I am a professional historian from West Virginia. I earned my Master of Arts in History from the University of Nebraska at Kearney. Since then, I have focused my research on the history of West Virginia and rural Appalachia primarily. I am an active member of the National Coalition of Independent Scholars (NCIS) serving on the membership committee. I am also a casual author who is working on my first cozy mystery as well as being a contributing author to the Chicken Soup series.
My thesis work, focusing on Appalachia, took a fresh approach to the evolution of the Mid-Ohio Valley region. In this work, I argue that after federal intervention by the Roosevelt Administration, West Virginia was able to finally break free from the burdens created by a robber baron mentality and the Great Depression to become a reliable and sought after war-time partner to the federal government during World War II.
My present research involves those early settlers in present-day West Virginia who originally sailed here from Holland to settle in New Netherland in the 17th century. In this work, I trace their progeny from New Netherland into extremely isolated regions and eventually into the area that is now present-day Randolph County, WV.
Also, by having over 25 years’ experience in the medical laboratory sciences gives me a unique perspective to Environmental History, particularly in the area of disease and public health. In a project using that lens, I used techniques common in modern epidemiology to show that a single cryptic entry of a “plague” in my own West Virginia community was most likely an outbreak of tuberculosis instead of an illness unique to the region as the original early 20th century author had surmised.
As a historian, I also work in higher education teaching United States History and Political Science courses. My passion there is educating rural Appalachian students particularly in the community college. I specialize in both non-traditional students and dual credit high school courses where I am experienced in both classroom and distance education. In addition to teaching, I am a Quality Matters Peer Reviewer and I am certificated and experienced in Quality Matters with both "Applying the Quality Matters Rubric" and "Improving Your Online Course."