My road in life took a while to figure out.
15 Years Old - Dropped out of High School; Got Arrested; Making questionable decisions.
16 Years Old - Got married, got pregnant, got a job, passed GED, started community college
18 Years Old - Finished Community College and Transferred to University to Study Art Therapy
19 Years Old - Second daughter was born. Decided Art Therapy was not for me and fell in love with sociology.
21 Years Old - Graduated from University, moved my family across the country & started grad school.
31 Years Old - Earned my PhD (with Honors of course!) Started my first post-PhD job.
36 Years Old - Left a great job for a position that has become my dream job.
38 Years Old - Became a Grandma. Now I am helping my daughter walk a similar path with her daughter as a young parent to the one we once walked together.
Keep following my journey


Research Scientist and Project Director

I conduct research to help inform policy in higher education, particularly supporting student parents.

Career Roadmap

My work combines:
My work combines:
Working with Others

Day to Day

I usually have a lot of different types of projects going on at once. Being a researcher has three important parts that I am always working on at the same time. First, starting new projects involves meeting with research partners to plan the project, and then writing grants to get the project funded. Once a research project is funded, the job involves collecting data in a variety of ways like interviews, surveys, and focus groups. Last you have to write up your findings in reports and articles.

Advice for Getting Started

Here's the first step for college students

This is the type of job that requires both education and experience. My specific job requires a doctoral degree but there are other research staff on our team who have master's degrees. We also hire students to work on our research teams, and I think that internships can be a great way to break in to the research field. I did a lot of internships, work-study, and jobs during college and graduate school and took a lot of coursework, both of which trained me & helped me become a great researcher.

Recommended Education

My career is related to what I studied. I'd recommend the path I took:

Associate of Arts Oregon Transfer Degree
Master's & Ph.D. in Sociology


The Noise I Shed

From Society in General:

"You'll never make it through that much school. You're going to drop out. I don't know why you're wasting your time. What are you even going to DO with a degree in sociology? You could've done it with one kid but it's not even worth trying with two."

Challenges I Overcame

Student Parent