• Honors Faculty

    Susie Steinbach

    Professor of history and director of Honors Program

    Susie Steinbach is a professor of history in Hamline University's College of Liberal Arts and the director of the University Honors Program. She is the 2006 winner of the Conger Prize for outstanding scholarly work by a faculty member in the humanities and the author of the textbook Understanding the Victorians: Politics, Culture and Society in Nineteenth-Century Britain. Her research focuses on gender, theatre, and the law in Victorian Britain. View Dr. Steinbach's full profile.


    Professor Steinbach is passionate about our University Honors program because it promotes a culture of excellence at Hamline and because it welcomes a diverse range of students, in particular students who may not have demonstrated excellence before they came to Hamline but are ready to do so now. She believes that higher education should be both challenging and transformative and that University Honors can be a central part of making a Hamline education both, in part because it demands that students leave their comfort zones.

    Allison Baker

    Associate professor of studio art


    Allison Baker is an assistant professor of studio art with a focus in sculpture and 2D/3D design fundamental. She earned her MFA in sculpture from The Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) as well as a BFA in sculpture and BA in gender studies from Indiana University. She has been shown at Flux Factory in New York City; The Orange County Center for Contemporary Art in Santa Ana, California; and the University of Austin Texas, among others. Allison has held residencies nationally and internationally, including at Franconia Sculpture Park, where her work is currently on exhibit. Recently, Allison has pursued publication as a means to further incorporate her academic training with her sculptural practice. She has been published in the Tulane Review, Blue Stockings Magazine, and Synecdoche Magazine in conjunction with support from Brown University. Her studio practice focuses on utilizing traditional sculptural techniques within a contemporary art practice, where she investigates hegemonic social structures as sites of transgression and resistance. View Allison Baker's full profile.

    Why She is Involved with Honors:

    “University Honors exemplifies the mission of Hamline where all students—regardless of prior success—can find a space to flourish as people and scholars. I am proud to serve as an Honors faculty member to empower students to seize their education and craft the experience that they desire. University Honors helps students find a path of success forward and pushes them out of their comfort zone while maintaining a rich network of support.

    I am particularly passionate about the research experience for fine arts students, where we do not always consider ourselves researchers. Creative research is valuable and important although often messy and intangible. As member of the Honors faculty, I hope to encourage more students to reframe themselves as scholars contributing to the larger cultural conversation.” –Professor Allison Baker

    Katrina Vandenberg

    Assistant professor of creative writing


    Katrina Vandenberg is an assistant professor of creative writing and teaches creative writing, poetry, creative process, and literary publishing. She earned an MFA in poetry from the University of Arkansas then spent a year as a Fulbright fellow in creative writing at Universiteit Utrecht in the Netherlands, working on her first book of poems, Atlas. At Hamline, Professor Vandenberg continues to write and publish creative nonfiction and poetry, bringing first-hand knowledge of the writer's craft to Hamline's award-winning national magazines, runestone and the Water~Stone ReviewView Katrina Vandenberg's full profile.

    Why She is Involved with Honors:

    "When I was a first-generation college student, being part of an honors program changed my life. I met professors and mentors who engaged with and challenged me and students I might never have met otherwise. The honors program was a community of curious and passionate people who pushed my work to new levels, taught me how to be a lifelong learner, and also became my lifelong friends. I'm eager to pass on to students what that experience gave me. 

    Even so, I wish my college's honors program had looked more like Hamline's. I am enamored with our program's focus on process and deep change rather than merely checking off the classes a student has taken or making sure that student has earned a certain GPA. This program is thoughtfully structured to help students developed holistically in four areas—as academics, researchers, members of the community, and lifelong learners—in order to become the next generation of change-makers. And any Hamline student who wants to take on the challenge has the opportunity to be a part of it. I feel lucky to be a part of such a dynamic community." –Professor Katrina Vandenberg


    Kris Deffenbacher

    Professor of English


    Kris Deffenbacher is a professor of English in Hamline University's College of Liberal Arts. Her teaching and research focus on modern British and Irish literature and culture, gender studies and cultural studies, and contemporary popular culture. She earned her BA magna cum laude from Carleton College and her PhD from the University of Southern California.

    Why She is Involved with Honors:

    I joined my colleagues on the University Honors Faculty Council because I share their vision of an honors program that challenges students to become scholars, researchers, community leaders, and reflective life-long learners. I enjoy helping students in the Humanities to extend their work in the classroom into independent research projects, and I appreciate the opportunities I've had to watch University Honors students stretch themselves and grow over their years at Hamline.


    Irina Makarevitch

    Professor of Biology


    Irina Makarevitch is a professor of biology in Hamline University's College of Liberal Arts. Irina Makarevitch is the chair of the biology department. She received a BS in molecular biology from Novosibirsk State University in Russia and a MS and PhD in Plant Breeding/ Molecular Genetics from the university of Minnesota. Irina is a plant geneticist. She collaborates with her colleagues at the University of Minnesota and University of Wisconsin - Madison on understanding genetic and epigenetic mechanisms in regulation of stress response in maize. In collaboration with Hamline students, Professor Makarevitch develops novel inquiry-driven and research-based laboratory exercises for undergraduate students.

    Why She is Involved with Honors

    I am passionate about our University Honors program because it provides students with opportunities to grow and develop holistically. The program welcomes students with different interests and backgrounds and guides them through various facets of the college experience. I believe that college education should continuously challenge and enrich the person, and the Honors Program provides a framework for such college journey.