I am husband to Kaitlin, father to my two boys J. Eliot and Isaiah Desmond, and a perpetual wanderer. I am a father—beyond proud of my little boys—and will often reflect on this journey of parenthood. In 2005, I dropped out of the University of Missouri and spent a season building cabinets in a factory outside of Joplin, Missouri and climbing rocks in Arkansas.
I returned to school and graduated with my bachelor’s degree in 2009 as the outstanding graduate of International Studies at Missouri Southern. I then completed my master’s degree in Political Science at the University of Arkansas where I held two fellowships at the King Fahd Center for Middle East and Islamic Studies (unfortunately in graduate school I climbed considerably less than when I worked at the cabinet factory). As a scholar my primary research interests are the intersection between international relations, ethics and conflict processes—specifically, the role of faith as a catalyst or restraint in third party mediation and human rights promotion and the roles of international-faith-based organizations in conflict resolution. My interests in these areas stem from my international work and research. In 2004, I taught English in Bosnia and served with local community leaders to rebuild homes for Bosniak families displaced by the war. In 2007, I worked in northern Uganda with local and international non-governmental organizations seeking reconciliation and structural justice across divisions created by identity and violent conflict. While working in Bosnia and Uganda, I witnessed the power of religion and identity to divide, but also the emotive force and the role of faith to bring reconciliation. These experiences impacted my own faith and academic journey. For the last two years I have taught as a lecturer for the Department of Political Science at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville. This fall I will begin graduate school at Emory University to pursue a Ph.D. in Political Science.