My Work

I am an associate professor in the Human Services Department‘s Alcohol and Drug Counseling (ADC) programs at Metropolitan State University. We offer two undergraduate options, a BS and a post-baccalaureate licensure track, and two graduate options, an MS in ADC and an MS in Co-occurring Disorders Recovery Counseling (CODC). I direct and teach in our graduate programs.

See those folks in the header picture? Those are friends – some are colleagues as well – that I made while in Shillong, Meghalaya, India this October and November. I firmly believe that life is connection. Sabbatical has created, is creating, so many opportunities for new, renewed and strengthened connections. I further firmly believe that connection informs and enriches my work. What my students, colleagues and I create together is powerful. It’s a privilege to be part of it.




My pathway to this work has been, well, winding. I went to a little liberal arts college and came out of it without direction. A few years later, I became an addiction counselor at a time when the main criterion was being a person in recovery. I gradually learned more and became an actual professional. I got to work in a lot of settings and with a wide variety of both clients and colleagues. When I decided it was time to get a graduate degree, I got fascinated by brain stuff and made a left turn from clinical psychology to neuroscience. 

I still love studying and teaching about drugs, addiction and the brain. I don’t love laboratory research, though. It’s fascinating and important, it just doesn’t play to my strengths. After my PhD and a post-doc, I turned my career attention to teaching and writing. I’ve been fortunate to teach at a number of institutions, particularly Towson University, where I was an adjunct in the Psychology Department for several years. Then someone posted the Notice of Vacancy for my current job on an addiction studies educators listserv – and here I am.

Outside the Classroom

However demanding and rewarding work may be, there is, of course, more to life. More of my life: I am a person in long-term recovery. I routinely attend to my recovery, which is also a deep source of meaning and purpose for me. I’ve been married for 22 years and have a 19-year-old son. My spouse and I live in an apartment just north of Saint Paul, Minnesota. I’m a Marylander at heart, though, having grown up and lived much of my life there. If life takes you to that part of the country, visit my hometown, Annapolis. It’s lovely and well worth your time. If dietary choices or restrictions don’t prevent you from doing so, definitely have a crabcake (made from Chesapeake blue crab) while you’re there.

I consider myself a gregarious introvert, so I love being with people and I need breaks from y’all. People stuff that I enjoy includes sharing meals, going to the movies (especially nerd stuff) and the occasional theater production, and – much too rarely – attending baseball games (go O’s! go Saints!). My quieter, at-home activities are stuff like reading, doing acrostics and making really nice breakfasts on Sunday mornings.

I try to cultivate humility, compassion and generosity. Being human, I don’t always succeed. Always more to learn.