Humanities Festival Biographies

Humanities Festival 2023 Biographies

Michelle Bahe is the curator of collections at the Fort Caspar Museum. She moved to Colorado to attend graduate school at the University of Denver, receiving an M.A. in museum studies and fell in love with the mountains. Bahe was the collections manager at the Aurora History Museum and the Buffalo Bill and Grave Museum in the Denver area before moving to Casper in 2006. At the Fort, she has curated a diverse collection of exhibits on topics from U.S. Navy ships named after people and places in Wyoming, toys, firearms, the Troopers, and politics in Wyoming.

Dale Bohren made his onramp into a journalism career when he bought the weekly Casper Journal with partners in May 1998. Various media had covered him as an entrepreneur, musician, manager of the Wyoming Symphony, and executive director of the Casper Area Chamber of Commerce. Buying the newspaper was intended as a short-term business venture. But the satisfaction of publishing a weekly newspaper soon became a passion that turned into a career. The weekly Journal was acquired by Lee Enterprises, owner of the Casper Star-Tribune, in 2004. Bohren continued as publisher of the Casper Journal until 2015, when he joined the Casper Star-Tribune as the executive editor and then publisher. As publisher emeritus, Bohren continues to serve on the Star-Tribune editorial board.

Leith Davis, Ph.D., is the author of “Acts of Union: Scotland and the Negotiation of the British Nation, 1707-1832” and “Music, Postcolonialism and Gender: The Construction of Irish Identity, 1724-1874” as well as co-editor of “Scotland and the Borders of Romanticism,” and “Robert Burns and Transatlantic Culture.” Her new book, “Mediating Cultural Memory in Britain and Ireland: From the 1688 Revolution to the 1745 Jacobite Rising” was published in March 2022, and a co-edited volume with Janet Sorensen, “The International Companion to the Scottish Literatures of the Long Eighteenth Century,” was published in Oct. 2021.

Rebecca A. Hunt, Ph.D., is a retired history professor who taught at the University of Colorado Denver, specializing in public history and community, gender, and ethnic history of the American West. Now the author of five books, her Wyoming books include “Wyoming Medical Center, A Centennial History,” “Natrona County: People, Place and Time,” and “Casper Chronicles II,” which came out in 2017. Hunt was the historian on the award-winning documentary, “A Woman to Match a Mountain,” about Neal Forsling of Casper Mountain.

Leilani DeClue is an adjunct teacher of anthropology at Casper College. She won the 2022 Garth Shanklin Adjunct Faculty Teaching Excellence Award. As the manager/director of the Historic Bishop Home Museum, she trains interns from the Casper College Museum/Gallery Studies program with collections-related projects resulting in exhibitions.

Chelsea Elertson is a Deaf mentor and American Sign Language tutor for all who desire to learn more about the Deaf culture and sign language. She has been deaf since 6 months old. She had a cochlear implant for two years which has since been removed. She attended Central Institute for the Deaf for 12 years to learn how to speak English. Elertson learned ASL as a high school freshman through a sign language interpreter. She married a Deaf gentleman, and they have three hearing children together. Elertson has found her life passion in connecting the worlds between Deaf/hard of hearing and hearing by substitute teaching, tutoring, and mentoring.

Trisha Venisa-Alicia Martínez, Ph.D., is a proud Wyomingite and a University of Wyoming Alumna. Currently, she serves as associate director for the University of Wyoming, School of Culture, Gender, and Social Justice and co-director of the Latina/o Studies Program. Her educational pursuit and now career complement her passion for community and culture. Martínez’s northern New Mexico family roots extend from Sapello and Valdez up the Manito Trail to Wyoming, a migration experience she documents in her ongoing research, publications, and curated exhibits. Martínez promotes the humanities through ethnic studies and cultural initiatives, serving on boards of numerous organizations and councils to contribute to the rippling effect of positive community impact.

Matthew ‘Magic’ Morgan has had a long, storied career that started when he was 6. After learning a coin trick from his grandfather, Morgan began performing and hosted his first show, charging neighborhood kids 25 cents. He started learning tricks and studying magic. Morgan did his first out-of-state performance in 1993. Since then, he has performed in all 50 states and 32 countries, winning awards everywhere he goes. He has served as the president of the U.S. Deaf Magicians Society and World Deaf Magicians. He is the owner of The Little MAGIC Theatre in the heart of beautiful downtown Lake Geneva, Wisconsin.

Liliana Morgan was born in Russia and has delighted audiences throughout Europe for over a decade. Her appearances onstage incorporate Russian culture and dance. She started learning magic when she was 20 years old and now teaches Russian Sign Language. At one of Matthew Morgan’s performances in Russia, she met and eventually married him. They have two beautiful children.

Kelli Mosteller, Ph.D., the executive director of the Harvard University Native American Program, will discuss TEK — Traditional Ecological Knowledge — and community-based approaches to history. For over a decade, Mosteller has been the executive director of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation Cultural Heritage Center in Shawnee, Oklahoma, and a tribal historic preservation officer for the Citizen Potawatomi Nation, a role in which she consults and preserves tribal sites of historic significance throughout the United States. Mosteller is a gaming commissioner for the Citizen Potawatomi Nation. She serves on the Pottawatomie County Historical Society Board, Indiana University First Nations Leadership Ambassadors Council, Leadership Oklahoma board of directors, and Indiana University Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology Advisory Board.

Jennifer Tandoc, an abstract illustrator, was born in Manila, Philippines, and grew up in Los Angeles. She graduated from California School For the Deaf in Riverside, California. She went to National Technical Institute for the Deaf in Rochester, New York, where she obtained her associate degree in art and computer design in 2002. She now resides in Austin, Texas, where she continues to follow her passion for art and thrives in selling her artwork.

Jodi Youmans-Jones is currently the Casper College Dance Program coordinator, the National Association of Dance Accreditation coordinator, and one of two resident choreographers for the Casper College Department of Theatre and Dance. She graduated from the University of Wyoming with her bachelor’s in theater and dance and from the University of Illinois Champaign/Urbana with her master’s in fine arts-emphasis in performance and choreography. She was a member of the Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Ensemble. Youmans-Jones was awarded the Judith Bailey Scully Award for Teaching Excellence and the Rosenthal Teaching Excellence Award in 2018. The dance program at Casper College was granted accreditation in Sept. 2013 by the National Association of Schools of Dance. Youmans-Jones serves as the coordinator of this accreditation and is an NASD sight evaluator for accreditation.

Rick Young is the museum director at Fort Caspar Museum. He received a bachelor’s in historic preservation from Southeast Missouri State University and a master’s in museum science from Texas Tech University. Before moving to Casper, he worked in the collections division at the Missouri Historical Society in St. Louis. Young moved to Casper in 1985 to become the curator of collections. In 1987 he was promoted to museum director. During his tenure, he has overseen two expansions to the museum building and furnished the fort buildings so that they appear as they would have in 1865.

Arielle Zibrak, Ph.D., is an associate professor of English and gender and women’s studies at the University of Wyoming. Her writing on literature, gender, sexuality, and popular culture has been praised by The New York Times, Longreads, PopMatters, and Bookforum and published in American Literature, American Literary History, Arizona Quarterly, The Baffler, Criticism, The Edith Wharton Review, ESQ, The Los Angeles Review of Books, McSweeney’s, The Toast, and Women’s Studies. She is the editor of “Edith Wharton’s The Age of Innocence: New Centenary Essays” and the author of “Avidly Reads: Guilty Pleasures.”