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At the end of the PhD and the beginning of a new journey

March 15, 2018

Hello all!

As the followers of this blog might note, this past year has been quiet for me. I have just completed and defended my PhD dissertation. I am unsure if the culmination of any PhD is particularly easy or smooth; mine was as challenging as any of the stories I’ve heard as a graduate student. The defense itself was an enriching process. I plan to make use of the extensive feedback I received to turn my dissertation into a (hopefully) publishable manuscript.

I am also excited to note that in tandem with completing my approximately 350 page dissertation, I have also written around 300 pages of history reports about the work of the National Academy of Sciences. I have just finished my 3+ year tenure  and now thre fruits of my labor are available at their archives in Washington, D.C. This includes about 30,000 pages of selected documents from their collections, which I personally digitized. This digital archive is primarily comprised of materials from the interwar & World War II periods (roughly 1914-1945). The reports I’ve written about various science policy endeavors mostly come from these eras; however, I also had the privilege of digitizing large portions of the Academy’s 19th century collections, which are also available.

Now that the PhD is done and I await graduation in May, I’m pushing forward into the next leg of my career. A business historian like myself can go many places: into academia, the private sector, or non-profit work. I am looking for a publisher and had the good fortune to be recommended an excellent guide, From Dissertation to Book by William Germano. I absolutely loved this text. Not only was it full of practical advice for this stage, but it was also full of encouragement-something anyone on an intellectual journey this long and this challenging needs in ready supply.

In other areas, I am staying busy. In 2017 I formed and manage a small group called the Baltimore Help Desk, which focuses on increasing civic engagement here in my city. Last year, I scheduled and facilitated about 30 meetings with civic leaders and elected officials on affordable housing, healthcare, education, legal rights, digital privacy, incarceration, substance abuse, police/community relations, and other issues Baltimore residents care about.

This year, my main focus for the Baltimore Help Desk is registering, educating, and turning out voters. I am hosting a handful of big voter registration parties and will be holding voter education events throughout the summer.

My creative life is also full! This past fall, my wife and I were elected directors of the Baltimore Rock Opera Society’s 2020 show. Our rock opera is a swords & sorcery fantasy – which is about a group of dragon priestesses who must save the world from an evil wizard. We are just beginning the script writing process. My role as music director requires that I assemble a team to compose the music over the next few months.

Finally, I currently play drums in two bands. The first, Don’t Ever Give Up, recorded an EP last year. My new group, GingerWitch, just played its first show in Baltimore this past weekend. It was a packed show full of new fans and I have high hopes for the future of these projects!

That’s all for now-in the coming months, I hope to return to posting short pieces about my research into business ethics, stakeholder theory, managerial discretion, etc – as I have done since 2008. It’s hard to believe this blog has been around for 10 years! I started it near the beginning of my academic journey and now it is only fitting that it continues onward to the next leg.

Now that I’ve been through the process of completing a PhD, I’m happy to offer insights. Feel free to leave a comment below.



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