"Does opportunity have a shelf life?" Biography: Rene ‘ Johnston-Gingrich is an adjunct faculty member for the Lewis-Clark State College Business Division. Rene holds a Master’s Degree in Adult Education and Human Resource Development and was awarded Adjunct Faculty of the Year for LCSC’s Business Division in 2009.
Rene's is an author and speaker whose work has been featured in publications such as Furniture World and Retailer Now magazines. She’s served as a regular columnist for The Lewiston Tribune Business Profile, and her work has been featured in various online publications.
Rene’ is the Vice President of Training and Development for the Profitability Consulting Group. This company contracts with Furniture retailers to provide industry-related training and consulting.
Rene’ is also the owner and founder of RJI Training and Consulting, a company that specializes in customized programs and trainings designed to emphasize the importance of teamwork and customer service. She utilizes her business expertise and experience to develop and deliver custom training that is highly motivational, fast-paced and interactive.
Eleanor Pepi Downey
"Accompanying as Metaphor" Biography- Eleanor Pepi Downey, Professor of Social Work at Lewis-Clark State College holds an undergraduate degree in Bible and Religion from Queens University of Charlotte, a Masters in Social Work from Rutgers University, and a PhD in Social Work from the University of Denver. In addition to her teaching at LCSC, she has held faculty positions at the University of Denver Graduate School of Social Work, Boise State University, and Colorado State University. At Colorado State University she was Director of the Center for Learning and Outreach Education. Prior to entering the academic world, she engaged in the practice of social work for over 20 years in a variety of mental health settings and as a researcher. Eleanor was employed by the University of Colorado Institute for Behavioral Genetics and later as the Senior Research Associate at the Institute for Research on Social Problems in Boulder, Colorado. Working with Dr. Phyllis Katz, she directed a longitudinal research study on the acquisition of race and gender concepts and attitudes in the young child. Her dissertation focused on changes in individuals who participated in the longitudinal research: Speaking the Unspoken: The Unintended Consequences of Research Participation on Racial Attitudes. Eleanor’s subsequent research and publications focus primarily on social work education.
An active member of the Baccalaureate Social Work Program Directors, she served on the national Board of Directors and, in March 2013, delivered the Ron Frederico Memorial Lecture at the annual meeting titled Social Justice in the Classroom: Never Forget Our Students are Watching. Eleanor has been an active Girl Scout volunteer as a leader, member, and Vice President of the Board of Directors for Girl Scouts Mile Hi Council (Denver, CO), and a National Operations Volunteer for Girl Scouts USA. She has served on Idaho Region II Mental Health Advisory Board and is currently a member of the Idaho Board of Social Work Examiners.
Eleanor and her partner Jim have three daughters Elizabeth, Lindsey, and Meredith and four grandchildren Brendan, Sara, Camden, and Jillian.
"Education, Opportunity and Future Stories for Offenders" Biography: Lisa Culp, Ed.S.– As a director for five non-profit initiatives over the past twenty-five years, Lisa Culp has been involved in designing and implementing successful programs to meet the needs of families and children in Idaho. With expertise in the areas of human behavior, business leadership & communication strategies, along with socio-economic stratification topics, Lisa Culp currently manages her own speaking and consulting business and teaches as an adjunct instructor for several colleges in the area. In 2012/2013 she spent the year instructing minimum and maximum security offenders at Coyote Ridge Corrections Center in Connell, WA for Walla Walla Community College’s Associate’s Program. Lisa Culp has been involved with many anti-poverty efforts, including a two year opportunity working as the Director for the Bridge the Gap Project through a Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, serving under-resourced college students. Lisa believes that her life’s purpose is to encourage others to use their gifts and abilities meaningfully and she seeks to embolden her students and audiences to discover and use those gifts daily.
David P. Wiseman
"Frames for the Future!" Biography: David Wiseman is an Assistant Professor of Spanish in the Humanities Division at Lewis-Clark State College. He received a BA in English/Spanish, BYU; an MA in Spanish, BYU; and a PhD in Hispanic Literature, Vanderbilt University. He teaches courses on a variety of topics related to Spanish language, literature, and culture. From 2010–13, he served as the Managing Editor of Hispania, and currently serves as the Director of Communications for the American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese. Most importantly, he is the father of five beautiful children.
"Wisdom sits in places: The Niimiipu land" Biography: Angel Sobotta is enrolled Niimíipuu. Her film experience includes the 1994 movie “Lakota Woman”, as Barbara. Angel has been a Nez Perce Language Program Coordinator, a Nez Perce Arts Council and a Nez Perce Appaloosa Horse Club member since 1998. She has written and produced Nez Perce legends and original stories with Niimíipuu youth since 1997. Angel has been a Nez Perce Language instructor at LCSC since 2012. She also wrote “Walking on Sacred Ground: The Nez Perce Lolo Trail” (2003) and “Surviving Lewis and Clark: The Niimíipuu Story” (2005) that she also narrated. Both documentaries received the Aurora and Telly Awards respectively. Tim’néepe – Heart of the Monster is her Master’s research project at the University of Idaho. She received her interdisciplinary Masters in May 2013. Angel and husband Bob have four kids, Payton, Glory, Grace and Faith ages 12, 11, 9 and 6.
"On gender and disability" Biography: Darci M. Graves is a doctoral candidate at Washington State University studying Cultural Studies and Social Thought in Education. Presently, Darci is an adjunct faculty member at Lewis-Clark State College where she teaches in the Social Work department. Her research is primarily focused on examining the social constructions of Gender and Disability and evaluating where they intersect to impact children in the learning environment. The inspiration for this research is her daughter Alma. She also has a son, Hadrian and a wonderful husband, Dan. Darci is an activist within the Disability community and currently serves on the Board of Directors for Idaho Parent's Unlimited.
"Quest for Self" Biography: Michael L. Owen
Lewis-Clark State College
Currently Mike is Professor of Communication and Human Relations at Lewis-Clark State College and a Lecturer at University of Idaho teaching courses in communication ranging from Principles of Speech, Interpersonal Communication, Conflict Management, Public Relations, The Dark Side of Interpersonal Relationships, Organizational Communication and Communication Theory as well as Human Relations courses dealing issues of diversity, leadership, teamwork, and organizational change; essentially showing people how to work well and play with others and not get fired. Mike has been the recipient of numerous teaching awards over the years and at last count he has 15 scattered throughout the past 22 years of teaching.
Mike is truly the local boy. Born just 4 miles for his place of work, he graduated Lewiston High School which is a few blocks away from LCSC, of which he is an alumnus earning two bachelor’s degrees: one in History and the other in Social Science: Secondary Education. Mike also has two graduate degrees that caused him to travel 31 miles (one way) from his home to the University of Idaho where he earned an M.Ed. in Adult Education and later went on the travel slightly more than 32 miles (again, one way) from home to get his MA in Communication from Washington State University. Mike has finished most of his course work for his Ph.D. at WSU but took a year off to catch his breath and in the process of catching his breath never when back but looked to a different horizon. Well actually the same horizon just 8 miles to the east where he started work on a different doctoral degree at UI, completing all of his course work but this time did not take a year off to catch his breath he just quit to focus on his passion—teaching.
"The Psychology of Beauty and Love" Biography: Rhett Diessner is Professor of Psychology at Lewis-Clark State College; he has been elected “Outstanding Academic Instructor” by the ASB at LCSC sixteen times in the last 25 years; and was selected “2005 Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching Idaho Professor of the Year.” He earned his doctorate in human development from Harvard University under Lawrence Kohlberg. His masters in educational psychology, and bachelors in physiological psychology, are from the University of Oregon. His current research interest is engagement with natural, artistic and moral beauty. Rhett is very passionate about the importance of beauty in the good life. Engagement with natural beauty uplifts our spirit, and many studies show that is not only brings us peace, but increases our cognitive abilities – in other words – makes us smarter. When we feel the beauty of nature, we are much less likely to tolerate pollution and damage to our “mother.” Engagement with the beauty of the human made world, ranging from music, to painting, to architecture, is related to being a grateful and loving person. But most important is engagement with moral beauty, or what could be called inner beauty. When we notice the inner beauty of those around us it causes a cascade of changes in our brain, and elicits the prosocial emotion called “elevation.” When we feel elevated we are then more likely to make efforts to become a better person, and as several recently published studies show, we are more likely to serve and help others. In Rhett’s most recently published research paper he and his colleagues demonstrated that “beauty is the object of love,” that is, by being engaged with the inner beauty of others, we are more likely to be benevolent, empathic, caring, and express universal agapic love.