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Hi I'm Jessica.

I'm a professor. I'm an intramural flag football coach. I'm a Mormon.

About Me

I am a professor who hopes I'll be able to publish enough not to "perish." Despite the pressure, I have a lot of fun researching--especially because it takes me all over the world. I also love the teaching part of my job. It's so rewarding to watch my students begin to explore the "why?" and "so what?" of the world around them. I am also a daughter and a big sister in an awesome and supportive family. I grew up in Hawaii, but these days I spend a lot more time in the mountains skiing than in the ocean swimming. One of the most fun things I've done recently was to attempt to coach an intramural women's flag football team made up entirely of female faculty who had never played football before. If you're wondering, it was a "building year," but we're ready to dominate next season!

Why I am a Mormon

Why am I a Mormon? Because it helps me be a better, happier person. It gives direction, meaning, and purpose to my life. It gives me a way to connect with and serve others. But most importantly, I am a Mormon because I have come to believe deeply the doctrines that the religion espouses: That we have a Heavenly Father who loves all of us dearly. That we have an older brother, Jesus Christ, who taught us the right way to live and then atoned for all of our sins and shortcomings. That the Book of Mormon is an inspired scriptural companion to the Bible. That God still speaks through prophets. And that as I do my best to do what I know I should do, the grace of God can transform my weaknesses into strengths.

How I live my faith

I live my faith by prioritizing the tasks at hand according to what is most important in the grand scheme of things. For example, I ensure that I make time to commune with my Heavenly Father. I do this formally through worshiping at church, studying scriptures, and kneeling to pray, but also informally by pausing to thank God for the beauty of the mountains while I'm skiing or the joy that comes from laughing with my brothers.

What are Mormon women like? Do Mormons believe in equality of men and women?

Do Mormons believe in gender equality? Yes. Absolutely. This is a foundational doctrine. Because we believe that the Fall of Adam and Eve was a necessary step in God's plan, we do not vilify Eve or her daughters or believe in original sin. And one of my favorite aspects of Mormon doctrine is that it requires both men AND women to be charitable, courageous, humble, forgiving, chaste, educated, strong, wise, and kind. It's difficult to generalize about Mormon women because there are so many of us from such different backgrounds at such different stages of life. For example, I am a full-time professor who earned a Ph.D. from a top university. My mom was a stay-at-home mom for most of my childhood years, but now she directs a non-profit community organization. Many of my Mormon female family and friends are wives and mothers, and a number of them stay at home to focus on raising their children. But my Mormon female friends also include several attorneys, accountants, and school teachers, an atmospheric chemist and a biochemist, a massage therapist, two statisticians, a PR executive, an audiobook reader, a dancer, a graphic designer...you get the point. Some of us are sweet, some of us are saucy; some of us are introverted, some of us are extroverted; some of us are right-brained, some of us are left-brained; some of us are natural believers, some of us are natural questioners. Really the only thing that we have in common is that we are Mormon and try to live our religion. Show more Show less