Alice replied, rather shyly, “…at least I know who I was when I got up this morning, but I think I must have been changed several times since then.”Alice to the Caterpillar in Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
It’s always kind of awkward to try and talk about yourself, isn’t it? It’s even stranger when you’re trying to write something about yourself voluntarily and unprompted… or is that just me?
In July 2019, I joined the Klein College of Media and Communication at Temple University as an Assistant Professor of Instruction in the Department of Advertising & Public Relations, where my focus is on advertising psychology, branding, and similar areas. It truly feels like “home,” and I am both honored and thrilled to be a part of such a prestigious institution.
Prior to this move, I was Assistant Professor of Digital Marketing in the Department of Business Management at Washington College (affectionately known as “WAC” to those in the know) in Chestertown, Maryland, where I was also the Director of the Minor in Marketing. While I was at WAC, I taught a rotation of courses that included Consumer Behavior, Digital Marketing, and Advertising, but I also had the opportunity to teach a couple of “experimental” courses, including a first-year seminar on the brain and network science called Neurons and Networks. I also supervised a for-credit practicum focused on the American Marketing Association’s Collegiate Case Competition, and the the ten intrepid students who participated in this inaugural endeavor earned a well-deserved “Honorable Mention” distinction for the work that their dedication and tireless efforts produced.
I earned my PhD in Media Studies from the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication; prior to that, I earned my MA in Media Studies from the School of Media Studies at The New School, and my BA in Communication and Digital Art from Wake Forest University. I also earned the Insights Association‘s Professional Researcher Certification (PRC).
I have lived in Wilmington, Delaware for over two years now, and it really has come to feel like “home,” particularly as I’m still figuring out Philadelphia. I am developing some roots here; I occasionally work part-time as an Adjunct Assistant Professor at the University of Delaware‘s Associate in Arts Program. I am also excited to be the co-founder of the Oculus of Delaware Foundation, a new not-for-profit organization with big plans to make this city an even better place to live–more on that coming soon.
But Before All That…
I was born and raised in small-town North Carolina; while I am the product of North Carolina public schools, which unfortunately seem to have floundered in recent years, I am thankful to have been instructed and inspired by some fantastic teachers who encouraged me to ask questions and seek answers endlessly. I ultimately graduated as the salutatorian of my high school class, and I headed to Wake Forest University that fall.
WFU turned out to be an excellent and relatively low-pressure place to figure myself out. I graduated in 2003 with a BA in Communication and a minor in Studio Art (my concentration was photography and digital media). While an undergrad, I also discovered my interest in, and aptitude at, shooting and editing video; the university, through WAKE TV (the student-run campus station), allowed me to formalize the skills I had begun to incubate as a youngster while creating movies with my best friend William. Throughout middle school and high school, on almost any weekend, the two of us could be found shooting something, somewhere, with a borrowed VHS camcorder or crudely editing things together using two jury-rigged VCRs and a 13″ analog TV.
All of that experience crystallized when I scored a summer internship at WCCB in Charlotte (then a FOX affiliate, though now it is associated with The CW). The following summer I was one of just twelve college students to earn an internship placement at The Late Show with David Letterman the following summer… and I hope it goes without saying that the experience was truly unforgettable.
My Path to Academia
I moved to New York after graduation, and after a couple of fits and starts (including being hired for, but ultimately turning down a position with, the NBC page program), I landed a job with a company called Bill Me, Inc., a firm owned by former Fox News anchor Bill O’Reilly that was responsible for the management and maintenance of his personal website BillOReilly.com. Over more than nine years in this position, I earned a series of promotions but more importantly I learned a great deal about iterative web design, usability testing and about business in general, and I’m thankful for the opportunity.
While working, I went to school at night on the side to earn my MA in Media Studies at The New School. I graduated from that program in 2008 after writing a thesis (…available on Amazon.com!) that attempted to track the development of food TV shows alongside major societal and cultural shifts. A couple years after that, I was offered the chance to teach Web Design as an adjunct instructor at Manhattan College in their new Department of Communication, thanks to my experiences and connections from The New School.
After this initial exposure to the academic life, I decided that it was time to make a change, so I left my job in New York and moved to Oregon, where I did my PhD work at the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication, graduating at the end of Spring 2015. And… well, you know the rest!
We shall see, won’t we?