How many children do you have? No kids. What’s your favorite movie? Can I pick two? The fact that I have a LEGO model of the Saturn 5 Rocket in my office might tip you off that I’m into NASA and space. My two favorite movies are related to NASA and space explo­ration: “The Right Stuff,” about the Mercury Program and “Apollo 13,” about the Apollo Program. What is your favorite genre of music? It’s sort of cliche to say I like all genres, but if I had to pick a favorite, I would probably say 1990s hip hop and rap. What piece of advice would you give to a Hillsdale College student? Don’t take advice from somebody if they say there is one “way” or one “path,” because everyone has a dif­ferent way and path. And you’ll find it yourself. What college or uni­versity did you attend for under­graduate and graduate school? Hillsdale College with a B.S. in biology in 2004 and the Uni­versity of Michigan with a micro­bi­ology and immunology Ph.D. in 2011. What do you like about living in Hillsdale? I don’t live in Hillsdale. I live in East Lansing, actually. What is that commute like for you? It’s 70 miles door to door, a little over an hour each way. I’ve done it for over five years now, and it’s sort of relaxing actually having some time to myself, lis­tening to music, and pod­casts. Right now I’m relearning Spanish. I took Spanish for a couple years, took a year of Spanish in Hillsdale and a couple years in high school. It’s time for myself to do things. Is your favorite lan­guage Spanish, or do you have another favorite? I would say Spanish. Although I like Italian in terms of how it sounds. I like the musical flour­ishes in Italian. What is the best place you have traveled to? Top of the list, the Cook Islands. My wife and I took a trip a few years ago to two of the Cook Islands. One is called Raro­tonga, and the other is called Aitutaki. They were two beau­tiful South Pacific islands with white sand and turquoise water, amazing. Do you have a favorite type of food? Yes, all food. But if I had to pick a favorite cuisine, it would be Italian cuisine. Simple ingre­dients, few ingre­dients, and sea­sonal ingre­dients. What’s some­thing that’s changed between your first year of teaching and now? I get more sleep. Do you have a favorite class to teach? I do not. They’re like children, you can’t pick a favorite. What is your greatest talent? My number one talent is reaching stuff on high shelves. I’m 6’5”. Where did you propose to your wife? Old Mission Point, right at the tip of the Old Michigan Peninsula. What is the best gift you have ever recieved? I’ve had a lot of good ones. My favorite though is when my wife got us season tickets to the Detroit Tigers in 2012, which was the year they went to the World Series. That was a good gift. That was a birthday gift. What is the most important virtue you look for in a friend? That’s a hard one. I don’t know if I have an answer to that one. I think that’s some­thing I’m going to be searching for my entire life. What’s one of your pet peeves about stu­dents? I’m not easily annoyed by stu­dents, so there’s very few things that stu­dents can do to annoy me. But what bugs me the most is when stu­dents are not sup­portive of one another. And I found that gen­erally, stu­dents are one another’s biggest critics. Stu­dents can learn to lighten up on one another. What is some­thing that you think all good pro­fessors should know, or some­thing that all good pro­fessors do? A lot of what we do as pro­fessors involve learning the tech­niques of teaching and the best prac­tices of teaching. And all of that is important, but that’s not every­thing when it comes to teaching. It reminds me of my favorite teaching-related quote. It’s from a guy named Parker Palmer: ‘Good teaching cannot be reduced to tech­nique. Good teaching comes from the identity and integrity of the teacher.’”