Hometown: Grew up in Denver, Colo., lives on Youngstown's North Side.
Occupation: Youngstown State University English professor, coordinator of YSU's American Studies program, co-director of YSU's Center for Working Class Studies, chairwoman of the planning committee for the Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning at YSU and a scholar of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.
Education: Doctorate in American Studies from the University of Minnesota; master's in creative writing from the University of Denver; bachelor's in writing and publishing from Macalester College, St. Paul, Minn.
Last book read: "The Feast of Love" by Charles Baxter.
Family: Husband, Frank Bongen, a teacher in the Youngstown public schools.