My Bio (so far...)


I was born in Albuquerque, NM, but I grew up northeast of there in the VERY SMALL town of Raton, NM (hey, visit this site, its nearly as exciting as the town itself...), right on the Colorado border. I graduated from Raton High School (home of the "Fighting Tigers", woohoo...) I later attended New Mexico State University in Las Cruces NM, where I received a B.S. in Chemistry with a minor in math. I then headed north and west, to Oregon. (Don't get me wrong -- I love New Mexico, I miss it sorely, especially the big skies and the green chile...) I took two years off from school to work as a lab tech for Dr. Geri Richmond at the University of Oregon in Eugene, OR. Despite the rain, and partly because of a certain Derek Gragson, I decided to stay in Eugene for a few more years, attending Univ. of Oregon as a graduate student in the Chemistry Dept. I received both my Master's and PhD in chemistry, working for Dr. Catherine Page on multilayer thin films with nonlinear optical properties (go ahead, ask, I'll explain that to you...). While attending UO, I was lucky enough to meet my husband, Dr. Derek Gragson.

After graduate school we lived in Claremont California for about a year, while Derek completed a post doc at Harvey Mudd College. (Loved the San Gabriel Mountains, when I could see them...) I worked there too for a summer, doing research on AFM of co-polymer thin films (can't seem to get away from those thin films..) with Derek's post doc advisor, Dr. Shenda Baker. I was then fortunate enough to teach chemistry for one semester at both Harvey Mudd and Pomona College. Great experience, but now I'm happy to say we've found our way here to the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry at California Polytechnic State University in beautiful San Luis Obispo. We live in Los Osos, and have two beautiful daughters.

So...what do I to for fun? (yes, I do know how to relax..., and no, I'm not always at work...) I love to ride my bike, which we used to do alot of in Oregon, but which doesn't happen at all these days, after recovering from TWO back surgeries, in 2006 & 2008. (Check out this COOL site that has an animation of the very surgeries I had, microdiscectomy. I had a large part of my L5-S1 disc removed in this surgery, and second time around had more removed and also had some stenosis taken care of, and some bone chips removed from a nerve.) I also love to read and I'm trying to pass that on to to our daughters. I love to garden, I especially love roses, but we also grew some vegetables and LOTS of flowers this summer. I'm also a big movie fan, but again, with two kids, I see most of the movies lately on DVD, and I watch as many kids movies as I do more "grown-up" movies. I also make jewelry, which is my most creative outlet. But of course, there's never enough time though to do all these things...