To whom these presents may come, Greetings!
In 2009 I was hired as the Assistant to the Director of Membership and Prizes at the American Philosophical Society, America's oldest learned society, a job I left in 2018 to pursue a dream of world travel. In a stroke of luck, I was rehired at the same position upon my return to the United States in 2020.
Generally, I work behind the scenes at the APS, keeping member records up to date and making sure that the election of new members goes off without a hitch, but every once in a while I get to interact with some of the smartest people in the world. There are few jobs I can think of where one may routinely meet and chat with Nobel Prize winners.
Aside from but partially entangled with my work at the APS, I was also the Inaugural Program Coordinator at the Philadelphia Area Center for History of Science (now the Consortium for History of Science, Technology and Medicine), having joined their staff in 2010 and left in 2014.
At PACHS I worked with 12 cultural and educational institutions in and around Philadelphia to promote the history of science, technology, and medicine. I've had a hand in setting up a number of events, ranging from small academic colloquia to theater-filling shows for the public.
As an outgrowth of my involvement in PACHS, I had the pleasure to serve on the Steering Committee of the Philadelphia Science Festival. The Science Fest, a ten-day, city-wide celebration of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, was started in 2011 and is funded in part by the National Science Foundation.
Finally, like most people, I've had my share of odd jobs, including strawberry picker, file clerk, CFO of a school-run business, census enumerator, hotel front desk clerk, bicycle repairman, book-mover, theater usher, museum guide, and more. My volunteer work is a bit less diverse, but includes being elected to oversee an organization's building and non-fiscal property and the coordination of two dozen volunteers and three subordinate officers while raising $65,000 for charity over seven weekends.
I received my Bachelor's Degree in Political Science in 2009 from the University of Notre Dame, thanks to some very generous scholarships. Additionally, I attended a number of summer camps, though most of them happened nearly two decades ago.
Notably, I served as the Director of the Department of Administrative Services at the American Legion's Buckeye Boys' State, I won awards for marketing and financial planning at Ohio Business Week, and I won a programming challenge at Gannon University's Summer Engineering Camp, though I would probably be hard-pressed to repeat the feat today.
In addition to Notre Dame, I've taken classes at Kent State University and the University of Pennsylvania.
While my permanent address is in Philadelphia, I am originally from Youngstown, Ohio (or, more accurately, a suburb thereof). My parents vacationed often and I have a bit of wanderlust myself: I have visited approximately 45 of the States and about 30 of their capitals, and was lucky enough to take a short vacation to Germany and the Czech Republic in the summer of 2011, a longer tour of Germany over the entire month of August 2014, and I bought a car and raced it across Europe in July 2016. As mentioned above, I took a trip around the world, which I wrote about under the pen name Simon Pennon!
My father, an industrial mechanic by trade, instructed me in the finer aspects of construction and maintenance, ranging from upkeep and repair of the family vehicles to installing a pool and deck (and, of course, the never-ending yardwork). My mother, in addition to involving me in the traditional 'domestic' work like baking and sewing (both of which I enjoy immensely), fostered my sense of humor and my love of politics. My (younger) brother put up with me as best he could.
Due to the relative isolation of my upbringing and the tolerance of my younger sibling, I have always enjoyed creating games. While in college, I took a special interest in rules and rule systems: hence choosing to major in Political Science. In the fall of 2008, it occurred to me that I could actually create games that other people like to play. This led to the creation of what is tentatively titled "Society", a game loosely based on John Rawls' "Veil of Ignorance", which I hoped to publish before the end of 2012. This has not happened and at this point it's an abandoned project.
I have a number of card and board games in various states of completion, which can be viewed at SimonMJoseph.com/games - feel free to take a look!
In addition to the above, I enjoy a number of other leisure-time activities. I used to run a weekly writing/critique group patterned off a writing group I was in during college. In the summer of 2010 I was able to help paint a mural, "The Evolving Face of Nursing" as part of Philadelphia's Mural Arts Program.
I used to be very involved in the moderation and cultivation of three sub-forums of reddit.com: /r/philadelphia, the local subreddit, /r/vexillology, a forum about flags, flag history, and flag design, and /r/penpals, a forum for the old fashioned art of writing letters. As to the former, I've been influential in hosting a number of meetups, including one totaling 157 people at the top of one of Philadelphia's skyscrapers, Liberty Two. As to the latter, well, I've written about 500 letters over the past decade and am eager to write 500 more.
I also style myself a minor patron of the arts; in addition to some small financial support given to local artists, I was on the Board of Directors at Brat Productions while it existed. For this, among other things, I was Time magazine's Person of the Year in 2006.
Finally, as cheesy as it is, I am a big fan of a good beer and great company, and do my best to co-locate these whenever possible.