Born in Kitchener, Ontario (CAN) in the 1970s , I grew up in Kingston Ontario, a town known as being home to one of Canada’s top universities (Queen’s) and its multitude of prisons (nine in the area, if you can believe it!), as the daughter of a psychology professor and an elementary school teacher, both of whom were strongly influenced by the era of civil rights and women’s rights. As a youth, I was dedicated to all the fashionable causes: definitely feminism, but also environmentalism (a very new thing at the time), socialism (not so crazy for Canada), and Amnesty International. All of this background shaped the kind of historian and person I eventually became. At 19, I went off to undergraduate at York University in Toronto; then a Master’s degree in medieval history at the University of Toronto; and finally a PhD in medieval history at Dalhousie University working with C.J. Neville. While King Arthur is largely responsible for getting me into medieval history, my own research veered off dramatically. Focused on the law, primarily criminal law (perhaps because I was surrounded by all those prisons?), the goal of my research is to uncover the voices of the underdog, often women, usually the poor, and always the undervalued. In 2004, I started working at Loyola University New Orleans. More recently, I took up the post of King George III professor in British history at The Ohio State University. Somewhere along the way, my husband Mark LaBine and I have spawned three children (Cade, 16; Genevieve, 13; Miranda, 9) and two dogs (Floki, a shih Tzu; Ragnar, PBGV).
What do I do in my spare time? I love to walk the dogs around our neighborhood (Bexley is just lovely!), ride bikes with my girls, read books (mysteries, character pieces, historical fiction as long as it is not about the Middle Ages…). I am also an avid crocheter, and my girls and I often get involved in a new craft project of one sort or another. The whole family loves movies, and we watch Blue Bloods, Castle, the Goldbergs, and Blackish.