Devon Wright

Devon Wright, Ph.D., is an assistant professor in the Department of Africana Studies and the Department of Sociology at Metropolitan State University of Denver. His areas of expertise include Black social movements, conservative right-wing social movements, white-supremacist ideology and racist rhetoric in conservative right-wing media organizations and the politics of hip-hop culture. Wright currently teaches Politics and Black People, Social Movements and the Black Experience, and Black Lives Matter and COVID-19.

Prior to joining MSU Denver, Wright taught as a social-sciences instructor at Fort Lauderdale High School. Wright has been asked to speak on various topics, including the history of black social-protest movements, the Black Lives Matter Movement, white-supremacist hate groups such as the Ku Klux Klan and the segregationist Citizen’s Councils of America and hip-hop culture.

He received his doctorate in Sociology and master’s and bachelor’s degrees in History, all from Florida International University.

Craig Svonkin

Craig Svonkin, Ph.D., is an associate professor in the Department of English at Metropolitan State University of Denver. His expertise is in amusement parks and children’s literature.

In addition to teaching, Svonkin is an executive director of the Pacific Ancient and Modern Language Association. He has quite a few publications including “A Southern California Boyhood in the Simu-Southland Shadows of Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room” published in the Disneyland and Culture: Essays on the Parks and Their Influence journal and “From Disneyland to Modesto: George Lucas and Walt Disney,” chapter 3 in Myth, Media, and Culture in Star Wars: An Anthology. Svonkin has also done many presentations including “Theorizing Multicultural and Multiethnic Children’s Fantasy” at the Children’s Literature Association Conference in 2008 and “Muggles & Giants & House-Elves, Oh My!: Harry Potter, Liberalism, and Evil” at the National Popular Culture Association Conference in 2003.

Svonkin is often called upon to share his expertise on pop culture topics related to amusement parks, Disney, Sesame Street and The Muppets. He is a member of Children’s Literature Association, Modern Language Association, Rocky Mountain Modern Language Association, Pacific Ancient and Modern Language Association, American Studies Association, Popular Culture Association and Oceanic Popular Culture Association. His research interests include American literature, children’s literature; and American film and visual culture.

Svonkin received his doctorate in English from University of California, Riverside in 2008, a masters in English from California State University, Los Angeles in 1997 and a bachelor’s in English from University of Southern California in 1986.

Jose Quintana

Jose Quintana, M.A., is a senior lecturer in the Department of Chicana/Chicano Studies at Metropolitan State University of Denver. He teaches Introduction to Chicano Studies as well as Survey of Chicana/o Literature. Quintana’s areas of research encompass all things cultural based, especially folklore that has been deconstructed and reinterpreted. He believes in using cultural elements such as language, art, music and food to help students connect with the personal aspects of his classes.

Vincent Piturro

Vincent Piturro, Ph.D., is a professor of film and media studies in the Department of English at Metropolitan State University of Denver.

He hosts an annual science fiction film series in conjunction with the Denver Museum of Nature and Science and the Denver Film Society. Piturro writes a film review column for The Front Porch, a neighborhood Denver paper with a circulation of about 30,000. In addition to teaching, he is also the general studies chair on the Faculty Senate Standing Committee at MSU Denver.

Piturro published several works including a book chapter on “The Ballad of Little Jo” in the edited collection of “Love in Western Film and Television,” an article in the International Academic Forum journal titled “Documentary Film Rhetoric: Saving Face and the Public Sphere” and a book chapter on gays in Westerns in the upcoming edited volume “The New Western.” His areas of research include Westerns, science fiction, documentaries, Italian cinema and Italian-American cinema.

Piturro received his doctorate in film studies from University of Colorado Denver in 2008.

Peggy O’Neill-Jones

Peggy O’Neill-Jones, Ed.D., began her career as a newspaper photographer and moved to broadcast, corporate, and educational media. As media transitioned to digital, online, and virtual environments, Peggy led the way with innovative interactive media productions such as Wyzt’s Playground, a 4th grade interactive math program, WebDVD Demystified, Physical Chemistry in Practice for Purdue University, and 21st Century Learning Matters, a video that describes the strategies and tools needed to create powerful 21st century learning environments.

Keeping a strong foothold in both the academic and professional realms of emerging media, Peggy developed the Interactive Media concentration in 1995 and the Social and Mobile Media concentration in 2013 at MSU Denver. Peggy presents nationally and internationally about the connection between emerging media and learning. After 26-year career at Metropolitan State University of Denver (MSU Denver), Peggy retired in 2016. She was recently awarded professor emeritus of journalism and technical communication and MSU Denver’s first-ever Extraordinary Service Award.

Peggy directs the Library of Congress Teaching with Primary Sources Western Region (TPS) program and the TPS Teachers Network at MSU Denver. TPS provides professional development that assists educators in finding, accessing, and integrating the vast reservoir of sources from the Library of Congress to deepen understanding and enrich instruction. Through Peggy’s leadership, the TPS at MSU Denver program grew from statewide outreach to a regional program that serves 14 western states.

Darrin Duber-Smith

Darrin C. Duber-Smith, M.S., MBA, is a senior lecturer at Metropolitan State University of Denver’s College of Business, where he teaches Sports Marketing, Green Marketing, Seminar in Marketing Management and Advertising Management courses.

Duber-Smith has more than 30 years of specialized expertise in the marketing and management profession, including decades of work with natural, organic and green/sustainable goods and services.

As president of Green Marketing, Inc. from 2000-16, Duber-Smith was a co-founder of the Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability market/industry model and was leader of the first U.S. industry task force that helped frame the Natural Products Association’s definition of natural in 2005.

He has co-authored several academic papers, including “State of the Economy and Attitudes Toward Sales Careers,” “Student Disposition Towards Sales as a Career,” “The Evolution of an Award-Winning Assessment Plan” and “Gender Bias in Consumer Perceptions of Salespeople.” He has published over 90 marketing-related articles and book chapters in various business publications, and he has been an invited speaker at over 50 executive-level events.

Duber-Smith has been the most frequently-interviewed marketing expert in Colorado media since 2005, and he authored Cengage Learning’s “KnowNow! Marketing” blog from 2011-2019.

Duber-Smith received The Wall Street Journal’s In-Education Distinguished Professor Award in 2009 and WSJ’s Top 125 Professor Award in 2014.

Christina Angel

English Lecturer Christina Angel is the convention director for Denver Comic Con, the nation’s fourth largest pop culture gathering. She also created and leads Page 23, DCC’s literary conference, and she serves on the board of directors of Pop Culture Classroom, a nonprofit, educational program designed to improve children’s literacy.

Angel’s extense teaching experience includes courses in literature (the classics, Old and Middle English texts, medieval, renaissance, mythology, children’s literature, and comics and graphic novels), rhetoric, pedagogy and film.

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