I was born in Illinois and grew up mostly in Oregon. I was a psychology major in college but didn't know quite what I wanted to be when I grew up. Then I took a law and psychology course and was hooked. I ended up in a law and psychology graduate program. I had thought that research would be my first love until I actually got a chance to teach a couple of classes while in graduate school, and those experiences convinced me that teaching would be really enjoyable and rewarding. I still love doing research, but my favorite thing is when I know I've helped a student change his or her views or even his or her life.
I've published two books on hate crimes, and am currently working on another book. When I'm not working, I like to spend time with my family and pets, travel, read, write, and craft.
B.A, Psychology, Reed College
M.A, Psychology, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
J.D., University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Ph.D., Psychology, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Area of expertise
Hate crimes, juvenile justice, law and psychology
What have you learned from your students?
My students bring with them an amazing variety of life experiences. I enjoy learning about them because they have expanded my worldview.
Why do students choose CSU Stanislaus?
I think students find the professors here knowledgeable and approachable. Students are also attracted to our strong academic programs, some of which, like our forensics program, are unique. And I think students find the campus itself friendly and beautiful.
How do students succeed in your class?
I think I have a reputation for being a tough professor! The students who do best in my classes are those who make a genuine effort. They do the readings on time, they always attend class, and they put time and thought into their assignments. It's very rare for a student to do all those things and not do well in my classes.
What brought you to CSU Stanislaus?
I liked the relatively small class sizes and the opportunity to really get to know my students. I also liked how diverse the students here are. I was attracted to the criminal justice program because it is growing and changing so quickly. And after living in Nebraska for 5 years, I was anxious to get back to the West Coast!
If you were not teaching, what other career do you see yourself in?
Well, if I were being practical, I suppose I would practice law. I'm not sure in what area I would practice, although I did love antitrust law when I was in law school.
My less practical choice would be to be a successful fiction writer.
Describe a former student who has attained professional success.
I was just talking with a colleague this morning about how our graduates are all over the place in probation departments, in police departments pretty much in every criminal justice agency in the northern San Joaquin Valley. Also, a lot of my former students are now practicing law. A couple have even gone on to get advanced law degrees. I love it when our graduates keep in touch and tell me what they're up to.