Quick Bio

Amanda Kahl Smith holds a doctorate in sociology and was a professor of criminal justice. Now, she’s a stay at home mom to a little boy. Her Homespun in Colorado blog chronicals her transition to the homey life.

Longer story

I’d like to say that I have a plan, but we all know the saying that “we plan, god laughs.”

Justin and I met in college in Arizona. Back then, I was a World of Warcraft playing chemistry major. I thought I wanted to be a pharmacist, but changed my mind after organic chemistry wrecked my life. Around the same time, I was taking an introduction to criminal justice course and my interest was piqued. Three semesters later I graduated with a BS in criminology & criminal justice and a minor in chemistry. No, I didn’t want a gosh darned thing to do with CSI or forensics.

What drew me to criminology was a desire to understand why people do what they do and why some harmful behavior is criminal while other harmful behavior isn’t. During my first two years of undergrad, I was a home equity mortgage processor for a major bank. It was right before the Great Recession and we were pretty much giving money away with very little documentation. It all felt surreal. Thinking back on it, this time really shaped my academic interests and my understanding of the world.

After undergrad, we both went on for our master’s degrees. We got married during the summer. Justin did his in statistics and continued taking actuarial exams. Meanwhile, I pursued my degree in applied criminology and continued to focus on crimes of the powerful and how crime is defined. I wrote my thesis on the failed attempts to criminalize texting while driving. (Fun fact: Ten years later it’s finally against the law.) By the end of my program, the teaching bug had bitten me and I was off to Michigan to work on my PhD.

We were fortunate that Justin landed an actuarial position in the same state as my PhD program. I continued my studies about the dynamics of crime coming back to thinking more deeply about how capitalism has changed over time and how those changes set the stage for crime. Justin likes to joke that I know too much now to be able to go back to corporate work.

By the end of my program, I had accepted a job as a professor of criminal justice. Unfortunately, three years into the tenure track, I realized that higher education was not for me and Justin and I decided that I would leave the field. The plan was for me to take some time to figure out who I was outside of being a professor. Yup, there’s that word again…

Seemingly out of the blue to most of our friends and family, we moved to Colorado in 2018. Justin had accepted a new job and I told my university that I would be quitting in May 2019.

Probably an even bigger surprise was when we announced in August 2019 that we had been matched with a baby boy. Overnight, we went from not being parents to being the parents of a 42 day old baby in the NICU. He stayed in the hospital for another 110 days.

So that’s who I am. I’m a former professor who turned into a stay at home mom with a love of baking, gardening, and home organizing. What you’ll find here are my bumblings through parenting a disabled child, coming to grips with not jobbing, and trying to have a little grace along the way. I hope you join me.

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