Why Costa Rica?

I am looking forward to traveling with you in Costa Rica this summer! I am part of the leadership team for this Fulbright-Hays Group Project Abroad (GPA), "Teaching the U.N. Millennium Development Goals: Costa Rica" sponsored by Michigan State University, the U.S. Department of Education and Earth Charter International Secretariat (in Costa Rica). Costa Rica's progress towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)/Los Objectivos de Desarrollo del Milenio makes it an ideal place to learn about these global goals. Planning for this GPA began in 2006 for my doctoral comprehensive examination and was inspired by my experiences studying Spanish (funded by a Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) fellowship) and conducting pre-dissertation research with secondary social studies teachers in Turrialba. This GPA was also inspired by my high school exchange family (Johnny, Sonia, Jose Pablo, Melisa (and husband Leo and daughter Luna), and Ana, Johnny's brother Ronald (my high school AFS volunteer), and their relatives in Barva, Heredia in the Central Valley; they are the reason I (and now my family) keep coming back to Costa Rica.
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About me

I was born in Michigan and have lived all over the state (even the Upper Peninsula). I live in East Lansing with my husband, three teenage sons, cats and dog (see below). I have worked at Michigan State University in International Studies and Programs for a little over 12 years in K-12 outreach, student advising and administration, and since 2010 as Associate Director for the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies. I am a Spartan and alumna of MSU's College of Education where I earned my PhD in Curriculum, Teaching and Educational Policy, emphasis in international education and teacher professional development. My background is in social studies and international studies, and I was an elementary teacher (fourth grade) in a rural district in Michigan prior to graduate study at MSU. I have lived in Chile, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic and Spain, and have traveled in Andorra, Argentina, Bolivia, Ecuador, France, Peru, Portugal and Uruguay.

My research interests focus on better understanding the nature and impact of Fulbright-Hays Group Projects Abroad projects. this was also the focus of my dissertation research "International Professional Development for K-12 Teachers: Fulbright-Hays Group Projects Abroad 2003-2007." I am currently involved in two research projects at MSU that focus on international study abroad and learning opportunities for graduate students - The Graduate Learning Experiences and Outcomes: The Landscape of Graduate Study Abroad (GLEO) project, and a study of the College of Education's doctoral international study program to multiple countries.

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My family