Skip to main content

Meet Our Board Members


Broc Anderson is an adjunct professor at the University of Nebraska at Kearney, the Community Engagement Director for the Buffalo County Historical Society, and a Humanities Nebraska Speaker for the Humanities Nebraska Speakers Bureau. Like Sandoz, Broc shares the same passion for northwest Nebraska with his own family ties to the region. Additionally, Broc graduated from Chadron State College with his bachelors in Social Science Education in 2017, and graduated with his masters in History at the University of Nebraska at Kearney in 2022. Broc continues building on Sandoz's research by exploring the social, economic, and political relationships between the Lakota from Pine Ridge and non-natives in northwest Nebraska during the late nineteenth century. 


Holly Boomer, Ph. D., has served on the Mari Sandoz Board of Directors from 1992-1999 and 2004-present. Holly is currently Humanities & Communications faculty at Oglala Lakota College in South Dakota. In the recent past, she was the Vice President of Instruction at Colorado Northwestern Community College in Rangely, CO, and in that role was the ALO to the Higher Learning Commission, the regional accrediting body. She has served in the following positions: Dean of Academic Support Programs at Navarro College in Corsicana, TX; General Education Chair and System Director of the Center for Student Achievement at National American University, a proprietary institution, and began her tenure with NAU as the Academic Dean at the Rapid City, SD campus; Assistant Professor of Humanities and American Indian Studies at Black Hills State University in Spearfish, SD; Communications Instructor at Oglala Lakota College for thirteen years during which she chaired the Humanities and Social Sciences Department for five years. Her research interests include: Retired minority veterans' access to mental health services; female veterans and the culture of fear. Her Specialties: Management and leadership experience in higher education administration and faculty professional development.


Dr. Leisl Carr-Childers is an assistant professor of history at Colorado State University. Her research focuses on the American West, specifically the rural past and environment of the region’s landscapes. Her first book, The Size of the Risk: Histories of Multiple Use in the Great Basin (University of Oklahoma Press, 2015), won the Western Writers of America 2016 Spur Award for Contemporary Nonfiction. Her research has been featured on KNPR's State of Nevada, Oregon Public Radio's Bundyville Podcast, PBS Frontline, and in the High Country News. She has fostered several digital projects including the Nevada Test Site Oral History Project and works closely with CSU Extension to facilitate scientific and agricultural research through community history. She also works as a co-editor for the Environment and Region in the American West series at the University of Nebraska Press and as a council member of the Public Lands History Center at CSU. She is an active member of the Western History Association, the American Society for Environmental History, and the National Council on Public History.


Christy Chamberlin has been involved with preserving the legacy of Mari Sandoz since she was a teenager. While she was attending Gordon, NE high school, three women created the Mari Sandoz Room above the Chamberlin Furniture Store. Those three women were Caroline Pifer, Mari Sandoz' sister, Sybil Malmberg Berndt and Christy's mother, LLoy Chamberlin. Their dedication to honoring an author helped Christy decide to pursue degrees in English and Journalism at the University of Nebraska. Following graduation Christy worked for a local newspaper and then did Public Relations for two hospitals. At the age of of 26 Christy turned to entrepreneurship and started several businesses, including six Daylight Donut shops. Her success in business led to an interest in investments, especially the stock market. She opened an office for Edward Jones Investments in Las Cruces, NM in 1987. For the next thirty years, she built her business as a Financial Advisor and became the number one producer for the firm in New Mexico. She attended the Managing Partner's Top Producer Conference ten years in a row and she served for six years on the Kitchen Cabinet of the firm's managing partner in St. Louis. Upon her retirement, Christy and her husband, Bob moved to the Black Hills of South Dakota, close to her home town. One of the first things she did in retirement was join the Mari Sandoz Heritage Society Board. She is honored to carry on the work that her mother started fifty years ago. She serves on the Executive Committee as Chair of the Finance & Awards committee.


Dr. Steve Coughlin teaches creative writing at Western Colorado University in Gunnison, Colorado. He received his MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Idaho and his PhD in English from Ohio University. He has published two full-length collections of poetry, Another City (FutureCycle Press) and Deep Cuts (Finishing Line Press), and a chapbook, Driving at Midnight (Main Street Rag). Currently he is working on a collection of travel essays that document life and culture along America’s hundredth meridian.

 


Dr. Matthew Evertson is a Professor of English in the Department of Justice Studies, Social Sciences and English at Chadron State College.  He is a graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and Arizona State University. He is currently teaching, researching and writing about the regional influences upon the literature of the Great Plains, as well as the Environmental Humanities. Among his academic interests are the role of liberal arts in higher education and interdisciplinary/integrative learning across the curriculum. His current writing projects include works of short and long fiction, and a book-length comparative study of Stephen Crane and Theodore Roosevelt tentatively titled Strenuous Lives: Stephen Crane, Theodore Roosevelt and the American 1890s.


Daniel Hobbs was born and raised in Gordon, Nebraska, and has known about Mari Sandoz for as long as he can remember. His maternal grandmother, Lloy Chamberlin, was a tireless advocate for Mari’s work and a great cheerleader for the Sandhills in general. Mr. Hobbs studied piano performance and pedagogy and French language and literature at Illinois Wesleyan University, then obtained his master's degree at the Manhattan School of Music in New York, New York, where he continues to reside. Mr. Hobbs is a dedicated reader and avid supporter of the arts. It is a privilege for him to serve on the board of the Mari Sandoz Society, to learn more about and encourage discovery of this fine, underappreciated author; to engage with other Sandoz aficionados; and to strengthen a connection to Western Nebraska, an astonishing corner of the world familiar to so few but never described better than by Mari Sandoz.
 


Born and raised in Chadron, Karen Kelley has been a fan of Mari Sandoz since she read her first Sandoz book, Winter Thunder.  Karen  graduated from Chadron State College with a B.S. in Art Education and then received an M.A in Librarianship from the University of Denver.  Her professional career was spent in public libraries.  Her last position before retiring was as Manager of Reference at the Central Denver Public Library.

 

 


Kurt E. Kinbacher is a Professor of History at Chadron State College. He has served on the Board since 2013 and has chaired the Pilster Lecture and Sandoz Symposium Committee since 2016. He completed his PhD at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 2006.  He is author of Urban Villages and Local Identities: Germans from Russia, Omaha Indians, and Vietnamese in Lincoln Nebraska; co-editor of Reconfigurations of Native North America; and author of several articles and book chapters that focus on identity construction, human migrations, and region. 

 

 


Dan Kusek is a native if Alliance and is a retired engineer on the BNSF railway. He is a longtime fan of Mari Sandoz and her writing. Dan presently serves as the chairman of the Sandoz Center's center committee. He is also a member of the Finance and Awards Committee and is Vice President of the Society. With no full time director at the Center, Dan is also overseeing the Center and staff. He also checks the Sandoz gravesite north of Ellsworth for the Society.

 

 


Renee M. Laegreid is a Professor of History at the University of Wyoming who specializes in the US West. Her area of specialty is women and gender in the 20th century West with publications that include Riding Pretty: Rodeo Royalty in the American West and a co-edited volume of essays Women on the North American Plains (2012 Nebraska Book Award Winner). She is currently working on two book-length projects: a history of women on the Great Plains, and a comparative history of the idea of the cowboy between the US and Italy.

 


Dan McGlynn has served on the Sandoz Board since about 1990.  He grew up with a love of the Old West, its history, its people, their triumphs and struggles. Dan's maternal great grandparents homesteaded near Verdigre, Nebraska during the time Old Jules was living there.  Although Dan has a B.A. in English from the University of Nebraska Omaha, he's been an amateur historian for most of his life.  Dan is also VP and Co-founder of Husker Fans Salute The Troops, a non-profit organization that honors veterans, troopers, wounded warriors and Gold Star Families.  When he was younger, he toured with many recording artists when he was a professional musician in Los Angeles.  And after his musical career, Dan worked for decades in sales and sales management in Omaha. For the past 16 years, Dan has written weekly columns for HuskerMax.com about the world of Husker football.  Dan lives in Omaha with Linda, his bride of 49 years.  They have two children and four grandchildren whom they spoil at every opportunity


Dr. Elaine Nelson is a U.S. historian specializing in the North American West. She is Assistant Professor of History at the University of Kansas and Executive Director of the Western History Association. Her scholarship takes into consideration the complicated relationships that formed between the diverse people and places in the Intermountain West and Great Plains. Her work appears in the Great Plains Quarterly, South Dakota History, and three anthologies. Nelson’s first full-length monograph, titled “Dreams and Dust in the Black Hills: Tourism, Performance, and the American West in National Memory,” is under contract and forthcoming in 2022. A native South Dakotan, Nelson received her B.A.E. from the University of Nebraska at Kearney, M.A. in history from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and Ph.D. in history from the University of New Mexico.  


David Nesheim received his doctorate in history from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln under the direction of John Wunder in 2009 and lives in Chadron, Nebraska. His specialty is Environmental History with an emphasis on the Great Plains and Native Americans and he emphasizes plants and animals as important characters in our collective past. He has published articles in Environmental History and Great Plains Quarterly on buffalo husbandry in the twentieth century.

 


Laura Pritchett is the author of nine books. She began her writing journey with the short story collection Hell’s Bottom, Colorado, which won the PEN USA Award for Fiction and the Milkweed National Fiction Prize. This was followed by the novels Sky Bridge, Stars Go Blue, Red Lightning, and The Blue Hour, which garnered several other awards. Her first play, Dirt: A Terra Nova Expedition, was performed in Fort Collins, Colorado, in the Spring of 2018 at Bas Bleu Theatre. Pritchett is also the editor of three anthologies: Pulse of the River, Home Land, and Going Green: True Tales from Gleaners, Scavengers, and Dumpster Divers. She also has two nonfiction books: Great Colorado Bear Stories and Making Friends with Death. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, O Magazine, Salon, Terrain, Creative Nonfiction, High Country News, The Millions, The Normal School, The Pinch, Publisher’s Weekly, The Sun, Orion, and many others. Pritchett built and directs the MFA in Nature Writing at Western Colorado University. She is a columnist for the Colorado Sun. She holds a PhD from Purdue University. She is also known for her environmental stewardship, particularly in regard to land preservation and river health.


Brian Rockey was named Director of the Nebraska Lottery and Charitable Gaming Division in 2016.  He has been associated with the Nebraska Lottery in one capacity or another since its founding in 1993.  Prior to that, he worked for two Nebraska governors and a state senator.  Rockey is a 1983 graduate of Creighton University and holds master’s degrees from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and University of Nebraska at Omaha. A native of Alliance, Nebraska, Rockey has been involved with the Mari Sandoz Heritage Society since the mid-1980’s.  His favorite Sandoz book is Capital City.

 


Lynn Gottschalk Roper was born and raised in Rushville, NE where her parents published the Sheridan County Star.  Lynn graduated from the University of Nebraska with a Bachelor of Arts degree and a political science, history and journalism major.  Lynn joined Merrill Lynch in 1976 as a financial advisor when they opened the Lincoln office and also served as Resident Manager of the office for 26 years.  She was recognized in her firm and industry for her career achievements and provided leadership on a national basis.  Lynn retired in 2019  from her 42 year career with Merrill Lynch.  Lynn was recognized by the University of Nebraska as it’s Distinguished Alumni in  2018  and selected to participate in its Masters program in 2019. Lynn’s commitment to community service includes serving in leadership roles on numerous boards including several statewide organizations.  She has served as chair of the Nebraska Environmental Trust, Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital, Lincoln Lancaster Commission on Women, UNL Journalism capital campaign. She has served on the Board of Directors for the Woods Charitable Fund and the University of Nebraska Foundation.  She currently serves as president for the Center for People in Need, as board member of the Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital and board member and treasurer of the Nebraska Community Foundation. Lynn joined the Mari Sandoz Heritage Society Board in 1999, served as treasurer and has been President since 2006.  She is a strong advocate of the Sandhills and the heritage of all who have been fortunate to visit and to live there.


Shannon D. Smith joined the Mari Sandoz Heritage Society board in 2003 and became president in 2023. She is formerly the Executive Director and CEO of the Wyoming Humanities Council and has worked in higher education for two decades including teaching history and humanities for seven years at Oglala Lakota College on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. She is a historian and author of several works on women of the American West including Give Me Eighty Men: Women and the Myth of the Fetterman Fight, a 2009 book award winner from the Wyoming State Historical Society. She has written several articles and book chapters featuring Mari Sandoz and aspires to write a biography of Mari's amazing life. Her most recent work focuses on Mari’s research collection and comparing Sandoz’s work and life to those of her contemporary authors. Shannon was the Executive Secretary of the Mari Sandoz Heritage Society from 2001-2003 and has served on the board since then. She has served on several regional cultural boards including the Harry Jackson Institute (Cody, WY), the Willow Tree Festival (Gordon, NE), and the American Heritage Center at the University of Wyoming. She now lives in her hometown, Gordon, Nebraska, where she has a cultural consulting business, Smithstorian Consulting, LLC, and is working on several Native American culture and heritage preservation projects.


Heather Stauffer is an associate acquisitions editor at the University of Nebraska Press.  She completed MA degrees in History and Creative Writing at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, with research focusing on the Great Plains.  She co-authored Kearney: The Midway City with Mark Ellis (Arcadia, 2006) and (mostly) keeps up with her blog, Old Jokes Get Laughs (blogspot).

 

 


Chris Steinke’s work focuses on Plains Indian history in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. He is particularly interested in indigenous communication and transportation networks and how they linked Plains groups to one another and to colonial outposts. His current book manuscript, Rights of Passage: Indigenous Travelers on the Missouri River, reconstructs the history of indigenous mobility on the Missouri River, a vast transcontinental corridor of Native movement and travel. His research in Pawnee and Arikara history has appeared in the William and Mary Quarterly and Great Plains Quarterly


Dr. Nathan Tye is assistant professor of Nebraska and American West History at the University of Nebraska – Kearney (UNK). Born and raised in Nebraska, Tye received his PhD from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign in 2019. A labor historian by training, Tye studies transient agricultural laborers, better known as hobos, in the Progressive Era, and has published studies of transient labor in Nebraska History and the Annals of Iowa. He is also an avid literary historian, with work appearing in The Willa Cather Review and The Walt Whitman Quarterly Review, among other venues. A dedicated local and community historian, Tye is a frequent speaker on Nebraska history, including an appearance on NBC’s Who Do You Think You Are? He serves on the boards of several community museums and cultural organizations including the G.W. Frank Museum of History and Culture and Buffalo County Historical Society in Kearney and the Japanese Hall at the Legacy of the Plains Museum in Gering.


Dr. Jillian L. Wenburg grew up northeast of Cheyenne Autumn’s setting, in Arapahoe, Nebraska. She obtained her BA and MA in English from the University of Nebraska-Kearney and was awarded her PhD in English with an interdisciplinary emphasis in history from the University of Missouri-Kansas City in 2015. Her doctoral research combined close textual analyses of Sandoz works with detailed analyses of her trove of letters. Wenburg has discussed Sandoz at a number of conferences including the American Studies Association international conference, regional and national American Culture Association conferences, College English Association conferences, and Western Literature Association conferences. She has been published with her work on Sandoz as well as teaching writing and incorporating meditation. She has received numerous awards and grants in support of her Sandoz and teaching research. Wenburg worked in Higher Education at Fort Lewis College as an assistant professor of English and as an instructional designer and interim director of Digital Learning at Park University. She now is employed as an account director and senior writer at Crux KC in Kansas City, Missouri. She serves as the chair of the Sandoz Scholar Committee.