About me: I was born in Texas, on the Fourth of July, 1986. When my mother checked into the hospital, so I am told, Doctor Lamar was out fishing in the middle of a lake. If not for his boat capsizing and the near-death experience that marked the ruin of his holiday, he probably would not have been in attendance for my birth. I am often blamed for this.
These days, I'm a PhD student in communication at the University of Pittsburgh. Before that, I studied poetry at Bellarmine University in Louisville (B.A. '08) and science writing at MIT (M.S. '11). After MIT, I spent a few years working as a writer and editor at the science/faith intersection. I loved this work, because it allowed me to explore "big questions" every day, but I also realized that I probably wasn't done with my (formal) education, yet.
In spring 2014 I was accepted into the Rhetoric of Science program at Pitt, where I matriculated as this year's Provost's Humanities Fellow. I am interested in how scientists argue—but perhaps more so in how ordinary people argue about science and use science in our daily lives, how even so-called "anti-science" groups tend to talk scientifically about their views, (and how the relationship between power and expertise affects all of the above). For me, studying rhetoric is less about the art of persuasion than it is about the important difference between what we say and how we say it. As artists, as scientists, as fellow believers or atheists—I believe even our best, most unique and inspirational ideas can grow toxic to others if our rhetoric is wracked with the maladies of myopia, overconfidence, and lack of engagement with views to the contrary.
Concurrent with my doctoral work in rhetoric, I'll be pursuing a master's degree in bioethics with a focus on experimental research ethics. This is partly an extension of the work I began with my master's thesis at MIT, where I researched the controversial narratives surrounding the world's first successful hand transplants.
Writing and editing: I've been writing "novels" since I was five years old, beginning with Blacky, (about a black horse), and quickly followed by Blacky Out West, neither of which can be purchased on Amazon.com.
While waiting for that day to come, I have worked as Associate Director of Communications for the American Scientific Affiliation and as Web Editor for the daily blog of the BioLogos Foundation. Both organizations are committed to exploring how science and religion can complement one another to increase our understanding of the universe we live in and the purpose of our lives. As editor of ASA's God & Nature magazine, I strive to help stimulate conversation "beyond the controversy" in science and faith by publishing articles, interviews, poetry, and artwork from writers and scholars around the world.
And I still write poetry sometimes. You can read some by clicking on the tab above.
Artwork: My artistic service, Smile Lines, offers caricatures, portraits, and custom artwork to independent clients in the Louisville and Pittsburgh areas.
Etc: In my spare time I like to read, run, write children's books about obscure scientific fields, and fall down while ice skating. Well, I prefer not to fall down but that's typically how it goes.