College Welcomes 27 New Faculty and Staff Members

This semester, the College of Arts & Letters is pleased to welcome 27 new faculty and staff members. Please join us in welcoming the following people to the College:

Alena Aniśkiewicz

Alena Aniśkiewicz, Assistant Professor for the Center for Integrative Studies in the Arts and Humanities, previously held appointments as a Visiting Associate and Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of Michigan. Her writing on Eastern European culture has been published by the Seattle Opera,, and Cosmopolitan Review. She also has presented her work on Polish hip-hop at recent conferences of the International Association for the Study of Popular Music and the Polish Studies Association. She holds a Ph.D. in Slavic Languages and Literatures from the University of Michigan and also studied at the Center for Polish Language and Culture at Jagiellonian University in Kraków on a fellowship from the Kosciuszko Foundation and the Polish Ministry of Education. 

Jose A. Badillo Carlos  

Jose A. Badillo Carlos, Academic Specialist in Cultural Production in the Department of Romance and Classical Studies, has taught second- and third-year Spanish at MSU since 2014 and previously taught first-year Spanish at Northern Illinois University. He also has served as an Academic Advisor for Spanish and French minors and an Editorial Graduate Assistant for the Revista de Estudios de Género y Sexualidades at MSU. His work centers around representations of violence and corruption in contemporary Mexican cultural production. He has presented for the MSU Press Podcast, Collaborative Edges, and WKAR Public Media. He has a B.A. and an M.A. in Spanish Language and Literature from Northern Illinois University and currently is completing his Ph.D. in Hispanic Cultural Studies at MSU.   

Claudia Berríos-Campos

Claudia Berríos-Campos, Academic Specialist in Early Modern Andean Cultural Studies in the Department of Romance and Classical Studies, specializes in Early Modern Spanish Literature and Colonial Latin American Literature; Andean and Indigenous Literatures; Decolonial and Postcolonial Studies; and Violence and Armed Conflicts in the Andes and Global South. She also works with Identity and Memory Studies; Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies; and Visual Studies, Film, and Audio-Visual Culture. She has taught Spanish at MSU since 2012 and, more recently, worked as an Editorial Assistant for the Journal of Gender and Sexuality Studies at MSU, recently becoming the Production Editor for the journal. Before coming to Michigan State, Berríos-Campos had teaching experience at the Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos in Peru where she also earned her B.A. in Literature. She also has an M.A. in Hispanic Literatures and a Ph.D. in Hispanic Cultural Studies, both from MSU.

Shelby Brewster

Shelby Brewster, Postdoctoral Research Associate at the Public Philosophy Journal (PPJ) led by College of Arts & Letters Dean Christopher P. Long and Dean Rehberger, received her Ph.D. in Theatre and Performance Studies from the University of Pittsburgh. Her awards and fellowships include an Andrew W. Mellon Predoctoral Fellowship (Pitt), Cultural Studies Dissertation Fellowship (Pitt), and a National Fellowship from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation/Humanities Without Walls Pre-Doctoral Career Diversity Summer Workshop. Brewster has published many journal articles and book chapters as well as book, film, and performance reviews on topics including environmental activism, the nonhuman, climate change, and humanist theory. She holds a Certificate in Editing from the University of Washington and serves as a Content Editor at Environmental History Now.

Timothy Conrad

Timothy Conrad, Assistant Professor in the Department of English, comes to Michigan State University from Kalamazoo College, where he was a Visiting Assistant Professor of Creative Writing. He also has taught at Western Michigan University, University of North Carolina Wilmington, and in Shenzhen, China. His work has been published in journals such as Story, Quarterly West, Willow Springs, Quarter After Eight, Natural Bridge, and Puerto del Sol, and he has received awards from Beloit Fiction Journal and the Emrys Foundation. He received his B.A. from Baldwin-Wallace College, an M.F.A. from the University of North Carolina Wilmington, and a Ph.D. from Western Michigan University.

Ann Crain

Ann Crain, Advisor – Academic Specialist for Undergraduate Studies in the College of Arts & Letters, previously served as Program Coordinator for the Multicultural Business Programs at Michigan State University since 2006 and before that worked for the Multicultural Business Programs as a Graduate Assistant. She also has experience working as a Mentee for the MI-ACE Women’s Network. She has teaching experience as a Guest Lecturer for the Diversity in the Workplace (MGT 414) class at MSU, as a Facilitator for the Freshman Seminar (BUS 101) offered by MSU’s Eli Broad College of Business, and as a Faculty Assistant for the Arts and Cultural Excursion to Cuba. She is a recipient of the Walter Adams Advisor Award and a two-time recipient of the Eli Broad College of Business Richard J. Lewis Quality of Excellence Award. She has a Master of Social Work and a B.A. in Journalism, both from MSU.

Michelle Danaj

Michelle Danaj is joining the Office Operations Team supporting the Department of Philosophy, Department of Religious Studies, Department of English, Global Studies in the Arts and Humanities, and the Jewish Studies Program. She has a B.A. in English from Michigan State University. While at MSU, she traveled to Ireland to study abroad and earned a place on the Dean’s List for six semesters. Most recently, she has worked for the Governor’s Office of Foundation Liaison as an Executive Assistant, helping with event management and general office support. She also has worked as a College Ambition Coordinator for the MSU College Ambition Program and as an MI GEAR UP AmeriCorps VISTA for the Michigan Department of Treasury. With her previous work experience, Danaj has built up her problem-solving, communication, and planning skills, and looks forward to supporting the College of Arts & Letters in her new role.  

LeConté Dill

LeConté Dill, Associate Professor in the Department of African American and African Studies, is a community-accountable scholar, educator, and poet. Guided by Black Feminist epistemologies and using qualitative and arts-based research methods, she is committed to transdisciplinary research. She listens to and shows up for urban Black girls and other youth of color and works to rigorously document their experiences of safety, resilience, resistance, and wellness. Previously, she worked as Director of Public Health Practice and Clinical Associate Professor in the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences at New York University and, since 2015, has served as a Research Associate for the African Centre for Migration and Society at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa. She has a Doctor of Public Health degree from the University of California Berkeley and completed a Post-Doctoral Fellowship in Health Policy at Satcher Health Leadership Institute at Morehouse School of Medicine.

Elizabeth Gray

The performing career of Elizabeth Gray, Assistant Professor of Musical Theatre in the Department of Theatre, spans musical theatre stages, classical concert halls, and opera houses in addition to music videos, film, and new media. Her vocation as a performing artist and educator led to community engagements with cellist Yo-Yo Ma, Maestro Riccardo Muti, composer Anna Clyne and transformative work with the Chicago-based youth development organization, Storycatchers Theatre. As a vocal technician and coach, her students have signed to top agencies, performed on Broadway and National Tours, and can be seen on major network television and film productions. Prior teaching appointments include Metropolitan State University of Denver, Falmouth University at DIME Detroit, Saginaw Valley State University, and New York University. She recently held an inaugural position within the Department of Theatre Arts at Interlochen Arts Academy. She currently is working on a Ph.D. in Educational Studies at Eastern Michigan University.  

Tani Hartman

Tani Hartman, Chairperson of the Department of Art, Art History, and Design, previously served as Chairperson of the Department of Visual Art at the University of Kansas, where she also was Co-Director of the School of the Arts and Professor of Painting and Drawing. Her teaching interests include Painting, Drawing, Advanced Drawing, Life Drawing, Visual Memoir, Themes in Art and Literature, and Materials and Techniques Across Cultures. Throughout her more than 25-year career, she has managed to write and paint every day and has had several solo exhibitions at venues across the United States. As an artist, she uses painting to express her abhorrence for injustice and sorrow about human brutality. She has an M.F.A. in Painting from Yale University and a B.F.A. in Painting and Printmaking from Rhode Island School of Design. She did post-graduate studies in painting and printmaking as a Fulbright Research Fellow at the Konsthogskollan in Stockholm, Sweden. 

Ike Iyioke

Ike Iyioke, Research Associate for the Toolbox Dialogue Initiative, focuses his research on biomedical research partnerships between Africa and the West, environmental science and public policy, environmental justice/racism, eugenics, and morality in African cultures. He previously worked as an Adjunct Assistant Professor at Michigan State University’s Lyman Briggs College and College of Human Medicine. He also has held positions as a Lecturer at the University of Michigan Flint and as an Instructor at Alma College. Iyioke was awarded the 2020/21 Carnegie African Diaspora Fellowship at the University of Cape Town Research Development Program. His research has been published in scholarly journals like the Eubios Journal of Asian and International Bioethics, Journal of Arts and Humanities, and in a 2017 book, Clinical Trials and the African Person. He has an M.Sc. in International Relations from the University of Nigeria, an M.A. in Journalism from MSU, and a Ph.D. in Philosophy from MSU.  

Caitlin Kirby

Caitlin Kirby, Research Specialist in the Department of Technology, completed her Ph.D. in Environmental Science and Policy and STEM Education at Michigan State University. She has worked in research for several years, focusing on science education, science literacy, and curriculum development. She has published many articles on her research, including in the Interdisciplinary Journal of Environmental and Science Education. Kirby received an Excellence in Ph.D. Research Award and completed a Fulbright student research grant at the Research Institute for Regional and Urban Development in Germany. She also earned two certificates in Community Engagement and Teaching College Science and Mathematics at MSU. She has served as a panel reviewer for the National Science Foundation and taught online and in-person courses in science and science literacy.

Julie Koehler

Julie Koehler, Assistant Professor of Integrated Studies in the Arts and Humanities, holds a Master’s in Education from the University of Michigan and a Master’s in German from Wayne State University. While working as a Teaching Assistant and completing her Ph.D. in Modern Languages at Wayne State, Koehler was a founding member of the NEH-funded Ethnic Layers of Detroit Project, on which she served as Instructional Designer. After defending her dissertation, she became a full-time Lecturer and Coordinator of the Basic German Language Sequence at Wayne State. In 2020, she served as Interim Director of Wayne State’s Foreign Language Technology Center. Her research focuses on German fairy tales and folklore told and written by women and instructional technology. She has published a number of articles and recently completed a collaborative anthology, entitled Women Writing Wonder: An Anthology of Subversive Nineteenth-Century British, French, and German Fairy Tales, that is forthcoming in October. 

Gianina K. Lockley

Gianina K. Lockley, Research Associate in the Department of African American and African Studies, has served as an Instructor in the Department of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies at the University of Maryland since fall 2019. She is experienced in developing community and international partnerships and is a two-time grant recipient of the International Program for Creative Collaboration and Research. Her research interests include Black Feminism, Black Studies, Performance Studies, Critical Race Theory, Dance Studies, and Contemporary African American Theatre. Her scholarly publications have appeared in the Journal of Dramatic Theory and Criticism and the Dance Research Journal. She has led projects focused on social justice at the University of Ghana, Accra, and the University of Maryland. Lockley has an M.F.A. in Interdisciplinary Arts and Media from Columbia College Chicago and is a Ph.D. Candidate in Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies at the University of Maryland, College Park.

Trimiko Melancon

Trimiko Melancon, Professor in the Department of African American and African Studies, is an award-winning author, cultural critic, documentary filmmaker, and expert in critical race, gender, Black feminist and sexualities studies; African American and American literary and cultural studies; African American and Black German studies; and race, media, popular culture as well as digital, film, and cultural production. Previously, Melancon was Associate Professor of English and Africana Studies, and faculty in Gender and Sexuality Studies and Film and Media Studies, at Rhodes College. She has held other distinguished positions nationally and internationally including the J. William Fulbright Scholar of American Literature and American Studies in Berlin, Germany; Mellon Mays University Fellow; Frederick Douglass Teaching Scholar; and a Woodrow Wilson National Foundation Fellow. She has a Ph.D. in African American Studies from the University of Massachusetts. 

Victoria Morris

After some time as the MSU Honors College Alumni Officer, Victoria Morris is returning to the College of Arts & Letters as a Career Consultant for the Excel Network. Having worked in the Lansing and East Lansing areas since 2008, Morris served the College of Arts & Letters as an Internship and Employer Manager for six years, providing one-on-one student advising for job and internship services as well as other outreach, engagement, and programming work. She also served a number of organizations outside of MSU, including Sparrow Health System, the Lansing State Journal, Lansing 5:01, and more. Morris earned a B.A. in Communications from MSU in 2008 as well as her M.A. in Arts and Cultural Management in December 2018.

Dusty Myers

Dusty Myers, Assistant Professor in the Center for Integrative Studies in the Arts and Humanities, received both an M.A. and a Ph.D. in Anthropology at Michigan State University. A recipient of the Excellence in Teaching and Learning Award from Central Michigan University, Dr. Myers taught as an instructor at MSU and, following that, at CMU for more than 10 years. He has published multiple academic works in forestry management in Ghana’s Forest Reserve. His dissertation fieldwork research experience in Ghana included investigation of sustainable development of forest management. He worked as a faculty mentor for facilitators in the Cultural and Global Studies and as a Co-leader for Professional Development Practicums for Facilitators in the Cultural and Global Studies 145 Program at CMU.

Lucas Nunn

Lucas Nunn, Instructor in the Department of Theatre, has worked as an Audio Engineer and Sound Designer since the early 2000s, which has led him to instruct high school students throughout Ingham County and to design for community and university theatres across Michigan. Previously, he served as a Visiting Professor of Sound Design at Michigan State University and a Guest Artist at the Wharton Center. Before coming to MSU, he worked as a Graduate Assistant at Central Michigan University and a Teacher Assistant at Lansing Community College. Nunn also has experience as a Recording Engineer, System Consultant at Block House E-Sports, and House Audio Engineer. He has a B.F.A. in Theatre Design and Technology from MSU and an M.A. in Broadcast and Cinematic Arts from Central Michigan University.

Sarah Panuska

Sarah Panuska, Assistant Professor of Integrated Studies in the Arts and Humanities, has a rich history as an educator. She began teaching college-level courses in 2012 at Michigan State University and eventually branched out to teach at Albion, Olivet, and Jackson Colleges. Her course topics range in subject matter from Readings in Gender and Sexuality to U.S. Culture and Consumption. Panuska worked as an Editorial Assistant for Census 2020: Understanding the Issues and After Queer Studies: Literature, Theory and Sexuality in the 21st Century. She also has held Research and Graduate Assistant positions. She earned her M.A. and Ph.D. in English from Michigan State University. She also has earned six fellowships since starting her M.A. in 2013 and has published several journal articles and a book chapter.

Dan Paz

Dan Paz, Artist-in-Residence in Critical Race Studies, has exhibited works nationally and internationally at Hayward Gallery, London, UK; 12th Havana Biennial at Fábrica de Arte Cubano, Havana, CU; Sandberg Instituut, Amsterdam, NL; The Media Lab, NYC; Lee Center for the Arts, Seattle, WA; and Holding Contemporary, Portland, OR. They have completed residencies with El Centro Desarollo de Artes in Havana, Cuba; The Studios of Key West; Chicago Artist Coalitions’ Hatch Residency; The Luminary in St. Louis, MO; ACRE in WI; and the High-Resolution Media Arts Residency at Seattle University. Selected Awards include: The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur’s Connection Fund, Ann Metzger National Award for Prints, and the Open Practice Committee Grant. Paz has a B.F.A. in Video from the Atlanta College of Art and an M.F.A. in Visual Arts and Interdisciplinary Studies in Art Theory and Practice from The University of Chicago.

Kate Simon

Kate Simon, Advisor – Academic Specialist for Undergraduate Studies in the College of Arts & Letters, previously served as Program Director for the Japan Center for Michigan Universities program for nine years and was the Program Coordinator of that program for four years prior to that. She also has experience as an Interpretive Museum Exhibit Researcher at the Detroit Institute of Arts, Communications Coordinator and Assistant English Teacher for the Iwate Prefecture Board of Education in Iwate Prefecture, Japan, and Germany-Austria Program Assistant at Earlham College. She has a Master of Arts in Higher, Adult, and Lifelong Education from MSU and a B.A. from Earlham College.

Elka M. Stevens

Elka M. Stevens, Critical Race Studies Artist-in-Residence, is an Associate Professor, the Fashion Design Program Coordinator, and a Curator of Fashion and Textiles Collection at Howard University. Previously, she was a Lecturer and Fashion Program Coordinator at Morgan State University, Assistant Professor at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore, and Visiting Scholar at University of Ghana at Legon. Her scholarly interests lie at the intersections of visual and material culture, globalization, communication, design, sustainability, and identity. She uses textiles and clothing and a lens of analysis and as media to explore themes including sizeism, repurposing, pedagogy, digital humanities, archival methodologies, and social justice. Her work has been displayed in institutions and exhibitions across the United States. She has a B.S. in Microenvironmental Studies and Design from Howard University and a Ph.D. in Design, Housing, and Apparel from the University of Minnesota.  

Mike Thicke

Mike Thicke, Web Developer for Humanities Commons and MESH Research, earned his Ph.D. in History and Philosophy of Science and Technology from the University of Toronto in 2016. His primary areas of research are social epistemology and philosophy of science. He taught for the American University of Central Asia from 2013-2015 and for Bard College and the Bard Prison Initiative from 2015-2021. Alongside his teaching and research, he was an editor and developer for The Bubble Chamber: Thoughts, analysis, and debate at the intersection of science and society blog and more recently the University of Toronto Scientific Instrument Collection.

Silvia Tita

Silvia Tita, Assistant Professor and the first appointee of the Carol Ann Bennett-Vallès Professorship in Art History in the Department of Art, Art History, and Design, has a Ph.D. in History of Art from the University of Michigan and an M.A. in History of Art from the University of Toronto. She was an Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in Art History at Kalamazoo College and has worked as a Research Associate at the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts, National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., where she was part of the digital humanities project The History of the Accademia di San Luca and was responsible for scholarly content and digital implementation. She also has a dual background in art history and computer science and has received several awards, fellowships, and grants to support her research, which focuses on early modern art in transnational contexts through diplomatic and missionary channels.

Abigail Tykocki

Abigail Tykocki, Production Manager for the Department of Theatre, holds an M.A. in Arts Management from Columbia College and a B.A. in Theatre from Michigan State University. In addition to her role as Production Manager, Tykocki is a faculty member for the Arts, Cultural Management, & Museum Studies program and a Communications Specialist for the College of Arts & Letters. She has worked in marketing, fundraising, and audience development for Vermont Stage and Burlington Discover Jazz Festival. In Chicago, she served as a member of the Jeff Awards Committee and as Managing Director of Infamous Commonwealth Theatre. As an AEA-trained stage manager, Tykocki has worked with Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Encore Theatre, Z-Space, Yerba Buena Center, The Factory Theatre, and Peppermint Creek Theatre Company. She has directed productions for Vermont Stage, Stowe Theatre Guild, and Girls Nite Out Productions. Currently, she serves on the City of East Lansing Arts Commission and as President of the East Lansing Pinecrest Neighborhood Association.

Sandi Wemigwase

Sandi Wemigwase, Pre-Doctoral Fellow in the American Indian and Indigenous Studies Program, has research interests in Indigenous Feminist theoretical applications in educational research, as well as Indigenous student services and youth access in postsecondary education. She is a member of Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians and grew up in Petoskey, Michigan. She received her M.A. in Education from California State University and currently is working on her Ph.D. at the University of Toronto where she has worked as the SAGE Coordinator at the Centre for Indigenous Studies, was a Graduate Assistant for the TKaronto CIRCLE Lab, and a Training Assistant for the Office of Indigenous Initiatives. She is the founder of the Anishinaabe and Onkwehonwe Student Collective at OISE and a Co-Host of the Indigenous Waves campus radio show. Wemigwase has been published in Routledge multiple times for her work in Indigenous research methods and the case studies on student media and the ‘satirization’ of Native American life.

Pam Withers

Pam Withers, Secretary III, is a new member of the Office Operations Team for the Department of Linguistics, Languages, and Cultures and the Department of Romance and Classical Studies. Withers has stayed part of Lansing throughout her career. She initially attended Lansing Community College before working as a secretary for 12 years for MSU’s College of Osteopathic Medicine. She then took a position as an Accounting Clerk for the MSU Clinical Center in 2001. Continuing her work at MSU, she went back to secretarial work for the College of Natural Science for two years before working as an Accounting Clerk for Residence Education and Housing Services, staying at this position for 13 years. Withers prides herself on being self-motivated and for contributing to MSU’s strategic goals.