Hilary-Joy Virtanen is assistant professor of Finnish & Nordic Studies at Finlandia University in Hancock, Michigan, where she directs the academic program and teaches most of its classes.
The native of Toivola, in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, holds a Master’s and Ph.D. in Scandinavian Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison; a Master’s in Folklore from Indiana University; and a BA in English and Anthropology from Michigan State University.
As a researcher, she focuses on festival culture and symbolic ethnic practices of Finns and Finnish-Americans.
She is the assistant editor of the Journal of Finnish Studies and a member of the Finnish Theme Committee, the FFN chapter in Hancock. Hilary has served on the boards of the Michigan Oral History Association, the Copper Range Historical Society and FinnFest USA 2013.
Hilary and her husband Ron Stewart live near Hancock with their three children. She is honored to serve on the FFN board because of the support she has received from the organization as a student and researcher, and looks forward to helping others in the same way.