:” I went to college after high school, earning a bachelor’s degree as a double major in neuroscience and psychology with a minor in French literature. I took a year off afterwards to live outside the US. I liked it so much abroad that I stayed to earn my master’s degree in neurobiology. After that, I took about three years off (that master’s degree really put me through the ringer) to work in the “real world” and enjoy life. It took about 2 of those 3 years to feel the itch to go back and learn something more. I returned to graduate school and the US to get a doctorate in applied social psychology. It will be nine years (what?!) in December 2019 since I finished my PhD. I still find myself thinking about lots of other cool things that I would really like to learn about. After all, humans are a curious bunch and we never really stop learning. But my understanding of, and approach to, learning and school has been completely turned on its head in the last few years.
Aside from a desire to keep learning, then, what is it that I do now? I’m not entirely sure how to answer, actually. When I started this blog in 2014, I said this:
I am an applied social psychologist. As a social psychologist I am interested in how individuals interact with the world around them. “Social psychology”, says David G. Myers in his 2007 book, Exploring Social Psychology, “is the scientific study of how people think about, influence, and relate to one another” (p. 4). My research interests have focused on group dynamics. For example, I’ve studied how belonging to different groups might feed one’s willingness to join radical or terrorist organizations, or feed one’s willingness to carry out violent actions against others who aren’t part of the group. I’ve also studied how being religious may relate to civic participation.
My last official research effort (i.e., in my last research job back in 2014), involved studying how group memberships may drive us to act unethically in research and academia. At the time, I was thinking more about research integrity, from what it means, to how we actually conduct research ethically and with integrity. Similarly, I wanted to know how this information gets passed from one generation of researchers to the next, if at all. You can always see more about my professional work and accomplishments on my LinkedIn profile.
I should note that my professional life hit a somewhat unexpected hiatus in the last several years. So back to the question of what do I do now, in 2019? I am a parent to 2 amazing children. I entered parenthood at the ripe age of 39. That was 5 years ago. The first tiny human that I spawned changed my life forever, in both amazing and challenging ways. It has opened my eyes to so much about who we are and the way we live. Now that I’m writing again on this blog, I will be working on expressing some of what I am learning, experiencing, and feeling here that relates to parenting, families, and community. I didn’t stop at one tiny human spawn, though. I spawned a second tiny human a year ago. The amazingness and the challenges has grown exponentially since my second pregnancy. Dealing with raising small children while feeling isolated and feeling the grip of maternal depression tighten around you is no joke. Wanting to get better and simply wanting to be better, is a lot easier said than done. Indeed, my partner and I continue to struggle to find our place in our society with these two amazing humans by our side. As both my partner and I are academics at heart, we are constantly reading, thinking, and challenging our assumptions about life and how we should live it. Good thing I have this blog to write it all down and send it out into the world for public consumption (she writes somewhat sarcastically…).
Me, my partner, and the two amazing humans who share their lives with us.
If you’re here and have read some of my posts, I hope you enjoy some of what I’ve written. If it resonates with you, I’d be delighted to hear from you. If it doesn’t resonate with you *and* you have a solid counter-argument to what I’m writing, I’d love to hear from you, too. As I said, I’m always learning and trying to understand my world with as much information as possible. Mostly, though, if you’ve read all of this to the end, I thank you for taking the time.