Sociology and Interdisciplinary Social Sciences
What research questions currently preoccupy you?
I am researching the history of the women's self-defense movement in the Progressive Era. In my role with the Social Science Teacher Preparation I am also looking at ways that K-12 teachers can better engage their students in the classroom especially as they work toward implementing the new Common Core framework.
What personal factors contributed to your research?
My research focus has been on the history of immigrant women, children and families in the Progressive Era. Through the course of my research I came across several articles on women studying boxing and jiu-jitsu in the early twentieth century. This fascinated me since I had taught women's self-defense for several years, and we were always taught that the movement emerged from second-wave feminism. I wanted to know more about the origins of this Progressive Era self-defense movement.
I am interested in studying teaching and engagement to help teachers improve their practice and reconsider traditional lecture-based approaches to teaching by implementing student-centered inquiry-based instructional strategies.
What has been most challenging in your research?
Finding the right balance between teaching and research.
How has your position in SJSU contributed to your research?
Last year I was able to use research support from SJSU to travel to an archives in Tulane and Smith College to look at the personal records of a woman involved in the self-defense movement. I have also used SJSU support to connect with fellow educators interested in K-12 teaching at Social Science education conferences.
A hidden (research) talent:
I am particularly adept at using genealogical sources like ancestry.com to reconstruct the life story of an individual and flesh out details lost in traditional sources.
One book that changed your life (or research) & why:
On the current project it would be Martha McCaughey's Real Knockouts, since it helps connect the world of academia with the world of real-life women's self-defense instructors.
A website/journal/newspaper (in your field?) you follow without fail:
Teaching Channel for ideas to continually improve my teaching.
Advice you’d give to newer faculty or students:
Research and study what you love!
Panel Organizer. “The Future of Teacher Preparation Programs in California.” Teaching
the Past for Tomorrow. California History Social Science Project. UCLA, November 6–7,
“Jiu-Jitsuing Uncle Sam: The ‘Unmanly Art’ of Jiu-Jitsu and the ‘Yellow Peril’ Threat in Progressive Era America.” Western Association of Women Historians. Sacramento, California, May 15–16, 2015.