Patty teaches sociology at North Dakota State University where she is a pioneer in teaching online classes. She is one of the early instructors to encourage students to volunteer in the community which later became known as service learning. She taught at Great Falls College- Montana State University and United Tribes Technical College in Bismarck, North Dakota. She was a police detective with the Fargo Police Department and is a motivational speaker and corporate consultant. Patty lives in Fargo and has 4 children and 6 grandchildren.