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Aside from research, I enjoy being physically active and spending time outdoors. You can find me running in the mornings, playing squash or tennis in the evenings, and windsurfing on Cayuga Lake on the weekends. I am a member of the Cornell Windsurfing Club and the Cornell Recreational Squash Club (club president 2018-2020). My favorite activity, though, is improvisational theater! In 2020, I founded the Cornell Graduate Improvisational Theater Club to provide graduate students the opportunity to play improv games, laugh, and unwind after work. In 2021, I started learning Spanish and became interested in the culture and history of Latin America.

My research interests are profoundly shaped by my childhood and adolescence. I grew up as one of five children in a single-parent household in a small village in rural Germany. Because my mother had to work multiple jobs to provide for us, my siblings and I were often cared for by foster families. The social and economic disparities between our family and others that I experienced during this time crucially shaped my later interest in family demography and inequality.

Further, unlike many other children in similar situations, I was fortunate to befriend children from middle-class backgrounds whose parents often supported me. Possibly for this reason, I am the only one in my family who had the privilege to attend college and graduate school. This experience is the foundation of my research into cross-SES friendship and socioeconomic attainment.

This experience also led me to join Big Brothers Big Sisters in Germany and the US, and Stichting Eet mee! in the Netherlands. I was a big brother to a 10-year-old during my undergraduate degree (2010-2014; weekly meetings). During my graduate studies, I spent time with a low-income senior (2015-2017; weekly meetings), and, since 2023, I have been a big brother to a 10-year-old in Ithaca. I strongly believe in such programs because they counteract the growing socioeconomic segregation.

In a similar vein, I believe that the perspective and agendas of scientists from backgrounds underrepresented in academia should be supported for universities to serve all strata of society.