Humanities Without Walls Summer Workshop Presenter Bios

Paul Gordon Brown

Dr. Paul Gordon Brown specializes in student learning and development's intersection with digital and social technology. Paul has 20 years of experience in higher education, recently as a Dean at the Fashion Institute of Technology and as a faculty member at Boston College and Merrimack College. An experienced presenter, Paul has given over 70 refereed presentations at international and regional conferences. He holds a BA in Philosophy from SUNY Geneseo, an MS in College Student Personnel from Western Illinois University, and a PhD in Higher Education from Boston College.

Michael Chapman

Michael Chapman is an applied anthropologist and senior design lead at IDEO. His work spans numerous industries, including automotive, health care, CPG, and finance. He also teaches in the Engineering Design Innovation (EDI) program at Northwestern University. Michael has an MA in Anthropology from the University of Chicago and a BA in Anthropology from the University of Southern California.

John Paul Christy

John Paul Christy is the Director of Public Programs at the American Council of Learned Societies, where he works with the fellowship team to maintain and enhance the Council’s peer-review processes and to develop and implement new programs, including the Public Fellows program. Previously, Christy was a Presidential Management Fellow in Washington, DC, where his portfolio included projects related to US public diplomacy, Internet freedom and anti-censorship programs, and public humanities. He received his PhD in classical studies from the University of Pennsylvania, and a BA in Greek and history from Swarthmore College.

Don Cooke

Don Cooke is the senior vice president for philanthropy at the McCormick Foundation. Previously he was the vice president for institutional advancement for the Field Museum in Chicago, worked at the Franklin Institute Science Museum, and served 12 years at the Fels Planetarium. He attended Williams College and Harvard University, where he studied astrophysics. Currently he serves on the boards of the Illinois Arts Alliance, the Donors Forum of Chicago, the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, and is chairman of the City of Lake Forest Historic Preservation Commission. He also had his book The Life and Death of Stars published in 1985 by Crown Publishers.

Annette Ferrera

Annette Ferrera is Marketing and Communications Lead at IDEO. In this role, she helps shape strategy, messaging, and produce public events for the studio. She is currently obsessed with producing stories about "The Future of the Midwest." Before IDEO, Annette performed in and co-produced MORTIFIED Chicago, a live comedy show where real people read their teenage diaries in front of total strangers. Annette has an MA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago and my BA from Chatham University.

Liz Garibay

Liz Garibay created History On Tap in 2002, a project that explores history through the lens of alcohol. She created History Pub Crawls for the Chicago History Museum, an innovative approach to learning and one that combined education with socialization. While Liz began this thirst-free adventure in Chicago, her work now extends to other international cities. Her work, talks, tours and overall expertise have been lauded by The Huffington Post, the LA Times, the Chicago Tribune, Time Out, the Toronto Star, The Scotsman, The Berliner Kurier, an assortment of other media & cultural organizations, and an array of happy tavern & brewery owners.

Chris Guzaitis

Chris Guzaitis works at Illinois Humanities as the Director of The Odyssey Project, a free college-level humanities program for adults who have had limited access to higher education. She earned her B.A. in Feminist Studies from Beloit College (Wisconsin), her M.A. in Gender and Women's Studies from San Francisco State University, and did her doctoral work in Cultural Studies through the Department of Literature at University of California, San Diego. Before coming to Illinois Humanities, Chris served as assistant professor in and department chair of the Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Department at Scripps College in Claremont, CA.

Tracie Hall

Tracie D. Hall is the director of Joyce Foundation’s Culture Program. Previously, she served as the Deputy Commissioner of the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) for the City of Chicago where she oversaw the Arts and Creative Industries Division which included the Visual Arts, Performing Arts, Music Industry, and Farmers Market programs, as well as the Chicago Film Office, Chicago Artists Month and Lake FX Summit and Expo. She also acted as the Vice President of Strategy and Organization Development at Queens Library in NYC. She attended University of California, Yale University, and the University of Washington.

Skyla Hearn

Skyla S. Hearn is an Archivist and Special Collections Librarian at DuSable Museum of African American History. Previous to this position Hearn was the resident archivist for social justice and visiting instructor at the University of Illinois at Chicago's (UIC) Daley Library Special Collections and (UIC) Social Justice Initiative. Hearn's work focuses on documenting, preserving and maintaining and rich legacies and histories of marginalized individuals, communities and organizations. She conducts workshops, participates in panel discussions and lectures on community and personal archiving. Hearn earned her B.A. in mass communications and media arts from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale and her MLIS with a Special Collections certificate from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Kei Hotoda

Kei Hotoda is a Philosophy PhD candidate at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Her research focuses on self-understanding by examining its absence and redevelopment in the context of traumatic experiences. During her graduate career, Kei has also developed an interest and enjoyment in teaching philosophy to undergraduate students and is often thinking about how to better engage students in class. She was an HWW fellow in the inaugural year of the program and plans to pursue non-academic work post-graduation.

Jennifer Hudson

Jennifer Hudson is currently the Program Manager and Academic Adviser at the Washington University Prison Education Project, Associate Fellow at the Interdisciplinary Project for the Humanities, and a member of the political theory faculty at Wash U. She arrived at Wash U after teaching for three years in social studies at the Bard Prison Initiative and Bard College, as well as serving as Associate Fellow at the Hannah Arendt Center for Politics and Humanities. She has a PhD in Political Science (political theory, international relations minor) from Columbia University.

Britt Julious

Britt Julious is a writer based in Chicago. She currently writes a column for the Chicago Tribune and edits for Vice's THUMP. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, Esquire, ELLE, GQ, Vice, The Guardian, and many others. She's currently at work on a collection of essays.

Kristen Kaza

Kristen Kaza is the Principal and Creative Director of No Small Plans Productions, partying with a purpose since 2012 with programs and parties for the Museum of Contemporary Art, EXPO Chicago, United States Artists, EMPIRE Fox, Chicago Community Trust, Rebuilding Exchange and more. Prior to launching her business, she worked in community engagement for Whole Foods Market, Time Out Chicago, and the Chicago Reader, where Kristen served as Marketing Director during the media entity’s crucial transition out of bankruptcy with a game changing redesign & relaunch. In 2009 she was recognized with a 30 Under 30 honor from Windy City Media Group and in 2014-2016 she was voted Best Party Promoter in the Chicago Reader.

Mark Kelly

Mark Kelly is is the Commissioner of the City of Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE), which presents and promotes high-quality free festivals, exhibitions, performances and holiday celebrations each year in parks, the historic Chicago Cultural Center and other venues throughout the city. Mark previously served as the Vice President for Student Success at Columbia College Chicago. Throughout his career, Mark has served on many arts and cultural-centric boards. Mark holds an MA in counseling from the University of Cincinnati and a BA in sociology from John Carroll University.

Bill Kimmel

Bill Kimmel has worked in the IT industry for over twenty years as a developer, project leader, and general manager. With degrees in history from the University of Pennsylvania and in computer science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Bill started his career at Andersen Consulting in line consulting and then in their worldwide technology research group in Northbrook, Illinois. For the last 19 years Bill has been with ThoughtWorks, a global consultancy serving as Vice President and leading their global graduate training center. He has helped ThoughtWorks grow from a company of 50 people to the 2,800 of today. He was instrumental in opening the London office and then helping it grow to over 150 professional services staff. He then returned to the US to help sell and grow the US business. For the last nine years, he has had different roles in the Americas Leadership Team, including managing several offices. He is currently also responsible for our training center for college hires across the globe, which is located in India.

Nancy Lerner

Nancy Lerner is the Chief Strategist at Otherwise, Inc., a strategic creative studio that builds inspired—and inspiring—brands to enable clients to navigate moments of change. She is also the Director of After School Matters, Inc. and co-founder of Brill Street + Company Inc., where she served as the Executive Vice President of Sales and Strategy.

Faheem Majeed

Faheem Majeed is a Chicago-based artist, educator, curator, and community facilitator and one of the creators of the Floating Museum. Floating Museum is a collaborative arts organization that creates temporary, site-responsive museum spaces to activate sites of cultural potential throughout Chicago’s neighborhoods. Majeed received his BFA from Howard University and his MFA from the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). He has previously served as the Executive Director and Curator for the South Side Community Art Center (SSCAC) and as the associate director and faculty of UIC’s School of Art and Art History.

Ed Marszewski

Ed Marszewski is the owner of the contemporary art gallery Co-Prosperity Sphere; publisher of the arts magazines Proximity and Matériel, the left-leaning Lumpen, and the newsletter Bridgeport International; co-organizer of the art fairs MDW and Version; and owner, with his mother and brother, of the bar Maria’s. Ed is deeply involved in the economic and cultural development of the Chicago neighborhood of Bridgeport.

John Moore

John Moore is Marketing and Technical Content Team Lead at Wolfram Research. He holds a PhD in English from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a BA in English and Philosophy from William Jewell College. John was a HWW fellow in 2016.

Cesáreo Moreno

Cesáreo Moreno has been the Visual Arts Director at the NMMA since 1995 and the museum’s first Chief Curator since 2004. Moreno has curated numerous exhibitions for the NMMA and other museums. His most important assignments at the NMMA include The African Presence in México, From Yanga to the Present, a milestone traveling exhibition that surveyed Afro-Mexican history and culture. He has curated ten of the annual Day of the Dead exhibitions to date. Moreno has served as juror for numerous foundations and spoken at conferences in the U.S. and México.

Jessica Neptune

Jessica Neptune is the Associate Director of National Programs for the BARD Prison Initiative and Director of BPI's Chicago office. Prior to her current position, she was an ACLS Public Fellow and worked on incarceration and criminal justice reform with the Obama Administration's Federal Interagency Reentry Council. Her scholarship is on 20th century American History with a focus on the carceral state and the policies and politics of race, poverty, addiction, and punishment. She received her Ph.D. at the University of Chicago and her BA from Bard College.

Stephanie Platz

Stephanie returned to the Foundation in 2010; she had previously been a program officer in the Program on Peace and International Cooperation, overseeing the program’s research and training grantmaking. Platz has served as a program officer or senior program officer for the Spencer Foundation, the International Research and Exchanges Board, and the Russell Sage Foundation. She has held the Alex Manoogian Chair of Modern Armenian History at the University of Michigan, where she was also Associate Director of the joint degree program in Anthropology and History. Before returning to MacArthur, she was the Executive Director of The American Academic Research Institute in Iraq. Platz holds a BA in Linguistics, and both and MA and Phd in Anthropology from the University of Chicago.

Elizabeth Powley

Elizabeth Powley is the Executive Director of Heartland Alliance International (HAI) and Vice President of Heartland Alliance for Human Needs & Human Rights. In this position, she oversees a global organization that provides healing and justice to victims of human rights abuses and helps to build systems to prevent such violations. Before coming to Heartland, she worked in both the non-profit sector and the foundation world. Elizabeth holds a BA in History from Grinnell College in Grinnell, Iowa and an MA in International Peace and Conflict Resolution from American University’s School of International Service in Washington, DC.

Mearah Quinn-Brauner

Mearah Quinn-Brauner is the Associate Director of Graduate and Postdoctoral Professional Development in The Graduate School at Northwestern University. In this role, she serves as the central leader for all graduate- and postdoctoral-focused professional development offerings, providing strategic direction, overseeing program implementation and evaluation, and developing partnerships both within and outside of the University. Previously, Quinn-Brauner was a career adviser for PhD students from across the disciplines. Before transitioning into the field of graduate career and professional development, Quinn-Brauner taught writing, English, and film in Philadelphia, where she earned her PhD in English.

Claire Rice

Claire Rice is the Executive Director of Arts Alliance Illinois, a statewide service and advocacy organization. Previously, she ran the Sustain Arts project on cultural data transparency at Harvard University. She also served as the Interim Director of Education and Community Engagement for UMS, a performing arts presenter at the University of Michigan where she produced large scale residencies and a Grammy Award-winning concert recording. Claire received her BA from the College of William and Mary, and her MPA from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

Kurt Sampsel

Kurt Sampsel is the Government Services Associate at the Center for Technology and Civic Life. Before coming to work for CTCL, Kurt earned a Ph.D. from Carnegie Mellon University, where his research focused on government regulation of media and communications. He also has experience as a broadcast journalist and has taught college communications courses.

Tim Samuelson

Tim Samuelson is the City of Chicago’s own cultural historian, a position that was created specifically for him in 2002. Formerly, he quenched his fascination for Chicago architecture as a preservation specialist at the Chicago Landmarks Commission. Later, he was curator of architecture at the Chicago Historical Society, now the Chicago History Museum.

Sally Schmall

As founder of Academy Coaching Sally Schmall provides a confidential career coaching and leadership development for doctoral students, post docs, clinical faculty and research scientists across the country and the UK in navigating the job search process and excelling in conveying the transferability of their skills to various professional opportunities. Prior to founding Academy Coaching in 2008, Sally worked at the University of Michigan for over 15 years in roles ranging from career counselor for junior women faculty to Director of the Faculty Dual Career Recruitment program. For more information about her services please see her website

Megan Stielstra

Megan Stielstra is the author of three collections, most recently The Wrong Way To Save Your Life, forthcoming August 2017 from Harper Perennial 2017. Her work appears in the Best American Essays, New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Poets & Writers, Guernica, Buzzfeed, The Rumpus, and elsewhere. A longtime company member with 2nd Story, she has told stories for National Public Radio, Radio National Australia, Cabinet of Wonders, Museum of Contemporary Art, Goodman Theatre, the Neo-Futurarium, and regularly with The Paper Machete live news magazine at The Green Mill. She teaches creative nonfiction at Northwestern University.

Hilary Strang

Hilary Strang is Deputy Director of the MA Program in the Humanities and Lecturer in the Department of English at the University of Chicago. She has degrees in cultural studies and critical theory from Brown University and Carnegie Mellon, and a Ph.D. in English from Chicago. Her research interests include nineteenth century British literature, the novel, science fiction and Marxism. She has published on Mary Wollstonecraft, Mary Shelley and biopolitics. Her current research is on feminist science fiction, biopolitics, and utopia. Hilary also teaches literature and theory in The Odyssey Project, a college-credit liberal arts program for low-income adults.

Sara B.T. Thiel

Sara B.T. Thiel is a Visiting Assistant Professor of Theatre Arts at the University of Pittsburgh. She holds a Ph.D. in Theatre from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her research examines the material methods of staging pregnancy on boy actors’ bodies, and the cultural phenomenon of pregnancy plays on early modern English stages. During the spring of 2017, Sara served as the Interim Learning and Outreach Associate in the Education Department at Chicago Shakespeare Theater, where she is now a PreAmble scholar.

Carlos Tortolero

Carlos Tortolero is the President and Founder of the National Museum of Mexican Art in Chicago, which he and several friends began in 1982 with only $900. He has previously worked as a history teacher, counselor and administrator in the Chicago Public School System. He is the co-author of Mexican Chicago and has also worked on several boards including the University of Illinois, the American Alliance of Museums, the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs, the Smithsonian Latino Center, the Illinois Humanities Council, and Choose Chicago.

Christy Uchida

Christy Uchida serves as the Senior Program Officer for The Brinson Foundation, a private family foundation that funds education and scientific research. In her previous role, Christy spent almost five years with The Boeing Company serving in Global Corporate Citizenship. Prior to working in the philanthropic sector, Christy served as the Managing Director at Redmoon Theater, the Business Manager for Writers’ Theatre and the Director of Finance and Administration for Performing Arts Chicago. She generously donates her time serving as the Board President for Links Hall, and is also active with various groups at Forefront and Chicago Women in Philanthropy. Christy holds an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and a BS in Environmental Studies and Biology from Tufts University.

Laurel Seely Voloder

Laurel Voloder is a Foreign Affairs Officer in the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor. Previously, she worked as a Program Analyst in the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and served in the Department as an American Council of Learned Societies Public Fellow. Laurel lived in Sarajevo for four years, where she conducted doctoral research on cultural and political identity in Bosnia and Herzegovina. She holds a Ph.D. in literature from UC Santa Cruz.

Michele Weldon

Michele Weldon is an award-winning journalist and author with more than three decades of experience and assistant professor emerita in journalism at Northwestern University’s Medill School. Her books have won a number of awards including the 2016 Great Midwestern Book Festival for Memoir, a finalist of the Society of Midland Authors for Memoir/Biography, and Booklist Editors Choice of Best Books for 2015 in the Social Sciences Category. She is also a member of the advisory board of Global Girl Media-Chicago and of the Association for Women Journalists and Children’s Memorial Guild.

Eric Williams

Eric Williams is owner of The Silver Room, a unique mash-up of jewelry store, art gallery, event space, and classroom, which has operated successfully for 18 years. Eric is also the creator of The Silver Room Block Party and a consulting partner within Chicago’s arts and entertainment scene. He attended the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Elise Zelechowski

Elise is a social entrepreneur, activist, sustainability advocate and currently the director of social impact, North America for the Chicago-based, global IT company, ThoughtWorks. Elise leads the North American social impact practice which provides innovative tech strategy consulting and custom software development to non-profit and social enterprise clients. Previously she founded and directed both the Rebuilding Exchange and the Illinois Task Force on Social Innovation. She is also a Chicago Community Trust Leadership Fellow and received Chicago Magazine’s 2012 Green Entrepreneur of the Year Award.