Cristina A. Bejan is an affiliate professor in the History Department and the Theatre and Dance Department at Metropolitan State University of Denver.
Topic: Social Justice
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.
JaLisa Williams is a BSSW lecturer in the Department of Social Work at Metropolitan State University of Denver. Her areas of expertise include mindfulness interventions for race-based trauma, black generational healing, yoga, social justice and radical pedagogies.
Williams joined MSU Denver in 2019, first as an affiliate professor and taught a variety of courses in the BSSW and MSW program. Her classes taught included creative approach to change, gender and social work as well as power, privilege and oppression. Williams also served as an affiliate professor for Regis University where she developed two innovative curriculums under the Integrative Core Department.
She is the owner for Soulflower Experiences, which is a community-based mindfulness business teaching workshops, yoga and meditation classes. She also worked as a yoga therapist and counselor for The Center for Trauma and Resilience. There she provided short term counseling for individuals who have experienced crime in Denver, provided crisis intervention and client advocacy as well as presented and co-facilitated classes for the Befriending the Body yoga program.
Williams was a violence prevention program coordinator where she led, created and facilitated programing around interpersonal violence, healthy relationships, and violence against women and gender fluid individuals. Williams received her bachelor’s in kinesiology and exercise science in 2013 and her master’s in social work in 2016 from the Metropolitan State University of Denver.
David Heska Wanbli Weiden, Ph.D.; JD, an enrolled member of the Sicangu Lakota nation, is a professor of Native American Studies and Political Science at Metropolitan State University of Denver.
His academic scholarship involves Native American issues, law and political science, and he’s an attorney, licensed to practice in all Colorado state courts. Weiden is an alumnus of Vona, a Tin House Scholar, a 2018 MacDowell Colony Fellow, and a 2019 Ragdale Foundation resident. He received the 2018 PEN America Writing for Justice Fellowship. He is the fiction editor for Anomaly, journal of international literature and arts (www.anmly.org), and he teaches writing at the Lighthouse Writers Workshop in Denver.
Weiden novel Winter Counts is forthcoming August 2020 from Ecco/HarperCollins, as is the second book in the series, Wounded Horse. Winter Counts is the story of a local Native American enforcer on the Rosebud Indian Reservation who becomes obsessed with finding and stopping the dealer who is bringing increasingly dangerous drugs into his community. It’s a Native thriller, an examination of the broken criminal justice system on reservations and a meditation on Native identity. Both novels will be published in France by Gallmeister Editions.
He’s published or has work forthcoming in Shenandoah, Yellow Medicine Review, Transmotion, Criminal Class Review, Tribal College Journal and other magazines. His children’s book, Spotted Tail, will be released in 2019.
A first-generation college student, he received his MFA in creative writing from the Institute of American Indian Arts, his J.D. from the University of Denver Strum College of Law and his Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin.
Jessica Ritter, Ph.D., is a professor in the Department of Social Work at Metropolitan State University of Denver.
Her career as a social worker and academic has been dedicated to child welfare and children’s rights as well as political advocacy related to issues of social and economic justice. Ritter has been teaching social work at the college level for 13 years.
She is a Fulbright scholar and is the author of two books—101 Careers in Social Work, 2nd ed. (2015) and Social Work Policy Practice: Changing our Community, Nation, and the World (2nd edition is In Press).
Ritter received her doctorate, master of social work and bachelor of social work from University of Texas, Austin.
Katherine Miller, M.A., is an affiliate professor in the Gender Institute for Teaching and Advocacy at Metropolitan State University of Denver. She is an award-winning activist and educator, with extensive experience in victim advocacy for survivors of interpersonal violence and human trafficking.
In addition to teaching undergraduate students at MSU Denver, Miller also serves as the Victim Services Coordinator at the Phoenix Center at Auraria (PCA), supervises the Colorado Network to End Human Trafficking (CoNEHT) statewide hotline and serves as an active board member for the Laboratory to Combat Human Trafficking (LCHT). She has provided prevention education through the Blue Bench, trauma therapy at the Aurora Strong Resilience Center, psychoeducation and process groups with women in rural Southern India living with HIV, and provided direct services to students in crisis at the Institute for Women’s Studies and Services. Miller is committed to infusing intersectional feminism and praxis into advocacy work at the PCA, building campus coalitions to support survivors, and dismantling systems and cultural norms that perpetuate violence.
Miller earned her master’s in International Disaster Psychology from University of Denver and a bachelor’s in Psychology, Women’s Studies and History from Metropolitan State University of Denver.
Ramon Del Castillo is a retired professor of the Chiana/or Studies Department. He taught at Metropolitan State University of Denver from 35 years. Del Castillo’s publications include “Institutionalizing Curanderismo in Colorado’s Community Mental Health System,” “Institutionalizing Curanderismo into a Mainstream Healing System: Boundary Spanners and Innovation in Action” and “The Life History of Diana Velazquez: La Curandera Total.”
As past Chair of the Masters Program in Nonprofit Program at Regis University (1999-2005), he directed educational services and program development for the department and taught classes in the history of the nonprofit sector, leadership, ethics, managing diversity in organizations and the capstone project. He traveled to Mexico for 5 years, developing collaborative bi-national curricula between the nonprofit and civil society sectors through the “Making Connections in Mexico Program,” in collaboration with ITESO Jesuit University, located in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico.
Del Castillo possess a Bachelor of Arts Degree with a double major in Sociology and Mexican American Studies from the University of Northern Colorado. He obtained master’s degrees are in Social Science and Public Administration from the University of Colorado at Denver (UCD) and his Ph.D. from the Graduate School of Public Affairs at the same university. His master’s research was on Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Chicano Viet Nam Veterans and his doctoral dissertation, examined Curanderismo, a traditional approach to holistic and spiritual healing, using theories of innovation to critique the institutionalization process within a publicly funded mental health agency.
Katia Campbell, Ph.D., is the chair in the Department of Communication Studies at Metropolitan State University of Denver.
Her scholarship and teaching focuses on rhetoric, free speech, cultural representation, popular media and critical pedagogy. Campbell is also the Faculty Senate President. Outside of MSU Denver, she consults and facilitates workshops on communication and diversity, media literacy, free speech, public speaking, and dialogic ethics. After completing her doctorate, Campbell worked as a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Communication at University of Colorado Denver.
Her research areas of interest include, but are not limited to, citizenship and civic engagement, cultural diversity and communication within a U.S. cultural context and cultural studies with an emphasis on media studies. Campbell has co-authored three publications in the areas of civic engagement and social justice. Her book, “Neo-Pragmatism, Communication, and the Culture of Creative Democracy,” focuses specifically on the malleable conceptions of citizenship and civic responsibility and explicates the possible social ramifications of our modern practice of citizenship.
Campbell earned her doctorate in human communication studies from University of Denver in 2004.
Andrea Borrego, Ph.D., is the chair of the Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology at Metropolitan State University of Denver.
She worked as a graduate research assistant and faculty associate at Arizona State University before coming to teach at MSU Denver in 2015. Borrego is involved in many MSU Denver committees and is a member of the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences and the American Society of Criminology. She served as a panel chair on Media Reporting of Crime for the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences Annual Conference in 2016.
Borrego co-authored an article for The Criminologist: The Official Newsletter of the American Society of Criminology titled “The advantages and disadvantages of original data collection for doctoral students.” She also co-authored a chapter in Forensic Science and the Administration of Justice: Critical issues and directions, and has several other publications in the works. Her research focuses on fatal-police citizen encounters and LGBTQ victimization.
Borrego received her doctorate and masters in criminology and criminal justice from Arizona State University in 2015 and 2011 and a bachelor’s in psychology from the University of Notre Dame in 2009.