Michelle's most recent monograph is The Nature of Trauma in American Novels (Northwestern University Press, 2012). She has 20 publications that address topics in American literature, ecocriticism, psychology and literature, and imperialism. Her articles, interviews, and reviews have appeared in peer-reviewed journals such as PMLA, American Literature, ISLE, Mosaic, Studies in the Humanities, The Hemingway Review, and Composition Studies. She is currently completing an edited collection entitled Contemporary Approaches in Literary Trauma Theory. Her latest op-ed article appeared in The Guardian after which she was a radio guest on NPR for The Brian Lehrer Show in New York City. Michelle has over 40 conference presentations including invited lectures, book talks, and special sessions. She has taught over 63 English courses in her career as well as 20 different types of English courses.
Coming from a small town in Indiana, Michelle attended the University of California, Santa Cruz where she majored in Literature and minored in French and Art. During her junior year she lived and studied in Strasbourg, France where she took courses at the Université de Strasbourg and Syracuse University abroad campus. Outside of coursework, she independently obtained the national French language diploma (D.A.L.F.) from the Ministry of Education. She began publishing poetry in college. Michelle also became an avid mountaineer and climber in the Sierras during this time. Michelle graduated from UCSC with Double Honors: Honors in the Major and College Honors. She has her MA in Literature from the University of Nevada, Reno, where she participated in the nascent years of the Literature and Environment Program. Michelle obtained her PhD in Literature at the University of Oregon. She was awarded the Oregon Humanities Center Dissertation Fellowship. During her doctoral studies, Michelle chaired the first international conference of the Association of Pacific Rim Universities (APRU) at her university. Michelle was the conference co-chair for the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Conference at Guilford College in 2013.
Research areas include 20th- and 21st-century American literature, contemporary novels, ecocriticism, psychology and literature, cultural studies, Pacific Rim literature, and Australian literature. Michelle's past research has addressed psychoanalytical theory, race and cultural studies, ecocriticism, ethnic American literature, and contemporary novels. Her current work focuses on the modern tragic in contemporary fiction.