I grew up in a small town northeast of Pittsburgh called Leechburg, Pennsylvania. I received my college education at the University of Pittsburgh (2008 ). Following my undergraduate career, I continued on to a master's program at Virginia Tech (2009) before returning to the University of Pittsburgh in 2012 to pursue my doctoral degree. In 2014, I followed my advisor, Dr. Rick Relyea, to Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute where I completed my doctoral degree in 2017. I am currently a post-doctoral researcher under Dr. Jason Rohr at the University of South Florida.
I am the middle child (two brothers) of my family. I come from a long line of steel mill workers, masons, and physical laborers, so I value the education and opportunities that have been afforded to me. My father, a former E-5 aviation fire technician for the US Navy, instilled in me the same values the Navy did him. My mother, a student aide and secretary, taught me the value of education and to treat all individuals with respect. Without my family’s support and love, I would not be where I am today.