I am a folklorist who teaches and researches on various aspects of the Nordic-Baltic region. I received my doctorate in Folklore and Folklife from the University of Pennsylvania in 1990, with part of my graduate study conducted at the University of Helsinki, Finland, in the departments of Folklore and Finno-Ugric Linguistics.
From 1990-99, I taught at the University of Washington, Seattle, where I started the Finnish Studies program in the Department of Scandinavian Studies, and also helped start the department's Baltic Studies program.
In 2000, I moved to the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where I have worked in the Department of Scandinavian Studies, as well as the Folklore Studies Program and Religious Studies Program. I have served as chair of Scandinavian Studies and director of the Folklore Program. I am now director of Religious Studies. I am an affiliate member of the Department of Comparative Literature, and serve on the executive committee for the Celtic Studies Program. I have served on the steering committee for the Center for European Studies as well as the Center for Russian, East European and Central Asian (CREECA). Over the summers of 2009, 2010, and 2011, I worked with CREECA's talented staff to bring the Baltic Studies Summer Institute to our campus, offering intensive language instruction in Estonian, Latvian, and Lithuanian.