I was born and raised in southern Minnesota.

I am descended from generations of Scandinavian farm folk.

I received my BA Department of Cultural Studies and Comparative Literature from the University of Minnesota in 1999, where I wrote about the cultural history of American straightedge while going to lots of punk rock shows on the weekends.

I received my MA in English from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2002, with a specialization in Writing Studies.

I lived in Seattle for two years, breathing clean air, drinking good coffee, and taking in the mountains.

I received my PhD in English from Penn State in 2008, with a specialization in rhetoric.

My first tenure-track position was in the English department at Louisiana State University, where I was also affiliated with Women’s and Gender Studies. In Louisiana I learned that nothing in the world tastes better than jambalaya made in a cast iron pot by someone who knows how to make a good, dark roux.

My dog Lulu is a true Louisiana gumbo — a mix of a little of everything.