Those who know me well know that I have a very hard time sitting still: I’ve always been a multi-tasker, and I’ve come to learn that things like “work-life balance” don’t actually exist in real life. I’m happiest when I’m doing many things at once: writing a paper, folding laundry, grading an exam, planning the week’s meals, answering email. This means I’m a bit hyper and always a little bit too perky (just ask my colleagues), but I wouldn’t have it any other way: there’s too much life to enjoy to sit down and let it pass you by! My time is devoted to things I love: my job, my husband and two children, my colleagues and friends, my house, and dreaming about Europe.
I’m fortunate in that, since about 10th grade, I knew that I wanted to be a professor of something, and thus far I haven’t been disappointed by that very early decision. A native Minnesotan, I graduated from Brainerd High School and continued my education at the University of Minnesota, Duluth, where I was initially convinced that I wanted to spend my life teaching German. I was able to take advantage of a study abroad program that landed me in Graz, Austria for the better part of a year, and while there I realized that 1.) the courses I enjoyed most while at the university in Graz forced me to think about things like international law, politics, and justice; and 2.) the courses I liked the least forced me think about the German subjunctive, which is not nearly as thrilling as it sounds. Upon returning to Duluth I added a Political Science major and followed a path that eventually led me to the University of Iowa, where I completed my Ph.D. in Political Science in 2006. At Iowa, I was guided by my mentor, adviser, and friend Gerhard Loewenberg, who gently encouraged me to connect my love of language and of politics by studying European (mostly German) politics and the European Union. I completed my dissertation research at the German Bundestag in Berlin in November 2005, interviewed for this position at UW Oshkosh just days after my return to the U.S., completed my dissertation in July 2006, and have been happily a member of this extraordinary department since September 2006.