About me

Born and raised in the south and southwest suburbs of Chicago. Attended University of Chicago for undergrad and University of Minnesota for grad, all in geography. Former resident of Minneapolis and St. Paul, plus Boston, L.A., and Sacramento, as well as Champaign and Urbana. Have visited 48 states and 4 continents. Married to a mathematician.

Half marathons

I never ran as a kid, but if you’ve heard of the “freshman fifteen,” consider the “tenure-track thirty.” Once I was awarded tenure and had the time to do things for myself, I took up running. (Slowly.) I worked my way up from 5Ks to 10Ks and have now finished sixteen half-marathons in sixteen different states, with the ultimate goal of hitting all fifty. My favorite so far has been the Detroit Free Press Half Marathon, where you get to go over the Ambassador Bridge and through the Windsor Tunnel, something pedestrians are normally never allowed to do.

Running has helped to teach me something academia can’t, that it’s up to you to do the best you can against yourself and only yourself. I’m never going to qualify for Boston or win a race, but I’m going to improve myself and have fun along the way.


My gift to myself when I finished my PhD was a sewing machine. My mom made me some beloved quilts when I was little, and I always wanted to learn how to quilt. I’ve mostly taught myself from books and patterns, and while I sometimes think I’m more of a fabric collector than a quilter, I do finish one every once in a while. (Some of them are for sale at my Etsy shop, if you’re so inclined.)

Love me, love my teams

I grew up in the Chicago suburbs with a Dad who was a Cubs fan and Mom who was a White Sox fan. So I cheer them both, although the Chicago Cubs have always been the team of my heart for their perennial underdog status. When I moved to Boston in 1999, it was easy to become a Red Sox fan as well, and they’re my second team. Twins and Dodgers and Tigers are okay, too, depending on who they’re playing, but never, EVER, the Yankees.

I don’t follow a lot of college sports except our awesome Illini volleyball team, for which a friend and I have had season tickets for years.