Justin was born and raised in a working-class neighborhood of Fresno, CA. He grew up in a community that valued hard work, physical labor, and being able to build and fix things for yourself. He attended public schools that didn’t expect much from their students but found a few exceptional teachers along the way. He spent his weekends working on cars and small engines with his father and grandfather, playing soccer in the street with his friends, and cooking in his grandmother’s kitchen. As a first-generation college student, Justin found higher education to be simultaneously confusing, liberating, problematic, and empowering, but he stuck with it because he saw in education a chance to fight for and support those not traditionally included nor expected to succeed in life. Justin received both his BA in English Literature and his MA in Composition Studies from California State University Fresno. He also earned an MPhil in Composition and Cultural Rhetoric from Syracuse University. Justin has worked in, built, consulted, overhauled, and directed writing centers since 1996 and teaches courses in composition, rhetoric, language theory, and business/technical writing. He has additional research interests in working-class studies and literature of the Vietnam War.
When not at CU Denver, Justin spends his time hiking and camping in the Rocky Mountains, coaching and playing soccer, and hanging out with his wife and children. He enjoys reading post-apocalypse and dystopian literature; is a connoisseur of tequila, mescal, sotol, and raicilla; and wishes that the entire country were connected by greenways and nature trails. When hiking with his family, he often finds it hard to come back home, firmly believing that there is always something amazing just around the next turn and beyond the next rise.