About me

View of the Andes, nature’s border between central Chile and Argentina, from my bus as it approaches el Paso Internacional de los Libertadores. 2013

I am a teacher, writer, and translator, living and working in my hometown of Kansas City, Missouri. I graduated from Lewis and Clark College with a B.A. in Sociology/Anthropology, where I first cultivated an interest in Latin American studies, and the Spanish language. After a semester of study at La Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso in Chile, I decided I wanted to live there more permanently. I returned to Portland to finish my degree, packed my bags, and set out. I lived in Valparaíso, Chile for the next five years, working at Instituto Chileno Norteamericano de Valparaíso, Colegio Patmos in Viña del Mar, and then for the last year and a half at the Academia Politécnica Naval as a civilian instructor. Throughout this time I also worked as a private instructor for a number of students–children and adults–many of whom I keep in touch with to this day. The time that I spent in Chile, as well as in my many land adventures around the Central and South America, consolidated not only my Spanish skills, but also my interest in the histories, cultures, first languages and unique identities of each place.

The Spanish language and its speakers, as well as the speakers of first languages in what are now Latin American territories, have had a lasting impact on my vision of the world, and my role in it. Given the fog of our times, I feel that my work must be indelibly tied to the cause of protecting the land and the people that I love–on all sides of every border. I hope that breaking language barriers might help us to soften the mortar of the dreaded wall between us.

Me and another volunteer up early, planning our lesson for an annual Chilean government sponsored summer camp called Inglés Abre Puertas in the Temuco, capital of the Araucania region of southern Chile.

I now have 8 years of experience teaching foreign languages (both ESL and Spanish) to people of all ages and levels of proficiency, in both the physical and virtual classroom. For me, language acquisition and translation are both acts of resistance; resistance against xenophobia, and ignorance, but above all, against the violence of our current national discussion around immigration and border issues.