I am a first generation college graduate whose ancestors worked the coal mines of Kentucky, Virginia, Tennessee, and Virginia. Bequeathed not with privilege but with the principles, character, and skills that enabled my ancestors to survive harsh realities. Once resentful towards the cruel isolation and deprivation of an Appalachian upbringing, I now extol its virtues and worth.
Most cannot relate to the injuries or resiliency that one acquires from the long and unlikely trek from poor white trash to university professor. Rarely have I represented the archetypes commonly attributed to my station in life; a trait that distresses those not willing to look deeper. Advocacy, competition, intellectual exchange afford me refuge from the anger, insecurities, and weaknesses stemming from childhood trauma.
Helping others helps me; showing kindness empowers and affords solace. I try to be the “change that I want others make” but often fall short. Creative and editorial writing is new to me but cathartic and self revealing. Despite publishing numerous articles in prestigious scientific journals, my goal is to have others benefit from my creative expressions.