I grew up in the rural town of Blissfield, Michigan. One of eight kids and a first-gen college student, I completed an undergraduate degree at Lake Superior State University in 1993. Then I went to graduate school at Purdue University, receiving a PhD in mathematics under the advisement of Marius Dadarlat in 1999. After postdoc stints at Institut Henri Poincaré, UC Berkeley, MSRI and Michigan State, I got a real job at Penn State University. They’ve regretted it ever since.