Nate was born in Bangor, MI, and graduated with an English degree from Western Michigan University in 2003. He completed his MA in American Culture Studies at Bowling Green State University in 2006, writing a thesis on the cultural meanings of the 1990s film performances of John Travolta. Since beginning the American Studies program at the University of Iowa, he has focused his research on the history of sexuality, performance cultures, and queer studies. His dissertation examines gay male leisure from 1915-1945, arguing that "wanderlust" and resistance to regular work constituted queer experiences by removing men from expectations regarding productive (and reproductive) heterosexual masculinity. He recently received a Ballard Seashore dissertation fellowship for the 2013-14 academic year.