I gained my BA (Hons) in English Language and Literature in Spain, receiving an award as the top-achieving student in my cohort. I did the final year of my undergraduate studies in fact at the University of Ulster, Coleraine, as part of the Erasmus programme. Subsequently, I moved to Northern Ireland and completed an MA in Modern Literary Studies with Distinction, and a PhD in Nineteenth-Century American Literature, both at Queen's University, Belfast. Alongside my love of literature, I have a keen interest in literacy development and applied linguistics, and this led me to undertake an MA in Education at The Open University in recent years.
I joined The Open University in 2005, initially as an Associate Lecturer, and my efforts as an innovative tutor were recognised with an Open University Teaching Award in June 2009. From November 2009, I have supported teaching and learning at the University more extensively in various capacities and locations, including as Staff Tutor in Ireland, Student Services Manager and Senior Faculty Manager for The Open University in the South, and - since August 2019, as Staff Tutor in English.
I became a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy in 2016. My submission towards this accreditation highlighted the significant impact I have made at The Open University as the lead Academic Conduct Officer for the Arts and Humanities from 2011.
My main research interests are in the interconnection between literature and popular culture in the nineteenth century in America, and I am a member of the Nathaniel Hawthorne Society and the Society for the Study of American Women Writers. Both my MA in English and my PhD explored how pseudo-sciences and technological developments featured in the writing of high- and low-brow nineteenth-century American authors, featuring as themes, aiding the development of sympathetic characters, and even acting as structural devices.
‘“Through the Eye”: Italian Landscapes and the Embodiment of Character in Wharton’s The Valley of Decision,’ presented to the Transatlantic Women II International Conference, June 2013
‘Legendary Seduction: Don Juan in Spanish Literature, 1630 – 1970,’ presented at the Don Juan Symposium in London, September 2011
‘Oliver Wendell Holmes and the “Medicated Gaze,”’ presented at the Third Conference of the British Society for Literature and Science, March 2008
‘The “Power of Sight”: American Women Writers and Pseudo-Scientific Performance,’ presented at the Third international Conference of the Society for the Study of American Women Writers, November 2006
‘Emerson, Poe, and Hawthorne: Transatlantic Influences and the Struggle for Articulation,’ presented at the Transatlanticism in American Literature conference on Emerson, Hawthorne, and Poe, July 2006.
I was an Associate Lecturer for The Open University between 2005 and 2016 and taught English Literature modules from level 2 to postgraduate: A210, Approaching Literature; AA316, The Nineteenth-Century Novel; AA810, Postgraduate Foundation Module in Literature; A815, MA in English Part 1; A816, MA in English Part 2. I also taught English literature modules across all levels at Queen's University, Belfast, between 2003 and 2009.
Since 2016, I have been closely involved in the management of tuition for AA100, The Arts Past and Present, A215, Creative Writing, and - more prominently - A334, English Literature from Shakespeare to Austen. Further, since August 2019, I am a member of two modules in production: A112, Cultures, for which I am the Deputy Module Team Chair; and A893, the first module of what will be the new MA in English Literature.
In addition to these roles, I am currently the lead researcher of two Scholarship projects. One of them is examining key factors behind and trends in cases of poor academic practice. The other will be exploring the effectiveness of the most recent changes introduced in the tuition of undergraduate English modules at The Open University.
Contributions to teaching materials
2018-2019 - Author of the Academic Integrity Unit and the associated iCMA for A111, Discovering the Arts and Humanities
2010 - Author of 'The Development of Nineteenth-Century Criticism' section of the Study Guide for AA316, The Nineteenth-Century Novel