While I am tempted to scribe a short biography, for the sake of time and interest, I'll keep this below 500 words (for all of our sake!). I grew up at the base of the Rocky Mountains, and shortly after high school, I moved to Monterrey, Mexico. Learning the beauty of a new culture and language fundamentally changed me as a person. Upon returning to the U.S., I pursued a bachelor's degree in international business where I continued to gain appreciation for the diversity found across the globe. It was through these experiences and working with faculty members that I fell in love with the challenges, growth, and deep connections fostered within the higher education setting. Although many had encouraged me to become a doctor (in the medical sense), around this time, I discovered that academia was my calling.
Before I could uproot my young family to pursue a PhD, I needed two things: "real world" and research experience. I started working full time as a Senior Accountant of Financial Reporting at a large community bank. While there, I worked alongside the CFO as we grew from $540 million to $1.2 billion in assets. It was an exciting time to work with the top management team and board of directors. Because we had grown so quickly, I was wearing multiple hats and involved in nearly every aspect of the organization. Finally, when I felt my progress had plateaued, I knew it was time to get the research experience that I lacked.
I pursued my interest in organizational diversity and obtained a master's degree in sociology focusing on workplace inequality. My research at this time focused on inequalities in STEM colleges, and the disparity between high achieving female business students' expectations and eventual reality post-graduation. My advisor, Dr. Christy Glass, instilled in me a love for asking big meaningful questions and finding answers through research.
Following my master's degree, I was fortunate to enter a stellar management PhD program at the University of Tennessee where I have been taught by expert researchers like Drs. David Gras, Tim Pollock, Melissa Cardon, Dave Williams, and Tim Munyon. Through their guidance, I have honed in on research areas that excite, energize, and enrapture me--social movements, social entrepreneurship, and Latinx business ownership.
When Dr. Kisha Lashley visited our department, she mentioned that research is actually "me"search. Although my interests have evolved, I see how my past experiences and education have influenced what I study today. Of course, I am still a sapling in my career, so I look forward to the continued growth and maturity as I deepen my roots and extend my branches into this fascinating world we live in.
Whether you just decided to start an academic blog or have been blogging for decades, chances are at some point you have asked yourself, "What should I post about?"
In chatting with some friends in my writing group, I realized I was not the only one with this question.
As a knitter, I am fairly active in the Instagram knitting community. (Yes, that is a thing! Surprise!) Because academic life leaves little time for the fiber arts, I rarely have something meaningful to post about. That all changed when I joined the #fiberuarychallenge2021 this year.
The "fiberuarychallenge" is an activity in which a theme is presented each day of the month in February. For example, today's prompt was "made in 2020." Previous posts include "This day last year," "When I'm not crafting," and "Introduction." Knitters then create fascinating posts using these themes as a guide. This framework not only answers the question of "What should I post about?" but it also provides a foundation for really interesting conversations within the fiber community. Through this challenge, I have made new connections and learned incredible things about my fiber friends.
I figured there had to be something similar for academic blogs, right? I needed a #academicblogchallenge to get my creative juices flowing! After a few failed Google searches, my quest for academic blog themes was in vain. Rather than hang my head in defeat, I decided to create, the (perhaps) first ever "#academicblogchallenge!" Never again will an academic ask, "What should I post about?" (At least not for a few weeks!)
This challenge provides 12 themes that academics can use to craft blog posts. Each post can be as broad or narrow as you need, depending on your blog's audience. You can use these 12 themes consecutively every day, once a week for three months, or once a month for a year, depending on your preference. Maybe you just pick one or two themes that fit your blog? It's pretty flexible!
By referring to the challenge, you give yourself permission to speak about whatever you know about the theme. Hopefully, like my experience with #fiberuarychallenge2021, by accepting this challenge, you make new connections and your audience gets to know you and your work a little better. (And the best part is that each theme has a few additional questions if you need a little extra guidance to get started!)