I have about two decades of teaching experience, including significant experience working with student populations with special needs.
After high school, I worked for a year as a Teacher’s Associate in the Des Moines Public Schools, serving middle school students who had been diagnosed behavioral disorders. I received an Elementary Education Teaching Certificate from Grinnell College upon completing a semester of student teaching at Sac & Fox Elementary School, a school serving students of the Meskwaki Tribe in Tama County, Iowa. From 2002 to 2004 I worked with “returnee” students (kikokushijo—Japanese children and adolescents who had lived overseas and were reintegrating into Japanese society) at a private academy in Tokyo, helping them maintain facility in the English they had acquired abroad through lessons in language arts, science, and social studies.
As a graduate student at the University of Hawai‘i and at Princeton University, I served as a teaching assistant for large lecture courses in Religion. In addition to grading student exams and leading review sessions at UH, at Princeton I led discussion sections in which I had almost total autonomy to design lessons as I saw fit. My teaching at Princeton earned awards from the Department of Religion and from the Association of Princeton Graduate Alumni.
As a Mellon postdoc at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, I taught a course entitled “Love & Sex in Buddhism” that juxtaposed primary sources from the Buddhist tradition with secondary readings in Buddhist studies and gender, women’s, and sexuality studies (Fall 2014). In Spring 2015 I taught “The Religion of Anime,” a course that built upon my previous research into the visual and material culture of Japanese religion while also incorporating some new research of my own and cutting-edge research by others in the field.
Currently, I am an Assistant Professor at the University of Pennsylvania, where I teach undergraduate and graduate courses on Japanese religions, popular culture, and media. You can read about my teaching philosophy here.