Broadly, I am interested in modern institutions, organizations, and systems as fieldsites. This is a departure from typical and traditional anthropological approaches that conceptualize a fieldsite as a geographic destination. An institutional fieldsite might be the military, an educational system, an economic system, a physical or mental health care system, a criminal system, or a kinship system. An organizational fieldsite could be a business, a non-profit, or a specific institution. In the most comprehensive sense, I am an investigator, troubleshooter, and servicer of complex human problems and systems.
Using primarily sociocultural anthropological methodologies, the inner workings of these institutions are revealed, regardless of their purported complexity. The “complexity” or “magnitude” of an institution often becomes an excuse for failed reform to that system or flaws subsumed in the typical use of that system. Qualitative methods are well-suited to parsing institutions into discrete, comprehensible parts and identifying the relationships between those parts. This is not too different than how anthropologists have studied foreign cultures and parsed them into comprehensible parts. I especially enjoy demystifying systems, processes, and human behavior. It is especially gratifying to be able to do this in ways that combat violence, social injustice, and inequities.
In my personal life, I am a hobbyist musician, enjoy gaming and puzzles of all types, and spending time outdoors. I enjoy travel as both work and pleasure take all over the country. I have visited all 48 continental states and have visited and camped in national and state parks all over the country.
I have a Ph.D. (2019) and M.A. (2014) in anthropology (magna cum laude) from Temple University, Philadelphia, and B.A. (2008) in anthropology (summa cum laude) from the Honors College at The University of Texas at San Antonio.
WHAT I DO
I am a sociocultural anthropologist comfortable in a variety of settings—urban, rural, corporate, and industrial. I am familiar with every phase of a project, large or small, from study design and recruitment to analysis and both written and oral presentation to any audience.
I am particularly proficient as translating complex data-driven insights into information that is useful to a general or specific audience. Moreover, I use a range of mix methodologies to suit the needs of any project. These include (but are not limited to) literature, media, and policy reviews and analyses; structure and semi-structured interviews, participant observation, and focus groups; program evaluation; qualitative data coding and analysis; survey design (on any scale), data collection and distribution via the web or firsthand; and quantitative data analysis (e.g., trends and demographics), and presentation into comprehensible infographics or visual representations. I savor opportunities that allow for creative and experimental methodologies and am unafraid of exploring new boundaries, such as media like short films and digital series.
Additionally, mentoring, training, teaching, and facilitating learning in both formal and informal settings, using both hands-on, practical and academic approaches, gets me excited. I am equally comfortable in one-on-one settings as auditoriums and classrooms. My teaching style varies with needs of the students and the goals of the learning—from hands-on methods (e.g., service-learning, practical demonstration) to Socratic and academic lecture methods to using theatre exercises and role-play (e.g. pedagogy and theatre of the oppressed). Most often, teaching (for me) is a means to exercise new patterns in thinking, imagining, and understanding the world, rather than memorizing course content. In a traditional classroom setting, I generally emphasize critical thinking, critical reading, writing, respectful discourse, and communication skills development, while increasing students’ capacities to be reflexive and responsible, global, national, and local citizens.