My story begins in a town of 800 people in rural Iowa. By helping my parents - the local veterinarian and chiropractor - in their practices, I developed an early love of health science and a commitment to education. Growing up, we moved around the globe (Durban, South Africa ages 7-10 and Perth, Western Australia ages 14-18). These experiences exposed me to the world's rich diversity and spurred in me a fascination for understanding people. I attended Columbia University 2008-2012, where I completed a major in psychology and (almost completed) a minor in philosophy. I was enamoured with Columbia's commitment to liberal arts education and deeply enjoyed the literature, philosophy, arts, and music courses I took there. However, my career as a psychological scientist began when I completed an honors thesis project in Prof. Kevin Ochsner's laboratory, where I was co-advised by Prof. Ajay Satpute (now at Northeastern University). My interest in advancing scientific understanding of emotion was born, and I continued to study these questions as Prof. Jamil Zaki's lab manager at Stanford University. I began my clinical psychology Ph.D. at Harvard with Prof. Christine Hooker (now at Rush University), and I transitioned into Prof. Leah Somerville's lab (with Prof. Matt Nock as a secondary advisor) after my first year. I will begin a postdoctoral fellowhship with Dylan Gee at Yale University in July 2021 and then launch my own lab in the Psychology Department at Princeton University in July 2022. I am overjoyed to lead a lab that will serve as a diverse, supportive, and intergrative environment for advancing basic and applied understanding of human emotion with the ultimate aim of improving well-being across the lifespan.
Commitment to Social Justice
I believe that we have a duty to recognize and reduce systems of disparity that operate throughout ourselves and our institutions. Although being openly gay has given me experience with one form of marginalization, there are other social identities (e.g., gender, race, ability) on which I am working as an ally to empower others. I seek to weave social justice principles into my everyday life, as well as into my work as a scientist and advisor. For example, I was an active member of social justice organizations in college and I engaged in several social justice initiatives during my role as a Resident Tutor in Pforzheimer House during graduate school. In June, 2020 I co-produced a 12-week syllabus on Anti-Black Racism with Laura Cegarra, which several labs used to promote dialogue and self-education on racial disparities. I am eager to continue this crucial work in the years to come.
I'm a big nerd. I love playing Dungeons and Dragons (Fire Genasi wizard, Tabaxi Cleric, Dwarf Berserker) and other games. I used to play the classical saxophone and continue to enjoy classical music. I also love dancing! I competed in ballroom and latin dance 2007-2010, so I tend to move when there's music. Finally, my father used to work as a chef and I used to work as a bartender in college, meaning that I'm a big fan of good food and drink. I'm a firm believer that balanced schedules (with time for work, play, and rest) produce happy humans and good science.