A Summary of my Academic Background and Interests
I am an Associate Professor of Philosophy at UC San Diego. I specialize in theoretical and applied ethics, moral psychology, philosophy of emotion, and agency. I enjoy research, teaching, exploring and photographing natural beauty, music, and spending quality time with friends and family – especially my partner, Patrick Hennessey, a graphic design artist who helped to design this site.
I began my academic career at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, where I had originally planned to pursue a degree in biomedical research. During the summer before my freshman year, I participated in a research program at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel. Though the program was geared towards students with an interest in the natural sciences, my experiences there, including a poignant visit to the Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum, would provide the impetus for redirecting my studies towards humanities and the social sciences.
Upon graduating from the University of Michigan with bachelor's degrees in philosophy and psychology, I accepted a job as an Academic Enrichment Specialist for Grand Rapids Public Schools, a large urban school district in west Michigan. In this position, I spent nearly a decade instructing gifted and talented students in grades 4-12 in mathematics, logic, and language arts using a creative gaming format. I also prepared elementary, middle, and high school teams for regional and national competition in academic games. My students were extremely successful, earning over a dozen national titles.
During my last two years with Grand Rapids Public Schools, I simultaneously worked full time while completing a master’s degree in philosophy (with a concentration in ethics) at Western Michigan University. In 2007, I obtained my degree, and in 2008, I was accepted into a doctoral program at UC Riverside. I wrote my dissertation on emotional attachment under the direction of Agnieszka Jaworska, and received my Ph.D. in 2015. Before coming to UC San Diego in 2018, I held a three-year position as the Harold T. Shapiro Postdoctoral Research Associate in Bioethics at the Princeton University Center for Human Values. I earned tenure in late 2021.