Professor Wilmer has been at Montana State University since 1991, serving twice as Department Head of Political Science. She earned a BS from Shepherd University, and Master’s and Doctoral degrees from the University of Maryland, College Park. She was elected to Faculty Senate Chair-Elect in 2015. She is a co-founder of the American Political Science Association’s Race, Ethnicity, and Politics section, served on the Governing Council of the American Political Science Association, and on the editorial board of the International Studies Quarterly. She has traveled to over 65 countries for research and invited lectures.
From 2007-2013 Professor Wilmer also served in the Montana state legislature, and prior to that, as Chair of the Montana Human Rights Commission. During her tenure in elected office, she served on the Montana Environmental Quality Council, as Vice-Chair of the House Fish, Wildlife Committee, and as Chair of the Interim Committee on State Administration and Veterans Affairs. In 2009 she was elected unanimously as House Speaker Pro Tempore for the 2009 legislative session.
Professor Wilmer teaches or has taught Introduction to International Relations, International Human Rights, International Relations theory, International Law, Peace and Conflict Studies, and team-taught courses on Globalization and Politics, Social and Natural Science Approaches to Human Violence, and Women and the Holocaust. She has published four books and numerous scholarly articles and book chapters on her research into the links between political violence, identity, and human rights. Her books include The Indigenous Voice in World Politics (1993), The Social Construction of Man, the State, and War: Identity, Politics, and Violence in Former Yugoslavia (2002), and Human Rights in International Politics: An Introduction (2015).
Her most recent book, Breaking Cycles of Violence in Israel and Palestine: Empathy and Peacemaking in the Middle East (Lexington, 2021) analyzes the role of Israeli and Palestinian peace activists in disrupting conflict narratives through empathic engagement. Professor Wilmer also currently serves on the board of the Canadian Peace Research Association and the Academic Advisory Board for the Combatants for Peace, a joint Israeli-Palestinian peacebuilding advocacy organization whose members are ex-combatants from both communities.