First-Year Seminar Instructors

Photo of Vladimir BraticVladimir Bratic, Associate Professor, Communication Studies

Professor Bratic came to Hollins in the fall of 2006 after receiving his Ph.D. in mass communication from Ohio University. Prior to coming to the United States, Bratic lived in the Czech Republic where he graduated from the Faculty of Pedagogy and Philosophy at the Palacky University. He is originally from Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, where he began his research on the role of the media in conflict and peace. He has published journal articles and teaches about how media can help promote peaceful transformation of violent conflict across the world.


Photo of Courtney ChenetteCourtney Chenette, Assistant Professor, Political Science and Gender and Women’s Studies

Courtney Chenette is proud to be a Hollins alumna. After studying political science and gender and women’s studies at Hollins, she earned her J.D. and practiced law in New York City. She began her advocacy as a New York University Revson LSPIN Fellow, representing teenage dating and domestic violence survivors. As a civil rights attorney, Chenette litigated, trained, and counseled clients on novel constitutional questions involving government power and administration, policing, education, employment, and discrimination. She researches and teaches political science courses on constitutional law; civil rights; voting rights; American government institutions; and race, class, gender, sexuality, and the law. Chenette also serves the community as a pre-law advisor. When she is not enjoying our beautiful campus, she is traveling between NYC, San Francisco, and Roanoke listening to podcasts.


LeeRay CostaLeeRay Costa, Professor, Anthropology and Gender and Women’s Studies

LeeRay Costa is proud to be the first person in her family to attend college and complete her B.A. at the University of California, San Diego. She is passionate about mentoring students and is deeply grateful to her undergraduate advisor, sociologist Bennetta Jules-Rosette, for encouraging her to earn her Ph.D., which she did in 2001 at the University of Hawai’i, Manoa. Trained as a feminist cultural anthropologist, Costa’s research focuses on social change and social justice. She has published on women’s activism, nongovernmental organizations, and transgender youth in Thailand, where she lived for three-and-a-half years. She has also conducted research on the local food movement in Hawai’i, her family home. She chairs the gender and women’s studies program and teaches courses on gender and sexuality, women and social movements, food, culture and social justice, spiritual activism, and girlhood studies. Inspired by her daughter, in 2012, Costa founded the nonprofit organization Girls Rock Roanoke that provides a space for the empowerment of girls and women through music, creative expression, and collaboration. This year, Costa completed her yoga teacher training certification and launched the Hollins Contemplative Collective which seeks to create spaces and opportunities on campus for developing practices of mindfulness and healing that are embodied, inclusive, and both individually and collectively transformative.


Angel Diaz MirandaÁngel Díaz Miranda, Assistant Professor, Spanish

Ángel Díaz Miranda is an assistant professor of Spanish and Latin American literature and culture at Hollins. He received his doctoral degree from Emory University. In 2014, he was awarded an Andrew W. Mellon Graduate Fellowship. Díaz Miranda has published journal articles on Mexican poet Octavio Paz, surrealism and trauma; Leopoldo Panero’s phantasmatic overtaking of his son Leopoldo María Panero’s poetic voice, sacrificial violence, and contemporary Colombian novels and on Mexican film director Alfonso Cuarón, Korean-American photographer Miru Kim, and the aesthetics of apocalypse. He is currently finishing articles on David Huerta’s poetics and on the scopic (micro-, tele-) views in the works of Chilean authors Álvaro Bisama and Diego Zúñiga. His latest book project examines Roberto Bolaño’s poetics and the aftermath of revolutionary drives by minoritarian subjects on both sides of the Mexican border. He has presented his work in national and international conferences, more recently in Chile. Miranda is also a poet. His books Catálogo de inconsistencias and Libreta de La Habana/Havana Notebook are forthcoming by Editorial del Instituto de Cultura Puertorriqueña and Arte Poética Press, respectively.


Photo of Professor Fred FrankoFred Franko, Professor, Classical Studies

Fred Franko, professor of classical studies, teaches and publishes on many areas of ancient Greece and Rome. Ancient and early modern English theatre are his specialties. He holds a Ph.D. in classical studies from Columbia University and an M.Litt. in Shakespeare and performance from Mary Baldwin University. He and his wife, who is a photographer, enjoy travelling the world, especially exploring Mexico. At home, he lives off the grid as much as possible, cooking adventurously and working the land (tomatoes, greens, sweet potatoes, some fruit trees, and a few chickens).


Amy Gerber-StrohAmy Gerber-Stroh, Associate Professor, Film

Amy Gerber-Stroh received her B.A. in film at Pennsylvania State University and her M.F.A. in film/video from the California Institute of the Arts. Gerber-Stroh has a passion for all aspects of filmmaking but especially loves directing and producing her own documentaries. Her films have won honors at numerous film festivals and professional venues, including Edinburgh International Film Festival, Mill Valley Film Festival, Film Forum, Los Angeles, and Women in the Director’s Chair, Chicago. She also directed films for the Los Angeles County Museum of Art from 1993 to 1996. She has gained significant professional film experience in Hollywood while working on 12 major motion pictures including The Mask of Zorro (Columbia Pictures), Goldeneye (MGM), Afterglow (Sony Pictures Classics), Tank Girl (United Artists), and Angels in the Outfield (Disney). Her latest film, Do Cell Towers Dream of Morse Code (2018) has won honors at several film festivals this year. When she is not teaching and filming, Gerber-Stroh squeezes in family time, badminton, fly fishing, motorcycling, playing viola, and listening to Radio Lab on WNYC.


Michael GettingsMichael Gettings, Associate Professor, Philosophy

Michael Gettings is a former physics undergraduate who morphed into a philosopher, receiving his Ph.D. in 1999 from the University of California, Santa Barbara and joining Hollins in the same year. He loves exploring topics from symbolic logic to the philosophy of fiction and has written philosophical book chapters on pop culture topics from the Grateful Dead to The Daily Show to LEGOs. Outside the classroom, he spends an inordinate amount of time listening to music of (nearly) every sort, including some that many people wouldn’t consider music. He loves hiking the gorgeous Blue Ridge Mountains and playing cooperative board games. Ice cream is his kryptonite, and he keeps a list on his phone of unconventional flavors he’s tried.


Photo of Genevieve HendricksGenevieve Hendricks, Assistant Professor, Art

Genevieve Hendricks grew up in Upstate New York but has spent summers in Virginia all her life and is happy to have moved to Roanoke! She is currently an assistant professor of modern and contemporary art history and earned her B.A. in art history and English literature from the University of Pennsylvania and her M.A and Ph.D. from the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University. She teaches courses in modern art ranging from the History of Photography to Feminism and Contemporary Art. Her research focuses on 20th century art and architecture, particularly in France, and she loves to travel, take long walks, and hang out in museums.


William KrauseBill Krause, Associate Professor, Music

Bill Krause has lived in western Virginia for over 20 years, developing a deep respect for the region’s music that so aptly conveys every aspect of life in the Appalachian Mountains. His extensive training as a musicologist and guitarist position him well to be both a researcher and performer of this unique American musical tradition. It is his hope that students who venture down The Crooked Road will share his enthusiasm as the journey reveals a rich cultural treasure that is to be protected and nurtured. Krause received his Ph.D. in musicology from Washington University in St. Louis and masters in classical guitar performance from the University of Southern California. At Hollins, he serves as associate professor of music, teaching music history and arts administration.


Thorpe Moeckel

Thorpe Moeckel, Associate Professor, English and Creative Writing

Thorpe Moeckel believes that poetry is the foundation of all food pyramids and that the poem on the page is a kind of soil and a kind of meal, which makes poetry a lively gateway to exploring how food informs our most intimate relations with ourselves, each other, and the land. 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, Moeckel worked as a river guide, in restaurants, on small farms, the building trades, and as an adventure-based counselor. He earned a M.F.A. in creative writing at the University of Virginia. His writings have been widely anthologized and honored with NEA, Javits, Hoyns, Sustainable Arts, and Kenan Fellowships. He is the author of several books of poetry and nonfiction, with two new books, a middle grade novel and lyric nonfiction, forthcoming in fall 2019. He has taught at Hollins since 2005.


Rachel NunezRachel Nuñez, Associate Professor, History

Rachel Nuñez remembers first falling in love with history over biographies of Eleanor of Aquitaine and Anne Boleyn and still can’t believe she gets paid to talk about history on a daily basis. After picking up a B.A. at Rice University and a Ph.D. at Stanford, she arrived at Hollins in 2008. She teaches a variety of courses on women’s history and European history and loves introducing students to the joys of historical research. When she’s not teaching (or participating in random Hollins traditions), she enjoys travel, cooking, and movies. Her favorite movie is The Big Lebowski, and she attends Lebowski Fests whenever she gets the chance. She is a native Texan and will always have a soft spot for the Lone Star State. Still, Virginia is gradually luring her in with its beautiful scenery and actual seasons.


Chris RichterChristopher Richter, Associate Professor, Communications Studies

Associate Professor Christopher Richter was born in the Motor City but spent his youth in Pennsylvania and Ohio enjoying a classic American pastime, watching TV! His interest in visual and written narratives led him to study literature at The Ohio State University as an undergraduate. But ultimately, he earned his Ph.D. there in communication studies. His varied academic interests include the history of communication technologies, women travelers in Greece, communication processes in democracies, and the display of Greek national identity in museums and war memorials. At Hollins, he teaches multi-camera studio TV production, co-teaches January-term abroad courses in the Mediterranean with his wife and fellow professor, Christina Salowey, and gets theoretical in courses like Communication & Technology and Visual Cult(ure). In his spare time, he fells trees, splits wood, weeds his garden, reads science fiction, travels, cooks, and yells at the TV!


Photo of Rebecca RosenRebecca M. Rosen, Visiting Assistant Professor, English

Rebecca Rosen grew up in Maryland. She is a graduate of Barnard College and Oxford University and completed her Ph.D. at Princeton University. Her research and teaching interests include early American Studies, Native American literature, and the history of medicine. When she isn’t having great conversations with Hollins students, Rosen likes to explore Roanoke. During her time off campus, she enjoys hiking, cooking, debating the minutiae of the Potter-verse, and holding staring contests with the family cats.


Annette Sampon NicolasAnnette Sampon-Nicolas, Professor, French

Annette Sampon-Nicolas, professor of French; Ph.D., University of Wisconsin-Madison. She teaches courses on Francophone cultures, French children’s literature, nature, global food studies, and French gastronomy. Born in the French-speaking region of Belgium, she lived in France, Portugal, Québec, Wisconsin, and California before moving to Virginia.  Her fascination with food and cooking stems from an early age when she would join her mother in the kitchen and help prepare gourmet meals for family and friends. With her father, a master gardener, she learned to cultivate French leeks, Belgian endives, grapes, and a multitude of vegetables. Cooking soon became her avocation. Her cooking experiences expanded when she worked at Château de Beusdael in Belgium as chef for a summer camp. Like Chef Louis, singing and dancing, she happily cooked “les poissons, les poissons”; in this case, small fish caught in the château’s moat by cub scouts! In France, she frequently cooked for friends’ dinner parties, and she helped put herself through graduate school working as the chef of La Maison française at the University of Wisconsin- Madison. She loves making homemade French fries, though admittedly, they are of Belgian origin, just like the best chocolate! Recently, she has been getting interested in molecular gastronomy and new culinary techniques but is devoted to the pure essence of ingredients. She can whip any vegetables up into a delightful soup and when stressed, bakes bread. Like French chefs, she cooks au pif , by instinct regarding proportions. She holds a special place in her heart for fresh baguette slathered in exquisite butter and anything with dark Belgian chocolate. In Virginia, she loves preparing gourmet meals with her family and watching Chef’s Table and Anthony Bourdain’s Parts Unknown.