I was born and raised on a small island in the Northwest corner of Washington State, Lopez Island. I grew up on a 25 acre organic farm, Madrona Farms. It was a center of political debate and discussion thanks in large part to my parents’ shared enthusiasm for politics. This early exposure to enduring political questions inspired me to seek a BA in Political Science at Seattle University (SU), a small Jesuit university. I participated in the Core Honors program at SU and graduated Magne Cum Laude.
At SU, I was able to grapple with complex social scientific questions both within and outside the classroom through various internship opportunities. For example, I served as a research analyst for three months in El Salvador analyzing migration patterns and variation in the use of remittances across different communities for CARE International. Classroom work and praxis experience inspired new questions and a desire for further academic work.
After graduating from SU in 2008, I enrolled in an MA program in Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Oslo, Norway. The program provided a fantastic opportunity to learn about different welfare state models including the Social-Democratic model of the Nordic region. In particular, I discovered the central role of organized labor in pushing for the region's inclusive and universalist welfare system. My experience in Norway sparked a curiosity to learn more about the pivotal role of organized labor in the development of different welfare state models. It also inspired me to learn more about the labor movement in the United States. Thus, when I returned from Norway in 2010, I spent a year as a Jesuit Volunteer at a worker justice organization, Puget Sound Sage, and a year as a labor organizer and researcher for the hotel and restaurant workers' union, UNITE HERE, in Seattle, Washington.
My graduate work in Norway exploring the development of the Nordic welfare state model and my praxis experience in the labor movement have inspired my research focus on the growing challenges unions face in increasingly deregulated labor market environments.
When I’m not working on my dissertation, I’m likely out biking around the Twin Cities or exploring one of Minnesota’s many incredible state parks.