I was born and raised on the country roads of West Virginia. After I graduated from high school, I attended New World School of the Arts in Miami, FL where I studied Dance and received an Associate’s degree in Dance. After 3 years, I transferred to the University of Florida where I received a Bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science and a Master’s degree in Health Education & Behavior with a specialization in Adapted Physical Activity.
While earning my Master’s degree; I published 10 scientific articles in peer-reviewed research journals, published 3 abstracts, and participated in 11 research presentations. Most of my publications focused on a Low-Intensity Exercise Therapy for Peripheral Arterial Disease.
While I lived in Gainesville, Florida, I married Oscar and we had our first son, Josh. Once Oscar received his Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering we moved to Utah and then spent 3 years in Houston, TX where our second son, Willie, was born.
Life in Knoxville
We have lived in Knoxville for 6 years now. Oscar is a mechanical engineer at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. I have worked as a stay-at-home mother since Josh was born. I have remained active in my community as a volunteer since my days as an undergraduate student.
My commitment to community service began in earnest as an undergraduate student in Gainesville, Florida. My very first volunteer position was on a nursing floor at Shands Hospital. After I took a class on Adapted Physical Education my volunteer interests became more focused on working with children and adults with disabilities in an exercise/therapeutic setting. I have volunteered with adapted aquatics programs and adapted track and field events and programs.
When my children started school, I started to venture into volunteer opportunities in Knoxville. My dog, Jenny, and I were HABIT volunteers in the Ruff Reading program. I have always volunteered in my children’s elementary schools by assisting their classroom teachers by reading with students, helping with special projects, and helping the PTSA with fundraising.
In recent years, I have volunteered with Special Olympics of Greater Knoxville. I volunteered with a Cub Scout Day Camp. I have volunteered with fundraisers for several local organizations including the Tennessee Children’s Dance Ensemble. I helped organize a spaghetti dinner fundraiser for the Cedar Bluff Elementary Safety Patrol’s trip to Washington, D.C. I have been a youth basketball coach for 3 years with the West Bearden Basketball League (WBBL). I am the director of the Cedar Bluff Elementary Chess Club. I am a TN Achieves Mentor. I am the Cedar Bluff Elementary Cross Country Coach.
For almost an entire school year that started last year, I worked as a substitute teacher at my children’s elementary school. The experiences that I have had as a volunteer, substitute teacher, and parent have helped shape my views on a number of issues including (but not limited to) public education, healthcare, and sensible gun control.
I enjoy running, swimming, weight lifting, cycling at Cade’s Cove, hiking, taking my dog, Jenny, for walks, and keeping my young boys active. I would be happy to serve as your House Representative in District 89 as a fresh and new voice in Tennessee’s legislature.
“Ordinary people can do extraordinary things.” Coach Jim Valvano