Jennifer Lee Carrell holds a Ph.D. in English and American Literature from Harvard University, as well as other degrees in English from Harvard, Oxford, and Stanford Universities. She is a regular contributor to Smithsonian Magazine; past articles have covered the training of firefighters, the popularity of Shakespeare among cowboys and mountain men in the wild West, Isaac Newton's fascination with alchemy - and its contribution to his scientific discoveries, and the secret use of optical tools by Renaissance artists.
She served for several years as classical music and dance critic as well as arts columnist for the Arizona Daily Star. Before that she taught in the History and Literature Program at Harvard University, where she earned three awards for excellence in undergraduate teaching. She has also directed Shakespeare for Harvard's Hyperion Theatre Company, served as dramaturg for the Arizona Theatre Company, and played the lead role in an award-winning short film.