About the Author


Note: I know, probably no one cares. And this page is now 4 years out of date (was last updated in 2004). It's here due to benign neglect -- I put up my little biography on my very first home page, way back in 1996, and biographies were pretty much where people started when they put up their own home page (mine was on Geocities, if you're old enough to remember that...). Since then, I've gotten far too busy to devote any time to cleaning up the site, updating things like this, or removing content that is no longer important (e.g. this page) so here it sits, being superfluous. If you want to read it, go ahead; if not, I don't care ;) (I've added this because I got an email from a Boomer who couldn't figure out why I had my biography up here when all she wanted was a baby sling pattern. Got me to thinking, and she's got a point, after all.)

I'm currently 30 years old, happily married (in fact, you may have gotten here through my husband's Chain Maille page), and had our first child (Stephen, now 4 and not a baby!) on 22 May, 2000, and our second (Sophia) on 2 October, 2003! I'm now very happily working as a freelance web designer, and also make slings to sell. (Previously, I had interned at Oyster River Middle School in Durham, NH, at the beginning of the 1997-98 school year; you can read about that particular saga on my Issues in Teaching page.)

How did I get to this point in my life, you might ask, if you had some time on your hands? Well, it has a lot to do with my upbringing: my parents are both scientists by training and inclination, and from the very beginning, my siblings and I were encouraged to question and explore. My father is a professor of geology at Keene State College; my mother is a librarian at the Keene Public Library. We were not indoctrinated into any religious beliefs -- or lack thereof -- as children; rather, my parents encouraged us to explore our friends' religions and discuss what we had learned with them. The fact that with no indoctrination we grew up to be atheists and agnostics should say something about religious education -- it was a bishop, after all, who said, "Give me a child until he is six (seven?) and he will be mine for life."

Along with a strong sense of the rational and humanistic, my parents also instilled in us a great appreciation for the realm of nature. Whenever we travelled, my father would point out geologic features of the area, and both would explain to us the physical processes behind the things we saw. We didn't watch a lot of television, but what we did watch was educational -- Sesame Street, Nova, National Geographic, and the like. I would attribute part of my desire to become a scientist to that upbringing, and I am always grateful to my parents for raising me as they did.

We did a lot of moving around when I was younger, which was also nice. I was born in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada; we were there for two years while my parents finished their masters' degrees. Then it was off to Toronto, where my sister Robyn was born; then to Ottawa two years later, where my brother Eryk hatched. Then we were back to Edmonton again, and I started kindergarten at Richard Secord Elementary school. It was a French-immersion program, meaning we spoke as little English as possible; but since we moved again after I finished Grade One, I quickly lost all the French I had learned.

From Edmonton, we were on to Racine, Wisconsin. I spent a year at a regular school before an IQ test confirmed that I could both skip a year (third grade) and go into the special "Lighthouse" school program at Jefferson Lighthouse School, for Gifted and Talented students. It was a wonderful program (I later found out that one of their primary tools, the "Matrix" system of doing reports, is actually a modified version of "Bloom's Taxonomy" -- it made the education course in which I learned this much more nostalgic for me...), and even though I was socially not well-accepted (well, more like the class pariah...), it was a good way to learn. I stayed in the program for an awkward five years, through the end of middle school; then all of the "lighthouse kids" were mainstreamed back into the "normal" system. It took me quite some time to get over the intellectual bias I had developed -- that you were only a worthy person if you were smart! -- but of course I feel very differently now, having gone through a teaching program that strongly stresses the joys of diversity.

I was just beginning to recover socially in the ninth grade when we found out that my dad hadn't gotten tenure at UW-Parkside, where he'd been teaching quite successfully for the past seven years. That summer, we moved to New Hampshire, and I started my sophomore year at Monadnock Regional High School, a tiny school with about a third of the educational options I had looked forward to at Park High in Racine. Nevertheless, the students were friendly, the teachers were GREAT (even though the school is very poorly funded, being that New Hampshire schools are funded by property taxes, and the region is not property-rich), and I was soon feeling more at home. This was the period of my fiction writing renaissance, due mostly to the excellence of my English teachers at the time.

Also during this period, I attended Apple Hill, a center for chamber music that runs a summer music camp for all ages. It was a great place for personal and musical growth, and I'd highly recommend it if you're a classical musician. I was also in the Keene Chamber Orchestra, a community-based orchestra.

I graduated seventh in my class of 132, and went on to UNH, where most of the action on my page takes place (that is, the essays and such), because I'm still here after ten years, five of undergraduate work in biology and one-and-a-half of education, plus another 3 of working for the ESPG. Intellectually, I've grown a lot, and with not too many bumps. Socially and emotionally... that's been interesting. A few of the essays deal with the emotional rollercoaster I was on my freshman year, but I had finished my gen-ed requirements by the time the Soap Opera began in my (first) senior year, so not much writing exists from then. Suffice it to say, I had been engaged to one gentleman, but found myself falling in love with another. I ended up being more compatible in the long run with the latter, in that he wanted children, and we've now been happily married for eight years (after being together for 2 years beforehand).

After recovering from my botched internship, I had many temporary jobs -- all pretty mundane and boring. I then worked for the ESPG until 2002 or so, when the money that supported my job ran out, but that's okay. Now I get to stay home with Stephen and Sophia and work on web pages on my own time. It's not great money, but keeps me from feeling like I'm not doing anything with my life!

Well, believe it or don't, that's the short version of my life story. For a very long and boring one, you can read this essay that I wrote for one of my education classes: the assignment was to look at our development (intellectual, social, moral, etc.) from the point of view of the psychological theorists we had been studying. Apparently there are some factual errors in the early section, about my parents, so caveat reader. I find it interesting, but it's probably pretty boring to people who don't know me, and I've put it here more so that I won't lose it than in the hopes that anyone will read it, but if you're feeling like you want to get to know me MUCH better, feel free.

I hope you've enjoyed this little trip into my life; if not, mail me with suggestions of how I can make it or my life more exciting. I'll post the best ones here... and no, this is not a dare. If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all *grin*.

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All content, barring that which is otherwise attributed, is ©2007 to Jan Andrea. If you wish to use my content on another page, please email before doing so, even for content with the Creative Commons licenses. Text/images used elsewhere must be attributed to me. Be advised that I will pursue copyright violations.