WHERE ARE YOU FROM?
I was born and raised in Madison, Wisconsin, the picturesque capital of America’s Dairyland. When it came time to pursue a college education, I traded Wisconsin’s cows for Iowa’s cornstalks and spent the next five years at the University of Iowa. With my college degree finally in hand, I moved to the peaceful city of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where I lived and worked until my husband and I relocated to and spent six years in Ann Arbor, Michigan, the final stop – at least until now – on our Midwestern tour.
HOW DID YOU END UP IN TEXAS?
When the time came for our family to leave Michigan, we considered opportunities in New York, Virginia, Maryland, and Texas. The decision was a difficult one, but ultimately we chose College Station (where my husband is now a professor at Texas A&M University) because of the lifestyle we believed it would provide for our family.
WHAT IS YOUR PROFESSIONAL HISTORY?
I graduated from the University of Iowa with a BA in Sociology and a minor in Human Relations in 2002. (A word of advice to those considering a sociology major: unless you love research and plan on earning advanced degrees, don’t do it. Sociology is a fascinating subject, but the major itself prepares you for nothing but more sociology.)
After college I was hired as the Financial Development Associate for the Grant Wood Area Chapter of the American Red Cross in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. When we moved to Ann Arbor, Michigan I remained with the American Red Cross, first as the Blood Services Volunteer Coordinator and then as the Director of Volunteer Resources for the Washtenaw County Chapter. Throughout the years I’ve also taught a variety of American Red Cross health and safety classes – CPR, first aid, and water safety – to community members and corporate employees.
My family’s change in geography in 2010 prompted a change in professional focus for me, and though it was scary to do so, I left behind my administrative connection to the American Red Cross to pursue a writing career.
Despite having bid farewell to the American Red Cross office for the time being, my love for and support of the organization remain as strong as ever. I volunteer for my local Red Cross chapter and contribute regularly to the National American Red Cross blog.
DO YOU HAVE ANY KIDS? HOW ABOUT PETS?
My husband and I have two children: Will (born October 2006) and Hallie (born April 2009). Before our human children came along, my husband and I babied two kittens – Duke and Clementine – both of whom, sadly, are no longer with us. Duke is chasing balls of yarn in “cat heaven” after being hit by a car, and Clementine lives with my parents because she hates children and hates us for having children.