My past training includes degrees in biology, public health, and experience in program implementation and assessment so I entered the world of sociology knowing that science can address inequalities. When I completed concentrations in LGBTQ Studies and Women’s and Gender Studies, combining these disciplines with Sociology and building on my previous degrees became a central characteristic of my pedagogy.
Whether it’s a class on Urban Sociology or Women’s Sexualities, I want my students to understand that all truth is partial, that it is important to discern fact from fiction, personal opinions from data, and to become adept at looking at knowledge production as a particular kind of process – one that they can then shape. I establish a safe zone in my classrooms, where some of the most marginalized students have a voice and those with privilege are encouraged to listen and to learn from their peers. For example, if in their other classrooms, my students of color are dominated by their white peers in conversation, they can express themselves in my classes without being interrupted or having to educate their peers on race and racism. I complement textbooks with readings centering black and brown feminists, LGBTQ scholars, and scholar-activists changing the world outside of academia.
Finally, I encourage my students to produce texts and projects that I can then use in future classes, because their peers respond well to work produced by someone that they can relate to and they can then see themselves following their older peers into graduate study. For more information, take a look at my student feedback letters, teaching photos, and syllabi for Introduction to Sociology, Introduction to Women’s Studies, Women’s Sexualities, Urban Sociology, and LGBTQ Health, a course that I developed and taught at Brooklyn College.