Expert on the folklore/culture of diverse peoples in Wisconsin and the Upper Midwest
- Folk humor, jokes, Ole and Lena stories
- Traditional and ethnic music (polka, powwow, old time fiddling, gospel, etc.)
- Wisconsin traditions
- Kellett Mid-Career Award for Excellence in Arts and Humanities Scholarship, 2007
- Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Teaching, 2006
- Author, "Wisconsin Folklore," "So Ole Says to Lena: Folk Humor of the Upper Midwest," "Polkabilly: How the Goose Island Ramblers Redefined American Folk Music"
- Governor's Award for Excellence in Public Humanities Scholarship, 1995