A native of southern California, Nick grew up in Syracuse, New York. From a young age Nick split his time between his passions for music, athletics, and reading and writing. He graduated from Fayetteville-Manlius High School in 2005 and then attended Syracuse University (SU), where he studied music performance (bass trombone) and United States history. Nick's first love is music, and he has performed throughout the United States, in Canada, France, Switzerland, Germany, Austria, and Italy. He has performed with the Syracuse Symphony and Syracuse Opera. His undergraduate history research focused on the United States in the Vietnam War, and the Cold War more generally.
As an undergraduate, Nick interned for U.S. State Department international visitors programs. His experiences working with scholars and government officials from all over the world strengthened his desire to study world history and international affairs. Shortly after graduating from SU, he moved to Tunis, Tunisia to study languages at the Bourguiba Institute for Modern Languages. In Tunis, Nick lived through the revolution that sparked the "Arab Spring," an experience that continues to inform his work.
In 2012 Nick began graduate studies at Georgetown University with John Voll, John Esposito, and Yvonne Haddad. His research took him to Yemen, where he lived in 2013. In 2014 Nick earned his Master of Arts in Global, International, and Comparative History. His master's thesis, Political Islam and the Invention of Tradition, was published as a peer-reviewed monograph in 2015, and was ranked by Amazon.com its #1 New Release in Islamic History in Spring 2015.
After graduating from Georgetown, Nick moved to the San Francisco Bay Area to teach. Nick taught a college seminar on Women in American History. He also taught Advanced Placement class tutorials at a private high school. Nick is passionate about teaching, and considers himself first and foremost a teacher.
Nick's belief that the academy should serve the public stems from his professional experiences outside the classroom. Before beginning his graduate work at Georgetown, Nick was Special Assistant to the former Chief of Staff of the U.S. Department of State, and worked as a consultant for a Fortune 100 defense and intelligence contractor.
In 2016 Nick accepted a position as a Presidential Fellow and PhD student at the University of Notre Dame. Nick studies religion and international affairs in a global historical framework. His doctoral dissertation is titled Forging the Sultanate: State Making in Oman and the Crucible of Global Modernity, 1749-1913. This project is a global history of state building in Oman. It begins by exploring the historical conditions around 1750 in the Indian Ocean when the first leader of the Al-Busaid Dynasty, still ruling Oman, came to power. Two themes underlie this project: geo-political conditions that enabled the formation of Oman as a modern state, and political-theological discourses that facilitated it. These themes are rooted in three contrapuntal lines of analysis: Omani interactions on the world stage, namely with the Europeans, Americans, and peoples of the Indian Ocean; a dueling political theological discourse with the Saudis/Wahhabis, whose state emerged concurrently with Oman’s; and the perpetual, domestic challenge to the idea of the sultanate from the Ibadi ulama. I weave this together not only to craft a narrative of Omani state building, but also to answer broader theoretical and historical questions about the nature of modernity, and the relationship between religion and the state in modernity. The drive toward Omani statehood, I argue, was sparked by a change in the Indian Ocean of the late modern era from emporia capitalism to state-based capitalism. The Indian Ocean network of trade, in which the Omanis had operated for millennia, became increasingly integrated with a global, capitalist economy. Oman, then, was a critical actor in a historical transformation that created the modern, global, capitalist ‘world system.’ Thus, my ultimate goal in this dissertation is telling a history of Oman that positions the Sultanate as a reference for the story of modernity itself.
At Notre Dame, Nick was the first campus director for Peer-to-Peer: Challenging Extremism, a global competition co-sponsored by Facebook and the U.S. Department of State. In this program, teams from universities throughout the world compete to build a social media campaign to counter extremism. Nick also manages the Islamic Studies holdings at Hesburgh Libraries, responsible for planning new acquisitions and crafting grant proposals. He is Program Associate for a John Templeton Foundation-funded program, hosted at Notre Dame, to create new curriculum for madrasahs (Islamic seminaries) in India and Pakistan. Nick is honored to be research associate and teaching assistant for Professor Ebrahim Moosa.