I grew up in Kentucky and studied history and music at Eastern Kentucky University after quitting pilot school for lack of funds. At EKU, I had the pleasure of working with the excellent scholars and mentors Jennifer Spock, the late Bruce MacLaren, and the late Robert "Bob" Topmiller.
After graduating in 2009, I sold my car to buy a plane ticket to Europe in order to take a research internship position in Austria at the Jewish Museum of Vienna. That summer, I worked on an exhibition on the Austrian Marxist composer, Hans Eisler, and his exile in civil war Spain and later the United States and East Germany. In Spain, Eisler composed fight songs such as ¡No Pasarán! and El Quinto Regimiento to inspire the war-weary antifascist militias of Republican Spain.
In fall 2009, I joined the University of Pittsburgh Department of History to begin graduate study of Spanish and Soviet History under William Chase, Jonathan Harris, and others. I took an MA (2011) and PhD (2017) at Pitt, studying Spanish, German, and Russian language along the way and doing extensive archival research abroad. Since 2009, I've traveled to many European countries, mostly on research or to present my work at conferences.
Much of my research has been conducted in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain, near Vegueta, the neighborhood in which Juan Negrín was born. Negrín was Prime Minister of Republican Spain during the Spanish Civil War. His archive was recently transferred from the Negrín family apartment in Paris to the Fundación Juan Negrín in Las Palmas, where I spent two years researching in the collection.
I continued research in Barcelona in 2015 as Visiting Fulbright Researcher, where I worked with the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona's research team, Grupo de Estudios sobre República y Democracia. In 2016, I took a position as Visiting Researcher at the London School of Economics Cañada Blanche Centre for Contemporary Spanish Studies, working with Paul Preston for the 2016-2017 AY.
After defending my dissertation in 2017, I taught European and Spanish History as Visiting Assistant Professor of History at the University of Miami. For the 2018-2019 Academic Year, I taught Russian and European History as Assistant Teaching Professor at Penn State University - Behrend. I'm currently Assistant Professor History at Averett University, where I teach courses on Europe, Spain, Russia, and the history of communism.
My interest in politics and history results from my work as a student, researcher, and teacher. It also comes from my experiences organizing with grassroots political groups from Pittsburgh to Barcelona to Las Palmas. I enjoy traveling very much, and usually spend any free time I have backpacking on long trails in the nearest mountain range, wherever I am. I most recently completed the Appalachian Trail, northbound from Georgia to Maine. I also compete in endurance races, most recently a triathlon on the Black Sea in Romania near Constanza. I write fiction, mostly short stories. I still play guitar, piano, and banjo, and I write and record my own music.
At Averett University, I teach European and Russian history and run a yearly film series. I have also launched a podcast, History Today at Averett, which showcases student research and oral histories of the Danville area.
If you want to know more, please reach out to me using the contact button.
Lecture at London School of Economics & Political Science, Cañada Blanch Seminar (October 2015)
Austrian Alps, near Innsbruck (2011)
Fundación Juan Negrín (2014)