Learning is a public act and a public benefit.

As a folklorist, I work to teach students cultural competency, which is critical to a student’s liberal arts education as well as crucial to success in the current job market. Courses in Folklore Studies can effectively meet students’ needs and engage with the community outside of the university. My goal is to regularly show students that what we do in the classroom has broader implications and that the skills we teach in Folklore Studies courses are transferable and impactful.

My focus on learning as a public act has been informed by my own research and publications and has resulted in several new assignments, from projects that partner a university class with a middle school class to improving Wikipedia pages that relate to class topics. One assignment requires students to create content for a website featuring fieldwork they conduct in Nordic America. I designed this assignment to incorporate my own work as a public folklorist, and my experience in making short documentaries, websites, and blogs, to demonstrate the different ways academic research can be published and presented to a variety of audiences. For example, when teaching students to conduct fieldwork for this semester-long ethnographic project, we conduct mock interviews in class and then transcribe a short excerpt. While we focus on the technical skills of an interview, we also discuss the challenges of selecting an audio clip for a short film as compared to an audio clip for an academic presentation. We discuss how to transcribe excerpts from the interview, the power dynamics involved in transcription, and how we can best present the people we collaborate with in our work as folklorists. I scaffold this assignment throughout the semester: each in-class workshop, each assignment, each reading, builds on the one before so that students are prepared to incorporate their newly learned (or refined) skills in their work as folklorists. My experience as a language teacher has ingrained in me the importance of such scaffolding—knowing the gender of a noun allows us to create the definite form, then the plural form, and to communicate more clearly with speakers of that language; similarly, knowing how to conduct an interview, select audio, edit, and transcribe helps us to communicate our work to a broader public. These in-class assignments prepare students for larger semester-long projects that take place outside of the classroom.

As an instructor, my students give me very positive evaluations, which improved from semester to semester. Student enrollment increased every semester in my language courses and several of my students went on to earn a major in the department. Perhaps the best example of a successful outcome to my teaching approach is The Cross Section, an undergraduate Scandinavian Studies journal that three of my students, with my encouragement and support, founded. The journal, which exclusively features undergraduate work, is now in its fifth year and I still serve as its advisor. Undergraduates from more than five different colleges and universities have published work in the journal and we collaborated with colleagues and graphic design students at Boise State University to create a new cover and design for each issue. The work has been featured by the Idaho Center for the Book and has helped several students as they begin their careers. Whether I’m teaching undergraduate students or graduate students, I make sure that my lectures, my assignments, even my extracurriculars demonstrate the value of the humanities broadly, and folklore specifically, both within the academy and to the general public.

Courses Taught

  • Fall 2018: The Labor Movement in Nordic American Migration
  • Summer 2018: Field Methods and the Public Presentation of Folklore
  • Fall 2017: Nordic-American Folklore
  • Fall 2016: 19th Century Scandinavian Fiction Online (teaching assistant)
  • Spring 2014: Fourth-Semester Swedish
  • Fall 2013: Third-Semester Swedish
  • Spring 2013: Second-Semester Swedish
  • Fall 2012: First-Semester Swedish
  • Spring 2012: Second-Semester Swedish
  • Spring 2012: Scandinavian Heritage in America (teaching assistant)
  • Fall 2011: First-Semester Swedish with
  • Spring 2011: Second-Semester Swedish
  • Fall 2010: First-Semester Swedish

Pedagogical Presentations

  • 2018 “Addressing White Nationalism in German, Nordic, and Slavic Courses: Handling Charged Moments in the Classroom (and Beyond).” Panelist at UW-Madison, February 7.
  • 2017 “Addressing White Nationalism in German, Nordic, and Slavic Courses: Teaching Language Courses.” Panelist at UW-Madison, December 4.

Pedagogical Publications

  • 2018 “Siftr: A Tool for the Folklore Classroom.” With Thomas A. DuBois, Ruth Olson, James Mathews, and David Gagnon. The Journal of Folklore and Education 5.1: 13–29.
  • 2018 “Indigenous Sustainabilities: Decolonization, Education, and Collaboration at the Ojibwe Winter Games.” With Tim Frandy and Colin Gioia Connors. The Journal of Sustainability Education 18: 1–25.
  • 2016 “Rethinking Professional Development.” Inside Higher Ed.
  • 2016 “Heritage Repatriation and Educational Sovereignty at an Ojibwe Public School.” With Thomas A. DuBois, Tim Frandy, and Colin Connors. Journal of Folklore and Education 3: 31–41.

Pedagogical Awards

  • 2012 Honored Instructors Award, University of Wisconsin–Madison
  • 2010 Honored Instructors Award, University of Wisconsin–Madison


  • University of Wisconsin–Madison Teaching Academy Affiliate Member
  • Association of Swedish Teachers and Researchers in America

Pedagogy Training

  • 2017–2018 Blend@UW: Blended Learning Fellowship on Learning Spaces
  • 2017 Blend@UW: Educational Innovation for Blended Learning
  • 2016 UW–Madison Teaching Academy TA Learning Environment and Pedagogics Institute
    • Design for Learning
    • Active Learning
    • Facilitating Student Success
    • Syllabus Design
    • Assessment: Formative/Summative
    • Assignment Design
    • Writing in the Classroom
    • Rubrics
    • Designing Writing Activities to Enhance Student Learning
    • Responding to and Evaluating Student Writing
    • Tailoring Teaching Strategies to Optimize Student Engagement: Large vs. Small Classrooms
    • From Implicit Bias to Inclusive Teaching: Having the Real Conversation
  • 2016 UW–Madison Academic Technology Research-to-Classroom Studio
    • Engaging Students in Discussion and Collaboration
    • Writing Learning Objectives
    • Assessing Student Learning
  • 2014 UW–Madison Teaching Academy Summer Institute
  • 2014 UW–Madison Teaching Academy Winter Retreat