About me...

I was raised in the small town of Carpinteria, CA, located along the Central Coast in Santa Barbara County. Although it's located literally next to the Pacific, the town is quiet most of the year. The highlights of life in Carp are the Avocado Festival, Rods & Roses, and the Light Parade for 4th of July (it's approximately 2 blocks long, really). There are three traffic lights and smoking is banned within city limits, as is drive-thru fast food and plastic bags. We have a single movie theater with a single screen and two showings per night (everyday but Sunday). If you can't believe such a town still exists in CA, check out the Coastal View, our local paper. I highly recommend the Police Beat section where you can read about local "crime".

As far back as I can remember, when adults asked me where I wanted to go to college the answer was always "Berkeley". I didn't know anything about it or what the school's reputation was, but that was my response. When I was sixteen I visited the university for the first time with my mom and immediately I felt that the campus, the city, everything, fit me exactly. My heart and head were set on Cal.

When I arrived as a student at Cal, there was no question in my mind that I would study Mathematics. All my life it had been the one subject that continuously excited me, but little did I know that "math" as I had been taught up to that point was nothing like the "math" that awaited me after I first passed under Sather Gate. I declared as my major in Applied Mathematics and chose Systems Theory as my specialty area. This enabled me to take all the math theory courses I desired (the usual real and complex analysis, abstract algebra, number theory, probability, wavelet theory, etc.) along with courses that seemed more "practical" (signals and systems, circuits, fourier analysis, numerical analysis, etc.). Late night studying in Moffit Library was habitual for many undergraduates, but in the daytime I preferred 1015 Evans, the Math Lounge for students and faculty. It was here where I met professors over tea and joined in meetings of the Math Undergraduate Student Association (MUSA).

Daring to venture outside of Evans Hall, the building housing the Department of Mathematics, and various libraries, I spent large amount of time in the Gender Equity Center, or "GenEq" as it was typically known. I joined a group called SHAPE (Sexual Harassment/Assault Advocacy and Peer Educaiton); starting out, I did training to learn about sexual and domestic violence issues and worked in outreach education. After training, I continued to work with SHAPE as a peer advocate, assisting Cal students who survived such violence. My fellow members of the GenEq community were some of the most courageous and inspiring indiviuals that I have ever met.

It was hard to leave Berkeley, but for my graduate studies I chose to make the great move to Houston, TX, to attend Rice University. Although I will never permit myself to identify as a Texan (my CA pride runs deep), studying at Rice has been a wonderful experience.