You could call him a prodigy. And sure, if Nature and Nurture were to pirouette from fisticuffs to tango, Jeff Richmond might be their musical love child. But all of that chemistry would mean nothing without the hours of daily practice Richmond has devoted to his craft since kindergarten.
ZAP! POW! KABAM! VROOOM! Erik Palmer may look like an ordinary fellow, but then so does Clark Kent. A comic book and sci-fi enthusiast long before such obsessions carried cultural cachet, Palmer started honing his superpowers as a child. Soon, he could shapeshift and see through disciplinary walls. His hero’s journey was about to begin.
Cody Christopherson still had his baby teeth when he started practicing psychology. Conducting a series of experiments on his five-year-old self, he sought to understand the relationships between mind and body, consciousness and action, will and consequence. Sadly, he didn’t bother to publish his findings, and Psychologist Roy Bauermeister got the jump on him 25 years later.
Jane Picknell is a no-nonsense Girl Friday with an eclectic resumé and a mean slam dunk. She knows how to get the job done, whether it be as American Red Cross health and safety education director, SOU career development advisor, student services coordinator, or in her current role as University Seminar (USEM) instructor. What Picknell loves most about her position as a USEM instructor is the opportunity to craft courses about socially relevant topics close to her heart. This year, she’s chosen Food for Thought and Attention on Athletics.
The New York Times describes James Donlon’s work as “an extraordinary blend of skill and lunacy.” Other accolades include “a one-man Cirque du Soleil,” “a brilliant and sensitive performer,” “a master of his craft,” “poetic, wildly funny, and deeply engaging,” and “a consummate artist, whose work inspires a source of wonder, joy, and inspiration.” The secret to Donlon’s internationally renowned mastery of physical theatre? It’s simple. He still remembers how to play.
One moment, one experience, one sublime afternoon can tilt your destiny. For David Humphrey, it was a sixth-grade field trip to a soon-to-be-demolished movie house, where 100 St. Petersburg Symphony musicians inspired the awestruck child to pursue a lifelong career in the performing arts. You could say he accomplished something along those lines—that is, if you count serving in leadership and consulting roles at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, National Endowment for the Arts, and New York City Opera.
Don’t let his baby face fool you. With an oeuvre rivaling even the most prolific of veteran creatives, David Bithell has performed his nearly fifty experimental theatre works, instrumental compositions, and structured music improvisations at ninety-five events around the globe. That includes venues in Belgium, Lithuania, France, and South Korea as well as stateside in New York City, Brooklyn, Boston, Princeton, Providence, Philadelphia, Minneapolis, Milwaukee, New Orleans, Miami, Austin, Dallas, San Francisco, Berkeley, and San Diego.
How does a theatre geek with a penchant for the sciences end up as a philosopher? Well, by way of the pre-med program at Johns Hopkins University. That’s where Devora Shapiro started as a chemistry and philosophy double major, only to realize she had been studying philosophy all along in the form of theatre—from Sartre to Shakespeare to Aristophanes, with a helping of absurdist and existentialist plays on the side.
If you go with third-wave feminism’s inclusive definition of seeking equality for all—regardless of race, class, gender, sexual orientation, or creed—then Ariel Tumbaga could be seen as a feminist extraordinaire. He exposes the bigoted stereotypes present in literary representations of indigenous peoples, instead illuminating the identity expressed by the indigenous cultures themselves.
Wesley Leonard almost became a seismologist. But then he discovered linguistics while attending Miami University in Ohio. Growing up half-Japanese and half-Miami, Leonard has been navigating multiple languages and cultures since childhood, when his grandfather—a Miami tribe chief—taught him his first handful of words in a language linguistic databases once described as “extinct.”
Margaret Perrow loves words. She loves the way they feel as they tumble around on her tongue. She loves word games and puns. She loves how words can create private, imaginary worlds we can secretly enter both individually and as a community of readers. She even loves how the typographical characters appear on a letterpress-printed page.
John Taylor wants to know why people do bad things. He’s curious about the cognitive processes behind memory, and his research explores what causes us to occasionally experience a flicker of recognition, albeit false. Taylor began his studies with a particular interest in sensation and vision, and he soon found his passion in memory and cognition.
Melissa Geppert wasn’t a typical teen. Her idea of a good time was savoring the contemporary artworks lining the walls of Minneapolis’s Walker Art Center, which she visited incessantly. Later, as an adult, she became a docent lecturer at the center that had played such an influential role in her years growing up as an artsy kid who loved to create and study art—as reflected in the BFA in studio art and BA in art history she simultaneously earned at the University of Minnesota.
What does a forgetful kid who’s notorious for losing retainers and jackets grow up to become? Well, naturally, an award-winning documentarian. Now Robert Clift never forgets what he records—and neither does his audience. Producer, director, videographer, editor, and writer Clift has just added one more title to his list of vocations: assistant professor of communication and emerging & digital arts at Southern Oregon University.
She acts, she directs, she writes, she teaches … occasionally, she chases tornadoes. Whether she’s on stage, off stage, or writing for Back Stage, you’ll want to catch Jackie Apodaca in action. Her extensive theatre and film acting credits include lead roles in two feature films and six shorts as well as portraying dozens of leading women in productions at National Theatre Conservatory, Shakespeare Santa Barbara, Genesis West, and The Uprising Theatre Company.
Who would’ve guessed that a 1970s world of shag carpets and wood veneer could produce a historian, let alone an aesthete? While the peers in Sean McEnroe’s working class neighborhood focused on the hip now and coming future, McEnroe found himself enchanted by the things of beauty passed down from his grandparents’ and great-grandparents’ generations: antique oak furniture, leaded glass, and, even more dear, musty piles of books with yellowing pages and linotype print.
Adriana Gordillo knows something about magic. She understands the secrets of pedagogical alchemy that bring a language to life for students. Gordillo realizes that without culture, language would be flat characters on a page, and without language, there would be no culture. She infuses her language curriculum with cultural artifacts that create a context for new words, concretizing abstract concepts by sharing films, music, literature, and art that are breathing examples of the Spanish language.
After four years of working as a consulting actuary at Towers Perrin in Boston and later Denver, Brian Stonelake realized life in Corporate America was really rather drab. That’s when he decided to return to school to earn a second graduate degree—a master of science in mathematics from the University of Oregon, where he won the Dan Kimble Teaching Award for outstanding first year performance as a graduate teaching faculty member.
The anthropology text Cows, Pigs, Wars, and Witches and a now-lost green macramé necklace from a migrant woman in Mexico inspired Jessica Piekielek’s dreams of becoming an anthropologist. In particular, she grew fascinated with the anthropological and environmental concerns surrounding the topic of Mexican migration to the US, which culminated in her PhD dissertation on “Public Wildlands on the US-Mexico Border—Where Conservation, Migration, and Border Enforcement Collide.”
Ask any SOU faculty member or student to name the professors who make them think the hardest and the deepest, and Prakash Chenjeri will likely top that list. When science professors want someone to grapple with over questions about the philosophy of science, they bring Chenjeri into dialogue with their students. When colleagues in the Language, Literature, and Philosophy Department are researching a topic that requires heavy-duty analysis, they gather at Standing Stone for a heady philosophical debate with Chenjeri.
Racialized Bodies, Chicano Borderlands, Native American Myth and Culture, Literature of the Wild West, Explorations of the American Dream—Alma Rosa Alvarez gets all the fun classes. But that doesn’t mean she spends all her time in the classroom. She also advises SOU’s Latino Student Union and Newman Center Club and is a McNair Scholar mentor. Alvarez has spent summers teaching writing to young Native American students through Southern Oregon University’s Konaway Nika Tillicum camp.
Archaeologist Mark Tveskov is the Indiana Jones of Southern Oregon University. Through SOULA—the Southern Oregon University Laboratory of Anthropology—Tveskov, SOU anthropology majors, and the staff archaeologists have discovered hundreds of historically significant artifacts across Oregon. They have conducted excavations on the Oregon coast, at Fort Lane, and in the Cascades and Jacksonville, collaborating with organizations ranging from the Southern Oregon Historical Society to the Coquille Indian Tribe.
Douglas Smith understands the psychology of happiness. That’s one reason he gave up a prestigious position at the University of Hawaii to become an assistant professor at Southern Oregon University. Having lived in big cities like Honolulu, Santa Barbara, Chicago, and Los Angeles, Smith and his wife—SOU Associate Professor of Education Jo-Anne Lau-Smith—were ready to raise their daughter in a safe, progressive, and culturally rich small town like Ashland.
Over the past twenty years, Cynthia Hutton has conducted nearly thirty different music ensembles—from Boulder Concert Band and La Jolla Civic-University Orchestra to her current role as artistic director and conductor of the Youth Symphony of Southern Oregon. Last spring alone, she served as guest conductor and clinician for South Ridge High School Wind Ensemble, Grants Pass High School Wind Ensemble, and Oregon State University Band Festival as well as clinician and adjudicator for Siskiyou County District Band Festival.
With twenty-two presentations, sixteen publications, and seven grants to his name, Steven Petrovic has established a firm presence in the analytical chemistry field since earning his PhD from Ohio University over a decade ago. But chemistry isn’t all he’s known for. Thanks to his expertise in wine phenolics, Petrovic brought home the blue ribbon for his 2008 Pinot Gris at the Jackson County Harvest Fair in 2009. His sabbatical working as an assistant winemaker at RoxyAnn Winery inspired the creation of a new SOU course on The Chemistry and Analysis of Wine.
Thirty plays. Three films. Twenty-three years of combined professional and teaching experience. One more reason SOU’s nationally acclaimed theatre arts program just got even more prestigious. Veteran actor/director Kyle Haden has participated in historically groundbreaking projects such as Suzan Lori-Parks’s 365 Days/365 Plays for the Colorado Shakespeare Festival. His performance in the Arizona Theatre Company’s A Raisin in the Sun was so memorable, audience members still come up to rave about the production years later.
Passionately engaged citizens like Victoria Sturtevant never retire—they just get busier. Since becoming an emeritus professor, Sturtevant has continued her collaboration with SOU students, faculty, and alumni through federal research grants. That includes working with Professor of Environmental Studies and Sociology Mark Shibley on research for the Ashland Forest Resiliency project in the watershed. She has also been establishing pilot forest restoration projects with the Small Diameter Collaborative that focus on the triple bottom line of people, planet, and profit. Sturtevant continues to guest-lecture and mentor SOU students.
Gearing up to go skiing in avalanche territory, mountaineering in harsh weather, or white-water rafting in Grade 5 rapids? Then you’ll want Erik Sol at your side. Or you could enroll in one of his courses, whether it be Mountaineering, White-Water Activities, Rock Climbing, Skiing and Snowboarding, or Aquatics Safety. A Southern Oregon University alumnus with a bachelor of science in health and PE and a master in interdisciplinary studies, Sol is helping to lead SOU’s brand-new Outdoor Adventure Leadership (OAL) Program. Prior to joining the Health, Physical Education, and Leadership Department faculty, he served as SOU’s Outdoor Program coordinator.
When she’s not encouraging people to slow down and study art by helping to lead the international Slow Art movement, Jennifer Longshore is racing through activities such as biking, hiking, snowboarding, and scuba diving. Although traditionally an art historian, she has spent the past decade honing her drawing skills through the local Pomegranate Group of women artists. Longshore earned her master of arts in art history from the University of California, Davis, and her self-designed bachelor of arts in art history and humanities from California State University (CSU), Fresno. While her master’s thesis focused on nineteenth century artist Mary Cassatt, her greatest passion is for the modern and postmodern art of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.
Director, playwright, and Shakespeare scholar David McCandless isn’t afraid to take on the Shakespeare doubters, forging cogent arguments for the legitimacy of Shakespeare’s authorship. With a PhD in dramatic literature and humanities from Stanford University and a BA in English literature from Carleton College, McCandless has published extensively on various Shakespeare topics—including his book, Gender and Performance in Shakespeare’s Problem Comedies. He previously taught at such institutions as UC Berkeley, University of Illinois-Chicago, and Macalester College and was a visiting artist at Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s Shakespeare Comprehensive this past summer.
Pat Acklin knows her community. Before returning to her alma mater to teach, she served on the Ashland City Council for fourteen years, worked as a community organizer, and raised funds to buy books for the local libraries. She earned a BS in geography, an elementary teaching certificate, and an MS in general studies: social sciences from Southern. When graduating with her bachelor’s degree, Acklin was named Outstanding Woman in Geography by the AAUW. Since then, she has published on such topics as regional planning, settlement patterns, and community programs.
After losing both of his parents to smoking-related illness, Joel Perkins knew what he wanted to do with the rest of his life: teach. Not just any subject, but health and wellness—encouraging others to live the long and healthy lives his parents never had the opportunity to enjoy. An alumnus, Perkins earned both his undergraduate (bachelor of science in health promotion and fitness management) and graduate (master of science in education) degrees at Southern. He won Men’s Scholar Athlete of the Year and Most Inspirational Men’s Basketball awards, and his department voted him Outstanding Senior in Health Promotion and Fitness Management.
With more than 100 exhibitions to her name, Tracy Templeton knows what it means to be a working artist. Her prints have been exhibited in museums and galleries across the U.S.—from Chicago to San Francisco to Los Angeles to Boulder—and around the world, including Canada, Malaysia, Poland, Mexico, Italy, Japan, Turkey, Korea, Egypt, Germany, France, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, and England. Canadian-born Templeton earned her MFA from the University of Alberta and her BFA from the University of Regina, where she graduated with Distinction and The Riddell Award in Fine Arts for her printmaking and painting studies.
Paul Blanton has been fascinated with rivers since childhood, when he was featured in his Ellensburg, Washington, hometown newspaper for making a model of the Yakima River. Decades later, his University of Oregon PhD research focused on the very same river, culminating in his dissertation, “The Distribution and Impact of Roads and Railroads on the River Landscapes of the Coterminous United States.” Prior to receiving his PhD, Blanton earned bachelor’s degrees in philosophy and geography as well as a master’s degree in natural resource management from Central Washington University.
Barbara Scott Winkler has dedicated her career to advocating on behalf of the oppressed. As director of SOU’s Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies program, Winkler approaches the subjects of equality, civil rights, and justice from an international perspective. Having earned both master’s and PhD degrees in American culture from the University of Michigan as well as a bachelor’s in history from Barnard College, Winkler later developed a passion for international women’s movements after adopting her daughter, Anya, from China.
Dan Harvey is passionate about language—whether it takes the form of binary bits and bytes or Native American tribal languages on the verge of extinction. His bachelor’s in mathematics from Queens College, NYC, eventually led to a PhD in computer science from the University of Texas. Harvey was a systems programmer at Bell Laboratories during one of its most innovative periods and a visiting research scientist at the NASA Ames Research Center. He has taught computer science since 1990, before which he served as president of XDS, Inc. and Digital Methods, Inc. as well as project leader for Sweda International and Dunn & Bradstreet.
Ellen Siem has hiked up to Uhuru Peak on Mt. Kilimanjaro; biked from Kenya to Tanzania and through the Cappadocia region of Turkey; and raced the Grenoble, France, Midnight Marathon in 4:54. In between traveling forty-eight continental states and twenty-five countries, Siem loves reading the “dead” modern authors like W. Somerset Maugham. Oh, and along the way, she picked up a PhD in materials science and engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and a BS in the same subject from Northwestern University.
Kylan de Vries has examined the phenomenon of prejudice from every conceivable angle—racism, sexism, transgender discrimination, classism. In his doctoral dissertation at Southern Illinois University Carbondale, de Vries analyzed the multiple axes of discrimination faced by transpersons. He also earned a graduate certificate in women’s studies and a master’s in sociology at the same institution following the completion of his bachelor of arts in communication at Antioch University in Santa Barbara.
Romanian-born Narcisa Pricope has conducted watershed and soil management research on nearly every continent—from Africa and Asia to Europe and North America. She is part of a unique generation of Romanians who witnessed the transformation of their country from Communism to democracy, “old enough to remember the Before and young enough to fully embrace the New.” As an undergraduate, Pricope double-majored in geography and English at Babes-Bolyai, Romania’s most prestigious university.
Crowned the web’s first interactive novelist by Wikipedia, Robert Arellano is recognized as a master storyteller in both the digital narrative and traditional publishing worlds. The Cuban-American artist was born in Summit, New Jersey, in 1969, the year in which his groundbreaking interactive novel Sunshine ’69 is set. He also submitted the first digital thesis at Brown University, where he earned both an MFA in creative writing and a bachelor of arts in English with honors in creative writing.