I was born in Alaska when it was still a territory of the United States. Our license plates announced that we lived in The Last Frontier, and that is how it felt to me as I grew up tramping through forests of birch and spruce, riding the turbulent Tanana in a riverboat made by my dad, and swatting mosquitoes–the bane of my existence. Since my move to North Dakota, my world has been made new with the possibility of exploring multiple frontiers, here and abroad.
I am a historian and an editor. My work-related travels offer unique opportunities for me to continue my explorations, now in professional capacity, researching and writing about the history and culture of places that have become dear to me. I focus my travel narratives in Home & Away on North Dakota–my home place for nearly a decade–and on the Great Plains region, where I have spent the last twenty years in Texas, Oklahoma, and now North Dakota. Initially because of my husband’s research (he’s a historian, too) in New Zealand, Australia, and Canada, I have now added these beautiful countries to my own repertoire of research interests. Since 2003 we have continued to explore & document these places together in image and scholarly narrative. We’ve presented our research jointly and singly in multiple national and international conferences, and we have several article and book publications in various stages of production and publication.
My education includes graduating from the University of Texas at Austin with a BS in Applied Learning and Development. From there I taught fifth grade at the charming Shady Grove Elementary for nearly a decade, satisfied with what I was doing until by good fortune I became a National Endowment for the Humanities Scholar. The scholarship was a gift of five weeks of uninterrupted study of the Great Plains region along with fourteen other teachers of like interests from across the United States. I was the only one in the bunch who did not hold a master’s or PhD. The company I kept inspired me to further my education, which I did posthaste, earning first a master’s in history at the University of Central Oklahoma and last a PhD in history from North Dakota State University. I am now thrilled to be working as assistant professor of practice and editor in chief of the Institute for Regional Studies Press, located at NDSU. I am responsible for the acquisition of manuscripts and the production, marketing, and publicity of our books. I also teach one travel writing course, two publishing courses, and an online North Dakota history course.
I hope you enjoy Home & Away, a travelogue from places near and far, and that you will become a regular visitor. The title derives from a common sports term, a reference to a schedule that includes playing games “at home and away.” The title is a play on words for my own travel itinerary, which although grounded in serious and scholarly work, also brings the rewards of play.