I was born and raised in Johannesburg, South Africa before immigrating to the San Francisco Bay Area with my family. I attended the University of California-Los Angeles as an undergraduate, majoring in Communication and Urban Education. I received my MA and Ph.D. from the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism at the University of Southern California, where I subsequently held a two-year postdoctoral fellowship awarded by the Annenberg Family Foundation.
My childhood provided the opportunity to witness the seismic changes that occurred in my country. I have vivid memories of apartheid’s systematic dismantling, Nelson Mandela’s release from prison in 1990, and the first democratic elections in 1994. The snaking lines of South Africans waiting hours to vote, and the camaraderie of strangers who came out of their houses all day with refreshments for them, were enduring lessons on the power of education, civic engagement, and perseverance to effect profound social change.
I carried these lessons into my graduate training, and they continue to inform my research, teaching, and service today. Working with the Metamorphosis Project at USC taught me how to do research that can be both academically valuable and practically useful. We worked to understand how residents of Los Angeles’ diverse communities navigate their communication environments to address their own needs. We engaged these understandings to assist community stakeholders in reaching residents with resources and opportunities.
In 2009, I joined the Communication Department in the Rutgers School of Communication and Information as an assistant professor. Since that time, I’ve enjoyed developing new projects and collaborations to better understand the experiences of parents and children in immigrant families on their own terms, and to work toward providing them with programs and opportunities that address their needs effectively. I’ve also had wonderful experiences teaching and working with graduate and undergraduate students at Rutgers.
I live in New York City with my husband and son. In my spare time, I’m likely running in Central Park, trying out a new recipe, reading unscholarly fiction, or making travel plans.