If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion. ~Dalai Lama
I am a proud fourth generation Milwaukeean. I spent my childhood growing up outside the city and inside the kettle moraines of the state, but all family pointed Milwaukee. After childhood, I returned to my native city where I learned as much as I taught. Bifurcated in my two worlds, I find fulfillment. After nearly 20 years away from the countryside, I have recently returned to the forest to live with my partner embedded in nature and returning to family. In the interim, I have made many places my home, all of which are Midwest proud. The people make these places great and keep me here, no matter the winter.
It is the Midwest sentiment that I consider when I think of community. In my work and life, I strive to engage community. In my research, it is the school community that develops within that makes the difference in the children, teachers, and families experiences with the educational system. Schools are often the last remaining social institutions in desolate communities (Noguera). What happens within the walls of the school can become a hub for community life. I study the social networks in schools to better understand how community is built, maintained, and hampered in the school organization.
Beyond research, you will find me fascinated with the energy of community. It is easy to find me at a farmer's market or food cooperative, loving the intersection of people with their food and the people who provide life. Community events like street festivals, annual shindigs, and community gardens are the splendor of urban living. My country spirit and love of nature is balanced by these events of pure community sharing.
Community fuels a sense of shared experience that provides space for individuals to be generous and empathetic, to practice compassion and kindness, to be fully human in their life experiences.