Teaching Philosophy

My best teachers were often the ones that asked the most of me; consequently, I ask much of my students. I believe that students should be responsible for what they learn, and should understand their relationship with education as one of stewardship and cultivation. My approach to education is to offer material for discourse, in the form of primary and critical sources, and frame those materials in the context of actionable real-world problems. I believe in flexibility, and I ask students to synthesize information in creative ways, to express their ideas clearly and with intellectual vigor. Project-based work is a primary feature of my classroom. Classes depend upon students living up to the expectations of encounter and engagement, and I encourage my classes to develop a ‘voice’ for their scholarship and study.

View my complete CV here and my abridged resume including my experience in Instructional design here.

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Courses Taught

At Penn State University:

  • American Studies 100: Introduction to American Studies (Theme: Foodways) (Sample Syllabus)
  • American Studies 105: Folklife & Popular Culture (Sample Syllabus)
  • American Studies 140Y: Religion in American Thought & Culture
  • American Studies 196: Introduction to American Folklore
  • American Studies 491: Themes & Eras in American History (Online)
  • English 15S: Composition & Rhetoric
  • English 83S: English through Popular Culture & Folklore
  • Communication Arts & Sciences 100: Public Speaking

At Kutztown University of Pennsylvania:

  • Composition 100: Composition & Rhetoric (Sample Syllabus)
  • Composition 200:  Academic Composition
  • English 124: Current Themes in Literature – American Folklore
  • English 145: Fairy Tales (Sample Syllabus)
  • Writing 207: Writing for the Workplace (Sample Syllabus)

Educational Background

clrvinwarm_closeup_20201016_v3.jpgI received my B.A. degree in English from Middle Tennessee State University in 2003, with minors in Spanish and Theatre. After a period of working in the transportation and logistics industry, I moved to Prague, Czech Republic, where I taught English as a Second Language for a year. Returning to the United States, I worked as a Director of Human Resources and Corporate Responsibility for over half a decade in Nashville, Tennessee, before beginning the road to graduate education. In 2010, I began attending the Sewanee School of Letters–a summer intensive program granting M.A. and M.F. A. degrees and drawing talented writers and scholars from across the United States and the globe. I received my M.A. degree in English from Sewanee in 2013, and then entered the 2014 doctoral cohort at Penn State Harrisburg. My work in the American Studies program at Penn State emphasized folklore studies, and in 2018 I defended my dissertation on the Philadelphia Parade of Spirits and earned my Ph.D., as well as a graduate certificate in Folklore and Ethnography.

Professional Affiliations

  • 2014-current – American Folklore Society (Section memberships: Folk Belief & Religious Folklife, Children’s Folklore, New Directions in Folklore, Folk Narrative, Folklore & Education, Folklore & Literature)
  • 2014-current – Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association
  • 2015-2018 – Eastern American Studies Association
  • 2012-2013 – Gypsy Lore Society (Romani Studies)

Please see the CV above for a complete list of invited lectures, media appearances, conference presentations, publications, and other examples of my educational work.

Additional Educational Experience

I’ve also taught beyond the walls of academia as well! For example, in 2021 I taught a four-week online series on mythology, legends, folktales, and fairy tales for the Revels, Inc. group in Boston.

I’m always eager to teach, so if you would be interested in having me guest lecture or provide instruction for a class, please contact me.

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