CV & About Me

I am PhD candidate in both Russian History and Central Eurasian Studies at Indiana University, Bloomington. I am conducting my doctoral dissertation research in Kazakhstan thanks to a Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad award.

My dissertation concerns the Bare Footed Flight of the Kazakhs, a topic I first studied for my MA thesis in Central Eurasian Studies, available on my Research page.

I am originally from rural Michigan, growing up first in the village of Vassar and then in the town of Davison, both located in the area known locally as "the Thumb," which references the fact that Michigan's lower peninsula is shaped like a mitten. I have a large family consisting of many aunts and uncles and dozens of cousins. In terms of education, after graduating from the public high school in Davison, I earned my Bachelor's degree in English Creative Writing and Music at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo.

After college I served as a Peace Corps Volunteer (2005-2007). I lived for six months in Uzbekistan and then another two years in Kazakhstan, where I taught English in local schools. My time in Uzbekistan was short, as the events of May 2005 led directly to the end of the Peace Corps program in Uzbekistan. In Kazakhstan, I served in the village of Sayram. Sayram has a long history and shows few of the signs of the Soviet period ubiquitous elsewhere in Kazakhstan. Living there inspired me to study Central Asian history in graduate school.

My wife Teresa is originally from Indianapolis. She holds a PhD in Spanish Literature from Indiana University. We met as Volunteers in Kazakhstan. Our roots are similarly Midwestern and we enjoy spending our time with our extended family whenever possible.

We have two children, our daughters Jansamal Lorraine and Quralai Ann.