My father was a university librarian and my mother was a writer, and I always knew being a writer at a college or university would be the perfect fit for me. My first story, at age six, was about cats that ran a college and fended off the dogs that tried to interfere.
I honed my writing skills while earning a B.A. in English at Hendrix College in Conway, Arkansas (ranked the nation's top up-and-coming liberal arts college in recent years by U.S. News & World Report) while also working part-time at the local newspaper, at a printing company, and at a publishing house in Little Rock.
I then earned an M.Ed. in higher education administration at Texas A&M while working full time as a writer and editor there.
A third-generation Aggie, the land-grant ideal is in my blood (literally--my father's parents were both county extension agents and met at an extension conference on campus in 1924), and I stayed at Texas A&M in various writing and PR jobs.
A few years later, I was enticed back into the classroom to work on my Ph.D. in higher education administration full time.
I loved every minute of my doctoral research, which involved gathering and analyzing the stories of select Texas A&M graduates from classes in the 1920s, '30s, and '40s to find out why they gave so generously to the university when everything about it had been utterly transformed.
My dissertation was only the second one to receive both the Dissertation of the Year Award and T. M. Stinnett Award for Scholarly Achievement.
Since then, in various jobs and now through Teaching, Research, and Service, I have helped hundreds of faculty tell their story to assist with promotion and tenure, to gain recognition from their colleagues, and to inform policymakers, funding agencies, and the public.
I also have helped administrators prepare speeches, program materials, website content, and other narratives.
For a period totaling more than a decade, I helped three presidents of Texas A&M and three chancellors of The Texas A&M University System tell their stories through speeches, op-eds, correspondence, web content, and other venues.
Along the way, I was awarded an Administrative Fulbright Grant to learn about higher education in Japan, and participated in Leadership Texas (now Leadership Women), a year-long program for 100 women leaders.
I also have received awards and honors from the International Association of Business Communicators and Public Relations Society of America, as well as fun awards, such as winning the Writers' Police Academy Golden Donut short story contest.
Personality-wise, I'm an oddball: an INTJ, by far the rarest of the 16 Myers-Briggs personality categories. What that means for you is that I'm good at brainstorming and thinking up big ideas, as well as tackling tedious, detail-oriented tasks. I believe in speaking frankly and definitely am NOT a drama queen.
When I'm not working, I enjoy doting on my four rescued cats, working on my murder mystery set on the campus of a major research university, and going on motorcycle trips with my husband, Michael, preferably to the Big Bend region of Texas or mountains of Arkansas.