In addition to my scholarly writing, I regularly contribute book reviews and essays to magazines and blogs. Mostly, I use books I admire to try and shed light on some aspect of contemporary American culture–to show, for example, how David Foster Wallace’s The Pale King all but predicted the election of Donald Trump (and also, incidentally, the widely panned Kendall Jenner Pepsi commercial), or how Aristotelian virtue ethics can help parents and educators counteract social media’s corrosive effects on character development.
Many of these pieces include anecdotes about teaching–as in this essay on Flannery O’Connor and the ethics of vision, this one on Elizabeth Bishop, and this review of Don DeLillo’s Zero K–because in both my writing and the classroom, I am passionate about helping others to see clearly, understand deeply, and come away with a renewed sense of agency and curiosity.
Before starting my PhD, I worked in higher ed administration and communications at Boston University, writing everything from appeal letters, to speeches and correspondence for deans and provosts, to BU’s self-study report for their reaccreditation by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges in 2009.
As a writer and editor for publications at BU and, later, Harvard University, I also produced profiles, features, and Q&As about dozens of faculty, graduate students, and undergraduates working in the humanities, arts, social sciences, and STEM fields. Along the way, I had the chance to meet and interview doctors, musicians, and even a poet laureate, as well as experts on subjects ranging from Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy in veterans and NFL players, to Ajami (a modified version of Arabic script used in Africa for centuries) to fairy tales.