Rebecca was born and raised in Wisconsin, a state whose population proudly boasts its German-American heritage. Her family was among German immigrants who came to the U.S. after the 1848 revolution and she grew up hearing about her paternal great-grandfather who spoke only German until he was 5 years old.
Growing up in Wisconsin, the German influence was all around. Many high school students elect to take German as their foreign language, so naturally she did as well. It led her to spend her senior year of high school as a Rotary Youth Exchange student in Hamburg, Germany. Upon returning to the U.S., she began her undergraduate career at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, where she majored in German, International Relations, and Political Science. Her courses included not only German language, literature, history and politics, but also a seminar on Germans in the U.S., and a linguistics course on how the German language shaped dialects across America. After graduating from UW in 1998, she was lucky to participate in the Bundestag Internship Program in Bonn, Germany.
Since then, she has worked on Capitol Hill for a Wisconsin senator and returned to school to get her law degree. For the past 12 years, she has been practicing constitutional law in Madison, Wisconsin, and in the past 4½ years, has been supervising a team of 6 attorneys and 2 legal assistants, developed and implemented a legal fellowship program, and managed legal fellows and interns, including law students and undergraduates as Legal Director of the Freedom From Religion Foundation where she analyzes, researches, and advises on constitutional law issues such as establishment of religion, free exercise of religion and free speech rights. She and her husband, Mike, have four young children.
Rebecca is excited to contribute to the work of the Foundation in any way she can. She would be very interested in projects involving the contributions of German-American women to the U.S. (she wrote a paper in college on German-American feminist Mathilde Anneke), German-Americans and free thought, and of course, any other projects the Board has decided to pursue. She’s eager to assist and lend her experience and expertise to the Board.