Paul Van Auken defended his dissertation in rural sociology entitled Nature, Community, Commodity: Shifting Landscapes and Social Relations in Rural Amenity Areas of Wisconsin and Norway at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in August of 2007. He began teaching at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh a couple weeks later and is thrilled to be a member of the sociology and environmental studies departments. A native Iowan, Van Auken has called Wisconsin home since 1999. He was raised with a very strong connection to Norway; his mother grew up there and he was able to visit his grandparents and other relatives many times over the years, spending most of the time at a rustic but comfortable family cabin in Gudbrandsdalen. He lives with his wife and young daughter in an old house in Oshkosh and can (barely) see the lake from their porch.