"I applied to the program simply because I knew that it is rigorous, and challenges are the primary fuel for my academic progression. I will pursue a PhD following my undergraduate studies, and this program is a perfect way to learn how to survive in an intensive research environment. Additionally, I hope to learn the best ways in which to synthesize a publishable piece of scholarly writing. All of these skills will be invaluable to me in my graduate-level career. Also, the monetary compensation provided a bonus incentive to me in applying to the University Scholars Program."
My focus of study and my research aspirations lie in the High Middle Ages, specifically in the locality of the Byzantine Empire. The era of the Crusades is of particular interest to me, as a time in which Europeans in both the west and east were experiencing a sort of ethnogenesis as a result of renewed cultural interaction. I study classical literature of both Greek and Roman traditions as well, and am in the process of mastering German. I plan to move on to Russian and French as well, so that I may better be able to navigate the secondary literature published by contemporary academics in Europe on the subject of the Middle Ages.
Academic and Other Awards
- University Scholars Program Scholarship (2011-2012)
- History Honors (2011)
- Dean's List (2010-2011)
- Medieval Academy of America
- Orthodox Christian Fellowship Organization
- UF Libertarians
- Sigma Alpha Mu Gamma Tau
As part of my involvement with Sigma Alpha Mu, I have worked with the American Alzheimer's Association in fundraisers and other events, in order to increase spending on research and raise public awareness of the disease.
Hobbies and Interests
- Fitness, reading classical languages, rock climbing, and playing jazz guitar.
The Genesis of Fratricide: Secular and Ethnic Tensions between Byzantium and the West in the Context of the First Crusade
At the Council of Clermont, Pope Urban II issued a call for an armed pilgrimage to the Holy Land that became known as the First Crusade. This was at the request of the Byzantine Emperor, Alexios Comnenos, in response to the increasing incursions of the Seljuq Turks into formerly Byzantine territories in Asia Minor that had been gaining momentum since the Byzantine defeat at the Battle of Manzikert in 1071. Although the First Crusade ended in success with the capture of Jerusalem in 1099, it hardly amounted to a cooperative venture between friendly Christian powers. The unprecedented meeting of Christian East and West resulted in mistrust and violence instead of cooperation. Due to stereotypes and preconceptions created by both sides about the other, the character of this renewed contact between East and West was irreversibly marred. Increasingly, the Byzantine aristocracy viewed the West as barbarians, while the West began to perceive the Byzantines as effeminate and treacherous. Through the period between 1100 and 1204, these feelings almost invariably intensified, resulting in severe violence. The Fourth Crusade was diverted to Constantinople in 1204, whereupon it was sacked. The blazing cultural undercurrents of hostility that now were ubiquitous in both societies proved a powerful catalyst for the tragedy. The process that led to the events of 1204 in Byzantium has largely been understated from an ethnopolitical viewpoint. Thus, the significance of this research lies in its original perspective of an era that had lasting ramifications for the history of both the late Middle Ages and the early modern era. Primary sources are the focal point of this paper. Two important sources concerning the First Crusade and its historical context will be juxtaposed and examined in their original languages—Anna Comnena's Alexiad, alongside Guilbert of Nogent's The Deeds of God Through the Franks.