The Renaissance Career in Action

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From Archaeology to Star Wars

I got my Ph.D in archaeology at the University of Michigan, specializing in ancient Rome and Egypt. But I became better known as a New York Times #1 best-selling writer of Star Wars guide books. My books  won national library association awards and have sold over 2 million copies in a dozen languages around the world.

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Star Wars Adventures and Skywalker Ranch

My rediscovery of the lost filming locations of the first Star Wars movie in the Sahara Desert won me a marketing job working for Lucasfilm at Skywalker Ranch, where I ran the starwars.com website, helped edit theatrical trailers and MTV music videos, and wrote my best-selling books. I really "put myself into my work" as you can see. That's me wearing the original film-used Darth Vader and Boba Fett costumes for photo shoots for my books.

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Science and History

From Star Wars I turned to adult non-fiction books, writing an acclaimed history of the Apollo moon landings with NASA, followed by a history of Kennedy Space Center. I also wrote about rocketry for the Smithsonian, dinosaurs for National Geographic, and the geography of world religion for Hammond Atlases... between doing articles for popular, juvenile, and academic periodicals.

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Media Science Expert

For media outlets I serve as an expert guest helping the public better understand events in space, science, dinosaurs, and archaeology. Appearances have included a solo hour on Voice of America in Washington, D.C. and guest shots on FOX-TV, as well as various local news programs around the USA. For the BBC in London I served as a Star Wars documentary host, for The Discovery Channel I was a consultant on dinosaur science, and for a Universal Studios documentary I spoke about Egyptology.

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Field Expeditions

My scientific and other field projects have taken me all over the world, from Cairo to Peru and from the Amazon to the Arctic. I am always in search of first-hand experience so I can offer my audiences and readers an eyewitness perspective.

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Communications Consulting

Running throughout my work are the central themes of science and good communication. Whether it is public outreach for a government agency like the Canadian DFO or marketing for a billion-dollar Hollywood corporation like Lucasfilm, I use my voice to reach audiences and get the client's message across in an engaging and effective fashion. For the icebreaker poster at right I led the research and design team, including two missions into the high arctic to gather material.

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Video Production

I recently produced a 51-minute documentary about my adventure in Tunisia relocating the lost Star Wars filming locations. Click on the image to visit a website about this project.