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Presenter Biographies

The Osher Institute seeks out highly skilled faculty and community experts to help fulfill our mission of offering high-quality, college-level programming.

To quickly find a presenter biography, use the “Search this content” feature in the following panel.

Spring 2024 Presenter Biographies

Dr. David Adler

The 2024 Presidential Election: Implications for American Democracy and the Rule of Law

Dr. David Adler headshot

Dr. David Adler is 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 Director of the Andrus Center.

Bob Aldridge, JD

First Amendment Freedoms and Restrictions (In Person Only)

Bob Aldridge

Bob Aldridge earned a Juris Doctorate from Washington University in St. Louis and a BA from the University of Idaho. He was admitted to the Idaho State Bar and 9th Federal Circuit in 1970 to practice in the U.S. Court of Claims. He is the founder of Robert L. Aldridge, Chartered and has been awarded multiple community service awards. Bob also founded the Trust & Estate Professionals of Idaho, Inc, a nonprofit that presents bills in Idaho Legislature. As a frequent lecturer on church law both locally and nationally, Bob presents seminars on law and religion. He has done extensive work with foreign missionaries and is a frequent speaker on end-of-life issues including religious and cultural influences.

Dr. Amanda Ashley

The Role of Arts in Our Community

Dr. Amanda Ashley headshot

Dr. Amanda Ashley is a Professor of Urban Studies and Community Development in the School of Public Service, and the Director of the School of the Arts in the College of Arts and Sciences at Boise State University. She researches the role of arts and culture in economic and community development. Her current work focuses on the evolution of place-making and place-belonging in practice, and how institutions and organizations are anchoring arts and culture activity. She’s serves on the Boise Arts and History Commission, and on the Garden City Placemaking Fund Advisory Committee. Her PhD in City and Regional Planning is from the University of Pennsylvania, and her Masters in Urban and Regional Planning is from the University of Minnesota.

Robert Bailey

Sea Otters on the Oregon Coast

Robert Bailey is the Board President of Elakha Alliance. He is retired after nearly 30 years working on coastal and ocean policy for the Oregon Coastal Management Program in the Department of Land Conservation and Development. He grew up in North Bend and spent many hours on the beach and in the water near Cape Arago.

Dr. Richard Bell

The American Revolution Beyond the British Empire (In Person Only); America's Birth Certificate: The Declaration of Independence (In Person Only)

Richard Bell

Dr. Richard Bell teaches Early American history at the University of Maryland. He has received several teaching prizes and major research fellowships, including the National Endowment for the Humanities Public Scholar Award. He has published the books We Shall Be No More: Suicide and Self-Government in the Newly United States and Stolen: Five Free Boys Kidnapped into Slavery and Their Astonishing Odyssey Home.

James Benetatos

Millimeter Wave Drilling for Deep Geothermal Energy (Livestream/Recorded Only)

James Benetatos is the Head of Business Development at Quaise Energy. He is part of the team working to develop the strategy to scale Quaise’s business while achieving the most impact for the environment. He began his time at Quaise working to apply the company’s cutting-edge drilling technology to its first potential product: drilling for mineral exploration. This product will be the focus of Quaise’s initial field trials in the first half of 2024. Mr. Benetatos received a Bachelor’s degree in petroleum engineering from Missouri University of Science and Technology and an MBA from Boston University. Before joining Quaise’s Business Development Team, he spent seven years working as an engineer in the energy sector. He gained his operational experience with Halliburton, where he was part of the deep-water cementing team and worked on some of the deepest wells in the Gulf of Mexico. He also worked as a product development engineer in the power distribution sector.

Michael Biddle, PharmD

An Exploration of GLP-1 RAs: From Discovery to Controversy

Michael Biddle photoMichael Biddle, PharmD is an Ambulatory Care Pharmacist at St. Luke’s Humphreys Diabetes Center in Boise, where he provides targeted education and medication management for patients with diabetes. He received his Doctor of Pharmacy degree at West Virginia University School of Pharmacy in 2009 and completed a two-year pharmacotherapy residency at Idaho State University’s Department of Family Medicine in 2011. He is also a Board-Certified Pharmacotherapy Specialist and Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist.

Michael Bixby

The Peace Corps Then and Now: Idaho Experiences (In Person Only)

Michael Bixby was a professor of Legal Studies in Business for more than 30 years at Boise State University. After serving in the Peace Corps, he practiced law in Michigan for 11 years prior to joining the Boise State faculty. He retired from the full-time faculty in 2012 and is now an Emeritus Professor. He is a member of the Osher Advisory Board.

Sam and Candy Caponegro

Music in Animated Films (Livestream/Recorded Only)

Sam and Candy Caponegro have worked in all aspects of theater for over 45 years. They hope to keep the classic movie musical and the golden age of Broadway alive through their lectures.

Dr. Steve Clayton

Dam Removal in the U.S.

Dr. Steve Clayton leads the River Systems Science and Engineering Team Community of Practice at Jacobs Engineering Group. He has worked on river restoration projects throughout the Columbia River Basin and on dam removal projects in Georgia, New York, Colorado, and California. Dr. Clayton grew up on a family farm and ranch along the Boise River, and his educational background includes degrees in human biology, riparian ecology, and biological and agricultural engineering.

Dr. Vincent Coppola

The Four Basic Questions of Philosophy (Livestream Only)

Dr. Vincent Coppola received his MA in Philosophy from Fordham University, his PhD in Philosophy via The Gregorian, and his MFA in Film and Television from UCLA. His work in filmmaking has covered the spectrum from concept to composite and preproduction, production, and postproduction. He also was a script doctor at Paramount and Columbia studios. His most recent book is Supermetaphysics.

Dr. Robert DeCaroli

The Art of Buddhism (Livestream/Recorded Only)

Dr. Robert DeCaroli is Professor of South and Southeast Asian Art History at George Mason University and the author of Haunting the Buddha: Indian Popular Religions and the Formation of Buddhism. His second book, Image Problems: The Origin and Development of the Buddha’s Image in Early South Asia, explores the origin of the Buddha image and the factors that led to its codification and spread. Most of his research addresses early aspects of South Asian material culture and Buddhist interactions with devotion to terrestrial deities. Recently, he co-curated Encountering the Buddha: Art and Practice Across Asia at the National Museum of Asian Art.

Jessica Dorr

Boise Public Library: Where Everyone in Boise Goes to Grow

Jessica Dorr is joined the Boise Public Library in November 2020. Previously, she worked at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in a variety of roles. As part of the Foundation’s first domestic grantmaking, she worked to connect all public libraries in the country to the internet, often for the first time. Later, she led efforts to expand access in developing and transitioning countries, and to increase the capacity of library support organizations. She has an undergraduate degree from Georgetown University and an MLIS from the University of Washington.

Dan Everhart

The River Street Neighborhood: Diversity and Civil Rights in Boise (In Person Only)

Dan Everhart is an architectural historian and Outreach Historian at the Idaho State Historic Preservation Office. He is a native Idahoan and has spent nearly two decades studying the history and architecture of the Gem State. Professional and volunteer experience with the United States Forest Service, the Idaho Transportation Department, Preservation Idaho, and Restore Oregon have sustained his personal interests in the unique architectural legacy of the state and his understanding of the people, topography, and culture of Idaho.

Terra Feast

Creative Calm: Easy Art to Ease the Mind – Sections One and Two (In Person Only)

Terra Feast

Terra Feast is the K12 Professional Development Manager for Boise State’s Division of Extended Studies and an adjunct professor of art education for the Department of Art, Design & Visual Studies. She began her career in museum education and has more than 20 years of experience developing and presenting interdisciplinary visual art content for learners of all ages. Terra holds a BA in Fine Arts from the College of Idaho and a Masters of Art in Art Education from Boise State University. She received the Idaho Art Education Association’s Idaho Art Educator of the Year award in 2015 and a Governor’s Award in the Arts for Innovation in the Arts in 2022.

Dr. Jon Fennell

A Modern Masterpiece: The Abolition of Man (In Person Only)

Dr. Jon Fennell is Professor Emeritus at Hillsdale College where he taught courses in philosophy and philosophy of education and served as Dean of Social Sciences. An author of numerous published studies, in recent years he has focused on the thought of Michael Polanyi, about whom he has written more than 20 essays. During this interval, he has also written extensively on C. S. Lewis’s The Abolition of Man. Prior to entering academia, he flourished in the corporate world and was a consultant for four years in the Idaho State Department of Education.

Dr. Andrew Finstuen

The What and Why of the Institute for Advancing American Values (In Person Only)

Dr. Andrew Finstuen is the Dean of the Honors College, Executive Director of the Institute for Advancing American Values, and Associate Vice President for Strategic Planning and Special Initiatives at Boise State University. He holds a PhD in American History from Boston College. His scholarly work includes studies of the ethicist Reinhold Niebuhr and evangelist Billy Graham. Dr. Finstuen also co-produced a documentary film about the life and thought of Reinhold Niebuhr that aired on public television nationwide.

Linda Friedman

Indigenous Art of the Southwest (In Person Only)

After 31 years of teaching and living in Rochester, NY, Linda Friedman and her husband started looking for a new adventure. In 1998, they retired to Tucson, AZ, where they fell in love with the desert and began collecting and learning about Western and Indigenous Art. Ms. Friedman immediately joined the docent training programs at Tohono Chul and Tucson Museum of Art. She loves being a docent and especially enjoys giving art talks, which she says has given her so many opportunities to learn more about her favorite art forms, meet wonderful people, and share her passion for art of the Southwest.

Emily Fritchman-Mahaney

The River Street Neighborhood: Diversity and Civil Rights in Boise (In Person Only)

Emily Fritchman-Mahaney is a faculty member in the History Department at Boise State University, specializing in public, architectural, and Idaho history. She holds her Master’s degree in Public History from Boise State. A fifth-generation Idahoan, she is passionate about sharing untold stories of the Gem State with those both in the classroom and beyond. Her current research focuses on the history of Boise’s early minority groups and the neighborhoods they called home. Prior to her appointment at Boise State, she worked as a contractor for the National Park Service, the City of Boise, Preservation Idaho, the State Historic Preservation Office, and the Old Idaho Penitentiary.

Ayla Gabel

Resistance Training for Older Populations (In Person Only)

Ayla Gabel is a second-year graduate student at Boise State University pursuing her Master of Science in Kinesiology. Alongside her studies, Ayla works as a Graduate Teaching Assistant for the Kinesiology Department. Her duties include managing Fitness for Life, organizing the Fitness Challenge, and teaching an undergraduate Kinesiology lab. During her time at Boise State, Ayla has completed her Certificate in Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, as well as becoming a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (NSCA) and a Tactical Strength and Conditioning Facilitator (NSCA). In her free time, Ayla enjoys weight training, running, yoga, reading, drawing, and trying out new dessert recipes.

Dr. Nancy Glenn

Boise State’s Center for Research and Creative Activity

Dr. Nancy Glenn serves as Vice President of Research and Economic Development at Boise State University. She is also a Professor in the Department of Geosciences within the College of Arts and Sciences. Her various leadership roles, including Director, Department Chair, Federal Relations Liaison, and a joint appointment with the Department of Energy, have provided her with a strong understanding of how universities and agencies operate across multiple divisions. As the science lead of a statewide project, Dr. Glenn created a faculty mentoring program, boosting academic achievement and retention. She co-developed the interdisciplinary Human-Environment Systems (HES) initiative at Boise State, which includes innovative structures and policies to incentivize and reward faculty to deliver, in partnership, substantive positive impact to the communities in which they work.

Dr. Glenn’s research focuses on imaging spectroscopy and lidar remote sensing of the environment. She has garnered over $30M in external funding for her lab to advance students’ knowledge in remote sensing, data science and engineering, research processes, and communication. Her research has been funded through grants from NASA, National Science Foundation, NOAA, and the U.S. Departments of Defense, Energy, Agriculture, and the Interior. She has served on the editorial board and as guest editor of several journals, on National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine study reviews, and on several steering committees for NASA and the National Science Foundation. Dr. Glenn earned her Bachelor’s degree in Geological Engineering from the University of Nevada, Reno, her Master’s degree in Civil Engineering from UC Berkeley, and her PhD in Geoengineering from the University of Nevada, Reno.

Riley Gorman

From Grape to Bottle: An In-Depth Look at Wine Production (In Person Only)

Riley Gorman is an Assistant Winemaker for Cinder Wines in Garden City, Idaho. He studied Viticulture and Enology at the University of California-Davis. After graduation, he wanted to explore a region vastly different from his home state of California. He looked into Australia and New Zealand, but the pandemic put a halt on international travel. This gave him the opportunity to look into winemaking regions in the Pacific Northwest such as Oregon, Washington, and Idaho. He didn’t know much about Idaho and the Snake River Valley and was intrigued by the wines that were sent to him from Cinder Wines during his interview process. Between Mr. Gorman’s affinity for the outdoors and his love for making good wine, Idaho had his heart. He enjoys furthering participants’ knowledge on the beverage that also has stolen his heart.

Alisha Graefe

A History of Hate: The Aryan Nations and White Supremacy in Idaho

Alisha Graefe is an Archivist in the Special Collections and Archives at Albertson’s Library. She received her MA in history from Boise State in 2018 with her thesis, “American Hatred: Wild West Myths, Color-Coded Rhetoric, and the Shaping of the Aryan Nations.” Since then, she has received her MLIS degree from San Jose State University.

Dr. Stacey Guill

The Trial of Margaret Macomber (In Person Only)

Dr. Stacey Guill earned her Master’s degree in English from Boise State University and her PhD in Literature from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. Most of her research, writing, and publications have focused on the life and writings of Ernest Hemingway. She has also been involved in the Foote Park Project and has dedicated several years of research on Arthur DeWint and Mary Hallock Foote’s home in the Boise River Canyon resulting in a published book about this historical structure.

Kirk Halford

30 Years in the Dirt: A Retrospective of Preserving the Past

Kirk Halford retired as the Idaho Bureau of Land Management State Archaeologist at the end of 2021, at which time he became an adjunct professor in the Department of Anthropology at Boise State. He has 32 years of experience as a professional archaeologist. During much of his career, he has participated in, presented, and published research related to his work. He has completed a number of historic preservation projects on important sites, and he worked on advancing the use of geospatial technologies within the Cultural Resources Management program on state and national levels. Mr. Halford’s awards include the Public Lands Foundation Outstanding Professional Award in 2007, the Esri Special Achievement in GIS Award in 2008, the ACHP Chairman’s Award for Federal Achievement in Historic Preservation in 2009, and most recently the Distinguished Preservationist Award in 2022 from Preservation Idaho.

Rebecca Hupp

Inside the Boise Airport

Rebecca Hupp has served as the Boise Airport Director for over a decade. Under her leadership, the airport has experienced a period of unprecedented growth—both in the number of nonstop routes offered and in the number of passengers served, which has nearly doubled during her tenure. This exponential growth in passenger traffic led to BOI’s reclassification as a medium hub airport in 2021. Ms. Hupp’s passion for building strong teams, her constant pursuit of excellence, and focus on service to others and community guide her as she leads long-term planning and development of the airport in one of the fastest growing states in the country. On top of her duties as Airport Director, Ms. Hupp devotes time to serve her community through a variety of nonprofit boards. She is a regional board member for the American Lung Association and serves on the boards of the Lee Pesky Learning Center and the Women and Children’s Alliance. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Aviation Management from Florida Institute of Technology and a Master of Business Administration degree from Webster University.

Dr. Reginald Jayne

Theodore Roosevelt: A Life of Action

Dr. Reginald Jayne is a Clinical Associate Professor in Applied Sciences and Multidisciplinary Studies Program at Boise State University. He holds an MA in History and a PhD In Humanities and History. Before coming to Boise State, he was a full professor of History for the College of Western Idaho. Investigating great books is one of his favorite pastimes.

Dr. Ruth Jebe

Global Regulation of Plastics: The Stories We Tell

Dr. Ruth Jebe brings her combined experience in law, business, and education to her position as associate professor in COBE. She earned her law degree from the University of Minnesota Law School and practiced law on the East Coast. She also spent a decade managing retail businesses. Eventually, she was recruited into academia where, over the last 19 years she has taught courses in law, sustainable business strategy and corporate social responsibility, and leadership. Her research focuses on regulatory and governance theories, especially as applied to sustainability issues, and she has published articles in many prestigious law journals. In 2022, she was selected to fill the Hansberger Endowed Chair in Business Ethics in the College of Business and Economics at Boise State University.

Dan Johnson

Reliability and Today’s Intelligent Power Grid

Dan Johnson is a registered Professional Engineer and a Senior Engineer at Idaho Power Company. He specializes in distribution strategic alternatives to traditional distribution systems. He has 27 years in the power industry focusing his career on distribution power quality, protection, system planning, and alternative energy sources. He received his Bachelor of Science degree from Brigham Young University and his Electrical Engineering Doctorate degree from the University of Idaho with research emphasis on probabilistic reliability study of intermittent distribution generation. Mr. Johnson is the lead engineer for four battery distribution deferral projects with more battery projects under review. He is motivated to develop distribution automated system’s continuous operation during debilitating events. He is the father of five and grandfather of six which motivates him to implement alternative energy resources to fully utilize the energy contribution around us for a reliable and resilient electrical system for future generations.

Bill Kaage

Organizing for Incident Response: How We Respond to Emergencies (In Person Only)

Bill Kaage has worked for close to 40 years in natural resource management with the U.S. Forest Service and the National Park Service (NPS), most recently serving as the Director of Fire and Aviation for the NPS. Past experiences include serving as a type 2 interagency incident commander in California with primary responsibility in large wildfire response. He has a BS in biology from Beloit College and an MS in fire management and ecology from the University of Montana.

Jo-Ann Kachigian

The Armenian Genocide of 1915 (In Person Only)

Jo-Ann Kachigian has been a human rights activist since being among the first Peace Corps Volunteers in Liberia, West Africa. She has been involved in war protests and civil rights work through Voices for Education, the Idaho Peace Coalition, Idaho Interfaith Equality Coalition, the Anne Frank Human Rights Memorial, and was among the first group of Add the Words demonstrators arrested at the State Capitol in 2016. She also has enjoyed tutoring refugee children. She challenges others to stop turning a blind eye to human rights violations and to learn from the awful lessons of the past. Be upstanders, not bystanders.

Dr. Lynn Kinter

Flora of Craters of the Moon

Dr. Lynn Kinter is Adjunct Graduate Faculty at Boise State, where she teaches the course Biology 192: The Diversity of Life. She has more than 35 years of experience in plant research and resource management, including work with the Idaho Department of Fish and Game, the Bureau of Land Management, Forest Service, Wyoming Game and Fish Department, and University of Idaho. She has also taught Botany and Biology at Boise State University and Washington State University. She has a BS in Wildland Recreation Management from University of Idaho, an MS in Botany from University of Wyoming, and a PhD in Botany from Washington State University.

Converting the Pagans: A Medieval Story

Dr. Skip Knox retired from his career as a computer tech and an adjunct professor of history at Boise State University in 2016. He began both jobs in 1985, working as the University’s first PC support tech and then its first webmaster before moving into web programming. He taught courses on the Crusades, the Late Middle Ages, the Renaissance, the Reformation, and Western Civ. His MA is in Medieval History from the University of Utah and his PhD is in Early Modern Europe from UMass Amherst. Dr. Knox was a pioneer in online education, having taught history online since the early 1990s. He was the first person to teach a Western Civ course over the internet for college credit, and the first to teach an online upper-division course for credit. Since retiring, he has been writing fiction set in Altearth—a world in which magic is real, monsters roam the land, and the Roman Empire never fell. His publications include three novels, two novelettes, and four short stories.

Muffy Koch

Gene Editing: Introduction and Examples in Agriculture

Muffy Koch is a senior regulatory manager at the J.R. Simplot Company and has 35 years of experience in the regulation and safety assessment of genetically modified organisms. She was educated and trained in South Africa as a botanist and microbiologist. She worked for eight years as a microbial and plant genetic engineer, for 10 years as a South African regulator, for 15 years training regulators internationally in the safety assessment of GMOs, and more recently in Boise, Idaho, helping to confirm the safety of new potato varieties.

Levi Kuskie

AI-Generated Art

Levi Kuskie is a recent graduate of Boise State University with a Bachelor’s in Music composition. He is a musician, composer, writer, direct, and producer. His main staple is cinematic music accompanied by images to convey meaning and stories. His latest magnum opus is a visual novel called Enta’s Odyssey, which involves narration, music, and AI-generated images to convey the story.

En-hsun (Vanessa) Lai

Chinese Calligraphy; Chinese Spring Couplets; Introduction to Chinese Language and Taiwanese Culture (In Person Only)

(Vanessa) Lai is a visiting professor from Providence University in Taiwan. She teaches Chinese in the Department of World Languages at Boise State University. She has a Master’s degree in Teaching Chinese as a Second Language, and her research focuses on language and culture, and language education. Ms. Lai has experience teaching Chinese to both children and adults. Additionally, she has taught Chinese courses for new immigrants at the National Taichung University of Education.

Jana LaRosa

Boise State’s Center for Research and Creative Activity

Jana LaRosa is the Assistant Vice President for Research Advancement and Strategy in the Division of Research at Boise State University. She directs the Center for Research and Creative Activity, connecting researchers to responsive and integrative resources to enhance faculty success in research mobilization, cross-campus and community connectivity, growth as research leaders, and overall experience and success by ensuring programmatic sustainability through tactical support, education and training, and project management.

Hugh Leeman

The Colonial Art of South-Central Mexico (Livestream/Recorded Only)

Hugh Leeman is an artist and educator teaching art history and technique in English and Spanish. He is a lecturer and instructor at the Crocker Art Museum and Duke University. His lectures focus on the manifestation of social power structures and the spiritual realm in art. Mr. Leeman’s artworks have been exhibited at the de Young Museum, the Museum of Mexico City, and the Masur Museum of Art. His paintings examine the confluence of technology, mythology, and the history of inequality.

Heather Lende

Meet the Author: Heather Lende (Livestream Only)

Heather Lende is the current Alaska State Writer Laureate. Her essays and stories, mostly about life and sometimes death in Haines, Alaska have been distributed widely, from The Anchorage Daily News and Christian Science Monitor to NPR and Country Living. She is a former contributing editor at Woman’s Day magazine and for over twenty years wrote some 400 obituaries for the Chilkat Valley News in Haines. She is the author of bestselling memoirs Find the Good; If You Lived Here, I’d Know Your Name; Take Good Care of the Garden and the Dogs; and Of Bears and Ballots. Her honors include the Alaska Governor’s Award for Distinguished Service to the Humanities, the Episcopal Bishop of Alaska’s Bishop’s Cross Award, and the Middlebury College Alumni Award. She is on the faculty of the North Words Writers Symposium. Find the Good was an Alaska Reads pick.

Born and raised in New York, Ms. Lende attended Locust Valley Friends Academy and earned a BA in History from Middlebury College and an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Alaska, Anchorage. She and her husband, Chip, have lived in Haines for about 40 years, where they own a lumberyard and hardware store. They have five children and nine grandchildren. Ms. Lende is involved in the Haines community on many levels, from the library and public radio to sporting events and hospice care. She sings in the Haines Women’s Choir and has served on the Haines school board and on the Haines Borough Assembly. She also likes to hang out with her family, ride her bike fast, swim at the pool, and hike with her dogs in all kinds of weather.

The Geologic and Historic Diversity of Idaho

Dr. Paul Link is an Emeritus Professor of Geosciences at Idaho State University. He has degrees from Yale University, the University of Adelaide, South Australia, and University of California, Santa Barbara. His PhD thesis dealt with the Pocatello Formation, and he came to ISU in 1980, where he was Geology Department Chair from 1986-1992. He supervised over 100 MS thesis students in 40 years at ISU. He taught the ISU Field Geology summer course at Lost River Field Station north of Mackay from 2001 to 2017. Dr. Link is a Regional Geologist and has taught classes on the Historical Geography of Idaho. He is co-author, with E. Chilton Phoenix, former Chief Counsel for the Oregon Short Line in Idaho, of the book Rocks, Rails, and Trails, published by the Idaho Museum of Natural History. Dr. Link is also co-author of the 2012 Geologic Map of Idaho and the 2021 Second Edition of Roadside Geology of Idaho.

Dr. Libby Lunstrum

National Parks After Dispossession: The Return of Buffalo

Dr. Libby Lunstrum is a Professor of Environmental Studies and the Research Director of Boise State University’s School of Public Service. A geographer and political ecologist by training, her work examines the human dimensions of biodiversity conservation including the illegal wildlife trade, green militarization, the impact of conservation on local and Indigenous communities, and Indigenous-led conservation. She has conducted extensive work across the Mozambique-South Africa borderlands. Her current research supports Blackfoot-led buffalo restoration across the U.S.-Canada border in Blackfoot Territory.

Dr. Matthew May

The Annual Idaho Public Policy Survey

Dr. Matthew May is a research scholar at Idaho Policy Institute (IPI) and currently serves as Survey Research Director for Boise State University’s School of Public Service. Specializing in state and local government, elections, and the legislative process, Dr. May has extensive experience in survey writing and research design. During his time at IPI, he has led numerous studies including those dealing with population growth, digital access, education, property taxes, transportation, and public safety. He holds a BA in Political Science, a Master of Public Administration, and a PhD in Public Policy and Administration from Boise State University.

Dr. Owen McDougal

Food and Dairy Innovation Center

Dr. Owen McDougal is Professor and Chair of the Chemistry Department at Boise State University. He is the Founding Editor in Chief of AIMS Molecular Science, an international Open Access journal devoted to publishing peer-reviewed, high quality, original papers in the field of Molecular science. His research areas of interest include food chemistry, dairy science, natural products chemistry, and toxicology studies.

Ian McGetrick

Reliability and Today’s Intelligent Power Grid

Ian MeGetrick joined Idaho Power in 2020. Previous to Idaho Power, he worked in actuarial consulting. He currently works as a planning analyst on the Resource Planning team. He graduated cum laude from Brigham Young University with a Bachelor’s degree in Actuarial Science. Mr. McGetrick and his wife, Kalie, have a four-year-old daughter and a two-year-old son. They love all things outdoors, especially biking in their neighborhood and hiking in the foothills.

Laurie McMillan

Writing Discovery (In Person Only)

New to Boise, Laurie McMillan is a writer with an MFA in fiction, a nurse, a workshop facilitator who has led writing workshops in all genres, and is the co-founder of the Pittsburgh Memoir Project. She has offered workshops both therapeutically and with core writing instruction with a variety of ages, populations, and environments for 21 years. Originating in Manhattan’s poetry therapy community known as Bridge Crossings, Ms. McMillan has brought its work to multiple places including New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Vermont, and Dubai. Whether it be with homeless shelters, art galleries, community centers, outpatient cancer clinics, or libraries, her process of facilitating authentic expression and community-building is the same. She typically offers writing prompts as springboards for participants to connect with their voices in a safe and vital community of creative explorers.

Sara Meier

Landscape Design Basics and Plants of the Intermountain West

Sara Meier has been a professional landscape designer since 2001 and is a certified Firewise Designer. She drafts garden designs by hand for DIYers and landscape professionals. She received her education and training at South Seattle College, and she continues to enhance her knowledge by taking classes, reading books, and paying close attention to the world around her. After working for 15 years as a plant buyer for a garden center, Ms. Meier learned that local environment is the best teacher. Her favorite thing is creating spaces for clients to enjoy with their friends and family while introducing them to amazing plants and good design.

Dr. Konrad Meister

Cool Molecules: How Nature Deals With Cold

Dr. Konrad Meister received his BS. and MS in biochemistry from the Ruhr-University Bochum in Germany. Afterwards, he joined the group of Martina Havenith at the same university and completed his PhD in physical chemistry in 2013. From 2014 to 2018 he did his postdoctoral work with Huib Bakker at the NWO Institute AMOLF in the Netherlands as a Marie Curie postdoctoral fellow. Since 2018, Dr. Meister has been a group leader at the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research. From 2020 to 2022, he was an Assistant Professor in Chemistry at the University of Alaska Southeast, and since 2022 he is an Assistant Professor in Chemistry at Boise State University. He has also participated in four Antarctic and several Alaska expeditions and occasionally serves as the Scientist on Board on National Geographic/Lindblad expeditions.

Detective Mike Miraglia

Officer-Involved Critical Incidents (In Person Only)

Detective Mike Miraglia has been an Idaho law enforcement officer for over 23 years and has served as a member of the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force and the Boise Police Gang Unit. In partnership with local and federal agencies, he has successfully investigated several local and regional sex trafficking organizations. Mike is currently assigned to the Violent Crimes Unit, where he investigates robberies, homicides, and officer involved critical incidents. He also serves as a member of the Crisis Negotiations Team, where he applies the art of de-escalation to highly charged incidents.

Dr. Joan Nix

Cryptocurrencies and the Future of Money (Livestream/Recorded Only)

Dr. Joan Nix is an Associate Professor of Economics at Queens College of the City University of New York. She is the Director of the Fintech Program at Queens College and teaches courses focusing on cryptoassets and blockchains. She received the President’s Teaching Excellence Award and the President’s Teaching Innovation Award. She received her PhD in Economics from New York University.

Daniel Noonan, MD

Contemporary Strategies in Stroke Prevention

Daniel Noonan, MD is the Founder and President of High Desert Heart & Vascular, PLLC. Southwest Idaho’s only independent cardiovascular practice. He, along with his partners, created the first Department of Cardiology at Treasure Valley Hospital. He is the former Governor and Practice Executive of the American College of Cardiology’s Idaho Chapter. Dr. Noonan is a practicing cardiac electrophysiologist and sports and exercise cardiologist and has been practicing in the Treasure Valley for over 10 years, the first nine of which were at St. Luke’s in Boise. He is a former college athlete, an amateur competitive bodybuilder, and host of the podcast Head to Heart. He practices what he espouses and is a firm believer that much of the epidemic of cardiovascular disease is preventable. Dr. Noonan has served on the board of directors at Ballet Idaho and the Idaho Make-A-Wish Foundation. His family includes his wife Lauren, their daughter Keira, and Tiko, their sheepadoodle.

Dr. John Ottenhoff

The Play’s the Thing (In Person Only)

Dr. John Ottenhoff has had a long career as a professor of English, academic administrator, and executive officer in educational associations. He received his MA and PhD in English Renaissance Literature from the University of Chicago and is Emeritus Professor of English at Alma College in Michigan. He has taught a wide range of courses, including Shakespeare and Renaissance literature, general linguistics, literary theory, journalism, and composition. His publications range from articles about Hamlet on film, controversies over usage and the dictionary, metacognition, psalm translation, and numerous book and film reviews. Dr. Ottenhoff served as Associate Provost at Alma College from 2005-2007 and Vice President for Academic Affairs/Dean of the Faculty at The College of Idaho from 2012-2017. He has also held leadership positions with the Associated Colleges of the Midwest and the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges.

Dr. Asya Pereltsvaig

Vanished Kingdoms of Eastern Europe; The Murder of Rasputin: The Whodunnit of the 20th Century (Livestream/Recorded Only)

Dr. Asya Pereltsvaig received a PhD in Linguistics from McGill University and has taught at Yale, Cornell, and Stanford, as well as in several European universities. Her expertise is in language and history, and the relationship between them. Her most recent books, Languages of the World: An Introduction, Third Edition (2020) and The Indo-European Controversy: Facts and Fallacies in Historical Linguistics (2015) were published by Cambridge University Press.

Barbara Perry Bauer

Tales From the South Side: Discovering South Boise’s History

Barbara Perry Bauer is an historian and preservationist and a founding member of TAG Historical Research and Consulting, a public history consulting firm established in 1993. She received her BA in History and MA in Public History from Boise State University. She is the author of South Boise Scrapbook: A Neighborhood History; Legendary Locals of Boise; and Treasure Valley’s Electric Railway (with Elizabeth Jacox). She has a special interest in the history of neighborhoods and urban development and enjoys sharing her passion for history through presentations, walking, and bike tours.

Fonda Portales

Student Union Art Collection Tour One and Tour Two (In Person Only)

In her role as Director of University Arts, Fonda Portales manages Boise State’s permanent visual art collection, curates Student Union Building (SUB) gallery spaces, and directs public art commissions on campus. As Chair of both the University Art Collection Committee and the SUB Fine Arts Advisory Board, she works with faculty, students, donors, and community leaders to build the art collection as a cultural and financial asset, and writes policy regarding visual arts culture on campus. Prior to this position, she served as Adjunct Faculty in the Art Department for eight years, teaching survey and upper-division Art History. She continues to be a passionate educator and enjoys developing student engagement with the visual arts on campus. Ms. Portales earned a Bachelor’s degree in English Education from Northwest Nazarene College, in Nampa, and a Master’s degree in Art History from California State University, Los Angeles.

Elizabeth Ramsey

Escape Disinformation

Elizabeth Ramsey is an Associate Professor and Librarian for Albertsons Library at Boise State University. Her research interests include civic librarianship, information literacy and extremism, and library outreach for student success.

Diane Raptosh

Writing the American Sonnet (In Person Only)

Diane Raptosh’s collection American Amnesiac (Etruscan Press), was longlisted for the 2013 National Book Award in poetry. The recipient of three fellowships in literature from the Idaho Commission on the Arts, she served as the Boise Poet Laureate in 2013, as well as the Idaho Writer-in-Residence from 2013 to 2016. In 2018 she won the Idaho Governor’s Arts Award in Excellence. Diane teaches literature and creative writing and co-directs the program in Criminal Justice/Prison Studies at the College of Idaho. Her seventh collection, Run: A Verse-History of Victoria Woodhull, was published by Etruscan Press in 2021 as part of the multi-author volume, Trio. Here newest chapbook, Hand Signs from Eternity’s Yurt, was published in June 2022 by Kelsay Books.

Dr. Linda Reynard

Reconstructing Diets, Migrations and Environments, Past and Present

Dr. Linda Reynard studies how molecules preserved in fossils, bones, teeth, and feathers can inform us about environments, diets, and migration. She is an Assistant Research Professor in the Department of Geosciences at Boise State University. She earned her doctorate at the University of Oxford and has since worked in (bio)geochemistry and radiocarbon dating labs.

Terry Rich

Water Birds of Idaho

Terry Rich has a BS in Wildlife Ecology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and an MS in Zoology from Idaho State University. He worked for the U.S. Bureau of Land Management for 20 years and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for 15 years. He writes a weekly column on birds for the Idaho Press, leads field trips, and gives programs on birds in Boise and beyond. Mr. Rich is an Honorary Lifetime Member of the American Ornithological Society. He and his wife, three kids, and seven grandkids all live in the Boise area.

Diane Ronayne

Yesterday, Today and…Tomorrow? Creating Abstract Photographs (In Person Only)

Diane Ronayne has been documenting her world with a camera since she was 12, shooting for pleasure as well as for remuneration. In 2020, she began photographing the juxtaposition of old and new buildings in downtown Boise, then manipulating the images into something new that symbolizes the city’s transformation. Her series of diptychs invites viewers to both appreciate what they have and welcome what it will become.

Dr. James Russ

The Story of the Cosmos: Four Forces That Define the Universe

Dr. James Russ is an Emeritus Physics Professor at Carnegie Mellon University, where he taught for 52 years. He is experienced in teaching all levels of classes from freshmen to grad students, plus outreach courses to adults and high school students. He is an experimental particle physicist, using large accelerators around the world, including his current CMS experiment at the CERN Large Hadron Collider in Geneva, Switzerland. He has been a past spokesman for particle physics experiments involving up to 500 people from 12 countries. James received a BS from Indiana University and an MS and PhD from Princeton University.

Betsy Russell

Covering Idaho Politics: Stories and Observations

Betsy Russell retired on January 1, 2023, as the Boise bureau chief and state government and politics reporter for the Idaho Press. She is the former longtime president of the Idaho Press Club and is also president and a founding board member of Idahoans for Openness in Government. A graduate of the University of California-Berkeley, she holds a Master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University. Russell worked for the Idaho Press for five years and previously worked for nearly 27 years for The Spokesman Review, including five years as the newspaper’s Idaho editor in Coeur d’Alene and 22 as its Boise bureau chief. Before that, she worked five years as a reporter and editor for the Idaho Statesman in Boise and earlier worked as a reporter for several California newspapers. She is married with two grown children and is an avid skier and windsurfer.

Katy Rutledge

The Fundamentals of Artificial Intelligence

You can find Katy Rutledge at the intersection of mechanical engineering, digital signal processing, and machine learning. At HP, she is a passionate researcher and leader in the technical community. After leading an acoustics engineering career for 10 years, curiosity led her to machine learning, where she now champions the role of AI Product Owner. She holds a Master of Engineering in acoustics from Penn State University and a Bachelor of Science in mechanical engineering from the University of Idaho.

Dr. James Schaefer

American Photography (Livestream/Recorded Only)

Dr. James Schaefer earned a BA from Beloit College and a PhD from the University of Minnesota. While his degrees have all been in Theatre Arts, his career has been as an academic administrator. He retired after serving 25 years as Associate Dean of the Graduate School at Georgetown University. He has been photographing and studying photography since he was an undergraduate more than 50 years ago. During the last 10 years at Georgetown, he instructed courses in the history of photography.

Dr. Paul Schanfield

The Brain Explained: Neurology in a Nutshell (Livestream/Recorded Only)

Dr. Paul Schanfield is an Adjunct Clinical Professor of Neurology at the University of Minnesota Medical School. He retired from 40 years of practice as a Clinical Neurologist and was a perennial “Top Doctors” in MplsStPaul magazine. He published his book, A Migraine in Room 3, a Stroke in Room 4; A Physician Examines His Profession in 2018. Dr. Schanfield has received several awards for teaching, including the first-ever University of Minnesota Neurology Community Educator of the Month award in 2017; Teacher of the Year from University Family Practice Residencies at Bethesda and Phalen Village clinics; and Community Teacher of the Year by United Family Medicine “in the spirit of the great teachers of medicine who have transmitted a heritage of proficiency, scholarship, and caring to us and future generations.

Dr. Rebecca Scofield

The Uses and Abuses of History, or How History is Made

Originally from Emmett, Idaho, Dr. Rebecca Scofield holds a PhD in American Studies from Harvard University. She is the author of Outriders: Rodeo at the Fringes of the American West (2019) and co-author of Slapping Leather: Queer Cowfolx at the Gay Rodeo (2023). She is also the Principle Investigator for the Gay Rodeo Oral History Project, co-creator of the web exhibit The Voice of Gay Rodeo, and co-author of the verbatim play That Damn Horse. She also has published on a variety of topics including stock shows, Idaho women’s history, and Dolly Parton’s body politics. She has held fellowships from the Jacob Javits Foundation, the Charles Warren Center of American History, and the Whiting Foundation. She is an Associate Professor of American History and the Chair of the Department of History at the University of Idaho.

Dr. Mel Siegel

The Coming Revolution in Inertial Navigation (Livestream/Recorded Only)

Dr. Mel Siegel is Professor Emeritus of the Robotics Institute at Carnegie Mellon University. He received his BA in Physics from Cornell University and his PhD in Physics from the University of Colorado Boulder.

Dr. Shawn Simonson

Resistance Training for Older Populations (In Person Only)

Dr. Shawn Simonson is a Professor and the Director of the Human Performance Laboratory in the Department of Kinesiology at Boise State University. His professional certifications include Senior Fellow from Advance Higher Education; Exercise Physiologist from the American College of Sports Medicine; Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist from the National Strength and Conditioning Association; POGIL Facilitator from The POGIL Project; TBL Trainer-Consultant from the Team-Based Learning Collaborative; and Master Scuba Diver Trainer from the Professional Association of Dive Instructors. He teaches at both the undergraduate and graduate levels as well as laboratory and performance-oriented courses. Dr. Simonson conducts research in exercise (novel conditioning programs) and environmental physiology as well as in the scholarship of teaching and learning.

Tai Simpson

Exploring Indigenous Idaho (In Person Only)

“The Storyteller” is Tai Simpson’s name in the Indigenous language of the Nez Perce Tribe. Her heartwork in the community is serving as an organizer for the Indigenous Idaho Alliance. She participates in collective stewardship as a Co-Director with the Idaho Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence. For fifteen years, Ms. Simpson has been an antiracism activist and community organizer. She uses contemporary and traditional Indigenous storytelling to champion radical inclusion, equity, and liberation. Notably, she has a TEDxBoise talk exploring Indigenous beliefs as the basis for empowering and nurturing community. In 2019, she was pivotal in passing legislation to acknowledge the missing and murdered Indigenous women’s crisis in Idaho as well as centering Indigenous voices in policy work. In 2020, Ms. Simpson was cornerstone to the Black community by coordinating a vigil to honor the many Black lives lost at the hands of police violence; that organizing still carries forward today.

Arlie Sommer

Idaho Babe: Documentary Screening With Producer Arlie Sommer (In Person Only)

Arlie Sommer makes media and art that explores community and place through narrative, photography, film, and illustration, much of it about Idaho, where she lives. She produces the award-winning radio series Expressive Idaho which is funded by the Idaho Commission on the Arts and airs on Boise State Public Radio. Her film Idaho Babe showed at numerous film festivals this year.

Tracy Sunderland

Old Hearts, Young Love (In Person Only)

Tracy Sunderland is a professional writer, director, actor, and teacher working in film and theatre. Her first feature script was recently nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at the Japanese Academy Awards. She is the Artistic Director of the hybrid art company Migration Theory, and an Associate Artist with Boise Contemporary Theater. She also teaches at Boise State University. She holds an MA in Filmmaking from The London Film School and an MFA in Theatre from University of Texas at Austin.

Terry Sunderlin

The Gregorian Calendar

Terry Sunderlin is a retired U.S. Army Chief Warrant Officer and helicopter pilot, having served in Grenada, the first Gulf War, and Iraq. He has a Bachelor of Science in Sociology from the University of Iowa, a Master of Business Administration from Colorado Technical University, and a Master in Project Management from Colorado Technical University. Mr. Sunderlin is a 30% Disabled American Veteran and a Lifetime Member of the Disabled American Veterans Organization. He is a Past President of the Pikes Peak Genealogical Society in Colorado Springs and is a member of the Mountain Home Family History Group. He has been working on his family’s genealogy for over 40 years and is currently working on tracing his family roots back to pre-revolutionary New England. He and his wife, Rebecca, have three daughters: Audra, Kimberly, and Jennifer.

Gregory Taylor

The History and Highlights of Young Adult Literature

Gregory Taylor is a former Teacher-Librarian and English teacher in the Boise Schools and has taught a course in Young Adult Literature at Boise State University. He has served on several award selection committees for the American Library Association and has presented at local, regional, and national conferences for English teachers and librarians. He is a fierce advocate for readers’ rights. He is a fan of Shakespeare, Disneyland, and gin and tonics, and will gladly talk about books with you for hours.

Dr. William Thierfelder

Never Too Early, Never Too Late (Livestream/Recorded Only)

Dr. William Thierfelder is a retired Professor of Arts and Humanities who lives in Portland, Oregon, where he is a lecturer, writer, and artist. He returns every autumn to his hometown of New York City where he continues his work as a docent and special projects editor at the American Museum of Natural History.

Dr. Matthew Walker

Illuminating the Smallest Dark Matter Halos (Livestream/Recorded Only)

Dr. Matthew Walker is an observational astronomer who studies the nature of dark matter. He is currently an Associate Professor at Carnegie Mellon University. He received his undergraduate degrees in Physics and Philosophy from Western Illinois University and his PhD in Astrophysics from the University of Michigan.

Dr. Russell Walker

Rembrandt: His Life and Work (Livestream/Recorded Only)

Dr. Russell Walker holds three degrees in mathematics, including a Doctor of Arts in Mathematics from Carnegie Mellon University. He is a Teaching Professor Emeritus from Carnegie Mellon and has also taught at Ohio Northern University and Seton Hill University. He is the author of an optimization text and a monograph on point set topology. Dr. Walker has been studying Rembrandt and his work for more than 30 years. He has given guest lectures on Rembrandt at Seton Hill, and taught an Osher course at Carnegie Mellon on Rembrandt, Caravaggio, and Vermeer. He also has edited a version of the Book of Tobit illustrated.

Heidi Ware Carlisle

Migration Mysteries

Heidi Ware Carlisle is the Education and Outreach Director for the Intermountain Bird Observatory (IBO). She first began working for IBO when she was an undergraduate student. She holds a Master’s degree from Boise State University, and her thesis focused on the impacts of road noise on migrating songbirds. She now works to bring IBO’s hands-on science and conservation work to K-12 students and community members. From hummingbird monitoring, to habitat restoration, to fall migration projects, she engages the public to get excited about birds and conservation.

Thad Webster

Boise Depot: Approaching 100 Years (In Person Only)

Thad Webster retired from a 45-year career in Information Technology, and he worked with Hewlett Packard in Marketing and Planning. He graduated from Kansas State University in Computer Science and is still an avid Wildcat fan. His work with HP provided an opportunity to move to Boise, and Idaho is now his spiritual ground. His retirement projects include genealogy, woodworking, and researching the train history of the Treasure Valley. Mr. Webster still works part-time with the City of Boise Parks & Rec department as a tour guide. He and his wife split their days between Boise and McCall, and he enjoys golfing most of the summer in the mountains.

Travis Williams, DO

Redirecting the Immune System to Fight Cancer

Travis Williams, DO has a special interest in malignant hematology. During his residency, he researched, presented, and published articles on donor-transmitted non-leukemic promyelocytic sarcoma, acute myeloid leukemia, metastatic papillary renal cell carcinoma, and cancer medicine rate of complete diagnostic testing. He also earned Chief Fellow and Resident of the Year awards. Dr. Williams earned his Bachelor’s degree in biology from Idaho State University. He is a member of the American College of Physicians, the American Society of Clinical Oncology, and the American Society of Hematology. He currently chairs a team of IT experts and serves as the St. Luke’s Cancer Institute IT Medical Director. In his free time, Dr. Williams enjoys the outdoors and spending time with his family.

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