This site, born out of what I can best describe as a need
to shift my attention to what I do well, is about my passion for science. I have enjoyed
nature and reading about science all of my life. I started, as a very young girl, by wanting to be an
astronomer and abruptly decided that I wanted to be a doctor in 5th grade
When I was 15 years old modeling chose me quite unexpectedly. I never thought I was pretty or coordinated,
but I am grateful to those people who saw a little something in a scrawny, shy girl and worked
with it. Modeling brought me out of my shyness and taught me some valuable lessons and
rendered me with a little more poise and grace than I would've had without this experience.
I never became very interested in my looks as an obsession, but learned the rules of style and began
to apply them.
I entered my junior year of college, I realized the pre-med life was not for me. I discovered
that working in research labs was fun and I was quite good at it.I also happened to take a cell
biology and histology course and with an incredible knowing, deep down, that this was the material I would
focus on and branch out from. I discovered that I loved teaching, so that became my priority....the
fun of lab work combined with the satisfaction of sharing my passion with really bright students.
My research has ranged from working with sewage bacteria
(Acinetobacter lwoffi) as a potential oil slick consumer to the effects of acid rain on pine trees
in my undergraduate years to studying muscle development in the larvae of Manduca sexta (tobacco
horn worm) for my master's degree. Now I work with mammalian cells in culture. Apparently,
I've climbed the evolutionary tree! I started a PhD and soon realized that what I really wanted
to do, to teach, did not necessarily require it, so I eschewed the life of a grant-writing researcher
for that of a full time educator. It's funny how life oscillates.
I began by wanting to view the heavens with a telescope and then ended up looking into the body
with microscopes. I started my life by focusing mainly on science and preferring
NOT to be seen, to experiencing a world whose main emphasis is image and being larger than life,
to withdrawing back into a studious scientific bent and now putting myself once again out in
the world, trying to integrate all that I am in my goal of sharing science.
I want to encourage young men and women to not be afraid of pursuing science for
fear of stereotyping yourself as a nerd or geek. In my experience, most every student I meet is extremely well rounded
and knows quite a bit about a lot of things, not just science, and some dress quite fashionably
within the budget they can afford...as long as they don't mind the chance they could spill some
hydrochloric acid on their designer jeans!
The Younger Years
Shy, serious and sweet,
at least back then (this is me and my little sister).
I was probably contemplating the fact that
I was limited by things like time, space and gravity
able to feel pain and frustration.
Why would I be thinking that?
Well, it turns out
that my very first memory
of climbing that wall behind me and falling
a few cacti, leading to painful removal of the
spines from my backside...ouch!
Me in 7th grade. If I can recover
from this, anyone can!
I look like
I was built only for sitting around and reading science books
and making daisy chains........but don't let the fresh faced innocent enthusiasm
I hiked through the tropical boonies for hours
a day, holding my own
giant banana spiders, and running away from the occasional wild boar.
This is only one of quite a few hundred modeling
pictures of me from a while ago. I worked in Guam, Tokyo and very briefly in New York.
A great way to earn money, but I was so much more excited about science and couldn't wait to go
Funny story: I was eliminated for a toothpaste commercial because I was missing a tooth, but didn't even know it
because my teeth were so close together.
| || This
is not my favorite picture but it comes from the largest campaign I did for
Hollywood Salon and Spa in Tokyo, Japan. My personality at the time preferred that I be a bit incognito so the
billboards, commercials, magazine ads and subway signs was a bit unnerving!
I learned that young Japanese girls will run up to you and say "Sign!
Sign!" to request an autograph!|
So here it is, my very first cover. I think I did 5 or so
for this tourist magazine, but by far, this is
my favorite one. The magazine is about 11 X 14" so I could not scan the whole thing.
I DID drink that drink....no one told me it was a prop!
Next to it is the table of contents, with a slight variation of the image.
This is a picture from Cocos Island off the south coast of Guam.
I really liked that you can usually take a glass bottomed
to this island and can view the ocean life.
Two pictures from an outdoor
fashion show on Guam. I loved these clothes; they were so comfortable (100% cotton batik)
One more sarong.
This is one of my favorite photos simply because it has my
favorite photographer from Guam, Herman Crisostomo.
(Great photography skill runs in the family; his brother Manny
is a Pulitzer prize winning photographer)
Herman and I almost died together in a plane crash.
OK, not really, but our plane caught fire upon take-off from New York to
Herman said "It's been nice
knowing you, Jo!"
I loved that the
flight attendant came by calmly and said
sometimes this happens." as if she had just spilled a drink or something!
|Can you say "1980s"? Big shoulder pads! My bangs weren't scrunched up like a lot of fashion
shows I was in, but I think the essence is there! || |
| ||Speaking of the 80s, that side ponytail thing was BIG! This was the cover of one
of several composites I have had made. A composite is a card with several photos on it that you leave when you go on
"go-sees" (like an audition, although all you have to do is look pretty, show your pictures, and not talk!) The
back has a swimsuit photo and I was thinking I was going to keep those off this website. |
| This picture was saved from a fire, that's why it is all mottled. I was 14
or 15 years old in this picture. I do recall my eyes being dry and irritated from teh fan used for blowing back my hair!
My Work at the University of Illinois
I currently work as an online course developer/lecturer of science courses for the School of Integrative Biology here at the University of Illinois. This website is my personal site and does not represent the University of Illinois.
I am creating courses for the Online Master of Science in Teaching Biological Science. So if you are a teacher looking to expand upon your education, feel free to check out our program. I am in charge of a course
on the Human Genome and Bioinformatics and also one on Evolution and Human Health.
Before this new position as an online course developer, I worked as a laboratory teaching specialist and lecturer
at the University of Illinois in Urbana, and did so for nearly 20 years.
if you want to learn how to do a cell or molecular biology technique, I am able to teach you how, and give you the background
information you need to understand it. And I'll probably do it with more humor and enthusiasm than you might expect someone
who seriously knows her stuff to do it!
I used to teach
histology (studying tissues and organs using a microscope) for the department
of Cell and Developmental Biology. This is my area of expertise, hands down.
also used to teach mammalian cell culture
techniques and the concepts of stem cells
and tissue engineering in the Bioengineering Department. Since histology is a fairly static subject,
this is how I kept fresh and dynamic with respect to research on mammalian tissues!
Who are You and Why have you visited this site?
- You might be big fan of science and have chosen
to use it in your current or future career.
- You may also be a science enthusiast who knowsa lot about science and is always willing to learn more!
- Deep inside you know science is interesting
but somewhere along the way, you became confused by it or decided that science is just TOO hard.
- You are possibly charmed or intrigued by my
personality, style, or the fact that I don't fit the overarching and unfortunate stereotype of a woman in science, and came
here to find out more!
not visiting my website? People who have given up on science altogether or believe that science must be presented in a stuffy,
What I know about science and learning
The findings of science are fun, fascinating, and can ultimately be manipulated and harnessed for practical purposes to improve
mankind and the world.
Science has many facts that are very helpful to
know. You will be more successful with science if you take the time to learn
some of them.
To perform science, there
are a few elegant and simple rules to follow and these facts and rules can be easily learned,
if they are transmitted in a fun and entertaining way.
Wanting to learn some science? Here are a few suggestions:
Ask yourself if you have a favorite area of science and read a book about it. I have several great recommendations if don't know where to start.
Feel free to seek out experts in any field you are interested in.
You don't have to learn science just from me or your teachers.
The more enthusiastic your role model, the more excited you will be about science.
Find websites and people that resonate with the way you like to learn new material!
Can you merge science with a topic you are interested in?
Do you like make-up? See if you can understand the
chemistry of make-up.
you like history? Read about some scientists in the era that most intrigues you.
Do you appreciate the latest technologies? It's easy
to find the scientific concepts behind those on geeky websites!
I won't kid you, science does require an
element of concentration and studying.
This may seem overwhelming
sometimes, but one can break
down bigger scientific tasks to more manageable segments.
Anyone can learn science, but don't expect to learn it all in 5 minutes or 5 days!
Here is the local production of
a tour through my lab and a brief talk about stem cells from Parkland Community College and their show Surrounded by Science, click on episode 22