Valerie was raised and inspired by a long line of courageous men and women. Her maternal grandparents were small business owners in Alabama, and her grandmother ran for town elections in the early 1980s. Valerie was raised by a single mother who followed her dream to become an...Read more
Valerie was raised and inspired by a long line of courageous men and women. Her maternal grandparents were small business owners in Alabama, and her grandmother ran for town elections in the early 1980s. Valerie was raised by a single mother who followed her dream to become an engineer while raising Valerie and her sister. Valerie’s father, a first generation college graduate, worked on oil rigs and struggled with mental illness. After her parents passed away, Valerie realized the importance of using her voice for people in need and how important our social services are and could be. She lives in Hamden with her two daughters, Avery (11) and Evelyn (6).
Nine years ago, Valerie moved to Connecticut to launch her laboratory to study skin biology in part because Connecticut was supporting bioscience in innovative ways. She built a successful career as a scientist and educator, but always had a drive to use her voice to advocate for women, minorities, and families in science and in academia. She has organized colleagues and initiatives throughout her campus. She is most proud of the initiative that she led, which resulted in a new childcare facility at Yale, the Nest, a branch of the Alphabet Academy and a local Hamden business.
In 2016, Valerie joined the unprecedented energy and attention on national and local politics across the United States after the election of Donald Trump. She was inspired to join the chorus of voices that stand for truth and hope by helping to found and become CEO of Action Together CT, a grassroots organization that engages Connecticut’s citizens to support elections and progressive legislation. Action Together CT has over 6000 members state-wide, has made historic efforts to support the election of Democrats throughout the state, raised over $12,000 for immigrants through IRIS in 2017, and has supported progressive legislation. This work has led Valerie to realize the importance of having engaged, intelligent, and thoughtful leaders in our state government.