My educational background is in nursing and nutrition. I obtained my undergraduate Bachelor’s degrees at the same time in both Nursing and Nutrition from Arizona State University in 2006. I earned my Masters in Nursing Education from Grand Canyon University in 2009 and am currently working on my PhD in Nursing and Healthcare Innovation at Arizona State University. My focus is on maternal and infant health, evaluating the impact of nutrition during pregnancy on fetal, infant, and childhood outcomes and how breastfeeding and breastmilk hormones influence early infant weight gain. Between 2010-2016 I taught maternal-child, family care, community health, and research courses at Northern Arizona University. In January 2016, I was awarded a USAID Global Developmental Research Scholar Fellowship through my doctoral studies at ASU. Through this fellowship I participated in the evaluation of a maternal-child nutrition and social networking research on Mfangano Island, Kenya. I lived and worked in Kenya for three months as a USAID Fellow. In addition to my time in Kenya, I have also participated in various global nursing outreaches, most recently spending 11 days in Honduras setting up and co-managing temporary health clinics in the remote, rural area of western Honduras. Currently, I coordinate the Childbirth Education Program and am the System Perinatal Educator for Northern Arizona Healthcare. I am the Northern Arizona Association for Women’s Health, Obstetric, and Neonatal Nursing representative and the Lambda Omicron Chapter President for Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing.
Research/Clinical Practice Area: Jonas Scholar – Preventive Health
Dissertation: The influence of breast milk hormones on maternal sensitivity to infant cues, infant temperament, infant feeding practices, and early infant weight changes. I will be investigating the relationship of various maternal and infant factors on early, rapid infant weight gain to an understanding of how early infant weight gain may lead to life-long health or risk for adult chronic illness cause by obesity and overweight.