Where to start? My love for history
was spawned by my dad. As a little boy, I remember him telling me countless stories about figures from antiquity, stories about generals and politicians. He sparked an insatiable curiosity about human nature that has led me to my current academic and professional situation.
Currently, I am a PhD student at Illinois Tech (IIT) studying clinical psychology
. Though my studies focus on clinical applications of psychological science, I am a scientist at my core. I am skeptical and genuinely intrigued by questions surrounding our origins as a species. As you can imagine, I am also very interested in anthropology
, and philosophy
My academic background includes a Bachelor of Art
from Michigan State University in Political Theory and Constitutional Democracy with a specialization in African and African American Diasporic Studies (AAADS). My academic training exposed me to the historical and theoretical origins of the Constitution of the United States of America. My coursework included early Greek classics
such as, "The Republic," by Plato and "Politics," by Aristotle. By the end of my program, I was reading
radical challenges to liberal democracy, which include the writings of Marx, Nietzsche and Heidegger.
Additionally, I chose to specialize in AAADS, because of a curiosity sparked by my mother origins. She is from a small country in the South Pacific called Fiji, and her people come from a small island called Rotuma. Rotuma's current population on the island is ~3,000 people and estimates of the worldwide population of people with Rotuman heritage is ~20,000. As you can imagine, their history is very difficult to study. Broadly speaking, their story is connected to the incredible story of Polynesian nautical exploration and colonization of new worlds. The written record began with European contact and colonization. This is where my interest in the African and African American experience began. There is an extensive historical record and tradition of scholarship on the topic of colonization and post-colonization in Africa. I thought by studying the African experience I hoped to have insight on how colonization would be manifest in my mother's culture.
While studying at Michigan State, I was also an Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) cadet. As a high school senior, I was awarded a scholarship that paid for my college tuition and books. After graduating, I served as an Air Force officer on active duty for four and a half years. While on active duty, I was stationed in Mississippi and Turkey. Both locations provided me with new perspectives on history and culture.
On active duty, I successfully completed a Master of Business
Administration at Mississippi State University (right around the corner from my base in Mississippi). It was during my business studies that I decided that I wanted to study psychology. The path to my PhD studies took me back to Michigan State where I completed a second bachelors' degree, a Bachelor of Science in Psychology. As a student, I prepared for and completed the GRE
, garnered psychological research experience, and applied for graduate school. It was a busy year for me, but it was very successful. I made the Dean's list every semester and scored very well on my GRE exam. More importantly, I found an advisor at IIT that matched my research interests and he offered me a position in his lab.
My academic studies are very diverse and they include Calculus
, Genetics, and Statistics
in addition to my course work in Psychology, Philosophy, Political Science, and History. I'm also enjoying reading about history and anthropology for fun. Currently, I'm reading a book on the origins of European people that takes a genetic perspective.
My teaching experience is also very diverse. While in Turkey, I completed a certificate to Teach English
as Foreign Language
at the Via Lingua Institute in Istanbul. This program provided me with a solid foundation in pedagogy and experience teaching students of all ages. Also, while at Michigan State for my second bachelors' degree, I was invited to teach the Freshman-level ROTC course at my old Detachment. I taught 51 cadets topics related to military history and principles of leadership. Recently, I taught a high school summer program at IIT. My lectures introduced students to the history of Psychology and the science of emotion.
Recently, I was selected by the Navy as one of five scholarship winners for their Health Professions Scholarship Program (HPSP). Recipients of this scholarship will have their tuition and books paid for by the Navy as well as a monthly stipend. After completing my academic and scientific training, I will serve in the U.S. Navy as a clinical psychologist for four years. After completing my service, I want to return to academia and fulfill my life-long dream to become an educator.