I came to UCSB in 1997 to pursue my Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering and fell in love with our beautiful town. I’m grateful to be raising two wonderful children here with my husband. After graduate school, I spent more than 16 years in the tech industry in Santa Barbara. During my 12 years at Sonos, I led a number of outreach programs aimed at inspiring a love of science and engineering in elementary school through college-age students. These experiences ignited my passion for education and started my journey as an educator.
A Volunteer and Education Entrepreneur
In 2019 I founded the nonprofit Youth Innovation Club and have worked with a diverse group of volunteers, all with advanced degrees in science. We facilitated 30 science project mentoring sessions in three local public junior high schools. We seek out partner organizations such as Partners in Education, UCSB Society of Women Engineers and UCSB Los Ingenieros to bring role models to work with students.
I have also volunteered in many educational programs, including elementary school science nights, Santa Barbara County Science Fair, Santa Barbara Community Academy’s Engineering Design Week, and Partners in Education’s Career Day.
An Engineer Who Mentors Others
Having spent most of my career in the tech industry, I understand how the pace of the rapidly changing world has made it very difficult for educators to play catch up. I also experienced firsthand the challenge that tech companies face in achieving diversity and gender balance. The lack of female leadership in the tech industry has often been attributed to a deficit in the pipeline. While working at Sonos, I designed speaker building workshops for children at MOXI, and I also led these workshops at various elementary school science nights. We hosted multiple mentoring programs for students of all ages. Building on that success, I founded the nonprofit Youth Innovation Club so that I could focus my time and energy on education.
A Future-Ready Educator
Preparing a child for a world that doesn’t yet exist is not an easy task for any teacher. Our educational programs need to focus on developing future-ready skills in problem-solving, creativity, analytic thinking, collaboration, and communication.
A Champion For Equality
We need to promote educational programs that help children understand the true meaning of equality. We should also increase the opportunity for children to meet role models they can relate to. We need to teach children that we are all different as individuals, but we are all the same as human beings. We need to build a culture of equality. I will also advocate for equal pay and equal opportunities for district employees.
An Enterprising Environmentalist
My passion for helping children has also led me to become a persistent advocate for conservation practices and sustainable skills. Our children will have to face environmental crises in their lifetime, and I believe it is our duty to preserve the environment and give them the tools to face these challenges.
During the past few years, I have worked with local organizations to promote environmental education. I believe environmental education should not just be something that we teach, but something that we put in action. Last year, I coordinated an effort between Santa Barbara County and the Goleta Union Schools to pilot a lunch waste compost program at Isla Vista Elementary School. The program empowered students to reduce food waste and divert organic waste from landfills to compost facilities. This effort has also initiated the "Food Forward" program by the Goleta School District and helped Isla Vista School to receive the Goleta Education Foundation's Innovation Grant Award. I have advocated that school facilities incorporate renewable energy and other sustainability features (low-water irrigation, dishwashing capabilities to reduce single-use plastics, energy-efficient building structures, and solar panels). These features have been incorporated in the District's new Facilities Master Plan.
An immigrant who wants to see all our children thrive
As a new immigrant, I came to UCSB to pursue my Ph.D. in Electrical and Computer Engineering. The first few years as an international student were not easy for me. I found that the culture shock and social barriers made it quite difficult for me to participate in conversations with native speakers. Luckily, there are diverse groups of international and local students at UCSB, and we helped each other acclimate and formed strong friendships over the years.
Through volunteering, I meet many English learners at our schools. I work with students from different backgrounds and ethnicities. My own experience of trying to fit into a new culture was quite difficult, so I want to be as welcoming as I can for all students. I have deep empathy for immigrants and will also ensure that ICE has no place in our schools.
Being a parent made me want to be a better version of myself. My daughters are constant inspirations to me and I want to make the world a better place for them and all the children in our district. Children should be able to grow up where they are not discriminated against because of their gender, ethnicity, or for any other reason. They should not grow up in a society full of hate and fear, but one that is filled with love and respect.