I’m a lifetime Buffalo native and am proud to be from the “City of Good Neighbors.” While I embrace the experiences offered from time abroad, I love the fact that no matter how long or short my travels are, they always bring me back home. I was raised in Orchard Park in an industrious family of entrepreneurs driven by old-world work ethic and new-world optimism. Some of my earliest memories are of listening to my mother interact with her customers in her home-based sewing shop as she strove to build a business based on word-of-mouth and lasting relationships. Later, as her business grew into a successful boutique specializing in clothing for 18” dolls, it would be my experiences learning how to make sales while fostering genuine customer interactions that would drive my interest in studying communication, public relations, and later, socio-emotional intelligence.
While I’ve been fortunate to work for a number of different organizations and companies, a few experiences were highly formative. Working for the Orchard Park Town Hall and the Southtowns Citizen newspaper (now retired) helped me to experience and understand communication and organization within government and journalistic positions. The opportunity to work as a Communications Specialist at Carr Marketing Communications Inc., a strategic public relations and marketing firm, solidified my training in the field of public relations by providing me with experience in managing tasks including speech writing, press kit creation, media relations and website renovation.
During my years as a student, I was also employed as a private tutor for international families in the Western New York area. Specializing in one-on-one lessons covering American history and Western culture, English as a Second Language as well as a wide range of school subjects, my students ranged in ages from three to adult. This experience not only allowed me to get to know some wonderful people, but also allowed me to foster my love of teaching while embracing the cultures of South Korea, Japan and India.
Being awarded a teaching assistantship at the State University of New York at Buffalo was both an honor and a gift. Not only did it grant me the ability to pursue my doctorate full-time, but the opportunity to teach courses at the university level ignited within me the passion I have always had for teaching. Drawing on my career and life experiences, I knew that my course of study would revolve around emotional intelligence, and that my career goals would be to teach at the college or university level while consulting with organizations. Being accepted for a position teaching for UB at the Singapore Institute of Management's Global Education program was the next pinnacle moment in my life. After receiving my Ph.D. in communication, I set off for Singapore. I taught communication courses to Singaporean university students pursuing an undergraduate degree in Communication. Living and teaching in one of the "Four Asian Tigers" was an incredible experience that allowed me to grow as a lecturer and as a person. See my Singapore blog for stories of these adventures! The next chapter after teaching overseas brought me back home, fulfilling my long-term goal of becoming a professor in Western New York. I was thrilled to join the Communication Department faculty at the State University of New York at Fredonia as an Assistant Professor in Fall 2016. I currently teach the Fundamentals of Communication course as well as other professional communication studies topics including Small Group Communication and Business Communication.
STUDIES IN SOCIO-EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE
Through the four years of my Ph.D. program, I developed and defined my own construct called “socio-emotional intelligence” (SEI) and worked to construct and validate a measure and training program to help individuals gain awareness of and improve their SEI. In particular, I have striven to create these tools so that they might be applied within the workplace. It is my philosophy that by enhancing the emotional climate within a workplace, employees and employers will have improved communication, work more efficiently, and ultimately, will build a stronger workforce through decreased turnover and increased job satisfaction.
A WIDE WORLD TO EXPLORE
In my free time, I actively feed my appetite for world travel. Over the last few years, I've taken in the crystalline beauty of the fjords in Iceland, enjoy breathtaking views of Mount Fuji in Japan, wander the market streets of Malaysia and embrace and take part in the unique blend of cultural heritage that is Singapore.
With a “carpe diem” mentality, my family and I attempt to explore a few amazing destinations each year together, as well. My experiences abroad have provided me with valuable insights into each country’s history, culture, culinary expressions and breathtaking natural and man-made beauty. As a fluent Spanish speaker, Mexico, Colombia and Puerto Rico have been among my favorite places, with the people and culture of Old San Juan, PR, making this city in particular feel like a “home away from home.” The glaciers and mountains of Alaska and the Yukon Territory were awe-inspiring, and the seven-day experience of crossing the Atlantic Ocean by ship to reach Ireland, England and France only fueled my wanderlust further.
Upon returning home, from Singapore I purchased a mid-century brick ranch in the Southtowns of Buffalo which I have enjoyed restoring and renovating. I love ending my day by cooking a meal and pairing it with a glass of carefully selected wine. I have a cooking blog to document my culinary adventures (and misadventures!). My constant companion and love of my life is my special-needs Maltese-Yorkie named Ginny.