Interested in the intersection of academic literacy formation and personal development, Mary has focused her study on developmental composition pedagogy, literacy development in children and young adults with learning disabilities, and children's literature. She is also the co-editor of the essay collection The Academy and the Possibility of Belief: Essays on Intellectual and Spiritual Life. With her family, she manages a 20 acre patch of native prairie in western Wisconsin, where she studies the wildflowers and tends some honeybees.

At Inver Hills, she has served as the Coordinator for the English department and serves on the Inver Hills-Metropolitan State Community Garden advisory board, the Learning Communities advisory board, the InCollege Concurrent Enrollment Community Trustees board, and the Developmental Education Task Force. Her primary focus and best joy is in teaching students in her composition and literature classes.

Mary earned her BA in English and Certificate in Creative and Professional Writing at Saint Louis University. She completed the MA and doctoral coursework at the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee in Composition and Rhetoric. She also holds the Professional Certificate in Online Teaching from the University of Wisconsin - Madison.