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 a MA in museum studies and feel in love with the mountains. Bahe was the collections manager at the Aurora History Museum and the Buffalo Bill & 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 US Navy ships named after people and places in Wyoming, toys, firearms, the Troopers, and politics in Wyoming.

Dale Bohren’s onramp into a journalism career started when he bought the weekly Casper Journal with partners in May of 1998. He had been covered by various media 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. Bohren worked every position at the newspaper while building the community weekly with his wife, Susan Anderson. They eventually delivered their newspaper to every house in Natrona County every week. 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. Over his career, photographs evolved from film to digital, electronic messaging became effective tools, and the Internet began to carry news and advertising. These sometimes brutal but always relevant developments shaped Bohren’s career at the same time they impacted every aspect of how newspapers and media in general reflect the communities they serve. As publisher emeritus, Bohren continues to serve on the Star-Tribune editorial board.

Dr. Leith Davis is the author of Acts of Union: Scotland and the Negotiation of the British Nation, 1707-1832 (Stanford UP, 1998) and Music, Postcolonialism and Gender: The Construction of Irish Identity, 1724-1874 (U of Notre Dame Press, 2005) as well as co-editor of Scotland and the Borders of Romanticism (Cambridge UP, 2004) and Robert Burns and Transatlantic Culture (Ashgate, 2012). Her new book, Mediating Cultural Memory in Britain and Ireland: From the 1688 Revolution to the 1745 Jacobite Rising is forthcoming with Cambridge UP, and a co-edited volume (with Janet Sorensen) The International Companion to the Scottish Literatures of the Long Eighteenth Century for is in press with the Association for Scottish Literary Studies.

Dr. Rebecca A. Hunt 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 and Natrona County: People, Place and Time (2011). Casper Chronicles II came out in 2017. Dr. Hunt was the historian on the award-winning documentary, A Woman to Match a Mountain (2008), about Neal Forsling of Casper Mountain.

Leilani DeClue is an adjunct teacher of Anthropology at Casper College. Winner of the 2022 Garth Shanklin Adjunct Faculty Teaching Excellence Award. Manager/Director of the Historic Bishop Home Museum. In her role at the Historic Bishop House 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 ASL tutor for all who desire to learn more about the Deaf Culture/sign language. She has been deaf since 6 months old. She had a cochlear implant for 2 years which has since been removed. She attended Central Institute for the Deaf (CID) for 12 years to learn how to speak English. Chelsea learned American Sign Language when she was a freshman in high school through a sign language interpreter. She married a Deaf gentleman and they have 3 hearing children together. Chelsea has found her life passion in connecting the worlds between Deaf/Hard of Hearing and hearing together by substitute teaching, tutoring, and mentoring.

Jodi Youmans-Jones is currently the Coordinator of the Dance Program, the National Association of Dance Accreditation coordinator, and one of two Resident Choreographers for the Casper College Department of Theatre & Dance. She graduated from the University of Wyoming with her B.A. in Theatre and Dance and from the University of Illinois Champaign/Urbana with her Masters in Fine Arts-emphasis in Performance and Choreography. She was a member of the Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Ensemble and has worked with such artists as Bella Lewitsky, Bill Evans, Loretta Livingston, Cleo Parker Robinson, Beverly Blossom, Stephen Koester, Frank Hatchett, Robert Dicello and Kurt Stamm. Her choreographic credits include Theatre productions such as The Tempest and A Christmas Carol; original contemporary ballets such as Grapes of Wrath, African Sanctus, Carmina Burana, Social Motion-Events affecting us from 1960-2010, Charlotte’s Web-An Adaptation, A Merry Mixed-Up Christmas; and over 50 productions on the musical theatre stage including Chicago, West Side Story, Chorus Line, Evita, Singin’ in the Rain, Legally Blonde, Oklahoma, Footloose, Mary Poppins and most recently Mamma Mia. Her teaching credits include all levels of Ballet, Modern, Jazz, Fosse, Improvisation, Composition, Musical Theatre, Dance History and Tap. Jodi’s work has worked in several states across the nation and many of her students have gone on to perform across the nation including Broadway and the west coast. She has taught at multiple American College Dance Festivals all over the country, and has done Artist in Residency stents in Wyoming, Utah, and Colorado. Jodi was awarded the Judith Bailey Scully Award for Teaching Excellence, Who’s Who in Collegiate Teaching, nominated for the Rosenthal Teaching Excellence Award twice, and was awarded the Rosenthal Teaching Excellence Award in 2018. The dance program at Casper College was granted accreditation in September 2013 from the National Association of Schools of Dance and is the first Junior College dance program to have such an accreditation. Jodi serves as the coordinator of this accreditation and is an NASD Sight Evaluator for accreditation. She has coordinated poetry in motion for the 2014 Casper College Book Festival and presented in the Casper College Humanities Festival in 2015 and 2016 with her concerts Revolution of Spirit-the Arts and Culture of Wyoming and Carmina Burana respectively. Jodi is an active member of both the Casper College campus, working with the new students and new faculty, and the Casper community. She has held positions on several boards in the community as well as teaching or coordinating dance to community organizations like The Boys and Girls Club, the Casper Rec Center Ice Skaters, Dance Evolutions, Rising Star Dance Studio, Spirit Dance School, Rocky Mountain School of Dance, and KaLarks Gymnastics.

Dr. Trisha Venisa-Alicia Martínez is a proud Wyomingite and University of Wyoming Alumna. Currently, she is serving 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, compliment her passion for community and culture. Dr. 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. Through teaching and community outreach, she remains passionate about encouraging the youth and creating opportunities that serve the best interest of her communities. Dr. Martínez recognizes the value of cultural identity and lived experience as a wealth of knowledge and as an asset to the classroom learning experience. She promotes the Humanities through ethnic studies and cultural initiatives serving on boards of numerous organizations and councils in effort of contributing to the rippling effect of positive community impact.

Matthew ‘Magic’ Morgan has had a long, storied career that started when he was six years old. After learning a coin trick from his grandfather, Matthew began performing and hosted his first show, charging neighborhood kids 25 cents. He began learning tricks and studying magic. Matthew 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 also of 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 been delighting audiences throughout Europe for more than a decade. Her appearances on stage incorporate Russian culture and dance. She started learning Magic when she was 20’s years old and now teaches Russian Sign Language. It was at one of Matthew’s performances in Russia that she met and eventually married Matthew. They have two beautiful children.

Dr. Kelli Mosteller, 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. Additionally, she is a gaming commissioner for the Citizen Potawatomi Nation and 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.

Rick Young is the Museum Director at Fort Caspar Museum. He received a BS in Historic Preservation from Southeast Missouri State University and an MA in Museum Science from Texas Tech University. Prior to moving to Casper, he was working in the Collections Division at the Missouri Historical Society in St. Louis. Rick moved to Casper in 1985 to become the Curator of Collections. He 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.

Dr. Arielle Zibrak is 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 (Bloomsbury, 2019) and the author of Avidly Reads: Guilty Pleasures (New York University Press, 2021).