Pull quote: “A common thread among every project I have been a part of has been the ability to think critically and tackle complex problems in a safe, effective, and ethically-sound manner.”
After graduating from New Paltz with my Anthropology degree, I enrolled in East Carolina University's Program in Maritime Studies and began work at the Queen Anne's Revenge Shipwreck Project Conservation Lab in Greenville, NC. I also participated in the field excavations of Blackbeard's flagship for the past three years. During this fieldwork I have documented, excavated, and recovered several large artifacts including cannons, and rigging, along with numerous smaller items. As part of my master's thesis research, I travelled to Cape Town, South Africa to perform historical research and archaeological documentation of the harbor in Table Bay as well as several British shipwrecks in the area. While in Cape Town, I assisted with the on-going African Slave Wrecks Project, which focused on recording an eighteenth century Portuguese slave ship that wrecked while carrying a large consignment of human cargo. I also participated in archaeological recording, 3D modeling, and community outreach for local shipbuilding and boating activity in North Carolina's northern Outer Banks.
A common thread among every project I have been a part of has been the ability to think critically and tackle complex problems in a safe, effective and ethically-sound manner. This is what the liberal arts education I received at New Paltz provided. As a maritime archaeologist, the sites, artifacts and history that we investigate are in a unique and often inaccessible environment for many people who are not divers or do not have access to the water. Furthermore, finding funding for these projects and addressing the issues of working underwater force us to come up with novel techniques and research designs for approaching this material. The value of my liberal arts education has been to provide me with the capacity and skill set to take maritime cultural material, examine it using unique and often technical methods, and make it applicable within a wider social context. No matter what, people value culture, heritage and history. My liberal arts education taught me how to take the technical aspects of my job and apply them to make this invaluable resource available to those who want to share in the experience.
Pull quote: “The comprehensive nature of the programs has given me an edge whereby I can seamlessly transition from one industry to another.”
Currently based in Taipei, I conduct contract work for several investment advisors and due diligence firms. This usually involves utilizing open-source information and my own network to establish a firm understanding of the target firm/person's business and personal history, relations within the firm, the government, and other circles, other assets and interests, patterns of illegal activity or other unsavory behavior, and the firm's positioning within the industry and future outlook. I also work as an English teacher and occasionally co-lecture at a local university's Political Science Department.
Studying international relations, political science and economics laid the foundation for my general knowledge of the international situation and the dynamics of political economies, developing world issues and security. This has enabled me to identify an industry of interest and at once roughly understand the dynamics and influences of the political economies surrounding it. My thesis/capstone and independent studies gave me the tools required to effectively conduct independent research and analysis. I absolutely utilize these resources with every new project. Also, the comprehensive nature of the programs has given me an edge whereby I can seamlessly transition from one industry to another. As an example, when I arrived to Taiwan, I focused on military studies and security, business and government relations, then on to SOE and corruption cases, to today currently focusing on the Chinese online industry. Whatever new focus tomorrow brings, I'm certain I'll be utilizing the knowledge I gained at New Paltz to help me prepare for it.
Of course the most important and influential aspect of the programs were the resources provided by the professors both in and out of lecture classes. They constantly challenged us to create more informed and critical analysis, which continues to influence and strengthen my current professional work.