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Presenter Biographies

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Spring 2019 Presenter Biographies

Explore this page to read the biographies for each of our presenters for the spring semester. Simply click on the presenter’s name to reveal their biography.


Matthew Burtelow, MD, PhD and Dan Zuckerman, MD — Cancer: Precision Medicine, Hype, or Hope?

Matthew Burtelow, MD, PhD, attended Mayo Medical School and completed his residency at Stanford University Medical School. He currently serves as the president of Boise Pathology Group as well as the executive medical director of St. Luke’s West Region Clinical Laboratories.

Dan Zuckerman, MD, graduated valedictorian of Boise High School and went on to complete a doctorate of medicine at the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine. Apart from his many publications, Dan has received a number of awards including the Clinical Fellows Distinguished Excellence in Teaching Award in 2006 from the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and the Clinical Excellence Award from the Idaho Hospital Association in 2018. He has served as the chair of the Clinical Practice Committee for the American Society of Clinical Oncology. He currently serves as the executive medical director of St. Luke’s Mountain States Tumor Institute.

Dario Bollacasa — 16 Americans at MoMA

Dario Bollacasa was born and raised in Northern Italy near Venice. He spent his working career at several high-tech companies and research laboratories. Since retirement, he has become a docent at the Boise Art Museum, a lecturer at Boise Learns and the Osher Institute, and a tutor at Boise State’s Learning Lab. Dario holds degrees from the Pratt Institute and completed graduate work at New York University and the University of Milan. He has traveled extensively throughout Europe, South Korea, Japan, and North, Central, and South America. One of his recent endeavors has been to develop a series of books for junior readers that combine the history, culture, and art of past civilizations.

Branson J Collins, MD — Pain Management: The Past, Present, and Future

Branson J Collins, MD, received a bachelor of arts at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, and completed medical school training at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School. He was Chief Resident at Robert Wood Johnson Hospital where he completed his residency in anesthesiology and his advanced fellowship training in pain management. Dr. Collins is double board certified by the American Board of Anesthesiology in anesthesiology and pain medicine. He is currently on a pathway to his triple board certification with a combined fellowship in anti-aging, metabolic and functional medicine, and functional metabolic and nutritional medicine through the American Academy of Anti-Aging and Regenerative Medicine.

Ann DeBolt — The Colorful World of Lichens

Ann DeBolt earned a bachelor of science at the University of Montana and a master of science in botany from Oregon State University. Between 1982 and 2007, she was a botanist for agencies including the Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Forest Service Rocky Mountain Research Station, and the National Park Service. Ann retired in 2017 after working for 10 years as a native plant and restoration botanist for the Idaho Botanical Garden. She first studied lichens at the University of Montana’s Yellow Bay Biological Station on Flathead Lake, which inspired her to develop a species list of lichens at Glacier National Park. More recently, her interest has turned to the diversity of lichens, both common and rare, in Florida’s disappearing habitats.

Ryan DeLuca — The Power of Virtual and Augmented Reality

Ryan DeLuca founded in 1999 at the age of 20 in his Boise garage. Under Ryan’s leadership, the company skyrocketed to nearly $500,000,000 in annual revenue before he stepped down as CEO in 2015. With almost zero startup capital and no outside investors, Ryan grew this company from nothing to become the world’s most visited fitness site and largest online retailer of sports nutrition supplements. A born innovator, Ryan was named Entrepreneur of the Year for the Idaho/Utah region by Ernst & Young in 2009. Inc. Magazine called him one of the “Top 5 Coolest Entrepreneurs Under 30.” Ryan temporarily retired for only six months before the startup bug bit him again and Black Box VR was born, merging his continued passions for technology, fitness, and how their intersection can help people transform their lives.

Dr. Rochelle Johnson — Susan Fenimore Cooper and the Birth of American Environmentalism

Dr. Rochelle Johnson is a professor of English and environmental studies at The College of Idaho. A past president of the Association for the Study of Literature and Environment, her research focuses on 19th century environmental literature and its larger cultural-aesthetic contexts. Rochelle has served on the boards of the Association for the Study of Literature and Environment, the James Fenimore Cooper Society, and the Society for the Study of American Women Writers. She currently serves on the Board of Directors of The Thoreau Society. In 2010, Rochelle was named “Idaho Professor of the Year” by The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. With support from the National Endowment for the Humanities, she is currently writing a biography of Susan Fenimore Cooper.

Dr. Jaclyn Kettler and Dr. Jeffrey Lyons — 2018 Idaho Elections in Review

Dr. Jaclyn Kettler is an assistant professor of political science at Boise State University. She earned a bachelor of arts at Baker University and a doctorate in political science from Rice University. Her research focuses on American politics with an emphasis on state politics, political parties and interest groups, campaign finance, and women in politics.

Dr. Jeffrey Lyons is an assistant professor of political science at Boise State University. His research focuses on American politics, specifically public opinion, political behavior, political psychology, and state politics. He earned a bachelor of science at the University of Idaho and a master of arts and doctorate at the University of Colorado at Boulder.

Dr. Jeff Kyong-McClain — Confucianism in China: A Short Story

Dr. Jeff Kyong-McClain earned a doctorate in history from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. After living in the capital of the Sichuan province of China for three years, he became an associate professor of history at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. There, he taught for nine years and focused his classes on Asian history and thought. Dr. Kyong-McClain has published numerous peer-reviewed articles and research notes as well as chapter in the book Chinese History in Geographical Perspective. He currently serves as the co-director of the Confucius Institute at the University of Idaho.

Leo Morales — We The People: The Story of the ACLU in Idaho

Leo Morales earned a bachelor of science in political science from Boise State University. He joined the ACLU of Idaho in 2011 as director of the communications and advocacy department and became the executive director in 2015. Prior to joining the ACLU, Leo worked with a statewide non-profit advocacy organization addressing issues of poverty and racial justice. His experience includes legislative work, media relations, and grassroots organizing.

Tom Michael and Gemma Gaudette — Inside “Idaho Matters”

Tom Michael has over a decade’s worth of experience in public media management. In 2005, he founded Marfa Public Radio and West Texas Public Radio—the region’s only source for NPR news. In 2015 and 2016, the Marfa Public Radio news department won the largest number of Edward R. Murrow Awards among regional radio stations of its class. Tom joined Boise State Public Radio in 2016 where he focused on newsroom expansion through the creation of the Mountain West News Bureau and the launch of the weekday program, “Idaho Matters.”  

Gemma Gaudette is an award-winning journalist and host of Boise State Public Radio’s “Idaho Matters” segment. She has spent the majority of her broadcasting career in Idaho, moving here in 1999 to start Fox 12 as a television news anchor and reporter. In 2004, she took a job as a television news anchor in Tampa, Florida, where she covered major national news stories including Hurricane Katrina, NASA’s return to flight after the Columbia disaster, and the 2004 presidential election where she got the opportunity to interview both President George W. Bush and Senator John Kerry. Gemma moved back to Boise in 2006 and has been with Boise State Public Radio since 2017.

Dr. Nancy Napier — Boise State in Vietnam: Over Two Decades of Mischief

Dr. Nancy Napier is a Distinguished Professor emerita at Boise State University and an adjunct professor at Aalborg University in Denmark. She has published in several areas including organizational creativity and culture, emerging economies, and international business. She has founded several multi-sector learning groups called “gangs.” From 1994 to 2003, Dr. Napier managed Boise State’s $8.5 million capacity building project at the National Economics University in Hanoi, Vietnam. She has continued to work in Vietnam since and, for the last ten years, has coordinated trips with Boise State’s executive master of business administration students to Vietnam. In 2011, she was awarded the Ministry of Education and Training’s Medal of Honor and, in 2017, she received Vietnam’s Medal of Friendship—the highest award given to foreigners—for her contribution to the country’s education and development.

Gene Peacock — Why Zoos Matter: Zoo Boise’s 21st Century Role

Gene Peacock is the director of Zoo Boise and the Friends of Zoo Boise. With 30 years of experience in this field, he is leading Zoo Boise’s first expansion in over a decade. Prior to his time in Boise, he worked as a zookeeper for large animals including elephants and rhinoceros. He also served as a regional manager with North Carolina State Parks where he oversaw collection management of natural and cultural resources as well as the construction of several nature centers in state parks across the state. He moved from North Carolina to Wilmington, Delaware to serve as the director of the Brandywine Zoo before serving as the director of the Museum of Science and History in Corpus Christi, Texas. Gene has been with Zoo Boise since early 2018.

April Southwick — Immunizations: History, Hesitancy, and Travel Vaccines

April Southwick is a nurse practitioner at St. Luke’s travel medicine and immunization clinic. She started her nursing career at age 20 and went on to earn a bachelor of science in nursing from Weber State University. She worked in homecare until she graduated from the University of Texas—Houston Health Science Center with master’s degrees in public health and nursing. April began practicing in the occupational health department at St. Luke’s in 2002 and helped start the travel medicine and immunization clinic in 2009. She became certified in travel medicine in 2011 and enjoys managing and seeing patients at the travel clinic. She enjoys reading, music, gardening, being a wife, and being a mom to four daughters.

Dr. Brian Taylor — The Fourth Amendment: Search and Seizure

Dr. Bryan Taylor has served as the prosecuting attorney for Canyon County since 2010. Prior to becoming the elected prosecutor, he was a deputy prosecuting attorney handling crimes against persons and special victim crimes. He has been a prosecutor for over 18 years in the State of Idaho. Dr. Taylor holds a master of arts in theology from Notre Dame’s Christendom College, a juris doctorate from the University of Denver College of Law and a doctorate in adult and organizational learning from the University of Idaho.

Special Lecture Series:

Dr. Paul Castrovillo — The World’s War on Invasive Insect Pests

Dr. Paul Castrovillo has been the insect curator and research associate for The College of Idaho Orma J Smith Museum of Natural History since 1994. Dr. Castrovillo has also been an entomologist for Idaho State Department of Agriculture since 2014. He earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Maine, a master’s degree from Michigan State University, and a doctorate from the University of Idaho.

Cort Conley — The Middle Fork of the Salmon River

Cort Conley is the former director of the literary program at the Idaho Commission on the Arts. He has a background as a writer, editor, and publisher of books and has written several highlighting his adopted Idaho. In addition to his arts background, Conley worked as a river guide for more than 30 years throughout the west and, with his friend Johnny Carrey, turned their joint interest into historical guidebooks to three of Idaho’s rivers.

Justin Hayes — Idaho’s Wild and Scenic Rivers

Justin Hayes oversees the Idaho Conservation League’s conservation programs which protect Idaho’s water quality, wildlands, climate, and the quality of life all Idahoans enjoy. A native Idahoan, Justin rejoices in the knowledge that his work is protecting the things that make Idaho a great place to live—our spectacular landscapes, clean air, and clean water. Justin lives in Boise with his two teenagers and enjoys spending his free time hunting and fishing in Idaho’s backcountry, mountain biking, skiing, and running Idaho’s amazing rivers.

Rick Just — Idaho’s State Parks: Accidental Treasures

Rick Just is a native Idahoan and grew up on a ranch along the Blackfoot River. He earned a bachelor of arts in English and a master of public administration at Boise State University. Rick worked for the Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation for nearly 30 years as the communications manager and chief planner. He is the author of several books including an Idaho state parks history and does a daily Idaho history blog on Facebook called Speaking of Idaho. His latest book, A Kid’s Guide to Boise, was recently released in 2018 by Rediscovered Publishing. Rick is the director of Writers at Harriman, a summer writing camp for high school students.

Sam Mattise — The Management of Wild Horse Herds in Idaho

Sam Mattise retired from the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) after 34 years. He earned a master of science in wildlife biology and was hired as a wildlife biologist in 1978. In 1979, he started managing wild horse areas and populations as an alternate duty and took over the program for the BLM’s Boise district in 1994. As the wild horse management specialist, Sam conducted population surveys, production surveys, gathering operations, and public adoptions. Sam says he was very lucky to have been selected for this position because there is not much left of the Old West—but managing wild horses provides a small glimpse into what the West used to be.

Steve Nadeau — What is happening to Idaho’s Moose?

Steve Nadeau earned a bachelor of science in wildlife management from the University of Maine and a master of science in wildlife biology from the University of Montana. He moved to Idaho in 1987 to work for Idaho Fish and Game and served as a conservation officer, habitat biologist, population biologist, and head of the statewide wolf, bear, and cougar program for Idaho until wolves were delisted. He then oversaw the statewide moose, furbearer, and sportsman outreach programs for the state, and retired in 2017 after 30 years. Steve has presented two previous short courses for the Osher Institute—one on grizzly bear recovery and one on wolf recovery.

Dr. Rick Williams and Russ Thurow —Born to Be Wild: Recovery of Idaho Salmon and Steelhead

Dr. Rick Williams is a research associate in The College of Idaho’s Department of Biology. His research and writings have focused on the conservation of native trout and salmon for more than 30 years. Rick has worked on Columbia River salmon recovery issues since the 1980s and served on multiple scientific review panels including the SRG, ISG ISRP, and ISAB. In 2006, he served as editor and author for the book, Return to the River: Restoring Salmon to the Columbia River, which describes an ecosystem-based approach to restoring salmon and steelhead populations in the Columbia River. In addition to his research and writing, Rick serves as a senior conservation advisor for Fly Fishers International.

Russ Thurow is a fisheries research scientist with the United States Forest Service Rocky Mountain Research Station in Boise. For the past 35 years, his research has focused on understanding ecosystem function and aquatic species responses in addition to the development of conservation and restoration strategies. Needless to say, Russ is very familiar with Central Idaho’s Middle Fork Salmon River basin and the ecology of its wild Chinook salmon and steelhead.

Short Courses:

Dr. David Adler — The Future of American Democracy

Dr. David Adler is the president of The Alturas Institute and has lectured nationally and internationally on the Constitution and presidential power. His scholarly writings have been invoked by the U.S. Supreme Court, the Justice Department, the White House and by both Democrats and Republicans in Congress. He has taught courses on the Constitution at all three of Idaho’s universities. At Idaho State University, he served as director of the Center for the Study of the Constitution. At the University of Idaho, he was the James and Louise McClure Professor of Public Policy, served as director of the McClure Center, and was a member of the faculty of the College of Law. At Boise State University, he was the Cecil D. Andrus Professor of Public Policy and served as the director of the Andrus Center.

Ralph Bild — Understanding the Global Economy: An Update

Ralph Bild is a retired intelligence analyst who served in the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) from 1973-2000. As an analyst, his primary duties involved providing timely reports and estimates of political and economic developments in key countries of interest to U.S. policy makers. His career spanned assignments in the Agency’s Near East, East European, and East Asian divisions. Ralph also helped guide intelligence collection efforts in the field and worked out of CIA field stations in Europe and Asia. He received a bachelor of arts in history from Oberlin College and a master of arts in international studies from The John Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies. Following his retirement from the CIA, Ralph began a new career as a teacher at Borah Senior High School where he taught economics and world history for twelve years before retiring again in 2014.

Heidi Ware Carlisle — The Wonderful World of Birdsong

Heidi Ware Carlisle is the education and outreach director for the Intermountain Bird Observatory (IBO) at Boise State University. She earned a master of science in biology from Boise State in 2014, during which she studied the impacts of traffic noise on migrating songbirds. Heidi’s work with IBO focuses on introducing the public to hands-on science through the IBO’s various research projects.

Dr. Jay Carlisle — Long-billed Curlew Ecology and Conservation in the Intermountain West

Dr. Jay Carlisle is the research director of the Intermountain Bird Observatory (IBO) and research associate faculty in the Department of Biological Sciences at Boise State University. Dr. Carlisle earned a bachelor of science in ecology from The Evergreen State College and a doctorate in biology from the University of South Dakota. He has worked with the IBO since 1996, and, after completing his doctoral research on the stopover ecology of songbirds, Dr. Carlisle returned to Idaho to continue working with IBO as the research director. Since 2005, he has led the growth of IBO’s research and monitoring efforts to include studies of stopover ecology at Camas National Wildlife Refuge, various “at risk” species such as Burrowing and Flammulated Owls, Golden Eagle, Long-billed Curlew, Northern Goshawk, White-faced Ibis, and Yellow-billed Cuckoo, and many other research projects across the Intermountain West. He has also served as the coordinator for the Idaho Bird Conservation Partnership since 2011.

Dr. Paul Dawson — Weather and Climate

Dr. Paul Dawson is a professor emeritus in the School of Engineering at Boise State University. Dr. Dawson taught engineering at Boise State and the University of Idaho for 27 years as well as meteorology at Montana State University. At Boise State, he taught courses in the thermal sciences and elective courses in dynamic meteorology and renewable energy. Dr. Dawson has an academic and research background in meteorology and has performed research projects in wind and turbulence characteristics, air pollution, hydrometeorology, and wind energy modeling.

Marcus Downing — Bitcoin and Blockchain

Marcus Downing started his career at Boise State University in the Office of Information Technology while earning a bachelor of science in advanced computer networking, a minor in alternative dispute resolution, and a master of science in human performance technology. After graduating from Boise State, he went on to work as a top-level technology strategist for three Fortune 200 Firms including URS, AECOM, and IBM where he was responsible for global technology management, strategic planning, mergers and acquisitions, and venture capital programs. Marcus has been a cryptocurrency researcher since 2009 and contributed to the early design of’s mentoring program from Ljubljana Slovenia in 2017. He is a co-founder of multiple blockchain startups including ProperToken, a research firm focused on decentralized blockchain governance, and Keystodian Capital, an investment company focused on next-generation internet technology.

John Francis — History and Design of the Japanese Garden

John Francis is a professor emeritus at Boise State University and art and design from 2001-2018. He has exhibited and lectured both nationally and internationally, including co-presenting alongside Germany’s HAWK University at the Geo/Graphics AIGA Conference in Hawaii on, “Typeplace: type + architecture, type + object, type + light.” He also presented, “How Design and Birds of Prey Came Together in Mongolia,” at the DesignEd Asia Conference in Hong Kong in 2007 and has been invited to lecture four times at Nagoya Zokei University of Art and Design in Japan. His interest in Japanese culture led him to create Boise State’s short-term study course, ART 397: Art and Design Study Program in Japan, which has taken students to Japan eleven times.

Kenneth Fries — Introduction to Modern Africa

Kenneth Fries’ interest in Africa began 50 years ago when he was in Senegal studying conciliation procedures in local courts under University of Chicago’s graduate French law program. He worked for twenty-five years as an attorney with a special responsibility for contract matters at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), and his short-term assignments in Africa included Egypt, Morocco, Ivory Coast, Sudan, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Kenneth retired from the U.S. government in 2000 as general counsel for the U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) and afterwards directed the Center for Public Contract Law and Policy at the International Law Institute in Washington D.C. Since 2004, he has worked as an independent consultant and taught public procurement principles and practices in Nigeria, Uganda, Mauritius, Sudan, Kenya, Ethiopia, Madagascar, Egypt, and Ghana.

Dr. Samantha Harvey — Meetings with Remarkable Books

Dr. Samantha Harvey is a professor in the English Department at Boise State University. Her teaching and research interests include 19th-century British poetry and prose, transatlantic Romanticism, and literature and the environment. Dr. Harvey is the author of Transatlantic Transcendentalism: Coleridge, Emerson, and Nature as well as Coleridge’s Responses: Coleridge on Nature and Vision. Dr. Harvey earned a bachelor of arts in English and the study of religion from Harvard University and a doctorate in English literature from Cambridge University.

Dr. Brian Hodges — Music of the Baroque Period

Dr. Brian Hodges is an associate professor of cello at Boise State University. He is the principal cellist of the Boise Baroque Chamber Orchestra and is a member of Classical Revolution: Boise. He contributes regularly to The Strad magazine and is the recent author of the book, Cello Secrets: Over 100 Performance Strategies for the Advanced Cellist.

Marc Johnson — How History Happens

Marc Johnson has worked as a broadcast journalist, a top aide to Idaho Governor Cecil D. Andrus, and as a public affairs and communications consultant. He retired from Gallatin Public Affairs in 2017 and now lives on the north coast of Oregon. With a passion for history and politics, Marc writes a blog, “Many Things Considered,” and produces and hosts a podcast. His writing on politics and policy has appeared in the New York Times, California Journal of Politics and Policy, The Blue Review, and Montana: The Magazine of Western History. He has presented on numerous subjects at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Boise State University and the University of Arizona. The University of Oklahoma Press will publish Political Hell-Raiser, Marc’s political biography of Montana Senator Burton K. Wheeler, in March 2019.

Josh Johnston — Network Science: How the World is Connected

Josh Johnston is an artificial intelligence scientist who exploits information, automates decisions, and focuses attention on relevant data. He received a bachelor of science in electrical engineering and mechanical engineering from Duke University and a master of science in robotics from Carnegie Mellon University. Josh has led research teams fighting credit card fraud and building autonomous and remotely operated robots for Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), NASA, Army, Air Force, and Navy labs. His past programs include developing self-driving cars, autonomy for bomb disposal robots, the electro-optical/infrared sensor solution for the Sea Hunter unmanned anti-submarine warfare vessel, and scientific visualization in virtual reality and augmented reality.

Muffet Jones — The Enlightenment and the 18th Century

Muffet Jones is an art historian with degrees from New York University and Columbia University. Her major areas of focus are 19th and 20th century American and European visual culture, but she has taught all periods of western art history. Muffet worked for many years for art galleries and as a lecturer in art and women’s studies in New York before coming back to Idaho where she now lectures at Boise State University.

Dr. Matthew Kohn — The Age of the Earth

Dr. Matthew Kohn is a Distinguished Professor in the Department of Geosciences at Boise State University. Dr. Kohn earned a bachelor of science in geology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and a master of science and doctorate in geology from the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. His research is broadly geochemical and follows two rather different directions: investigating how mountain belts form and using stable isotopes to investigate paleoclimate and paleoecology. The latter research is grounded in studies of modern organisms. Dr. Kohn has edited three books, authored over 100 articles in peer-reviewed international journals, and mentored about a dozen graduate and twenty undergraduate student researchers. He is a fellow of the Geological Society of America and of the Mineralogical Society of America.

Tracey Kindall — Water Worlds: Water in Myth and Folklore

Tracey Kindall is a dedicated teacher and learner who loves sharing her knowledge and enthusiasm with others. She earned a bachelor of science in biology from Grand Valley State University in Michigan and a master of science in folklore studies from the University of Oregon. For the past 10 years, Tracey has served as the part-time director of the McCall Arts and Humanities Council. In her work, she acts as a relentless advocate for the power of imagination and creates dynamic and educational programs for youth and adults. Mythology is a field particularly dear to Tracey. In addition to teaching mythology to middle school students at McCall’s private and internationally-accredited North Fork School, she also enjoys regularly offering special-topic classes for adults.

Dr. Richard Leahy — Athenian Democracy

Dr. Rick Leahy is a professor emeritus of English at Boise State University. He earned a bachelor of science in English from the University of San Francisco, a master of arts from the University of Iowa, and a doctorate from the University of California, Davis. He taught at Boise State from 1971 to 2003. His doctoral training was in medieval English literature, but he changed to the field of composition and rhetoric while working at Boise State. In addition to teaching, he served as director of Boise State’s Writing Center and the Writing Across the Curriculum program. He has taught Osher Institute courses on the Iliad, the Odyssey, and Greek tragedy.

Aaron Leonard — The FBI and the Radicals: 1963-1976

Aaron Leonard is the author Heavy Radicals: The FBI’s Secret War on America’s Maoists and A Threat of the First Magnitude—FBI Counterintelligence & Infiltration: From the Communist Party to the Revolutionary Union—1962-1974. He is a regular contributor to the History News Network and Truthout and has written for publications as diverse as Physics World and Canadian Dimension magazines. He earned a bachelor of arts in history from New York University and is currently completing a book on the FBI and the folksingers of the 1940s and 1950s. He lives in Los Angeles.

Dr. Lynn Lubamersky — Poland in the 20th Century through Film

Dr. Lynn Lubamersky studied history at the University of California, Berkeley and earned a doctorate in history at Indiana University. She is an associate professor in the Department of History at Boise State University and teaches courses in women’s history, the history of the family, and the history of early modern Europe. She has published several articles on noblewomen’s access to political power in the 18th century Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth in the English, German, and Russian languages. Her long-term research projects include a history of the multicultural town of Kėdainiai, Lithuania from its establishment in the 14th century to the present.

Dr. Steven S. Maughan — The British Empire: Rise and Demise

Dr. Steven S. Maughan earned a doctorate at Harvard University, completing research for his dissertation at King’s College London as a Fulbright Scholar. He has taught in the Department of History at The College of Idaho since 1992 and has held the Bernie McCain Chair in the Humanities since 2013. He returns frequently to Britain both as a co-leader of the London course at The College of Idaho and for his ongoing research which centers on religion, gender, class, and empire in Victorian Britain. He recently published the book, Mighty England Do Good: Culture, Faith, Empire and World in the Missionary Projects of the Church of England, 1850-1915. His current research explores the impact of high church Anglican sisterhoods and on missionary methods and the conduct of the empire.

Dr. Joyce Harvey-Morgan — Conscious Dying

Dr. Joyce Harvey-Morgan is the organizer of Boise Death Café and related death and dying programs. She is the former dean of Extended Studies at Boise State University and the founder of the Renaissance Institute, which was the predecessor of the Osher Institute.

Paul Nelson — A Layman’s Guide to Electricity and Electronics

Paul Nelson recently retired from a senior engineer position at Micron Technology. While at Micron, he worked in the Dynamic RAM Division on new generations of memory chips and taught Python programming courses as well as other topics related to computer-aided design. Paul received a bachelor of science in electrical engineering from Fresno State University and a master of science in electrical engineering from the University of Wyoming. Paul has also worked at AT&T Bell Laboratories designing telecom infrastructure equipment, participated with the future-microprocessor design team at Intel, worked on NASA contracts for science satellites at Ball Aerospace, ran a vocational electronics program for five years at the College of the Sequoias, and was a professor for seven years at Fresno State in the electrical engineering department.

Wendy Olson and Celeste Miller — The Anatomy of a Federal White Collar Investigation and Prosecution

Wendy J. Olson is a partner at Stoel Rives’ litigation practice and a former U.S. attorney for the District of Idaho. She served as a law clerk for U.S. Chief District Court Judge Barbara Rothstein, an assistant to the legal director of the National Church Arson Task Force, and spent four and a half years in the Criminal Section of the Civil Rights Division at the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, D.C. Wendy also served as an assistant U.S. attorney for 13 years and as a U.S. attorney for the District of Idaho for seven years until joining Stoel Rives in 2017. She focuses her practice on government investigations, white collar criminal defense, and civil litigation. Wendy has over two decades of experience prosecuting white collar crime cases along with criminal civil rights violations, child sexual exploitation cases, and Idaho’s only federal death penalty case.

Celeste Miller recently retired from 38 years of practicing law. She served as a law clerk for the Honorable William F. Mauer in Kansas City, Missouri, before moving to Boise. Celeste then practiced civil litigation at Givens, McDevitt, Pursley and Webb before joining the Idaho office of the U.S. Attorney in 1987. There, she served in the civil and criminal divisions of the office and accrued twenty years of federal white collar criminal prosecution experience including work for the United States Trustee Program, a Department of Justice bankruptcy oversight agency. Celeste also prosecuted white collar crimes in the Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Salt Lake City and Idaho offices of United States Attorneys. She concluded her career in private practice involving civil fraud litigation.

Dr. Bob H. Reinhardt — History of the American West

Dr. Bob H. Reinhardt joined Boise State University in 2017 and is currently an assistant professor in the Department of History where he teaches, researches, and writes in the fields of environmental history, public history, the history of public health, and the history of the American West. He earned a doctorate from the University of California, Davis, a master of arts from the University of Oregon, and a bachelor of arts with honors from Willamette University. His professional experience includes serving as the executive director of the Willamette Heritage Center, a postdoctoral fellowship at Carnegie Mellon University, and teaching positions at Western Oregon University and Willamette University.

Dr. Mary Rohlfing — Women in American Rock and Popular Music

Dr. Mary Rohlfing has performed many identities since becoming an Idaho resident in 1980. She has fought forest fires, pumped gas, earned a doctorate, was a tenured associate professor of communication, ran a dump, founded an organic farm specializing in duck eggs, and served as the dean of a community college. At the moment this biography is being written, she is a visiting associate professor of communication at Boise State University. By the time her course is offered, who knows? Mary has taught and written about rock ‘n’ roll at the college level for many years and hopes to continue to do just that.

Lance Thompson — Blake Edwards: The Eternal Struggle Between the Sexes

Lance Thompson is an award-winning consultant of over 500 motion picture advertising campaigns for studios including Paramount, 20th Century Fox, and Disney. He currently works as a writer and script doctor. He has written for movies, television, and magazines—The Two Jakes, Mr. Belvedere, and Air & Space Smithsonian, respectively. As an actor, he has appeared on Discovery Investigations’ I Was Murdered, on stage and on screen in Boise, and has hosted two Boise television talk shows.

Dr. Thomas Weingartner — Our Blue Planet: The Physics of The Ocean

Dr. Thomas Weingartner is a retired professor of oceanography from the University of Alaska and is now living in Boise. His 40-year research career has focused on ocean physics and has included work in the equatorial Atlantic Ocean, the Arctic Ocean, and the North Pacific Ocean.

Carole Whiteleather — Inside the Play

Carole Whiteleather has been a member of the Treasure Valley’s art scene for over three decades. She has served as the director of education for the Morrison Center for the Performing Arts, the program director for The Cabin, the director of education for the Idaho Shakespeare festival, and spent over fourteen years as a faculty member in Boise State University’s theater arts department. Well-known as an educator, actor, and director, Carole has had a lifelong affair with Shakespeare—both onstage and off.

Seminars and Workshops:

Chuck Folkner — Longitude by Dava Sobel

Chuck Folkner received a bachelor of science in chemical engineering from the University of New Mexico and a master of science in civil engineering from the University of Wyoming. He worked at the Hanford Nuclear Site managing nuclear waste and as a civilian Nuclear Engineer at the U.S. Navy’s Puget Sound Naval Shipyard. At the Shipyard, Chuck was assigned to automate the process of managing radiation dosimeters, despite being unqualified for the job. He continued to take on computer-related work, spending less time at his nuclear engineering desk, and after several years he was transferred to the computing department. In 1997, he was offered a job at the then-relatively-small Starbucks Coffee Company in Seattle. With the exception of a brief stint at a dot com internet startup, he spent the rest of his working career at Starbucks in coffee business computing. In 2012, he retired and joined his brother, sister, and mom in decidedly sunnier Boise where he travels, walks the dog, and completes the occasional home project.

Dr. Joyce Harvey-Morgan — Death Cafe

Dr. Joyce Harvey-Morgan is the organizer of Boise Death Café and related death and dying programs. She is the former dean of Extended Studies at Boise State University and the founder of the Renaissance Institute, which was the predecessor of the Osher Institute.

Terra Feast — Landscape Painting with the Boise Art Museum

Terra Feast is the curator of education at the Boise Art Museum. Terra began her career at the Tucson Museum of Art in Tucson, Arizona. She joined BAM as the associate curator of education in 2005, then became the curator of education in 2009. She earned a bachelor of fine arts from The College of Idaho and a master of arts in art education from Boise State University. In 2015, Terra was named the Idaho Art Educator of the Year.

Ellie McKinnon — Creative Journaling

Ellie McKinnon earned a master of arts with an emphasis in the teaching of writing and worked at Boise State University for 26 years. For 11 of those years, she directed the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute and, under her leadership, membership grew substantially. Ellie has taught memoir writing classes and workshops in a number of states for a variety of people, and reports that her most enjoyable teaching experiences have been with members at the Osher Institute at Boise State.

Susan Rowe — How to Write a Short Story

Susan Rowe earned a master of fine arts in creative writing at Boise State University and a master of arts in philosophy, politics, and economics at Oxford University. Her writing has appeared in Creative Nonfiction, the Brevity Blog, The American Oxonian, Penny, and the book Fighting the World’s Fight: Rhodes Scholars in Oxford and Beyond. Before deciding to write and teach full-time, Susan was a marketing and communications professional for twenty years. She recently finished and is now revising a manuscript of short stories based on the lives of her immigrant grandparents.