Who am I? Do I even know?I'm originally from Muncie, Indiana USA. As anyone familiar will tell you, Muncie is a strange little place that ironically has been used by sociologists in the past to define the American "norm." It's a part of the "Rust Belt," and it's been reeling from the loss of the automobile parts manufacturing industries since the 1970s. I'd really like to write a book about what the weirdness that Muncie has become. It's also home to Ball State University, where I earned two degrees in geography.
I met Amy, my lovely wife, while finishing my masters degree. We've been married since 2004. She is everything to me: my soulmate, my support, my partner and my best friend. We moved to Ohio in 2005 so that I could pursue a PhD in geography at Kent State University. I made ends meet by teaching classes as a part-time faculty member at Kent State, The University of Akron and several other schools. I defended my dissertation in 2010, and officially became "Dr. Shears" in 2011.
While in Ohio, we became active in animal rescue volunteering. We volunteered for a number of different rescue organizations in various capacities and we hosted over 90 rescued foster animals at our house, helping them find permanent homes. A few of those ended up staying with us, and now we have something of a menagerie.
In fall of 2011, I took a position at the University of Wisconsin-Fox Valley in Menasha, Wisconsin. We've spent much of the last 18 months learning about our new home, the Fox Cities. We recently currently live in Neenah, just down the road from UWFox.
Probably my favorite hobby is traveling, which I try to do any chance I get. That a geographer enjoys traveling should be a surprise to no one. I’m also frequently posing for Amy’s photography experiments. Thanks to this, I probably have more pictures in circulation than anyone who’s not a pope or a president! Some of my other hobbies include: taking photography of my own, reading, hiking, flying kites, collecting pennies, tasting varieties of obscure beers, star-gazing and debating random cultural phenomena in pubs. I’m an amateur musician of sorts, and I sometimes tool around with viola, bass, mandolin and ukulele. Sports are also something I enjoy: I love playing disc golf, and I'm a fan of the Cincinnati Reds, Indianapolis Colts, Ball State basketball and football, and Kent State hockey. The best kind of vacation for me is one that involves catching a sporting event at a stadium I’ve never visited.