I grew up outside Louisville, Kentucky and studied history and classical guitar at Eastern Kentucky University after quitting pilot school for lack of funds. At EKU, I had the pleasure of working with such excellent scholars as Jennifer Spock, Bruce MacLaren, and the late, great Robert "Bob" Topmiller. I'm only beginning to understand their collective impact on me as a person and a historian.
Upon 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. Through the summer of 2009, I worked on an exhibition on the Austrian Marxist composer and political activist 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 September 2009, I joined the University of Pittsburgh Department of History and began 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 international conferences.
My interest in politics and history results from my work as a student, researcher, and teacher, as well as my experiences organizing with grassroots political groups from Pittsburgh to Barcelona and Madrid. I enjoy traveling very much, and usually spend my off time backpacking on the trails of the nearest mountain range, wherever I am. I also compete in endurance races, most recently a triathlon on the Black Sea in Romania near Constanza. When I'm not racing, I'm training. I also write fiction, mostly short stories. I still play guitar, piano, and banjo as a hobby, and I write and record my own music.
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 President of the Council of Ministers of Republican Spain during the Spanish Civil War, and his archive has recently been transferred from the Negrín family household in Paris to the Fundación Juan Negrín in Las Palmas.
After taking residence 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, 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.
In 2017-2018, 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 currently work as Visiting Assistant Professor of history at Averett University.
Lecture at London School of Economics & Political Science, Cañada Blanch Seminar (October 2015)
Austrian Alps, near Innsbruck (2011)
Fundación Juan Negrín (2014)