I’m the daughter of a farmer and a schoolteacher. As I see it, farming and teaching are vocations that both nurture life. I decided to follow the teaching pathway. I went to the University of Iowa for my undergraduate degree (in music) and I liked education so much that I just kept going—until I had two Master’s degrees and a
Doctorate from Yale University. I spent twenty years out East teaching at the college level; I learned a lot, developed my skills, and applied all the grit and perseverance of my ancestors to my work. But what I wanted most of all was to return to the farm. I always knew that Iowa was the most beautiful place with the best sense of community in the world—my home.
In 2019, my husband and I made the move to raise our daughter here, just two miles up the gravel road from my family’s farm. It was important to me that my daughter connect to the family farm and have the chance to grow up in a caring, strong community with excellent schools and vibrant local traditions.
What do I do now? I continue my work as a researcher, but I commit much of my time to our community here. My parents and grandparents instilled in me the call to public service. I volunteer as a catechist at my church (St. John’s) and a member of the social justice committee; I serve on the board of the Southeast Linn Community Center—an organization that my grandmother and many other local heroes helped get off the ground once upon a time. I also recently completed the coursework to become a Master Gardener Intern, joining a wonderful group of volunteers who help educate and inspire their neighbors to become more self-sufficient in food and supportive of natural habitat.
It is essential to me to work for the common good, to honor the fortitude and generosity of my ancestors, and to plant seeds for the next generation’s success.
Duquesne Award: In 2015, I was awarded the President’s Award in Teaching Excellence—Duquesne University’s highest teaching award.
In my home garden, cleaning the spring garlic beds.