Speakers

JimJim Gunnell

I am an artist, a writer, and a teacher. I was born and raised in southeast Arkansas. I still live in this rural southern state.  I was a chubby kid and because my mom had a charge card at Sears, Roebuck & Company, I wore the ever-popular Husky Toughskins jeans. Some of my fondest childhood memories are of a quaint, one-room church named Shiloh. The name Shiloh comes from the Hebrew word shala, which, loosely translated, means “Pleasantville.”   I played the piano and sang at Shiloh for the next eight years until I headed off to Hendrix College.  After receiving a BA from Hendrix, I later received Master of Education degrees from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville. I have two incredible children that were born to be loved unconditionally. I pray that my tombstone will read, “He was a great dad.” To read more, please visit my blog at blog.dreamboldly.com You can contact me directly at thisisjimgunnell@gmail.com

 

 

 

 

MelissaMelissa Wilkinson 

She received her BFA in painting from Western Illinois University in 2002. She then went on to receive her MFA in painting from Southern Illinois University in 2006. Her work has been featured in wide reaching publications throughout the country including two editions of New American Paintings. She has shown in various galleries nationally and internationally including South Korea and India and has won numerous awards throughout her career. She has won several fellowships and grants including the Arkansas Arts Council Fellowship in Painting in 2012. Her work is amongst private collections throughout the country and abroad. She serves as Assistant Professor of Art-Painting at Arkansas State University in Jonesboro. She lives and works in Bono Arkansas with her two dogs.

 

Fabricio Medina-Bolivar -Jan2015Fabricio Medina-Bolivar  

He serves as Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at Arkansas State University. He received a B.S. degree in Biology at Cayetano Heredia University in his native country of Peru and a Ph.D. degree in Plant Physiology at Penn State. In 2005, he was recruited by the Arkansas Biosciences Institute to start a research laboratory on plant metabolic engineering. His research is at the interface of plant biotechnology and human health. He has developed a sustainable system for production of plant bioactive compounds which are being studied as potential chemicals for treatment of obesity, cancer and infectious diseases. His research has led to several publications, issued and pending patents and over 200 presentations in the United States and abroad. His international scientific recognition in the field of medicinal plants earned him the title of President of the American Council for Medicinally Active Plants in 2014 and 2015. In 2015, Dr. Medina-Bolivar received the statewide Arkansas Biosciences Institute Investigator of the Year Award and in January of 2017 he was awarded Research Professor of the Month at Arkansas State University. In 2011, Dr. Medina-Bolivar was recognized as an Outstanding Hispanic Achiever of the Year by the Hispanic Community Services of Jonesboro and he currently serves in the Executive Committee of the Northeast Arkansas Hispanic Professional Network. In addition to his dedication to plant and biomedical research, Dr. Medina-Bolivar enjoys playing and composing music for piano. In 2016, he had the privilege to participate as a pianist in “Doctors in Concert”, a fundraiser event for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

 

ReaganReagan Williams

She is a 20 year old junior at Arkansas State. She is a double-major student in Political Science and Spanish. She plans to attend law school and build a career in public service as an attorney. Reagan is very active on campus, competing with both the Moot Court and Debate teams. She is also a part of the Pre-law club, the Sigma Delta Pi Spanish honor society, and a columnist for the Herald student newspaper.

 

 

 

 

Darrick WareDarrick Ware 

He currently teaches English and coaches football as the  the Passing Game Coordinator at Lake Highlands High School (6A) in Richardson, Texas. He has been the Fellowship of Christian Athletes sponsor for the past six years. In football, Darrick has coached quarterbacks, receivers, and defensive backs at the varsity level. In track, coaching long jump and triple jump for eight years, Darrick has coached four athletes to the UIL Texas State Track Meet with 1st, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 6th, and two 8th place finishes (two of the athletes competed in the State Track meet in both long and triple jump). He has spent most of his life surrounded by football. He is one of eight kids. Darrick has one sister (Christina Mauro) and six brothers. Darrick and all six of his brothers have played or are playing college football. His brother Josh Mauro is currently playing defensive end in the NFL for the Arizona Cardinals. Darrick lives in McKinney, Texas with his wife, Brittany, and his two kids, Jericho and Everly.

 

BrettBrett Dush

I am a junior at Arkansas State University. I am double majoring in Spanish and Political Science and I hope to work for the government one day. I went to Spain in the spring of 2016 for 3 months as a study abroad trip. I did a lot of group traveling and some solo traveling around Spain and its surrounding countries. I love learning about other cultures and I am always trying to learn another language (Spanish, German, and any other I can). 

 

 

NorrisStudio1John Harlan Norris

He is a painter and Associate Professor of Art at Arkansas State University. His current body of work features a series of portraits in which the subjects are obscured by the signifiers of their daily roles and practices. Norris has exhibited throughout the country at venues including Trestle Gallery (Brooklyn, NY), Plus Gallery (Denver, CO), Greg Thompson Fine Art (Little Rock, AR), 21C Museum Hotel (Bentonville, AR), Jonathan Ferrara Gallery (New Orleans, LA), Contemporary Arts Center Las Vegas (Las Vegas, NV), The Visual Arts Center of New Jersey (Summit, NJ), David Lusk Gallery (Memphis, TN), Arkansas Arts Center (Little Rock, AR), Florida State Museum of Fine Arts (Tallahassee, FL), The Acadiana Center for the Arts (Lafayette, LA) and others. He is a recipient of an Arkansas Arts Council Individual Artist Fellowship and has participated in residencies at the Millay Colony for the Arts and the Vermont Studio Center.

 

DW PictureDavid White  

He is the co-owner of The Learning Center Test Prep and Tutoring Company of Jonesboro Arkansas. He is a National Board Certified Teacher of Adolescent Literature and a career educator who has served as both a teacher and principal. When not serving his students, he enjoys playing piano and doing volunteer work in the community. 

 

 

kirstenKirsten Hazlewood  

Kirsten Hazelwood is a senior exercise science major at Arkansas State University and intends to graduate in August. She currently holds a personal training certification from the American College of Sports Medicine, Zumba certification, and Silver Sneakers specialty certification. Kirsten currently works as the assistant health club coordinator for Hytrol Conveyor Co. and a personal trainer for the NEA Baptist Clinic Wellness Center.