My research is directly informed by my teaching experiences. Prior to entering academia, I worked for five years as a science and mathematics educator in Mississippi and American Sāmoa, where I taught science and mathematics in schools that served primarily African American and Pacific Islander students.
During my teaching career, I saw how systemic racism, colonialism, sexism, and other systems of oppression worked against my students (and many of my colleagues) while privileging my own White male positionality. I grew particularly concerned with understanding how systems of oppression are reproduced through language -- how deficit narratives about students of color in the South Pacific can sound eerily similar to deficit narratives about students of color in the Deep South, in communities that are (quite literally) ten thousand kilometers apart. I joined academia in order to understand and contest these narratives and help teachers advance asset-based, justice-oriented alternatives.
To do so, I draw upon an interdisciplinary corpus of scholarship in language and learning. This includes the sociolinguistic insights of Anne Charity Hudley, John Rickford, and Ramón Martínez; the anthropological and sociological theories of Rachel Lotan, Jonathan Rosa, and Robert Rosenthal; and the literacy and science education research of Arnetha Ball, Bryan Brown, and Jonathan Osborne.
In particular, I am interested in teachers' sensemaking as a form of situated social cognition: how science educators make sense of information about students and about pedagogical practices; how this sensemaking is shaped by ideologies of language, race, and nation; and how teacher education can help science teachers to learn and implement pedagogies that support students' pursuit of personal and collective empowerment.