Dr. McDowell received her undergraduate degree in anthropology from the University of Illinois and her M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from Cornell University. The primary focus of her cultural research was kinship, transaction, and gender in the Sepik region of Papua New Guinea, where she conducted fieldwork in 1972-74, 1981, and 2001. From 1974 to 1994, she taught at Franklin and Marshall College where she chaired the Anthropology Department and the Womens’ Studies Program; for three years was she was the Associate Academic Dean. In 1994 she moved Beloit College to serve as the Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the College, but after three years went back to her real love, teaching. She retired in 2012 and happily now lives in a cabin in the Northwoods of Wisconsin. She served on the Board of Directors of the Association for Social Anthropology in Oceania (1989-92) and as Board Chair in 1990-1991. In 199-93 she was the Secretary of the American Ethnological Society and for three years (2006-2009) she was a member of the Board of Trustees of the Higher Learning Commission.