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First-year seminar instructors

John Bohland

Jon Bohland, Associate Professor, Director, International Studies

Jon Bohland grew up in nearby Blacksburg, Virginia, and is, of course, a diehard and long suffering Hokie fan. Somewhat inevitably, Bohland joined the "family business" of education and scholarship (mother taught high school and father is a retired professor at Virginia Tech) and became a teacher after a failed dalliance with journalism and punk rock radio. For some odd reason, Interstate 81 seems to hold a certain power over Bohland's life, as all three of his degrees come from institutions located right off that road (James Madison, Syracuse University, and Virginia Tech). As if preordained, he now teaches at a school where you can see I-81 from some locations on campus. Bohland is a political and cultural geographer and is the director of the international studies program and faculty member within the political science department. He is interested in the intersections between popular culture and geopolitics, allowing him to publish work exploring cool things like how Battlestar Galactica operates as an intertextual representation of contemporary international relations (who says being an academic can't be fun!). Bohland particularly focused on Confederate nationalism in the United States. He is married to Cindy Bohland (also a teacher, shockingly) and has a beautiful daughter named Isabella who is obsessed with shoes, ballet, and Scooby Doo. When not watching television for "research" purposes, he enjoys talking about international soccer, cooking, travelling, listening to independent music, and spending time with friends and family.

John Forsman

John Forsman, Technical Director, Theatre

John Forsman would like to be known as the mad scientist of the theatre, though he is more the eccentric technical director of it. Hailing from Omaha, Nebraska, Forsman received his B.F.A. in technical theatre at Nebraska Wesleyan University and immediately after found himself at the University of Virginia where he received his M.F.A. in technical direction. Working in theatres across the country, he has continued to educate himself in computers, theatre automation, projections, new construction techniques, and anything else shiny that catches his attention. One of his other favorite hobbies is cooking, but he has yet to cook an omelet correctly. He can oftentimes be found swimming laps in the early morning hours and walking his dog, Megs, in the evening, all the time contemplating his next crazy idea or invention.

Joe Leedom

Joe Leedom, Professor, History

Joe Leedom grew up amid the wilds of southern California and the rich urban environment of Wyoming before attending the University of Wyoming as an undergraduate and receiving his Ph.D. from the University of California at Santa Barbara. His research interests lie in the areas of medieval law and society. He has been at Hollins now for over 25 years, where he teaches a variety of courses on really old stuff.

Ed Lynch

Ed Lynch, Professor, Political Science

Professor Ed Lynch is no stranger to Presidential campaigning, having been chosen to represent Hubert Humphrey in a mock election in 1968 and having been active in every Presidential campaign since. Lynch also worked in the White House Office of Public Liaison in the 1980s. He has taught political science for more than 20 years and has interviewed legislators, journalists, and other political observers in 49 of the 50 states. His recent publications include a book on President Reagan's foreign policy and a book on former Virginia governor, George Allen.

Thorpe Moeckel

Thorpe Moeckel, Associate Professor, English, Director, Teaching Fellows

Thorpe Moeckel believes that poetry is the foundation of all food pyramids and that the poem on the page is a kind of meal. He grew up in Atlanta and attended Bowdoin College, where he graduated in 1994 with degrees in English and environmental studies. Along the way, in and out and after college, Thorpe worked as a river guide, in restaurants, the building trades, retail, and as an adventure-based counselor for court-ordered teens. He earned na M.F.A. in creative writing at University of Virginia, where he was a Henry Hoyns and Jacob K. Javits Fellow. Since 2005, he has taught at Hollins and then gone home to a small farm near Buchanan, VA, where he thinks about writing, reading, students, food pyramids, and other things while helping his wife and children make good eats from their Nubian dairy, sheep, poultry, fruits, and veggies. Links to his publications, books, and other stuff are available at www.thorpemoeckel.wordpress.com.

Kathleen Nolan Kathleen Nolan, Professor, Art

Kathleen Nolan fell in love with art history in her first year at Vanderbilt University, where she also imprinted on the liberal arts. She went on to get an M.A. and Ph.D. in art history from Columbia University. She enjoys going to art museums and traveling to Paris to study medieval queens (she published a book in 2009 on medieval French queens and their seals and tombs). At Hollins, she teaches courses in medieval and Renaissance art history, as well as gender and women's studies. When not teaching or doing research, she likes to spend time traveling to Europe, cooking French food, reading medieval murder mysteries, and watching Downton Abbey with her teenage daughter. She is excited about teaching a FYS seminar again.
Jon Guy Owens Jon Guy Owens, Director, Hollins Outdoor Program (HOP), Athletics, and Physical Education

Jon Guy Owens comes to Hollins from the mountains of western North Carolina where he began his work in the field of adventure recreation as a river guide on the Nantahala River. He attended Western Carolina University where he received his degree in recreational therapy despite many, many days kayaking and backpacking; then onto graduate school at Radford University to obtain an M.S. in environmental and experiential studies despite many, many days rock climbing. Owens holds certifications from Wilderness Education Association, Leave No Trace, Wilderness Medical Institute, and the American Mountain Guiding Association. Owen's favorite day is the day his wife, Anna Copplestone '06, gave birth to their son, Henry. His most dreaded day is the day that some realize his job IS too awesome to be real.
Julie Pfeiffer

Julie Pfeiffer, Professor, English

Julie Pfeiffer is Associate Professor of English and a member of the Gender and Women’s Studies Council. She received her B.A. from Carleton College and her M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Connecticut. While writing her dissertation on Charlotte Brontë, she had her first two children and began to learn how to balance the joys and struggles of teaching and scholarship with those of family life. Those early years of writing about theory while reading bedtime stories shaped her career, and she continues to think about the ways literature and the academic life affect how we approach birth, parenting, and health care. She arrived at Hollins – her dream job – in 1997, where she teaches courses on children’s literature, British literature, and women writers. Her research investigates the ways gender structure is exposed and reinforced through literary texts; her current project looks at 19th-century novels for girls. She lives in Salem, VA, with her family (including two very large dogs). Her interests include playing cards with her sons, helping families with birth and breastfeeding, and CrossFit.

Christopher Richter, Associate Professor, Communications Studies

Christopher Richter was born in the Motor City but spent much of his youth in Pennsylvania and Ohio enjoying a Classic American pastime, watching TV! His interest in narratives, both visual and textual, led him to study literature at the Ohio State University, from which he graduated with a B.A. in English and, later on, a Ph.D. in communication studies. His research and teaching reflect his many and varied interests: early communication technologies, women travelers in Greece, and cultural and intellectual property rights. At Hollins, he helped students set up and now advises the online radio station, WHER, teaches TV production in the library studio, and gets theoretical in courses like Communication and Democracy or Media Law and Policy. When he is not felling trees, splitting wood, or fencing his vegetable garden out in Botetourt County, he can be found reading science fiction literature, traveling in the Mediterranean with his wife and fellow faculty member, Christina Salowey, cooking meals made only from local food, or yelling at the TV!
Christina Salowey Christina Salowey, Associate Professor, Classical Studies

Christina Salowey's roots in both the ancient world and environmental studies run deep. She began learning Latin as a middle school student in suburban New Jersey. Some years later she was involved in alternative transportation issues as a bicycle activist in Boston and Philadelphia. In the meantime, she received M.A.s in organic chemistry from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and in classical languages from Tufts University and went on to earn an M.A. and a Ph.D. in Greek, Latin, and classical archaeology from Bryn Mawr College. She travels widely, most frequently to Greece, sometimes with students, but more often with her husband, Christopher Richter, also a Hollins First-year Seminar instructor. She lives in a little log house on the edge of the woods and cultivates organic vegetables and cats.
Annette Sampon-Nicolas

Annette Sampon-Nicolas, Professor, French

Annette Sampon-Nicolas, professor of French; Ph.D., University of Wisconsin-Madison, has been at Hollins since 1985. Her areas of specialization are 20th-century French and Francophone literature. Her research interests include the relationship between literature and the visual arts. She has developed interdisciplinary courses on the Francophone world, global food studies, the theme of water, nature and the environment, and French gastronomy. She was born in Belgium and studied in France and Portugal. She thrives on exploring new areas of research, teaching, and sharing her boundless curiosity with students. Her passions are water in all its forms, nature, cooking, tasting, and talking about food. She holds a special place in her heart for the forests of Northern Wisconsin where she spent years roaming the land, snowshoeing, painting wildflowers and landscapes, observing beavers build their dams, gardening, raising sheep, and running away from bears. In Virginia, she enjoys the company of her family, the mountains in the clouds, and thanks to her research on a French-Chinese writer, a newfound passion for Chinese calligraphy and landscape painting.

Darla Schumm

Darla Schumm, Associate Professor, Religious Studies

Darla Schumm is an associate professor of religion. She has been teaching at Hollins since 2001 and loves the interaction with students that results from small class settings. Her hobbies are knitting, reading fiction, biking, hiking, and playing with her energetic five-year-old son. Professor Schumm's guide dog, Chloe, accompanies her to class and loves wandering around campus!

Robert Sulkin

Bob Sulkin, Professor, Art

Bob Sulkin grew up in North Carolina and received a B.A. in history at the University of North Carolina and an M.A. and M.F.A. in art at the University of Iowa. He has exhibited his own photography widely and loves sharing his passion for things visual with others. Since he arrived at Hollins in 1980, he has taught an array of courses in photography, all within the fine art context, and all within the context of empowering others to interpret their world through their unique voice. His passions are playing with his two sons, art, jazz, and if pressed, he’ll confess to a weakness for Carolina basketball.

Shelbie Wahl

Shelbie Wahl-Fouts, Assistant Professor & Director of Choral Activities, Music

Shelbie Wahl-Fouts hails from the Midwest, growing up in Illinois and pursuing higher education in Indiana. She received her B.Mus. from DePauw University, M.Mus. from Butler University, and D.A. in choral conducting from Ball State University. When not in school, she was busy musical directing and conducting for ten seasons with the Indianapolis Civic Theatre. If her work involves singing, dancing, playing instruments, or any sort of performance, she’s happy. At Hollins, Wahl-Fouts leads the Concert Choir and Chamber Singers, and teaches various music classes, including Sight-Singing and Conducting. (Psst….Come join the choir!) On the home front, she loves playing tennis, running, and hiking with her husband. Their family includes a St. Bernard named Gatsby (after the literary character), and cats Carmen and Haydn (after the opera character and the composer).

Morgan Wilson

Morgan Wilson, Associate Professor, Biology

Morgan Wilson is the son of a biologist and naturalist, and the apple didn't fall far from the tree. He enjoys studying and teaching about how things work biologically - physiological mechanisms to be exact, especially in organisms in their natural environment. He earned a B.S. in biology from Hampden-Sydney College, an M.S. in biology from Virginia Tech, and a Ph.D. in biology from the University of Mississippi. Wilson teaches human physiology, comparative vertebrate anatomy, physiological ecology, ornithology, and invertebrate zoology at Hollins. His research, primarily on birds, has taken him to the edge of the Arctic in northern Manitoba, the mountains of West Virginia and Maryland, the Mississippi delta in southeastern Arkansas, and the prairie potholes of North Dakota. Most recently, Wilson has taken on projects studying the endocrine physiology of migrating ducks and breeding rails (affectionately known by some as "swamp chickens"). In his spare time, he enjoys fly fishing, canoeing, trail running, waterfowling, bow hunting, cross fitness, and spending time with his wife, two children, and faithful Labrador retriever. Put him in nature, be it a marsh, meadow, or mountain, and he is a happy man.