As a first-generation college grad who encountered real economic insecurity in young adulthood, I became compelled by a sense of purpose from the inner strength gleaned from the struggle to land on my feet. In graduate school, my master’s thesis explored a question that I was immediately curious about as a young teacher and coach: What factors influence one’s sense of belonging and success in high school? My research stayed with me a decade later and eventually evolved into a more dynamic question: What ways can we cultivate strengths in students to prepare them for a journey that is rife with challenge, and not at all linear?
I understand the transformative power of cultivating character and have grown personally and professionally by standing on the shoulders of scientists researching and writing with data about the importance of character in redefining success for young people today. A few dedicated and beloved mentors have impacted my life in big and important ways. Combining two of the substantive factors in my journey, I created the MIGHTY Project to empower young people through mentorship. I believe this work will generate a virtuous cycle in our communities.
My highest character strengths are love of learning, gratitude, perseverance, zest, kindness and social intelligence.