A native of Nashville, Tennessee and a Vanderbilt University alumna, I grew up as a young caregiver for my disabled mother. Caring for her since age 11, I was isolated, scared, and like many other young caregivers in the United States, I did not know that I was a "young caregiver". I was simply a loving daughter, helping my mother who needed me. My experience led me to want to change the world for other children with caring responsibilities.
In 2013, I moved from the United States to the United Kingdom to study under the world-renowned young carers researcher, Professor Saul Becker. My doctoral research at the University of Birmingham focused on the identity development of young adult caregivers living in the United Kingdom and United States; it is also the largest qualitative research project involving young adult caregivers undertaken in the United States and the only UK-USA comparative research project involving young caregivers.
I completed a post-doctoral research fellowship at the University of Sussex and during spring 2021, I served as the Hunt Research Director at the National Alliance for Caregiving. In my latest work with young carers, I co-led the United Kingdom research activities of a nearly €4 million European Commission funded research project to investigate the mental health well-being of adolescent young caregivers in the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Slovenia, Italy, the Netherlands, and Sweden. Prior to my research career, I was a nationally certified mental health counselor (USA). I presently sit on the Healthcare Delivery and Disparities Research Advisory Panel of PCORI, the board of trustees for the Carers Centre for Brighton and Hove, the National Advisory Council for the American Association of Caregiving Youth, and numerous international research advisory committees. I now serve as the Assistant Dean of Student Affairs at Vanderbilt University School of Nursing.
My research with young caregivers has taken me around the world, presenting in places as diverse as Miami, Zurich, and Ljubljana, and in front of audiences as varied as schoolchildren in Nashville to academics in Sydney, Australia and policy makers in the European Parliament in Brussels. I currently reside in Nashville where I continue to provide care for my mother.