My bachelor of arts degree in journalism pushes me in the direction of writing this column as a reporter - to keep "me"
out of the story. But the perspective of the column is not one of standing to the side as a detached onlooker, but of
involvement. So this may be as good a place as any to begin that involvement.
I'm a native Kansan who grew up on a farm near Burns, Kansas in Marion County. The farm was purchased by my great-grandparents Will and Mary Freeland in the early 1900s. Burns is a village of a few hundred people whose main claim to fame is that part of the Tim Burton movie, "Mars Attacks," was shot there. Mom dragged my Dad along the day they were casting extras, hoping she'd get a part. Instead, Dad was selected for a two-second part playing a man with a walker.
After graduating from Kansas State University, I volunteered for the Peace Corps and served in Ecuador from 1976-1978. After my Peace Corps service, I located a job in San José, Costa Rica working on the twice-weekly English-language San José News. While in San José, I met Jerome, my first husband. He grew up in Wichita, Kansas, just 30 miles from my home. He also had a degree in journalism, but was in Costa Rica because, of all things, he had joined the Peace Corps.
We returned to Kansas where we worked at various newspaper and other jobs and studied at K-State for our masters degrees. Jerome died from a brain aneurism in February 1986, two months after graduating. I had our daughter Mariya in July 1986.
Along the way, I have worked at a number of weekly newspapers in Kansas. I also served as associate director of Student Publications - now called Collegian Media Group - at K-State, which publishes the K-State Collegian, the Royal Purple yearbook. I now teach news writing, community media and media sales courses, coordinate the internship program and am the director of the Huck Boyd National Center for Community Media in the A.Q. Miller School of Journalism and Mass Communications at K-State.
I married Art, an electrical engineer and former professor at K-State, in 1988 and we have two daughters - Mariya, whom Art frequently refers to as M.B. for Mariya Beth and Katie, who often prefers to be called Katherine. Art has an older daughter Karen, whom he usually calls Bear, and a son Matt.
I have a passion for family history, photography and traveling. That latter passion has taken me to Europe, South America, New Zealand and many parts of the United States.
"Snapshots" - which now appears online as "Kansas Snapshots" - was published in The Riley (Kansas) Countian, a weekly newspaper, from November 2001 through February 2010.