I was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area. At UC Santa Cruz I earned a BA in Language Studies. I then served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Cameroon and Togo. After Peace Corps I went to UCLA, where I earned a Masters in Teaching English as a Second Language and a doctorate in Applied Linguistics. Between graduate degrees I was a visiting scholar in African Languages and Linguistics at Leiden University. After completing my graduate studies, I took up a postdoctoral fellowship in the Center for Informal Learning and Schools, a National Science Foundation Center for Learning and Teaching. I have studied Dutch, French, Fulfulde, Hausa, Somali, Spanish, and Wandala. I am married to a Dutchman and we have two children, whom we are raising in Dutch. We have one Cameroonian cat and seven Ohioan chickens.