Short Bio

I research, write, and teach about U.S. History, the United States in a global context, U.S. Immigration, U.S. South, Oral History, Popular Culture, Science and Technology, and Public History. Currently I am finishing my book manuscript, tentatively titled Germans in the Heart of Dixie: From Wartime Enemies to Celebrated Americans. This is an interdisciplinary study based on oral histories and archival material about the immigration, integration, and memory of the German rocket experts associated with Wernher von Braun who were brought to the United States after World War II and later became famous for their contributions to NASA’s Apollo Program.

Raised by an American father and German mother in Tuscaloosa, AL, and Frankfurt, Germany, I reinforced my bi-cultural upbringing by earning an M.A. degree at the Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universität in Frankfurt, Germany, and a Ph.D. at the University of Kansas—both in American Studies. Before returning to graduate school for the Ph.D., I spent eight years working in the Information Technology industry as a consultant, trainer, and liaison.

I am a board member of the Chesapeake American Studies Association (CHASA), a co-chair for the Science and Technology caucus of the American Studies Association, a regular juror for National History Day, and an active participant in the Smithsonian Institution’s “Americans All: The Immigration/Migration Initiative” (


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