May 4, 2022
“I am teaching here at Passaic NJ, this is my 4th year in Passaic and 8th year teaching. Living in NJ. I’m from Pennsylvania. Went to college out of Notre Dame in Indiana. I majored in Political Science in Arabic studies. In my junior year of college, I spent a semester abroad in Cairo, Egypt. I was on an ROTC scholarship meaning a couple of days a week I was going military stuff, that way when I graduated from college I was commissioned as an officer in the U.S Navy.
After college, I was in the military for four years and I was an officer stationed in Bahrain then I was stationed in Texas, then went to Japan for a year and a half which was kind of cool. But I spent too much time stationed out at sea which was very difficult and I knew at the time, a couple of years into it, that I was going to get out.
One of the reasons is that life being on a ship is very difficult and also, I was uneasy with what the military was doing in Iraq and Afghanistan. It’s been a challenge to be in the Navy, and when you come back from sea you kind of learn to be back on land, which can be dehumanizing. You know your captain can start to yell at you, and I was used to not disappointing anyone which is something I wasn’t good at. It took me a while to figure it out and accept that part. With the Navy, I’m glad I did it because it opened my mind a lot. Although I wasn’t in those places I still struggled with it, which is why during my lessons in class and I hear students talking about wanting to join the military I try to keep them more informed about what they can get themselves into not because I don’t want them to join but because recruiters don’t really tell the whole story. I’m glad I did the military, I just don’t think I can do it all over again, it’s just too difficult.
After all of that, I went to the University of Toronto. I wanted to get my Ph.D. and become a professor but that whole process is too much because it has its own politics. At this point in my life, I wasn’t sure what I was going to do in my life. I was 26-27 which is fine because you might want to change your profession and that is ok. I went back out to work at Notre Dame and I was in charge of a residence hall for three years. Then I decided I wanted to become a teacher. I was working on a program at St. Joseph’s University to work on my master’s in teaching. My wife and I decided to move to NJ after my wife, who is a public defender, took a partnership with a judge in Newark, NJ. We have been here ever since with my beautiful 3-year-old daughter and my wife and I are expecting our second baby, a boy, in June.”