Statement of Research:
When I was in elementary school in my hometown of Cedar Falls, Iowa, I developed an admiration for the history of American spaceflight and the people who toiled long hours to expand the horizons of the human race. After reading extensively about the American astronaut corps, I developed the most expertise in that area. This inspired me to attend Auburn University, where I wrote a Master’s thesis about the popular cultural perceptions of American astronauts and Russian cosmonauts in the 1960s. My research focus at Texas A&M has moved toward the more technical aspects of the astronaut corps. I am currently writing a dissertation entitled A Fire to be Lighted: The Training of American Astronauts From 1959-2011, in which I evaluate the methods and devices used to train flight crews from the beginning of the Mercury program through the end of the Space Shuttle program. I believe that understanding this background is essential to understanding why astronauts have succeeded on space missions.
- Wrote review of the book In the Shadow of the Moon: A Challenging Journey to Tranquility, 1965-1969, which appeared in the fall 2008 publication of Quest: The History of Spaceflight Quarterly.
- Presented “The Dream and the Reality: The Societal Influence on Spaceflight in the Post-Apollo Era” at the 5th Annual Southern Regional Conference for the History of Science, Technology, and Medicine in April 2011 at Auburn University.
- Wrote and defended Master’s thesis At the Tip of the Pyramid: The Iconography of Early Astronauts and Cosmonauts at Auburn University in 2012.
- Taught three sections of the class American History From 1877 to the Present at Mountain View College in Dallas, Texas, 2012-2013.
- Presented “The Cold War Transformation of Huntsville, Alabama” at the 8th Annual Southern Regional Conference for the History of Science, Technology, and Medicine in April 2014 at Georgia Tech University.