BA Ohio University, Honors Tutorial College, 2014 (History, summa cum laude)
Honor’s Thesis: “Decidedly Unmilitary: The Roots of Social Order in the Union Army”
MA University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2016
Thesis: “Egyptian Darkness: Antebellum Reconstruction and Southern Illinois in the Republican Imagination, 1854-1861″
PhD University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2019
My research focuses principally on the interrelationships between organizational culture and learning, operational behavior, and tactical adaptation in both large and small complex adaptive military organizations throughout history. More specifically, my dissertation project examines the interaction between ideology, soldier culture, and tactical adaptation in the Fifteenth Army Corps of the Union Army across multiple campaigns during the American Civil War. I am interested in the ways in which elements of organizational structure like the volunteer regimental system and division into corps d’armee affected the pattern of cultural evolution and tactical adaptation within Federal ranks, and how operational behaviors in the field were impacted by shifts in national war aims across the conflict. My project also makes an effort to explain the reciprocal relationship through which particular leaders and particular commands shape the “character” of one another over long service together.
In the past, my research has also engaged with nineteenth-century American history topics beyond the purview of military history. My master’s thesis, “Egyptian Darkness: Antebellum Reconstruction and Southern Illinois in the Republican Imagination, 1854-1861,” focused on early Republican (1854-1860) plans to “reconstruct” and “Northernize” the poor white inhabitants of southern Illinois (“Egypt”) before the Civil War – an intellectual prelude to many of the same efforts later directed toward poor whites of the postbellum South. Prior to this project, my undergraduate honor’s thesis, “Decidedly Unmilitary: The Roots of Social Order in the Union Army” examined how the simultaneous coexistence of conflicting individual motivations for service exhibited by members of a volunteer regiment, as well as the natural ebb and flow of those motivations over time, necessitated an adaptive leadership style by junior leaders in order to secure the obedience of subordinates.