I can sometimes be seen at living history events or public speaking engagements as my alter ego, Mrs. Mary Knight of the backcountry in Virginia 1862. Here is Mrs. Mary Knight at New Market, VA.

I can sometimes be seen at living history events or public speaking engagements as my alter ego, Mrs. Mary Knight of the backcountry in Virginia 1862. Here is Mrs. Mary Knight at New Market, VA.


 About Me

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."