(A lifelong student and scholar).
My mom and I practicing writing (as always!)
I am a graduate student in the Department of Sociology at the University of Michigan where I study the relationships between structural racism, urban development, and technology. My research projects are at the cutting edge of studies on racial capitalism as it manifests in the gig economy.
I would describe myself as a globetrotter from birth. I was born in Japan and moved around frequently as a child, which provided me with the opportunity to experience life in urban metropolises like Tokyo and Dubai, as well as the American heartland and Midwest.
My international upbringing is a context that has informed my perspective that society is interconnected on a global scale. I have always been fascinated by my colliding worlds. On my father's side, I hail from Southern California. Like many Black folks in the 20th century, my extended family migrated to the West from Louisiana and Texas during the Second Great Migration. On my mother's side, my family hails from the mountainous coast of Southern Japan. In an increasingly globalized world, I'm constantly thinking about my research within my multicultural, historical, and racialized lens.
My paternal great-grandmother, shortly before moving from New Orleans to Los Angeles.
A collage I made of my paternal grandmother.
My parents, my maternal grandmother, and me.
From a young age, I always knew I was going to be a writer, one way or another. I pursued a career in journalism at Michigan State University (Go Green!) but soon found that my love for investigation would lead me down the path of academic research. My first research endeavor was fueled by my dissatisfaction with the one-dimensional, anti-Black nature of high school history education. During college, I analyzed 940 images across multiple high school history textbooks to explore how the themes representing marginalized groups can reveal much about how we remember the complex and painful history of the United States. My experience as an undergraduate researcher propelled me into the world of social science research.
Why do I do the work I do? Because it is necessary to pursue knowledge to understand our rapidly changing world. As Octavia E. Butler so eloquently wrote: "The only lasting truth is change." Before pursuing my PhD, I facilitated a virtual town hall series at Mount Pleasant Missionary Baptist Church called MountUp! for Social Justice. During a time unsettled by a global crisis of health, racial violence, and economic disarray, we discussed topics like educational inequality, vaccines, voting, and financial well-being. I invited panelists who were both local residents and field experts because communities possess the knowledge to keep each other safe and thriving. This experience taught me to ensure my research is relevant to addressing everyday social problems and to be in conversation with the wealth of knowledge and information that people and communities already possess.
If you were looking for a more formal bio, please check out my CV.