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Get to know your Faculty and Staff!
Committed to your education.
Suomi College of Arts & Sciences faculty take your education and learning seriously. Experienced and knowledgeable in their fields, faculty want you to succeed in your college career. Working together with staff, colleagues and other students, faculty help you to build a better future. Small class sizes and one-on-one attention will help you to secure a better relationship with your professor. With doors always open, faculty look to be available to chat or discuss your options as a student. Can't get a hold of your professor? Contact staff below and they will be happy to help you with your needs.
At Finlandia you are not a number, you are a friend.
Often described as "the guy who looks like a sea captain," Professor Anderson has published eight short-story collections and a novel, including Mosquito Conversations, Misery Bay, and Hunting Hemingway's Trout. His research areas include Finnish-American literature, British Commonwealth literature, Modern American literature, and the canon of Ernest Hemingway. Professor Anderson has also participated as an NEH Fellow at nine universities. In his free time, he enjoys reading, gardening, playing checkers, and skydiving.
In addition to teaching in Finlandia's science department, Dr. Budd is a limnologist who studies the Laurentian Great Lakes. Her research views the lakes from the vantage point of space using satellite remote sensing to examine lake temperatures and productivity. Dr. Budd's teaching includes introductory biology and chemistry courses.
Leslie Dukes is a pianist, organist, piano instructor, and coach of lyric diction. She has been active as music director and pianist/organist for chorus, orchestra, opera, and theatre productions in Oregon, Utah, Arizona, and California. At Finlandia University, Dr. Dukes directs the University Singers and Pep/Concert Band, and teaches piano, music theory, and music history. Leisure hours are spent playing organ works by J.S. Bach, Buxtehude, or Arvo Pärt, harpsichord compositions of François Couperin or Lou Harrison, and piano by Brahms, Messiaen, or Paul Bowles.
I was born and raised in Stillwater, Oklahoma. I attended Oklahoma State University for both my undergraduate and Master’s degree in Sociology. During that time I met the love of my life, married her, and we completed our doctorates in Sociology at the University of Missouri-Columbia.
The majority of my research and teaching is in the area of criminology and deviant behavior.I find that one can find a lot about a society by looking at those on the margins. My dissertation involved studying the decriminalization of tattooing in the state of Oklahoma. In addition to my research on tattooing, I am now investigating multi-jurisdictionality of tribal policing on Native American lands.My interests in crime and deviance are based in conceptions of power.
In my spare time I enjoy being outdoors whether I am hunting and fishing or just tromping through the woods with my wife and our three dogs. I also enjoy spending time in the kitchen experimenting with a variety of different types of cooking.
From a young age I found myself driven by a desire to learn from my environment and the people with whom I interacted. During my years as an undergraduate student at Michigan State University (MSU), my fascination with the social world blossomed into a passion for the discipline of Psychology. After finishing my B.S. in Psychology at MSU, I completed my Ph.D. in General/Experimental Psychology with a focus on social psychology at the University of Vermont. As a social psychologist, I am interested in how social contexts influence how people think, feel, and behave. In my research, I focus primarily on weight-based stigma with a special interest on how being heavyweight influences peoples' lives and their social interactions. My secondary research interests focus on the self in interpersonal relationships, including relationships with romantic partners, friends, and members of stigmatized social groups. I feel that one of the most appealing aspects of psychology as a field and the work that I do is that they both hold immediate implications for everyday life. For that reason, whether I am working in the classroom or in the research context, I strive to forge connections between academic psychology and the "real world".
René Johnson came to Finlandia University in Hancock, MI in 2005 after 12 years of teaching in the African countries of Ethiopia, Kenya and Tanzania - pretty diverse for a girl with a small-town Minnesota upbringing. A product of Lutheran higher education, she received her B.A. from Concordia College (Moorhead, MN) and M.A. from Luther Seminary (St. Paul, MN) and is currently working on her PhD in Vocation and Servant Leadership through the Graduate Theological Foundation in Indiana. As director of Servant Leadership she is passionate about bringing questions related to who we are (or are becoming) into the classroom and creating a context where students might discern their individual callings to a way of living for the sake of the wider world. René is married to Philip, president of Finlandia University, and they have two sons, Simon and Neal. In her spare time she enjoys reading, cooking and the outdoors. Also, she stays healthy with running, swimming and yoga, although she like to make the distinction that she is recreational, not athletic.
I was born and raised in Chicago, and came up to the UP to go to Michigan Tech for computer engineering. After completing the degree I stayed for another 2 years to get a B.S. in Mathematics Education. Deciding that I was never going to leave the UP, I volunteered for AmeriCorps for two years in local high schools and then continued on to get a M.S. in Applied Mathematics. I plan on eventually retiring out in the woods and becoming an eccentric hermit.
I teach algebra at Finlandia, and in the past have taught algebra at Gogebic Community College and calculus at Michigan Tech. I believe that math can be fun for everyone, and my enthusiasm is contagious like the plague.
In my spare time you'll find me walking my miniature dachshund, reading a good book, or watching tv shows like Dexter, Breaking Bad, Grey's Anatomy, and Once Upon a Time.
I am originally from Northern Wisconsin, but throughout the early 2000s I lived in the Pacific Northwest, Hawaii, the American Southwest, and the foothills of Appalachia. In that time I earned my B.A. in History from Northland College, my M.A. from Northern Arizona University, and a Ph.D. from Ohio University. In 2011 I was a fellow of the Contemporary History Institute (Athens, OH), and in 2012 I defended my dissertation "Selling the Second Cold War: Antinuclear Cultural Activism and Reagan Era Foreign Policy." I love teaching, and my recent course offerings include "History through Film: The Atomic Age," "Cold War America," "U.S. Environmental History," and "America in the World." My research interests reside at the intersection of popular culture, domestic politics, and foreign relations during and after the Cold War. My recent publications examine the Cold War nuclear arms race and its influence on pop music, music videos, video games, and other aspects of American popular culture. In my increasingly spare free time, I enjoy reading, running, or playing electric bass. Link to Bill Knoblauch's faculty page here.
I was born in the Bronx, New York, (this means I am a Yankees fan - I feel I should apologize in advance) but I have been gravitating north and west ever since, spending time in Vermont, upstate NY and most recently Madison, Wisconsin, where I earned a PhD in English Literature at the University of Wisconsin. My research there focused on the relationship between religious dissent and British romantic literature, with a specific interest in the way that writing as a form of self-representation works to foster agency in the writing subject. Lately I've begun to focus on community writing projects, particularly those involving seniors, to consider how such work might inform our understanding of the importance of the Humanities today. Above all else I love teaching, and I'm excited to begin my career here at Finlandia University where the importance of community engagement and holistic education are primary. In my free time I like to read speculative fiction, play soccer, hike, ski, canoe, and spend time with my family.
Marin has a Ph.D. and a master's of arts in mathematics, both from Bowling Green (Ohio) State University. He has a bachelor of arts in mathematics from Franklin and Marshall College, Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Prior to joining the Finlandia faulty, Marin was an assistant professor of mathematics at Alfred University, Alfred, New York.
As a teacher, Marin works to inspire and guide his students to discover for themselves the wonder of mathematics. He tries to teach his students by encouraging them to discuss math with him as often as possible. Marin and his wife, Kate, have three young children, Juan III, Roberto, and Andres. They live in Hancock and enjoy canoeing and the outdoors.
English and Communication
Teaching communication and journalism courses at Finlandia gives Dr. Miller an opportunity to explore ways to better understand and engage in our world. She loves Finlandia's small class sizes; they allow for interesting critical-cultural discussions as well as collaborative work on meaningful projects in and out of class.
Dr. Miller works with students to produce Finlandia's student newspaper, The Roar; she advises BikeFinlandia, a student group dedicated to promoting bicycling; she also serves on Finlandia's Sustainability Committee.
The possibilities for experiencing community at Finlandia are relevant to her research interest, which concerns how we create as well as sometimes sabotage our experience of community through our communication. She is also especially interested in community perspectives that honor the natural environment.
Dr. Miller has been a board director at the local food cooperative for nine years, and she is also on the board of a green cemetery initiative.
Dr. Miller commutes by bike from her off-the-grid cabin on 15 wooded acres, where she shares space with various owls, coyotes, snakes, bears, and sometimes, visiting humans.
Christine O'Neil received her Ph.D. in Sociology from Colorado State University. While teaching a variety of sociology courses at Finlandia, she enjoys introducing students to the world of sociology and challenging them both critically and creatively. She strongly encourages students to participate actively in the classroom and offers students many opportunities to engage with the material being presentated. In addition, Dr. O'Neil has a wide range of research interests including rural planning and sustainable development, globalization, complex organizations, and consumption. In her free time, she enjoys ice climbing, mountain climbing, reading, snowshoeing, snowboarding, wakeboarding, and playing with her dogs.
Originally from Hawaii, I grew up enjoying the outdoor lifestyle of swimming, fishing, surfing/boggie boarding, biking, hiking, and camping. Despite having diverse interests, it came naturally to be most fascinated by the diversity of life. I obtained a BA in Zoology from the University of Hawaii, Manoa before leaving my island home to further my education in aquatic ecology. I obtained an MS in Biology from Eastern New Mexico University studying how tiny freshwater organisms sample their environment and access risk of predation. The desire to study a habitat that contrasts to the tropical waters of Hawaii and the grassland streams of the southwest lead me to the temperate lakes of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. I obtained a PhD in Biology from Michigan Technological University studying how large lake processes of Lake Superior affect the transport of fishes during their larval stages, and in turn, potentially effect early growth and later recruitment.
While studying in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, I quickly grew to love its environment, seasons, cultural history, and people. I appreciate the opportunities Finlandia affords its students, and Finlandia's devotion to growth and education. I draw upon my past and ongoing challenges and successes in education to help others along their paths to academic excellence.
Philosophy and Religion
Casey Rentmeester was born and raised in Green Bay, Wisconsin, and received his B.A. from Saint Norbert College where he was captain of the football team and named Student-Athlete of the year in 2005. He then went on to receive his M.A. from Kent State University in Ohio in 2007 and his Ph.D. from the University of South Florida where he wrote a dissertation on environmental philosophy, focusing specifically on anthropogenic climate change and issues of resource depletion from a Heideggerian perspective. Casey spent the academic year of 2012-2013 at the University of Alaska Anchorage as a term assistant professor and joined the faculty at Finlandia University in 2013. His primary research interests are in environmental philosophy, Continental philosophy, and Chinese philosophy. Casey teaches classes in both philosophy and religious studies at Finlandia, and thinks it is vitally important for students in a liberal arts environment to have an understanding of both philosophy and the world’s religions to become an educated person. In his free time, he enjoys outdoor activities, particularly hiking and biking, collecting vinyl records, and playing sports. Casey is thrilled to be at a university that emphasizes teaching and is committed to environmental sustainability. Link to Casey Rentmeester's faculty page here.
Hilary Virtanen is Assistant Professor of Finnish Studies and Coordinator of the Sisu Seminar, Finlandia University’s Freshman experience course. She holds a BA in English and Anthropology from Michigan State University, an MA in Folklore from Indiana University, an MA in Scandinavian Studies, and a PhD in Scandinavian Folklore, both from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. At Finlandia, she teaches coursework in Finnish History and Culture and the Kalevala, and is developing additional courses within the Finnish Studies Program. As a folklorist, Hilary enjoys conducting oral history and ethnography research. Her past research has included work in festivals, ethnic folk dress, workers’ culture, and more. A native of the Copper Country, Hilary loves exploring back roads and spending time on the beaches of Lake Superior. She lives with her husband, Ron Stewart, and their three children in Ripley.
Moving from Detroit to Houghton in 1997, Heather fell in love with the Upper Peninsula's beauty and immediately made a home here. Heather Dunne joined Finlandia in the fall of 2009. She provides administrative support to the Suomi College of Arts and Sciences and to the Dean, Christine O'Neil. Along with assisting faculty, Heather helps students with questions and general needs. Developing marketing materials and maintaining the website for the college are other tasks in which Heather is involved. In her spare time, Heather enjoys hiking, biking, camping, snowshoeing, traveling, going to movies, gaming, reading, quilting, and knitting. Currently, Heather is working towards a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication with a minor in Sociology here at Finlandia.