Earned and Honorary Degrees
PhD English—Literature & Environment, University of Nevada, Reno
MA English—Literature & Creative Writing, Northern Michigan University
BA English, Northern Michigan University
I grew up in Michigan with a passion for books and creative writing. Seeking to reconcile those interests with my growing concerns over anthropogenic climate change and related environmental degradation, I found a home in the field of ecocriticism. I believe literature and culture have significant roles to play in imagining and pursuing sustainable futures in the Great Lakes region and beyond.
I am inspired by Northland’s close-knit community, its liberal arts tradition, and its environmental focus. I appreciate the College’s enduring commitments to local Indigenous communities, including our dynamic Indigenous Cultures Center. It is energizing to be in a place where head and heart can align (and Lake Superior never fails to help bring everything into focus).
I am working with my colleagues and with the Indigenous Cultures Center to develop and redesign courses for the Native American and Indigenous studies program. Given my background, I tend to teach courses with emphases on literature and cultural representation. I also enjoy opportunities to teach other courses for the Nature and Culture and Humanities departments.
I am interested in the ways in which literature informs our connections to land and water, how stories influence our interactions with the more-than-human world. My current work examines grassroots environmental justice activists and artists, their depictions of environments, and how these depictions support solidarity among diverse groups. This inquiry has led me to study how Indigenous knowledge and worldviews engage current theoretical trends reappraising materiality (e.g., material ecocriticism, material feminism). Other research interests include queer ecology, sustainable foodways, and 20th/21st-century American literature.
I strive for students to complete course projects that find life outside the classroom (e.g., as publications or public presentations). I also encourage students' development as critical readers and writers by giving them opportunities to develop their craft and by sharing my own strategies as a fellow writer and lifelong student.
When not poring over books, I'm out running, exploring the woods, walking by the lake, practicing yoga, or cooking and fermenting seasonal veggies—alright, alright, I have tried to read while doing those things, too.