After growing up in the Denver area, I went to Colorado State, earning a BA in Philosophy and an MA in Speech Communication (now the department of Communication Studies). I moved to Philadelphia in 2003 to pursue my PhD in communication at the University of Pennsylvania's Annenberg School.
One of the most valuable educational experiences I had was my involvement in competitive speech and debate — four years in high school forensics, four years as a collegiate competitor (most passionately in NPDA), and four more as a college coach. Few if any activities are as good at teaching young people how to think critically, research complex topics, and organize and present their thoughts; it is no coincidence that many debaters later become successful lawyers and scholars.
During my MA program, I turned my focus toward media studies, including in particular the political and economic conditions of cultural production. This interest was a key reason I pursued my PhD at Penn, where I was fortunate to study under the legendary political economist Oscar H. Gandy, Jr. before he retired in 2006. I completed my degree under the equally steady leadership of Michael X. Delli Carpini, and his influence led me into a growing interest in the social scientific study of political communication.
In Fall 2015, I moved across town to Fordham University.