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Janice Marschner was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay area and has lived in Sacramento since 1973. Her parents grew up in Eugene, Oregon, and Marschner spent many summers visiting family in the Eugene and Portland areas. She and her husband, Jeff Marschner, visit Oregon regularly. They have two grown children.
She graduated from the University of California, Davis, in international relations and earned a masters in public policy and administration at California State University, Sacramento. Before retiring early to pursue her interest in history, she worked for a state senator and as a legislative analyst for the state of California.
Her first book, California 1850: A Snapshot in Time, commemorated California's sesquicentennial in 2000. Her second book, California's Arab Americans, documented the contributions of California's early pioneers from the Arab world.