Mary began her university teaching career at the University of Wisconsin - Barron County. Because of the outstanding faculty and a student body that is both intellectually curious and eager to learn, she has chosen to make this university her home. Throughout the years, Mary has served as advisor to Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society, and was the recipient of Phi Theta Kappa's International Parnell Scholar Award. She was chosen a Wisconsin Teaching Scholar and a Wisconsin Idea Fellow. She was also selected as a Distinguished Woman of the Year by Girl Scouts of America.
Mary has taught in Nepal, and received a Fulbright Scholarship to study and do research in Morocco. She did post-graduate work at the University of Wisconsin – Madison, where she guest lectured in interpersonal communication and subsequently co-authored three interpersonal workbooks published by Oxford University Press. In the community, she is a facilitator for Barron County's Restorative Justice program, and a past president of the Board of Directors of Restorative Justice. Mary was the recipient of the Chancellor's Award for excellence in teaching, scholarship, and service and has received multiple Kaplan Awards for innovative teaching. In 2015, Mary authored a book about the death of her son, The Betrayal of Officer Ryan Hoeft: A Conspiracy of Silence.