My love of learning is equalled only by the joy I find in bringing others along with me. Nothing is more rewarding than lighting a spark in a student’s eyes for a subject in which they previously had little interest—to share in the excitement of understanding a new idea or solving a new problem. Any day that I might have the opportunity to inspire reflection or fascination, curiosity or creativity, in a student is a good day. That’s what I always hoped to take away from my professors at Princeton, and that’s the same thing I try to pass on to my students.
As much as I enjoy the rapport and real-time engagement of discussing stories and ideas with a student, I am equally excited to work with students on their writing. After all, a subject like history (my main academic field of expertise) is just as much about effectively communicating incisive arguments as it is about memorizing names and dates. Granted, there is nothing quite like the fun of providing a gripping lecture or leading a thought-provoking discussion of some tough topic. But I have also always taken great pride in my ability to help people clarify and expand on the ideas they are trying to get across in their writing, a skill I have been fortunate enough to develop in my years spent as a Project Editor for Humanities Books at Oxford University Press (where I worked primarily on scholarly music books, drawing on my expertise as a professional bassist and music historian). Bringing my scholarly journey full circle in poetic fashion, some of the very same professors who so inspired me in my time at Princeton became the authors whose writing I was responsible for bringing to the world during my time in academic publishing. All the while, I have always naturally been the person that a cousin sends their essay to for feedback, that a friend pulls aside for help understanding a reading or lecture, and so on—the reliably nerdy friend ever eager to help. There are few things more satisfying than helping someone broaden their mind and sharpen their skills.