Stephen hails from Iowa, the land of corn and soy, where he studied math and statistics at the University of Iowa. As an undergraduate, his research focused using computational statistics and spatial models to analyze environmental and epidemiological data.

He fled the cold weather to live in Austin, Texas, where he worked variously as an after-school teacher, a cook at a homeless shelter, a “compost pedaller”, and a nurses’ aide at the children’s hospital. His experiences in Austin led him to pursue a career studying health inequity and community-based health research, particularly in pediatric and adolescent populations, and he is now enrolled at Penn Nursing as a Hillman Scholar in Nursing Innovation.  His research focuses on structural and network factors in HIV transmission.