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Friday, May 29, 2015

Get To Know LATIS'S Cristina Lopez

Cristina Lopez

Current Title? Educational Technologies Consultant, Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL) team

When did you start working at the U? 2005

What brought you to your current job? I jumped at the opportunity to work in CLA. I’ve always admired how people in LATIS are not only innovative, but also generous about sharing what they know and create. And I wanted to work in the liberal arts, which is my intellectual home.

What is your favorite aspect of your job? I love that there are so many opportunities to learn and to contribute. But one of my favorite aspects is providing consultations. Whether the person I’m meeting with is frustrated because something isn’t working or they’re about to start an exciting new project, it’s very satisfying to help them solve problems and imagine the possibilities.

What advice do you have for LATIS constituents who are intimidated by technology? The first step is to figure out why people might feel apprehensive. Maybe it feels that things are moving too fast, or there are too many choices, or the learning curve is too steep. I also find that it’s not always intimidation, but that people have too much else on their plates, or maybe they feel (healthy) skepticism. My advice: be purposeful about trying things out. You don’t have to try something just because it’s new. Make sure to learn and experiment at the right time, when you have breathing room and time to plan ahead. (Trying something new in the middle of the semester is generally not a good idea.) Technologies rarely are entirely new, and you can often apply what you’ve learned from using other tools. The learning curve will be just a little less steep when the next new thing comes along. And actually, I’d give everybody that advice, regardless of their attitudes about technology.

What do you do for fun? Cooking (vegetarian food), going to the farmers market, and reading about cooking and food, including food politics.Travel: lately have spent most of that time in Colorado (with my partner, visiting our immediate family) and Spain (visiting my dad’s side of the family). Watching my dog lose his mind from happiness at the dog park, doing all the joyful things dogs do.

What was your worst or most unusual job? My first job after college was at a commercial art gallery near Ghiradelli Square. I worked in promotions. The art was mostly bad, but the people were great--some were artists, and many of them were characters. We hosted art openings at least once a month, and though we were working it was fun to dress up and watch clients drink a lot of wine and buy a lot of art. For one of our company parties we all got on a boat and spent the day tooling around the San Francisco Bay. The rumor was that the owner traded a Leroy Nieman painting for that time on the boat.

Motto or personal mantra: “Give it time.” I keep learning that lesson.

Favorite book/author and do you prefer paper or e-book?
Technology does many great things, but I prefer books that are made of paper and bound. I love a well designed book, and like that books don’t run on electricity. It’s easy to hand off a book to a friend, and a well made book can be preserved for centuries. Two of my all time favorites are Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass, and What Alice Found There. Recent favorite authors are China Mieville and Nalo Hopkinson.

Favorite source of inspiration?
Photographs, all kinds. I especially love looking at photos that give me a sense of how people have lived in different places and at different times. And of course great photography creates new perspectives on the most familiar people, places and things.

Favorite food and drink?
A cold glass of sherry (fino or manzanilla) with olives and almonds. Perfect on a hot summer day.

Favorite TV show and movie?
TV show: Rome (HBO), movies: Pan’s Labyrinth, District 9

I’m happiest when I’m:
in conversation over a nice meal at home; standing in the kitchen chopping vegetables and herbs; wandering around the farmers market.

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