Before discovering his passion for academics at Franklin and Marshall College, Joe’s two most influential educators were his dogs Louis and Ella, who taught him that food really is the most important thing in life. Having maximized his dogs’ tutelage, Joe decided that he wanted the unique experience of attending a small liberal arts college. It was at Franklin and Marshall that he fell hard for religious studies, a field that allowed him to learn theories and methods from across the humanities and to approach peoples and ideas with a more sympathetic perspective. He decided to continue his education in religious studies by entering the Ph.D. program at Columbia University. Two degrees and a handful of named fellowships later, Joe is now a doctoral candidate researching the intersection of science, technology, and religion. His dissertation, “Beyond the Human,” focuses on how emerging biotechnologies such as genetic engineering and brain-machine interfaces are reshaping our understanding of what it means to be human.
While passionate about his research, Joe has long believed that intellectuals make their most meaningful impact through teaching. He has gained extensive teaching experience through the positions of lead instructor, teaching assistant, and Lead Teaching Fellow during his tenure at Columbia. From helping freshmen learn to write college-level essays to teaching seniors about the history of religion and media in America, he has worked one-on-one with hundreds of undergraduates from diverse backgrounds in subjects across the humanities. He has also committed to the pedagogical development of himself and his peers through organizing conferences, workshops, and blogs focused on inclusive classrooms, student engagement, and remote learning. Above all, Joe’s teaching philosophy is organized around the belief that effective teaching is not about communicating what to think but rather providing students with the critical tools for how to think.
In his spare time, you can usually find Joe reading fantasy and science fiction, lamenting his childhood choice to become a New York Mets fan, or practicing his principled belief that bad movies are actually the best movies.