My "professional bio" begins at 12 years old when I became a childcare provider on weekends and an ice cream pusher at a cousin's olde fashioned diner. Working at McDonald's, Dunkin Donuts, various retail outlets, a biker bar, and two supermarkets (some of these jobs held simultaneously) while a teenager and community college student certainly expanded my capacity for considering my subject position as a working poor, woman identified person. In college I aligned myself with the humanities and here I am, still insisting reading and writing can be a life work, that emotional and affective labors are valid, and my trajectory has some value. During college I also enjoyed my time as a trainer of all ages at the YMCA, a place where, for 5 years, I had many meaningful and pleasantly existential conversations. From ages 9-15 I was also a semi-pro dancer in a company called Broadway Rhythms. That turned out to be a non-sequitur.
I studied for an M.Ed. and M.A. as I taught at community colleges and universities, managed a few publications, and ran a small art business with my mother. Now I live and work in rural Appalachia with my spouse and our child.
Anyway, after witnessing the impact of trauma on a few key people in my life and advancing to the PhD level, my focus has become on thinking and writing about the carceral system: its impact on people who have already been neglected socially, their communities, and ways the American Prison reifies racism, sexism, classism, and homophobia within its walls and outside. My dissertation project explores "carceral culture": the ways we gaze at prisons, prisoners, and the ways we engage in necropolitical oppression of certain groups sometimes unconsciously. The literature I work with is based in popular literature and culture depicting prison environments. More importantly, I examine the stories written by true witnesses of the prison industrial complex--prisoners themselves--through autobiographical and creative texts.