Bachelor, Grinnell College, Iowa, 1971. Master of Arts, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, 1989. Doctor of Philosophy, University Minnesota, Minneapolis, 1991.
Costume shop manager Milwaukee Repertory Theatre, 1978—1980, Theater Cornell, Ithaca, 1980—1988. Assistant professor Cornell University, 1991—1997, associate professor, 1997—2006, professor, since 2006.
Married William J. Ashdown, October 11, 1987.