2019 ACADEMIC PRESENTERS
R.S. Beck has been an educator on both the college and high school levels for the past twenty-four years. She received both her Masters and Bachelors degrees from The State University of New York where she majored in English Literature. She can be found in Asheville where she teaches about long-dead British writers and writes speculative fiction. Her first novel, Amber Witch, was published in the fall of 2018. She writes historical fantasy as she prefers her reality with a touch of magic.
TALK: An Exploration of the Psychological Reasons Behind Why People Crave Time Travel Books and Movies
A.D. Boynton, II (he/him/his) is a Southern scholar-blerd based in Lawrence, KS and a doctoral student in English at the University of Kansas. This Georgia native earned his B.A. in English at Fort Valley State University and his M.A. at Georgia College & State University. Boynton is an Editor for the Journal of Science Fiction, on the Editorial Board of the new Third Stone, and the curator for the 4:44 Syllabus. He is a cultural critic and creative writer who writes (and writes about) ghosts, the future, popular culture, queerness, and blackness.
TALK: Black Histories, Black Futures
Originally from Mississippi, Kenneth Broome, Jr. currently lives in Georgia and works as an English instructor at Albany State University. He received his Bachelor’s in English Literature from Alcorn State University in Lorman, MS, and his Master’s in English with a concentration in Creative Writing from University of Louisiana at Lafayette in Lafayette, LA. He is a writer and works as an editor and contributor for the website BlackNerdProblems.com. He also works as a freelance editor of fantasy, sci-fi, and urban fiction novels, and he incorporates these topics plus monsters and horror into his classes.
TALK: Friends with the Monster
Elsa earned an MFA in Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University. She has presented papers at IVFAF, AnnRadCon, and ICFA. Her academic essays include book chapters on Stranger Things and Netflix's Haunting of Hill House. She is an independent genre scholar and editor of the forthcoming book, Westworld: Manufactured Humanities, Dreams, and Nightmares.
TALK: Multiverses All Around: How Teachers Can Help Students Learn Rhetoric and Critical Thinking by Analyzing Visual Storytelling in Popular Culture
Sargon Donabed holds a Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations PhD from the University of Toronto and completing another MS in Anthrozoology. He is an expert on Assyro-Mesopotamian culture and currently penning two fantasy series; an epic fantasy entitled Of Beasts and Mischief: The Unremembered and a midgrade/YA tale Scion of the Ancients, an alternate reality/timeline based on the epic of Gilgamesh. Sargon is an avid adventurer and enjoys yoga and martial arts as well as almost every other sport imaginable. Today, he is associate professor of history at Roger Williams University and lives with his human/feline family in New England. (www.sargondonabed.com)
TALK: Teaching Children Through Fantasy: The Importance of Fablehaven
Leadie Jo Flowers authors novels, short stories and poetry in the genres of science fiction and horror. She makes extra money for traveling by teaching English in Moscow, Russia. She is a member of the Horror Writer’s Association and British Science Fiction Association. You can usually find her at Stokercon, World Science Fiction and Eurocon conferences as well as a few others. Her poetry has appeared in HWA Poetry Showcase Volume IV, and a short story in Hazard Yet Forward and Terror Politico anthologies. You can follow what is happening with her writing at these links:
TALK: Teaching Science Fiction to Get Young Minds Interested in Science and Fiction
Sarah Beth Gilbert is currently a graduate student at Villanova University where she studies the intersection of feminist and queer theories with all mediums of Sci-fi and Fantasy. Sarah Beth has published on Doctor Who twice but is an avid consumer of all Sci-fi content especially given the shifting landscape of streaming production value. She most recently has fallen into the rabbit hole of the comic book world and is working on a paper about the queer and feminist Sci-fi comic book series, Paper Girls. Sarah Beth enjoys alternative rock music, lots of coffee, and has lately been making her way through Frank Herbert’s Dune series.
TALK: The Institutionalized Control of Female Agency: The Knowledge and Power of Witches in The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina and Penny Dreadful
Michelle R. Lane writes dark speculative fiction about women of color who battle their inner demons while falling in love with monsters. Her work includes elements of fantasy, horror, romance, and occasionally erotica. In January 2015, Michelle graduated with an MFA in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University. Her short fiction appears in the anthologies Dark Holidays, and Terror Politico: A Screaming World in Chaos. Her debut novel, Invisible Chains, is available from Haverhill House Publishing and Amazon. She lives in South Central Pennsylvania with her son.
TALK: With This Ring, You’ll Be Dead: The Acceptance of Violence Against Female Protagonists in Romantic Vampire Fiction
John Edward Lawson's novels, short fiction, and poetry have garnered nominations for many awards, including the Stoker and Wonderland Awards. In addition to being a founder of Raw Dog Screaming Press and former editor-in-chief of The Dream People he currently serves as vice president of Diverse Writers and Artists of Speculative Fiction.
TALK: Zombies as a Racial Proxy: From Xenophobia to an Egalitarian Apocalypse
Victor Monnin is pursuing a doctorate degree in History and Philosophy of Science at the University of Strasbourg. He attended the École Normale Supérieure in Paris from 2013 to 2018 and received his master’s degrees in Philosophy and Art History from Panthéon-Sorbonne University in 2016. While working on his dissertation, he is teaching French language and literature in Orange County, CA.
TALK: Should We Breed, Tame, Hunt, or Leave the Dinosaurs in Peace? Addressing Bio- and Environmental Ethics with Dinosaur Stories
Rory Montgomery received their Bachelor of Arts degree in Film Studies from the University of North Carolina Wilmington in May 2019. Their research interests are queer studies, film history, and audience studies. They plan to pursue a Master’s degree that will help them teach these subjects.
TALK: The Invisible Queer: Reading James Whale’s The Invisible Man Through a Queer Lens
Dr. Clifford Murphy is a professor of physical chemistry at Roger Williams University in Bristol, RI. He earned his B.S in Chemistry from Saint Michael’s College and his Ph.D in Physical Inorganic Chemistry from Binghamton University (SUNY). In academia, Cliff’s research efforts focus on the development of new marine chemosensor devices, and developing greener methods for the fabrication of photovoltaic cells. Outside academia, his primary interests are cooking, indoor rock-climbing, gaming, and passing his love of reading on to his two children. Cliff is at all times an avid reader, whether the singular of “axes” is “axis” or “axe”.
TALK: Good Science in Great Fantasy: Thermodynamics of Magic Systems in the “Belgariad” and “The Dresden Files”
S. Kay Nash is a writer, editor, and bibliophile. Raised by a cabal of university professors, anthropologists, and librarians, she holds two degrees as magical wards to protect her from being hauled back into the ivory tower. She is an associate editor at Escape Pod and has also served as a guest editor, episode host, and narrator. By day she works for a comic shop, specializing in consignments of rare and collectible comics. Her short fiction has appeared in See the Elephant and Road Kill 2: Texas Horror by Texas Writers.
TALK: Disability, Representation and Superheroes
Elizabeth Rawitsch received her PhD in Film, Television, and Media Studies from the University of East Anglia in Norwich, England. She is currently a Lecturer in Film Studies at the University of North Carolina Wilmington, where she teaches courses on contemporary British television, Turkish Yeşilçam cinema, and the history of American film exhibition. Her book Frank Capra’s Eastern Horizons: National Identity and the Cinema of International Relations was published in 2015, and her research on popular culture and national identity has appeared in Intensities: The Journal of Cult Media, Journal of American Studies, and Journal of Popular Film and Television.
TALK: Plagiarism as “Pragmatic Necessity”: In Defense of Turkish Spec-Fic Mockbusters
Delia Remington is the author of The Blood Royal Saga vampire series: In The Blood (2017), Out For Blood (2017), and Trial By Blood (2018). Winner of the 2018 Silver Stake Award from the International Vampire Film and Arts Festival and a 2018 Midwest Book Awards Finalist, Delia’s stories combine her love of history with her interest in all things dark. She’s a member of the Horror Writers Association, the Independent Book Publishers Association, and the Midwest Independent Publishing Association. You can find her at deliaremington.com.
TALK: Byronic Legacy: Celebrating 200 Years of The Vampyre by John Polidori
Tonia Thompson is the creator and executive producer of NIGHTLIGHT, a horror podcast featuring creepy tales written by Black writers. Tonia has been writing horror since the second grade, much to the dismay of the teachers in her rural East Texas community. She is currently working on her first audio drama series, and a book about monster biology. Tonia tells horror stories regularly on Twitter, and in her spare time, she loves to hike. She lives in Texas with her husband and son.
TALK: Werewolves in the Real World
Alexandria Lily Tolson is currently attending UNC Wilmington to complete her bachelor’s degree in film studies. She is a transgender woman who is seeking to provide representation in the films that she makes, both as a member of the crew and in the shaping of the films’ content.
TALK: "I never did this when I was a man!": The Importance of Transgender Representation in Doctor Who
Mariah Williams Wooldridge is a counselor working toward her Ph.D. in Counselor Education and Supervision at Lindsey Wilson College. She received her master’s from East Tennessee State University. Her research interests are mental health in media, LGBTQ+ issues, Appalachia, and self-harm, and she has presented at the national and local level. She counsels and consults on mental health for her local school district. When she isn’t advocating for her students and her profession, she is reading fantasy and sci-fi endlessly. She lives in Tennessee with her husband and her two dogs. Twitter: @Mfww_
TALK: Mental Health and Fandom Reactions on the Fates of Quentin and Julia in The Magicians