Tell us a bit about your role and how you became a part of the team at Twig.
US Vice President, Sales.
I received a call from Catherine Cahn. We discussed her idea to create a new science solution for the United States around the new NGSS standards, phenomena, and three-dimensional learning. After many discussions about various visions regarding possible solutions and engaging students, it was my kids who convinced me to join Twig in the end. After previewing about 10 prototype science and engineering films, I was impressed that such quality content could be created so quickly. Most importantly, my children’s reactions to the films were what really convinced me. I was working in my loft watching one of the films while my kids were downstairs playing video games. One child overheard the audio and came upstairs to see what it was; shortly thereafter the other followed. One sat on my lap to have a front seat and the other stood behind me to watch. They asked me to rewind it. Then they asked for more… again, again, and again until there were no more to watch. That’s when I knew I’d better call Catherine back because this was magical. We could continue to build an entire student experience from this type of engagement.
In three words, how would you best describe Twig Education to our followers?
Magical student experiences.
What is your favorite thing about your role at Twig?
My favorite thing about my role at Twig is that we truly change students’ lives by exciting, surprising, and engaging them. The more students that we engage and inspire, the more problem-solvers and innovators will emerge. We’re creating futures, maximizing potential, and opening new windows of opportunity.
What helps motivate you on those days when you need a little push?
The phone rings off the hook—it is a constant push! But seriously, what motivates me is that I want to ensure all students—including students of color—have equitable access to engaging, high-quality instruction that provides inspiration to learn, problem-solve, innovate, and discover their full potential. I too experienced poverty when I was young, after my father suffered health issues that prevented him from keeping the job that he’d had for many years. We immediately fell into poverty in our family of seven. We moved (literally and figuratively) from a peaceful life to one of constant worry in a new neighborhood full of drug dealers and drive-by shootings. We went from playing in the streets with our friends to hiding in our house so that we wouldn’t be persecuted by drug dealers. School became an escape. All of my brothers and sisters used school as a way to get out of poverty—that was the only way in our situation. What motivates me is remembering those difficult times. You can travel the world and change your circumstance by turning the pages of a book.
If you weren’t working at Twig Education, what would you be doing?
If I wasn’t working at Twig, I would be working with adolescent-aged students of poverty and students of color to help inspire them to attend college or seek an innovational trade. Many students are born into environments where college and career aren’t table topics in their families—because other social-emotional and traumatic issues take priority. Students need guidance, role models, and positive reaffirmation to persevere through school and life.
If you could go back in time and give advice to your 16-year-old self, what would it be?
Don’t work three jobs in high school and give up the sports you love. I worked to get a car and save money to attend college to become a teacher.
Could you share an interesting fact about yourself for our followers? Something that we don’t already know about you?
I have dabbled in my genealogy and discovered that I am:
8% Middle East/North African
16% Iberian peninsula
4% Italian peninsula
5% Horn of Africa
If only I understood how my genetic mix came about. I would love to know the history of my ancestors’ migrations that led to me.