Skip to Top NavigationSkip to Utility NavigationSkip to Search
Mobile Menu

Speakers and Instructors—Spring 2017


Boothe, Power

is professor of painting at the Hartford Art School. As an artist he has had over 20 one-person exhibitions and his work is in many public collections, including the Guggenheim Museum, the Museum of Modern Art, and the Whitney Museum. In Connecticut his work is in the collections of the Wadsworth Atheneum, the New Britain Museum, and the Florence Griswold Museum. Over his career he has been awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship for Painting, a National Endowment Individual Artist’s Fellowship, and a Pollock/Krasner Fellowship. The Fred Giampietro Gallery, New Haven, CT, represents his work exclusively.



Boruchinska, Joanna

was born in Warsaw, Poland. She earned a veterinary degree in 1983 from Warsaw Agricultural University; and a PhD in veterinary pathology from the University of Connecticut in Storrs 1995.  She has been at the University of Hartford since 1995 in the Biology Department; a full professor, studying sharks since 1990, and on the editorial board of Journal of Fish Diseases,

Bourbeau, Melanie

is curator and director of Interpretation and programs at Hill-Stead Museum. She received her MA in American studies (with a concentration in museum studies) from Trinity College, and has worked at numerous museums in greater Hartford including The Mark Twain House and Museum, The Noah Webster House and the Austin House, a house museum operated by the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art.


Boruciinska, Joanna

was born in Warsaw, Poland. She earned a veterinary degree in 1983 from Warsaw Agricultural University; and a PhD in veterinary Pathology from the University of Connecticut in Storrs in 1995. She has been at the University of Hartford since 1995 in the Biology Department and is a full professor, studying sharks since 1990; Borucinska is on the editorial board of Journal of Fish Diseases,

Bratt, Sasha

is a freelance stage director who currently serves as the literary manager for Playhouse on Park in West Hartford, CT. In addition, he is a theater educator with over a decade of experience, recently having taught at Trinity College and is the current Theatre Arts teacher at Hall High School. Sasha’s directorial expertise is in new play development, Shakespeare, and everything in between.


Bravin, Jeff

is the executive director at the American School for the Deaf. He and several other deaf leaders will explain the role of deaf culture and American Sign Language in the deaf community as well as the education of the deaf. Content will also include the role of Gallaudet University, clubs and associations of the deaf, media and technology.

Bullard, Stephan

is a marinebiologist and an associate professor of biology in Hillyer College He teaches all aspects of biology, and has a particular interest in environmental studies and the science of disasters. Bullard's research concerns invasive species, particularly sea squirts, and plankton, and is currently centered on Long Island Sound. His publications include work on ascidians and bryozoans, crabs, and plankton. 


Clancy, Michael


Corrigan, Dave

is curator of the Museum of Connecticut History.



Darnell, Colleen

is a visiting professor in the Art Histor Department at the Hartford Art School. An associate professor of Egyptology at Yale University, she is an award-winning author and a frequent contributor to the History Channel and National Geographic Channel. Recent books include the catalog to the critically acclaimed exhibition at the Yale Peabody Museum–Echoes of Egypt: Conjuring the Land of the Pharaohs, and, newly released with Oxford University Press, Imagining the Past: Historical Fiction in Ancient Egypt.

DesMangles, Leslie

graduated from Eastern University in 1964 with a BA in music, from Palmer Seminary in Philadelphia with an MDiv in Theology, and from Temple University in 1975 with a PhD in anthropology of religion, specializing in Caribbean and African studies. He has taught at Ohio Wesleyan University from 1969-1976, at De Paul University from 1976-1978, and at Trinity since 1978.


Discher, Joe

has been directing, casting and producing Shakespeare and classical productions for over 20 years. He is an associate artist at The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey, where he was associate artistic director from 2000–12, and also functioned as casting director. The New York Times has called Discher’s productions “devastatingly effective,” “enchanting,” “beautiful,” “sensitively directed,” “staged with spirit and intelligence,” and “joyously funny.”  He has worked with many prestigious actors from Broadway, film and television including Robert Cuccioli, Peter Dinklage, Ray Fisher, Edward Herrmann, Elizabeth McGovern, Josh Radnor, and Derek Wilson.

Doyle, Chris

directs Global Studies at Watkinson School. He holds a doctorate in history and has taught extensively at the high school and college levels. His writings about history, education, and contemporary adolescence have appeared in The Los Angeles Times, Journal of Southern History, Education Week, Hartford Courant, and elsewhere. An award-winning teacher, Chris’s classroom work has been showcased in a story in The New York Times. He has also been a guest panelist on NPR-syndicated radio shows devoted to history and teaching.


Evans, Karyl

is a six-time Emmy Award-winning director/producer/editor/writer of documentary films. In 2016 she won the National Academy of Television Arts and Science’s Best Director Emmy Award for her work on Letter from Italy, 1944: A New American Oratorio, narrated by Meryl Streep. She has produced many films about the history of Connecticut over the past 30 years including The New Haven Green: Heart of a City, narrated by Paul Giamatti. She is a Fellow at Yale University.


Frank, Maria Esposito

is professor of Italian and Renaissance studies at the University of Hartford. Her main interests are in the field of 14th and 15th century literature and history of ideas, religion and literature, poetry (of all ages), and translation studies. She has authored a book on Renaissance Humanism, Le insidie dell’allegoria: Ermolao Barbaro il Vecchio e la lezione degli Antichi (Istituto Veneto di Scienze, Lettere ed Arti, 1999), and several essays on 20th century poets as well as on late Medieval and Renaissance thinkers, literary figures/works, and intellectuals.aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaFrank also co-edited The Translator As Mediator of Cultures (Benjamins, 2010). Her current research focuses on Giovanni Boccaccio’s Decameron.



Freund, Richard

is the Maurice Greenberg Professor of Jewish History and director of the Maurice Greenberg Center for Judaic Studies at the University of Hartford. He is the author or co-author of nine books, including Digging through History; From Atlantis to the Holocaust (Rowman & Littlefield, 2012) and Digging through the Bible (Rowman & Littlefield, 2008). He has directed on behalf of the University of Hartford, archaeological projects in Israel, including; the Cave of Letters, Qumran (site of the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls), Yavne, Bethsaida, Yavne, Nazareth and Har Karkom and has done projects in Spain, Rhodes, Greece, Poland, and now a series of projects in Lithuania. He is the author or co-author of over 100 scholarly articles and his work has been featured in Archaeology, Biblical Archaeology, Time, Newsweek, The New York Times and in the media worldwide. His work has also been a part of television documentaries made for National Geographic, NOVA, History Channel, Discovery, BBC, and CNN.

Glaser, Leah

is associate professor of history and public history at Central Connecticut State University.



Hyland, Douglas

was for 16 years director of the New Britain Museum of American Art. Previously, he served as director of the San Antonio Museum of Art and the Birmingham Museum of Art. He has a PhD in art history from the University of Delaware and has organized numerous exhibitions and written articles and catalogs on a wide variety of European and American subjects.

Meneely-Kyder, Sarah

is a graduate of Goucher College, BA, Peabody Conservatory of Music, MM, Yale University School of Music, MMA. For 22 years, prior to her retirement in 2013, she was a member of the music faculty at Wesleyan University, where she taught composition, piano, and chamber music and performed actively. Following her retirement, Meneely-Kyder has focused her attention on larger vocal and choral works in the fields of opera and oratorio, like Letter from Italy, 1944. Distinguished soloists, choral organizations, and opera companies throughout New England are commissioning and performing her works. Meneely-Kyder has made two recordings for a CD on the North/South Recordings label. The second, Millennium Overture, was nominated for a Grammy in 2003. In 2007, the chamber ensemble, VOCE, recorded her third CD, A Garland of Hymns and Carols.



Lankester, Michael

has been guest conductor with orchestras in Britain and North America, including the Pittsburgh, Toronto, City of Birmingham, and  London Symphonies, the Cleveland Orchestra, and the Royal Philharmonic, and was for 15 years music director of the Hartford Symphony Orchestra. He studied at the Royal College of Music with Sir Adrian Boult and has had close professional collaborations with Benjamin Britten, William Walton, and Michael Tippett.


McDonald, James

is associate professor in the department of physics and associate dean of finance for the College of Arts and Sciences, he is an accelerator physicist with experience in low-energy measurements in astrophysics. He has been involved in projects in places such as the Wright Nuclear Structure Laboratory at Yale University, the High Intensity Gamma Source at Duke University, the Institute de Physique Nucléaire at the Université Catholique de Louvain in Belgium, and the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel. He holds a PhD from the University of Connecticut and an undergraduate degree from Clarkson University. As an educator, he specializes in teaching introductory science using illustrations from other subjects, like art or science fiction to convey concepts. In recent years he has taught introductory astronomy and the AUC course Science in Art with the Hartford Art School’s Jeremiah Patterson.


Meneely, Nan

holds a BA from Smith College, an MAT in english from Yale and an MEd from UMass/Amherst. She has published poetry, book reviews and articles in a variety of literary publications and newspapers. Her book, Letter from Italy, 1944, was published by Antrim House and placed in the 2016 Eric Hoffer Book Awards. It was noted by the Hartford Courant as one of 13 important books published by Connecticut Writers in 2013. It provides the libretto for the oratorio composed by her sister, premiered by The Greater Middletown Chorale. On May 4, 2017, the GMChorale and the Hartford Chorale will collaboratively produce and perform this unique oratorio at the Bushnell.


Milling, Len

PhD, is a professor of psychology at the University of Hartford, where he has been on the faculty since 2000. He has published more than 35 peer-reviewed journal articles, many examining how hypnosis works and who responds most strongly to it. He is a Fellow of Division 30 (Psychological Hypnosis) of the American Psychological Association. He is on the editorial board of three scientific peer-reviewed hypnosis journals.



Mills, Fiona

is a lecturer in the humanities department at St. Anselm College and has taught at various universities including the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Duke University, Keene State College and Curry College. She received her PhD in African American literature and Latino/a literature and theory from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is the author of After the Pain: Critical Essays on Gayl Jones and has written several essays in the areas of African American literature, Latino/a literature, Women’s studies, and film criticism. She is currently editing a collection of essays on Kathryn Stockett’s 2009 novel The Help entitled Like One of the Family; Domestic Workers, Race and In/Visibility. The Help was recently published by Cambridge Scholars Press.

Moore, Tracey

is an associate professor at The Hartt School's Theatre Division where she teaches acting, musical theatre, and career preparation. Prior to academia, she was a professional actress and singer in New York.  Moore appeared as Emma Goldman in the Broadway National Tour of RAGTIME, as Nimue in the Richard Harris tour of CAMELOT, and at regional theaters across the U.S. in leading roles such as Mama Rose in GYPSY, Mrs. Lovett in SWEENEY TODD, and the Earth Mother in MENOPAUSE THE MUSICAL. She is the author of Acting the Song which is receiving a second edition this year as well as numerous articles in Teaching Theatre Journal, Dramatics Magazine, The Chronicle of Higher Ed, The New York Times, and the International Journal Studies in Music Theatre.


Peltier, Ed


Pike, John

professor, teaches theatre history, text analysis, contemporary theatre and composition at The Hartt  School. Previously, as artistic associate for Goodspeed he contributed to 90 productions (including five Broadway transfers) and published Show Music Magazine. He has written for Playbill, Sondheim Review, Dramatists Quarterly and is author of Goodspeed Musicals at 50 and contributing author to The Book of Broadway (Voyageur Press, 2015). He has directed Smile, Das Barbecü, Working, The Spitfire Grill, Edwin Drood, Little Women, Big, and Fiddler. As musical director: Nicholas Nickleby, Coram Boy (Hartt), Spamalot, Gypsy, Seussical (CRT), A Little Night Music and Titanic. He received his MFA at Yale School of Drama.


Poppe, Kenneth

has many years of experience teaching history at high schools in Westport, Farmington, West Hartford and Simsbury. He traveled to the Soviet Union in the 1980s, studied the Russian language at CCSU, and was able to read many of these dissident writers with a grant awarded by the National Endowment for the Humanities.  He spent a year on sabbatical at Trinity College enrolled in variety of Russian/Soviet history courses. To share this knowledge, he established Russian Studies programs and created resources to be used in the classroom as well as presenting at regional and national conferences. He is a past president of the Connecticut Council for the Social Studies. 


Rizzo, Frank

is a writer/critic for Variety and contributes to The New York Times, American Theatre magazine, Theatre Development Fund's Stages website, the Tribune newspapers (Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Baltimore Sun), the Connecticut Hearst papers (Greenwich Times, Stamford Advocate, Connecticut Post, Danbury Times), Fox/CT,  among other media outlets. For 34 years he was staff arts writer and theater critic for The Hartford Courant. He graduated from the University of Arizona with a BA in journalism and was a Shubert Fellow in playwriting in graduate school.



Robinson, Michael

is an associate professor of history at Hillyer College, University of Hartford. He is the author of The Coldest Crucible: Arctic Exploration and American Culture (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2006), The Lost White Tribe: Explorers, Scientists, and the Theory that Changed a Continent (New York: Oxford University Press, 2016)and winner of the 2008 Book Award for the History of Science in America. Robinson has given lectures about his work at the American Museum of Natural History, The Explorers Club, The British Library, the Library of Congress, and NASA headquarters among others. He is a frequent guest on radio and television programs including American Experience, BBC World Service, the Smithsonian Channel, and the Travel Channel and has been a news source for the Wall Street Journal, the Christian Science Monitor, the Associated Press, and USA Today.

Schiano, Michael

is associate professor of music theory at The Hartt School, where he teaches courses in music analysis, 20th–21st century music history, and counterpoint. He has taught courses for the Presidents’ College on Mozart scholarship, Haydn, Beethoven’s Influence, Mozart “Young and ‘Old,’” and The Beatles.



Simon, David L

was, until his recent retirement, Ellerton M. Jette professor of art at Colby College in Waterville, Maine. With degrees from Boston University and the University of London he is a specialist on Spanish art of the Middle Ages. He has published widely on Romanesque art and architecture, and on the history of art in general, and is joint author of Janson's History of Art.

Speicher, Allison

is assistant professor of English at Eastern Connecticut State University and the author of Schooling Readers: Reading Common Schools in Nineteenth-Century American Fiction (University of Alabama Press, 2016). 



Stevenson, Catherine

former academic dean for International and Honors Programs at the University, she is the author of Victorian Women Travel Writers in Africa (1982) and many scholarly articles on English literature, theater, and women’s studies. In her 30 years at the University of Hartford, she served as a department chair, associate dean, assistant provost and dean of the faculty, and the Harry Jack Gray Distinguished Teaching Humanist. She received the University of Hartford's Outstanding Teachers Award and the Trachtenberg Award for Service to the University.

Swanson-Ellis, Kathryn

DMA, is an active Hartford composer who has contributed works to several of the region’s new music festivals. Swanson-Ellis began working in the Hollywood music industry as a music copyist, arranger, technical assistant, and orchestrator on several cable released movies, as well as TV series including Cartoon Network’s, Samurai Jack and Star Wars: The Clone Wars. Since moving to Hartford, she has collaborated with a number of local artists in theater and dance, composing music for A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and for several collaborations with Full Force Dance Theatre, among others. She created The River, a collaborative, multimedia, and interdisciplinary work commissioned by the Windsor Arts Counsel, and arranged/composed for a new Hartt Dance Division production of José Limón’s Psalm. Swanson-Ellis teaches Kodaly at the Hartt School and electronic music at Eastern Connecticut State University. 



Tonkin, Humphrey

He has recently retired as University Professor of Humanities and as director of the Presidents’ College, which he was instrumental in founding when he was president of the University of Hartford in the 1990s and for which he has led numbers of trips to England over the years. Tonkin's second book on Spenser, The Faerie Queene, was reissued two years ago.

Walling, Amanda

is assistant professor of English at the University of Hartford, where she teaches courses on medieval literature, mythology, drama, and the history of the English language. She received her PhD from Stanford University and has published articles on the work of Geoffrey Chaucer and other medieval authors.



Walsh, Michael

was born in London, educated at Sussex and Buffalo, and has chaired Cinema departments at Binghamton and Hartford, where he has taught film for many years. His recent articles are on sound in experimental film and video (in the -s), and on 1960s' durational films (in Slow Cinema, Edinburgh University Press).

Watt, Nina

was a principle dancer with the Limón Dance Company from 1972-2002, serving as artistic associate from 1992-2006. Acclaimed as a 'dancer of star magnitude,' and a 'perfect Limón dancer,' she received a 2002 New York Dance and Performance Award for Sustained Achievement. She continues to teach and stage Limón’s repertory worldwide, teaches a yearly summer intensive in Italy, and is associate professor in University of Hartford's The Hartt School Dance Division, .



Waters, Willie

holds an honorary doctorate from the University of Hartford, is former general and artistic director of Connecticut Opera, and artistic director of Florida Grand Opera. He has been a guest conductor for numerous American and European opera companies and symphony orchestras, and opera companies and orchestras in South Africa. In 2002, he debuted at New York City Opera, and in 2008 at the Deutsche Opera, Berlin. Maestro Waters also serves as artistic director/opera of the Houston Ebony Opera Guild. He is music director of Prelude to Performance, a summer training program for young singers in New York sponsored by the Martina Arroyo Foundation, and a member of the faculty at Binghamton University (State University of New York). He is a regular guest panelist on the Metropolitan Opera Quiz and is a widely sought-after lecturer and master class clinician.