Stephen is a doctoral candidate, specializing in nineteenth-century United States History. His areas of focus include Antebellum America, Westward Expansion and the Old Northwest Territory, and the religious history of the United States. His dissertation, A Christian Conduit: Religion and the Transformation of the Old Northwest, explores the ways in which religion fostered bonds of community for early settlers of the Northwest Territory. Because of religion's ability to transcend so many aspects of daily life - domestic and family life, education, law and order, and civic involvement - Stephen's research seeks to provide a fresh perspective on the evolution of regional identity and civic stability in the first American West. He earned his Master of Arts in History in 2011 from Saint Louis University and his Bachelor of Arts in History in 2009 from McKendree University in Lebanon, Illinois.
In the fall of 2012, Stephen received a SLU 1-8-1-8 research grant to visit the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library in order to research the activity of Methodist Circuit Riders in Antebellum Illinois, a key component of his dissertation. He also continues to receive financial support from the St. Louis Lighthouse for the Blind whose Continuing Education Scholarship program has allowed Stephen to fund recent archival research trips to Indiana and Ohio. Beginning in the fall of 2013, Stephen has also served as an adjunct instructor in the SLU History Department.
Outside of class, Stephen remains an active member in SLU's American History Forum and is a First Degree member of the Knights of Columbus. In his free time, he enjoys attending the occasional symphony or musical, sitting down with a good book or movie, and being active with his church and family. He still holds his Eagle Scout Award as one of his proudest achievements.