I am an assistant professor of philanthropy and nonprofit studies program at Auburn University. I hold a doctorate in Philanthropic Studies from the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, as well as a Master in History and a Master in International Studies in Philanthropy and Social Innovation, both from the University of Bologna in Italy. I serve on the board of the Nonprofit Academic Centers Council (NACC), which is the international membership organization of nonprofit and philanthropic research centers and education programs.
I am originally German but I grew up in Italy, where I lived for more than twenty years between Potenza (in south Italy), Udine (in north Italy), and Bologna (in central Italy). I moved to the United States in 2008 for my doctoral Studies and have lived here since then, slowly moving from the north (Indianapolis, Indiana) to the south (Auburn, Alabama), via Kentucky (Murray).
This international background influences both my research and teaching.
My research focuses on how individuals participate in public affairs through voluntary organizations and philanthropic practices, both nationally and internationally. Relying on historical methods, I bring to the study of philanthropy an attention to both broad, contextual factors and human agency, with an attention to cross-national transfers of practices and ideas. My work appeared in peer-reviewed journals, including Voluntas, Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, Journal of Civil Society, Global Society, Journal of Public Affairs Education, and Journal of Nonprofit Education and Leadership.
I have taught graduate and undergraduate courses at the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, Paul H. O'Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, Murray State University, and Auburn University. My teaching interests focus on grant-making practices, nonprofit management and governance, nonprofit advocacy and public policy, and community engagement. in my teaching, I place the discussion of best practices in nonprofit management in a broader understanding of the role of civil society and nonprofit sector in a democratic society. I have found that service learning and student philanthropy are ideal approaches to emphasize the combination of skills, knowledge, and disposition at the center of my teaching.