The Education Collaboratory at Yale launched in July 2023. To share more about our work, we are spotlighting all the dedicated team members of our lab, highlighting their work and what brings them to our team's mission to advance the science and practice of SEL. What is your role at the Education Collaboratory? I work as the Project Coordinator for the Social Emotional Learning Observation Checklist for Elementary Schools (SELOC-E), which is an Institute of Education Sciences (IES) funded project housed at the Education Collaboratory at Yale. I maintain the day-to-day communications with all our current school partners, prepare enrolled schools for data collection, provide tech support and troubleshooting of hardware and software issues including handling Endpoint Management support and Apple Device Management for all SELOC-E equipment. My other roles include assisting with school onboarding through orientation and debrief meetings. What brought you to the field of SEL? When I graduated with my first degree in computer programming, I realized that I was in the wrong field. Not long after I enrolled in an intensive training program hosted by the United Nations that focused on War Trauma. As I began working with child soldiers and females who experienced sex trafficking, I felt like I had found my place. Through my work with war trauma, I was accepted into the International Trauma Studies Program, ITSP-NYU, now at Columbia University under my mentor, Dr. Jack Saul. There, I still did not have a definition of the work that I was doing. I was accepted as an Extern and worked on a pilot project where we conducted needs assessment in a refugee community on Staten Island. This pilot later became a project. I circled back through various jobs that were tied to my background in the field of computer science. None of those jobs were gratifying as I always enjoyed connecting with people in a deep and meaningful way. I just did not feel it in the workspaces that I was in. Completing my second degree in Psychology from Liberty University Online helped prepare me for what I wanted to see in the communities that I was a part of. I later completed my degree in Social Work at Nyack College School of Social Work (now Alliance School of Social Work) and work part-time as a Licensed Masters Social Work/Clinician in the New Haven area. As I reflect on my journey to what brought me to the field of SEL and psychology, I journey back to my younger vivacious, curious, and compassionate self, who had no definition to the work back then, which was about understanding people and how they felt. My older self has grown in the journey, with deeper understanding of the definition, the empathy, and will say that SEL and the work that I care so deeply about started with my how my mom model care for those around her. What line of research do you find the most interesting/intriguing in the field right now?The field of translational research has grown so much! Thanks to the incredible work being carried out by researchers here at YCSC (Yale Child Study Center). Though our work continues to make an impact in our world, there is still more to done to address disparities and support families, adults, children, teachers, and administrators manage the social emotional health of people in their communities. The common theme circling in my community of teachers and families has led me to this conclusion. My friends who are teachers continued to express feelings of stress and being overwhelmed and more importantly not feeling supported in their roles to help themselves or their students feel socially and emotionally safe in the classroom. One of the many studies at Yale Child Study Center is currently happening at the Education Collaboratory at Yale called The Social Emotional Learning Observation Checklist for Elementary Schools (SELOC-E). I find this study relevant currently as it is being co-created with diversity at the center of its work. More about the study can be found here. What energizes you outside of work?I am energized by my passion for volunteering and physical activities, especially cycling and volleyball. During my spare time, I spend time with my family engaging in family game nights, serving on several non-profit organizations working groups or mentoring teens and young adults. In the Spring, I will begin training for the Yale Smilow Closer To Free Ride. This will be my seventh year as a rider! I am always grateful to God for a healthy mind and body.