Professor and Department Chair
Women's and Gender Studies Coordinator
Ph.D.: Washington State University
M.A.: Western Michigan University
B.B.A.: Western Michigan University
I came to teaching after being an accountant, a technical writer, and a corporate trainer, so doing all of these jobs made me realize how important it is to be able to write well and be adept at critical analysis.
Research and Scholarly Interests
My research focuses on analyzing gender, national identity, and performance in a variety of contexts—from Harry Potter to reality TV. I teach courses for the English Education program and classes in American literature, including Major Author classes on contemporary playwrights from Lillian Hellman to Anna Deavere Smith, and special topics courses like Witchcraft and Witch-Hunts in Literature.
For fun I like to run, skijor, ski, dance, knit, read, and play the violin.
Campus and/or Community Involvement
- Women’s and Gender Studies Coordinator, Co-Chair UW System WGS Consortium, English Department Chair
- Friends of the Tomorrow/Waupaca River, Portage County Cultural Festival
What do you enjoy most about teaching?
What do you enjoy most about teaching? It’s always interesting—new students, new ideas, fresh takes on old ideas, exploring different beliefs, experiences, and ways of thinking. Teaching is like reading a novel: you never know what the conclusion will be, but the process of getting there and the twists and turns of the journey keep you engaged. Working with future English teachers is a special joy since it keeps me reflecting on my own teaching practices and these exceptional students consistently challenge me to be a better teacher.
What do you want students gain from your teaching?
What do you want students gain from your teaching? That their ideas and experiences matter and that it’s important to test our own ideas by looking at them through the lens of others’ words. My goal is always that students in my classes walk away with something that helps them in their lives outside the classroom. Whether they’re reading a novel written in 1946 or watching a documentary from 2018, I want them to make a connection to what matters today, especially how learning about others’ experiences helps us to react thoughtfully and respectfully to new ideas. Reading is powerful, and I hope students experience that power in my classroom.