Michael was born and raised in New Jersey and moved to Minneapolis in 2016 to pursue his graduate studies. He is a Ph.D. Candidate in Sociology and a Fellow at the Interdisciplinary Center for the Study of Global Change (ICGC). He has a MA from the University of Sussex in the United Kingdom and a BA from Harvard University.
His dissertation examines the social reintegration of ex-combatants in Colombia, with a comparative element on Northern Ireland. Michael is interested in the relationships that form between ex-combatants and others following a peace accord and the ways these interactions transform perspectives of each other and the past.
During the summer of 2017, Michael conducted fieldwork in Belfast with his advisor Joachim Savelsberg and the support of the Human Rights Lab, where he interviewed participants in various grassroots peace-building initiatives. He briefly discusses this project in this video.
During the 2019-2020 academic year, he conducted fieldwork in Meta, Colombia, traveling between the state capital Villavicencio and rural areas of the surrounding municipalities of Mesetas and Vista Hermosa, which have formal settlement camps of FARC ex-combatants. He curated photos from his fieldwork as a photo essay for the Latin American Studies Association’s Colombia section. And he wrote a blog post for a leading Colombian newspaper on the murder of Rodolfo Fierro, a FARC ex-combatant that Michael had become close to through his research.
During the Spring 2021 semester, he is also working as a research assistant for Professor Alejandro Baer and CHGS.