I grew up on a farm in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains in extreme northeastern Tennessee. I received a Bachelor's degree from East Tennessee State University in 1985 with a major in Biology and a minor in Art. From there, I went to the University of Southwestern Louisiana (now the University of Louisiana, Lafayette), where I pursued a Master’s degree in Behavioral Ecology, working on the territorial behavior of female salamanders and graduating in 1987. For the next several years, I worked as a research assistant on the monogamous behavior of a species of cichlid fish at Lehigh University in Pennsylvania.
I came to Kansas State University in 1991, where I did research on the food caching behavior of woodrats and completed my Ph.D. in 1996. Currently, I am at K-State working as an Assistant Professor and Assistant Director of Konza Prairie Biological Station. I teach Principles of Biology, Behavioral Ecology, the animal half of Organismic Biology (occasionally), and mentor undergraduates in independent research projects involving reptiles and amphibians. My research currently focuses on the behavior of prairie collared lizards, horned lizards, chorus frogs, and cricket frogs.
I have 2 rat terrors (terriers to other people), Echo (left), who is 10 years old but does a very good impression of a 17 pound superball when he is excited, and Havoc (right), who is 4 years old and doesn't even have to try in order to live up to his name, he just is.
I was introduced to the joys of cross-stitch by a very good friend of mine, Gina Brockway, while I was living in Pennsylvania. The very first project I ever stitched was Teresa Wentzler's "Carousel". After that, I was hooked but found it difficult to find large, challenging patterns. So, I gave up and started making my own by hand drawing designs on graph paper. Eventually, my brother (a computer programmer who spends an inordinate amount of time exploring the web) introduced me to Hobbyware's cross-stitch program, "Pattern Maker", which I still use today to work out my patterns and get a feel for how the colors will go together. Many years passed and I came to Kansas and settled in, occasionally considered trying to market my designs, but had no idea how to go about it, so I just did them for the fun of it. Then, one day, my graduate student gave me a coupon to Picture This, a nearby frame/cross-stitch store whose owners, Shari (my grad student's mother-in-law) and Marilyn, hand dye cloth. The rest, as they say, is history. Marilyn and Shari found out that I designed patterns, I showed them some, and they encouraged me to release designs with them as my distributor. So, here we are and this is all their fault.....