Speaker Bios

Teaching and Learning Community Event logo

4 Speakers – 4 Ideas – 1 Day … Infinite Possibilities


 Teaching and Learning Community Home | Past Talks


Talks given – November 6, 2019, featuring:

  • Kipp Cozad left the Kansas City area seven years ago to work at Moraine Valley Community College. There, he coordinates the Tutoring Center, runs a literacy program and teaches history as an adjunct instructor. Kipp is right at home within the multicultural environment at the college. Kipp holds a BA in Secondary Education and a Master’s in History from the University of Missouri-Kansas City.
  • Randy Conner grew up in Texas but spent much of his life in the Bay Area of California. He holds a Master’s in English from the University of Texas at Austin, and a Ph.D. in Humanities from the California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco. He has published numerous books and articles, including Queering Creole Spiritual Traditions and The Pagan Heart of the West.

Talks given – November 7, 2018, featuring:

  • Amanda Sidorowicz graduated from Moraine Valley with my Associates in Arts and continued her education at Benedictine University where she received her Bachelor of Arts in Communication Arts in 2010. In 2016, she graduated from Lewis University with a Masters in Instructional Technology. She currently works as the Media Coordinator in the Media Services department at Moraine Valley while teaching various technology courses for the community.
  • Rose Deneen is currently a full-time faculty, Baking & Pastry Instructor, who teaches the baking/pastry classes for Moraine Valley’s Culinary Arts career program. She graduated from Harper Junior College with an AAS in Journalism, a BS in Communications from Roosevelt University, and a Baking Certificate from The Cooking & Hospitality Institute of Chicago. She has worked as a Pastry Chef for 15 years at such places as Shaw’s Crab House, Magnum’s Steak House, Arlington Park Race Track, and Blue Plate Catering.
  • Sumeet Singh has worked at various levels in the academic environment with main emphasis in student development and compliance. He likes to guide students to better understand their educational needs and aspirations as well as the resources available to them at Moraine Valley Community College. He wants every single student that he advises to be responsible, productive, and a successful lifelong learner. He is also a Sikh professional man with a profound appreciation of his faith and culture.

Talks given – November 1, 2017, featuring:

  • Francisco Arteaga is a Sergeant with the Moraine Valley Police Department and the Lead Firearms Training Instructor for the department. Sergeant Arteaga joined the Moraine Valley Police Department in 2011. He serves as a Field Training Officer, Investigator and is currently assigned to the Southwest Major Case Unit Task Force. Sergeant Arteaga is a graduate of the Western Illinois University Law Enforcement Training and Standards Board – Effective Police Supervision program. Prior to joining Moraine Valley’s police force, he served for six years as a member of the NIPAS Emergency Services Team (SWAT), he provided tactical services to 69 communities in northern Illinois. Sergeant Arteaga participated in the successful resolution of numerous barricaded gunman situations, hostage rescue missions, felony fugitive apprehensions, high risk warrant service operations and search and rescue missions. 
  • Erika Deiters has been teaching composition, literature, and creative writing at Moraine for twenty years. She earned her B.A. in English from Wittenberg University in Springfield, Ohio and her M.F.A from Mankato State University in Minnesota, her home state. When she’s not binge watching television or stalking favorite authors, she keeps track of a local potter. Erika currently lives in Oak Lawn with her librarian husband Jim and two daughters.
  • Shanya Gray has been a Moraine Valley Faculty Counselor and Instructor since 2015. She is originally from the island of Barbados but has lived in the U.S. since 2003 where she attended college in Minnesota. Shanya earned a Master’s Degree in Clinical Psychology and has been working in the field of counseling for over 10 years, doing everything from therapy with adults and families on the West side of Chicago, to partnering with attorneys to advocate for homeless people on the streets of Chicago, to teaching counseling, psychology and social justice classes and workshops at various venues. Shanya is married to Ernest and together they have 2 boys. For fun, Shanya also runs a neighborhood group called Moms of Beverly which has over 3000 moms and was recognized by Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg earlier this year.
  • Jodi Marneris  graduated from Moraine Valley and went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in Journalism from Northern Illinois University. She worked as a newspaper reporter, public information coordinator for Community High School District 218 and news media coordinator for the Village of Orland Park. While raising three children she did freelance work for magazines and other publications. In 2006, Jodi began working as a writer in Moraine Valley’s Marketing and Communications Department. In her younger days, her fascination with architecture, history and nostalgia was fueled by her travels around the world. As of late, her journey stops just a little east of Illinois—in Michigan for weekends with family, friends and some of the most beautiful sunsets over the lake.

Talks given – November 3, 2016, featuring:

  • Panshula Ganeshan is a faculty instructor of composition. A former graduate of Moraine Valley, he now holds a Master’s degree in Writing from Illinois State University. He has been teaching at Moraine Valley since 2011. Panshula once lived for three months as a Hindu monk on the island of Kauai, where he studied Hindu philosophy, and learned the ways of Saivite (an ancient sect of Hinduism) Hindu worship, culture, and meditation. He enjoys mountain hiking, reading Eastern philosophy and poetry, basketball, Hip Hop music, and teaching writing.
  • Matt Grotto  joined Moraine Valley as its videographer in 2014 after spending 16 years as a newspaper photojournalist. As the news industry’s needs evolved so did Grotto as he expanded his skills to include videography. His journalistic approach to video has allowed the college to move away from sizzle reels and focus on authentic storytelling and branding through video.
  • DeWitt Scott  is a Student Success Specialist in the Student Success Center at Moraine Valley Community College. Prior to becoming a higher education administrator, he played NCAA Division I basketball and professionally in the NBA Development League. He currently lives in Chicago with his wife Cecelia.

Talks given – November 4, 2015, featuring:

  • Michelle Furlow is the Program Coordinator for the Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness & Continuity Certificate (EPCC) in the criminal Justice department at Moraine Valley Community College. She also instructs with the Cook County Sheriff’s Training Academy.
  • Kendall Bruton is the Safety and Emergency Coordinator with the Moraine Valley Police Department. She has a Master’s Certificate in Emergency and Disaster Management and is currently pursuing a Master’s in Homeland Security from American Military University. When she is not working, Kendall enjoys spending time outdoors with her daughter.
  • Laurie Hottinger is the Creative Design Coordinator for Moraine Valley Community College’s Marketing Department. She has loved every moment of her 22 years as a servant of the college. The past few years Laurie has been focusing her efforts on the big picture, which sometimes include big spaces. She ultimately hopes to help provide a strong community connection–a place where students of all ages feel comfortable, flourish and are proud to call Moraine Valley their alma mater…
  • Craig Rosen has been coordinator of the MVCC Academic Theater since his arrival at Moraine in 2002.  He holds a Ph.D. in theater from the University of Colorado, an MA from Emerson College, and a BA from Temple University in his native Philadelphia. He was awarded an Ogilvy Fellowship for British Travel and Research.  Craig has directed plays throughout Colorado, Minnesota and his work has been performed at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts, and the Jones Theater in Westcliffe, CO.  He served as a judge for the Joseph Jefferson Awards for Excellence in Theatre in the Chicago area and has directed over 30 plays at Moraine Valley.

Talks given – November 5, 2014, featuring:

  • Delwyn Jones is an Associate Professor of Communications and Speech and has been a Moraine Valley faculty member for over 24 years.  Delwyn is the current Moraine Valley Faculty Association Grievance Chair and the former President of the Association.  Delwyn has coached the Women’s Cyclone Basketball team for over 15 years.  He received his bachelor’s and master’s degree from Western Illinois University.
  • Maryan Jatczak is an Associate Professor of Nursing and has been on faculty at Moraine Valley for 15 years. She has a B.S. from Loyola and an MS from Rush University, focusing on Child and Family Psychiatric Nursing. This year she celebrates 33 years as a nurse, having worked in acute care, residential and forensic settings with job titles ranging from staff nurse to Director of Nursing. In her free time she enjoys watching her nephew play trumpet in marching band, cheering for her godchild playing AAA hockey or cooking a new recipe from one of her over 100 cookbooks to treat her mother and her best pal Mystic, a 16 yo terrier mix.
  • Nina Shoman-Dajani was born and raised in Northern California. She received her B.A. in Sociology with a minor in Middle Eastern Studies and her M.A. in International Affairs with a focus on U.S. Foreign and Domestic policy from California State University, Sacramento. Currently, Nina holds the position of Manager of Transition and ESL at Moraine Valley Community College. She has also worked in the office of Multicultural Student Affairs, taught in the Intensive English Language Program as well as in the Liberal Arts Department. Nina has served as the Advisor to the Arab Student Union at Moraine Valley Community College for over four years. She is currently pursuing her Doctor of Education degree at Benedictine University in Higher Education and Organizational Change and plans to write her dissertation on Arab American college students. She currently resides in Tinley Park with her husband and three children.
  • Jeffrey Christ is an Instructor of Philosophy in the Department of Humanities and Fine Arts at Moraine Valley. Jeff teaches courses in Introduction to Philosophy, Ethics, Philosophy of Religion, and Logic. Jeff earned his M.A. in Philosophy from the University of Wisconsin – Madison, and also holds a B.A. in Philosophy and Sociology from St. Norbert College.
  • Tommy Hensel is a native of Columbia, SC. He holds a B.A. in Music and a B.A. in Communication from Florida State University as well as an MA in Theater from the University of South Carolina. He has explored careers in floral design, acting, directing, stage management, singing, arts presenting, non-profit arts management, grant writing, and various aspects of the holistic health and alternative spirituality fields. Over the years, he has lived and worked in 24 different states and 4 foreign countries. Tommy is the author of three books and one CD on spiritual self-help topics. He currently works as the director of the Fine & Performing Arts Center at Moraine Valley Community College and has a side job as a restaurant reviewer in Chicago.
  • Jermaine Ford is currently the Business Services Consultant at Moraine Valley Community College. As the Business Services Consultant, he aligns Moraine Valley’s training offerings to area businesses. He earned an Associate’s Degree from Moraine Valley Community College, Bachelor’s Degree from DePaul University, M.B.A. from the University of Phoenix, and currently pursuing a Ed.D. from Grand Canyon University in Organizational Leadership with an emphasis in Higher Education. Before joining Moraine Valley Community College, Jermaine held the position as President of Global Ink & Accessories (an office supply, imaging supply, and executive furniture company).

Talks given – November 6, 2013, featuring:

  • Jason King was born in Palos Township, went to school in Palos Township, and now teaches Mathematics and Geography at Moraine Valley Community College. Jason is a graduate of Moraine Valley, Illinois State University and of DePaul University. He is a former cartographer for the Frederick Blum Neighborhood Assistance Center at Chicago State University.
  • Souzan Naser was born in El-Bireh, Palestine and raised in the United States. Following the path of her parents involvement in the Arab-American community she became a strong advocate for social justice. She currently serves on the board of the Arab-American Action Network. Souzan is a licensed clinical social worker who earned her Master’s Degree in Social Work from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. Souzan is committed to social justice and this is evident in the work she has done early on in her career with survivors of domestic violence. Souzan also is a grassroots activists who believes it is her duty and obligation to bring attention to the plight of Palestinians living under Israeli siege. She is a full-time faculty member in one of the most integral areas of the college, Counseling and Career Development Center, where she continues to follow her passion of assisting others by empowering students. Souzan lives in Orland Park with her husband, Firas, and their two beautiful daughters.
  • Jerimi Ann Walker is an Assistant Professor of Mathematics at Moraine Valley Community College and founder of the math help website mathbootcamps.com. Jerimi earned her bachelor’s degree in mathematics at Troy State University Dothan, located in her home town in Alabama. Later,she earned a master’s degree in Computational and Applied Mathematics at the University of Minnesota Duluth, where her primary area of study was graph theory. When not teaching, Jerimi tends to spend her time programming, writing, and taking random courses at the college.

Talks given – February 20, 2013, featuring:

  • John Neff is currently the Staff Development Specialist at Moraine Valley Community College. As the Staff Development Specialist, John has facilitated over a hundred workshops, ranging from leadership to technology. John, in a variety of other organizations has also proudly served as a teacher, trainer, and as an organizational development specialist. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in History and Political Science from Adrian College, a Secondary Teacher Certification from Saginaw Valley State University, and a Master of Science in Administration with a concentration in Leadership from Central Michigan University. John is a Microsoft Certified Professional and is captivated with social media and Apple products.
  • Charmaine Sevier grew up on the Southside of Chicago. Throughout her life she had a knack for establishing unlikely friendships and relationships with people who had different backgrounds than her own. She was known in school for demanding left-handed desks and fighting for her pastor to come to school on spiritual days to which he was not originally invited. Even though she didn’t always know the term, she strove for inclusion mostly by being herself. She continues to walk the walk as she is the Manager of Diversity and Employment at Moraine Valley Community College.
  • Maura Vizza, a Southsider by birth, Maura is the Public Relations Generalist and Sports Information Coordinator at Moraine Valley Community College. She is a graduate of Moraine Valley and Drake University where she earned a degree in magazine journalism. When not doing her communication duties, she runs marathons, travels the world and performs in a percussion ensemble, concert band and flute choir.
  • Scott Murdoch is Associate Professor and Department Chair of Biological Sciences at Moraine Valley Community College, as well as an adjunct Ecology instructor at DePaul University. He has been teaching Biology and Human Anatomy for almost 20 years. Being an avid outdoor enthusiast, he is likely to be found hiking, running, mountaineering, gardening, practicing yoga, laughing with friends, or watching children play. He tries to practice what he preaches.
  • Beverly McLaughlin is a Community Service Officer in Moraine Valley’s Police Department. She is the co-founder and Executive Secretary (a non-salaried position) of the F.O.S.C.I.K. (Friends of Sheltered Children in Kenya) organization. Beverly McLaughlin grew on the west side of Chicago and currently resides the in the western suburbs.

Talks given – November 7, 2012, featuring:

  • Sam Chen graduated from Northern Illinois University with his master’s degree in Anatomical Sciences. He has taught anatomy and physiology for the past 10 years at Moraine Valley. Sam went on sabbatical to obtain his master’s of science in Nursing from Rush University-Chicago. He is now back in the classroom as well as working as a Registered Nurse at Edward Hospital. Sam currently lives in Downers Grove with his wife and three children.
  • Sandra Beauchamp grew up in a small town in downstate Illinois and graduated from Eastern Illinois University with a masters degree in English, specializing in creative writing. Her poetry has been published in Rosebud and The Spoon River Poetry Review. She is currently working on a book related to her experience as an adoptee. This is her 10th year as a full-time faculty member in the Communications Department at Moraine Valley Community College. She currently resides in Bolingbrook, with her husband, Todd.
  • Glenn Carpenter is Moraine Valley’s first full-time photographer. For 22 years he has witness Moraine Valley changed and grow. He has won numerous awards for photography, serves as the president of The University Photographers’ Association of America, and continues to present at both local and national conferences. Glenn lives in Lockport with his wife, Jill, and their two sons.
  • Dawn Wrobel teaches geography at Moraine Valley Community College, where she serves on the Honors Program and Adjunct Faculty Development committees. Dawn also has taught professional development classes for faculty and staff, including Blackboard and Green Living. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Geography with University Honors from Northern Illinois University, her Master of Science in Geography at Northwestern University, and is currently working on a Ph.D. in Holistic Health from the American Institute of Holistic Theology. Even before the publication of her first book, The Hedgehog: An Owner’s Guide to a Happy, Healthy Pet, Dawn became known as the Hedgehog Lady. Dawn resides in Beecher with her husband Bob, five hedgehogs, a dog, and a cat.
  • Tamarra Coleman-Hill, originally from Pasadena, California, Tamarra spent her first two years of college at Pasadena City College. She earned her bachelor degree in English Literature at California State University, Los Angeles. After moving to Chicago, she earned a master’s degree in English at DePaul University. She has taught in community colleges for the last 12 years and has been at Moraine Valley since 2008. Tamara has spent several years working in the Social Justice Movement focusing her efforts on women’s reproductive rights. For the past year, she has been working on a book that reflects on identity, marriage, motherhood and feminism, a book that reflects the many aspects of her own identity.
  • Stephenie Presseller, the sustainability manager at Moraine Valley is responsible for the college’s Center for Sustainability where, among other duties, she coordinates STARS submission for Moraine Valley, which proudly received the Bronze rating. The center supports greening of the campus; community outreach; student, staff and faculty engagement; greening curriculum; and greening workforce. A transplant from Southwest Florida, Stephenie lives in Chicago, where she loves her urban vegetable garden; enjoys lazy days in the sun with her two dogs-the cat and turtle; and looks forward to spring every winter.

Talks given – November 7, 2012, featuring:

  • Dr. Thomas Dow  teaches Composition, British Literature, and Shakespeare at Moraine Valley Community College, where he also chairs the Communications, Literature, and Languages Department. Tom has published on Thackeray and co-authored a book for first-year composition students, Why White Rice? Thinking Through Writing, in 2010. He earned his Ph.D. in English from Loyola University Chicago and also holds a master’s degree in English from Loyola and a bachelor’s degree from Wabash College.
  • Lawanda Burrell is the instructional designer at Moraine Valley Community College. LaWanda has been in the training and development field for over 13 years and has held positions in both the education and corporate sectors. In her current role, she is a resource to faculty on best practices in the areas of instructional planning, direct and indirect classroom assessment techniques, and quality teaching and learning. LaWanda is also an adjunct faculty member in the Information Management Systems Department where she teaches Microsoft Office Applications. LaWanda received her Bachelor of Business Administration degree from Robert Morris College in Chicago, Ill., and her Master of Arts in instructional design from Roosevelt University in Schaumburg, Ill. She also holds MOS certificates in Word, Excel, Outlook, and PowerPoint.
  • Larry Langellier is an associate professor in the Management Information Systems Program at Moraine Valley Community College. Larry has worked in the information technology field for 28 years, first as a designer and developer of education and business software before moving to his current instructional role at Moraine Valley 12 years ago. Langellier received his Bachelor of Science in computer science/engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a Master of Science in computer science/artificial intelligence from the University of California at Davis. Larry has been teaching LEGO Mindstorms Robotics to elementary and high school students through the eFun Explorations Academy at Moraine Valley for 10 years. He has been involved in several other constructionist educational endeavors, including One Laptop Per Child, Squeak, Alice, Scratch, App Inventor for Android, GameMaker, along with Android and iPhone Programming for Teens. Additionally, Larry has two test subjects at home (his kids, Lexi and Kyle) on whom he experiments all of the time.
  • Martha Mazeika is the director of the Title III—Student Success Interventions Program at Moraine Valley Community College. Martha’s professional experiences at community colleges include academic advising, retention programs, teaching Introduction to College at Moraine Valley and other community colleges, and advising student clubs. She started quilting in 2003 and currently is an active member in the Salt Creek Quilters Guild in Hinsdale, IL. Her quilts have been displayed at town and county fairs in Massachusetts with a few winning ribbons. Martha is in the process of completing her dissertation as a requirement for the Ph.D. in community college leadership from Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virg. She has a Master of Education degree in counseling and psychological services–student personnel administration from Springfield College in Springfield, Mass., and a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth in Dartmouth, Mass.
  • Dr. Troy Swanson is the teaching and learning librarian and Library department chair at Moraine Valley Community College. Troy teaches research skills to students and manages the library’s web presence. He has published on information literacy, personal epistemology, library website usability, and social media in libraries. Troy also writes as a guest author on the Tame the Web blog. Troy holds a Ph.D. from Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virg., and a master’s degree in library and information science from Dominican University in River Forest, Ill.

Past Talks