After graduating high school as valedictorian and National Merit Scholar, Holly attended Bowdoin College, where she earned a BA in Russian with Honors. She then went on to receive an MA in comparative literature and a PhD in comparative literature and American studies from Indiana University. At IU, her dedication to college teaching was recognized with the university-wide Lieber Memorial Teaching Associate Award. After graduating, she moved to the University of Maine, where she worked as a tenure-track assistant professor of communication and journalism for five years. In this role, she served as an MA and PhD advisor and sat on the admissions committee for applications to the communication graduate program. She also served as undergraduate advising coordinator for two years, counseling students on course selection, career planning, and graduate education opportunities.
Holly has a lifelong passion for comedy that inspired her to design and teach a college-level course on humor. Much of her free time is devoted to community theatre, both as an actor and as vice president of Ten Bucks Theatre Company in Bangor, Maine.