I grew up in Johnston County, a heavily rural and agricultural area south-east of Raleigh, NC. As a member of a large family living in a low-income area, money was always tight and opportunity felt limited. While our family made do with hand-me-down clothes and a steady diet of red beans and rice, my parents made sure that we were never found wanting for books. From an early age, I came to experience the profound possibility of education as a way expand the horizons of my mind and life.
My commitment to humane and open liberal arts education was strengthened by my time at Berea College, a unique institution founded in 1855 as the first fully coeducational and racially integrated college in the South. Today, Berea guarantees a tuition-free liberal arts education to students of great promise who may otherwise lack the opportunity to pursue higher education – like me. I graduated summa cum laude from Berea College, with a bachelor’s degree in Political Science, Economics, and Philosophy.
In 2017, I returned to North Carolina to pursue my Ph.D. in Political Science at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where my studies focused on political theory and American politics. While at Carolina, I taught a wide variety of undergraduate courses, teaching or assisting with courses in political theory, the theory and practice of International Relations, and constitutional law and civil liberties and earning a campus-wide student-nominated teaching award.
I am the proud husband of Camille (who holds degrees in sustainable agriculture from Berea College and Murray State University) and father to Peter and Emma Caroline. When I am not teaching, reading, or writing, I’m probably spending time with my family in the garden, the kitchen, or the outdoors. As an adult, I’ve worked a wide array of jobs, including a short stint employed as a carnival roustabout. I’ve also performed writing and editing work for several magazines and publishers, and currently spend many weekends working alongside a licensed arborist performing tree care. I enjoy playing and listening to music, camping and hiking, and caring for all manner of growing things. We live in Pittsboro, North Carolina, where we attend a local Baptist church.