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Biographies of the Participants

English Department
277 Fenton Hall
State University of
New York at Fredonia
Fredonia, NY 14063
Ph: (716) 673-3125
Fax: (716) 673-4661

Ruth Antosh

Ruth Antosh is Professor of French and a member of the Department of Modern Languages at SUNY Fredonia.

John Arnold

Dr. John Arnold is a Visiting Assistant Professor of the Department of History and a scholar of Latin and medieval/ancient history. He came to Fredonia in 2002 where he teaches a variety of courses dealing with Pre-Modern Europe.

There are three students from the HIST 305, The Renaissance course, who are all undergraduates and social studies concentrators, pursuing degrees in education leading to a teaching career. They have been strong performers in the class and will address the topic of humanism and its place in the contemporary classroom. The three students participating in the 2:00 p.m. session on Friday, March 17, The Humanities Beyond the Classroom: Student Practice, are: April Gemberling, Early Childhood Education; Timothy Lent, Adolescence Education; and Nick Trumble, Child Education.

Mira Tetkowski Berkley

Mira Tetkowski Berkley is an Early Childhood Educator who taught young children, ages 2 to 6 for 15 years. She has been an Early Childhood teacher educator since 1991. Some of her areas of interest include integrating curriculum for young children, particularly through the creative arts, and building home-school-community partnerships. She is a founding member of the Fredonia Professional Development School Partnership, through which the "Wheelock Program" has developed. Early Childhood students from SUNY Fredonia have some courses on site at the school, participate in Wheelock classrooms, and have planned and implemented special events for the school including a day at the College Lodge, an afternoon of exploratory and creative activities, and pre-kindergarten open house.

Marian Bleeke

Dr. Marian Bleeke is Assistant Professor of Art History in the Department of Visual Arts and New Media at SUNY Fredonia. She primarily focuses her research on medieval sculpture as well as issues surrounding women, gender, and the body in medieval culture. Dr. Bleeke's essay entitled "Sheelas, Sex, and Significance in Romanesque Sculpture: The Kilpeck Corbel Series" was published and featured in the magazine Studies in Iconography in January 2005. That article, deriving from her dissertation ("Situating Sheela-na-gigs: The Female Body and Social Significance in Romanesque Sculpture," at the University of Chicago), studied a controversial group of images of naked women, shown exposing their genitalia, found on twelfth-century and later medieval churches and castles in England and Ireland. Dr. Bleeke is in the process of revising her dissertation as a book to be tentatively entitled Maternity and Meaning in Medieval Sculpture.

Dr. Bleeke received her undergraduate degree from the Robert D. Clark Honors College at the University of Oregon and her Master's and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Chicago. Before coming to Fredonia, she taught at Columbia College-Chicago, Beloit College, and Southern Illinois University-Carbondale. She has also held faculty positions at the University of Chicago and the Art Institute of Chicago. In addition to Introduction to Art History, she teaches courses whose subject matter focuses primarily on Medieval art, Islamic art, and Women's Studies. As a researcher, Dr. Bleeke is interested in writing new histories that resist rather than reinforce existing power structures. In terms of teaching, she aims to empower students to value their own ideas and observations, rather than relying on authorities to tell them what to think.

Selected Bibliography

Bleeke, Marian. "Sheelas, Sex, and Significance in Romanesque Sculpture: The Kilpeck Corbel Series." Studies in Iconography 26 (2005): n.p.

This article is split into three sections with the first section focusing on the scholar as a viewer interpreting and critiquing a sculpture as a "sinful" sexual piece of art. Dr. Bleeke argues why the Sheela sculptures should be considered part of "medieval iconography" despite their "scandalous" subject matter. In the second and third sections of her piece, Dr. Bleeke develops different interpretations of the Kilpeck Sheela corbel and its change "in method from iconography to reception studies." She does this through studying other sculptures on the church of Saint Mary and Saint David at Kilpeck, Herefordshire, as well as within the local culture. Dr. Bleeke ultimately argues that the Kilpeck corbels are part of a medieval discourse in which the sexually active female body is seen as a reproductive rather than sinful body.

---. "On Location in Ireland: Sheelas, Pilgrimage, and Disciplinary Practice." Chicago Art Journal 6:1 (Spring 1996): 65-73.

Vivian Conover

Before coming to Fredonia, Dr. Vivian García Conover was the Assistant Dean of Admissions and Student Affairs at the SUNY at Buffalo Law School. She has been a member of the SUNY Fredonia campus community since 1989 when she was named Associate Director of Academic Advising for Minority Student Concerns. In 1991, she was named the Director of Academic Advising. In 2000, she also became the Associate Dean for Liberal Arts.

Dr. Conover has implemented several new programs, which are aimed at improving the life and retention of students. She is the founder of The Rosa Parks Scholarship Competition, which is in its 17th year of encouraging thoughtful examination of multicultural diversity among students. She also administers The Liberal Arts First-Year Experience for all first-year students who have not yet declared a major.

Dr. Conover received the Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Professional Service in 1997 and was recognized by the YWCA in Jamestown in 1998 during its annual Women of Achievement Awards Luncheon. In 1999, she was nationally recognized as a First-Year Advocate by The National Resource Center for the First-Year Experience of the University of South Carolina.

A native of the Bronx in New York, Dr. Conover graduated from Preston High School, which presented her with its Distinguished Alumna Award in 1999. She is a graduate of Cornell University's School of Industrial and Labor Relations, and Syracuse University Law School.

Julie Ellison

Julie Ellison, founder of Imagining America: Artists and Scholars in Public Life, has dedicated her time and effort to fostering the public role of the arts and humanities. The Imagining America project seeks to build coalitions and to create change in the structure of higher education. Through the help and support offered by Imagining America, scholarship activities are successfully diving into society to engage and form a partnership with the public to create stronger and more imaginative communities.

A graduate from Yale and Harvard, Julie Ellison is also Professor of American Culture, English, and Art and Design at the University of Michigan. She has also held various administrative positions including Associate Vice President for Research at Michigan as well as Director of Imagining America. Dr. Ellison's scholarly work ranges across the literature and culture of eighteenth-and nineteenth-century, with particular emphasis on gender, emotion, politics, and genre. She has a trail of publications following her name, including books, articles, poetry, conference papers and lectures. Her current research project is a study of World Poetry Day and other organized efforts to link poetry and democratic values.

Dr. Ellison currently resides with her husband, Mark Creekmore, in Ann Arbor. They are the parents to one son, Peter, a jazz flutist.

Selected Bibliography

Ellison, Julie. "The Humanities and the Public Soul." (Printouts available upon request.)

This talk discusses collaboration between college campuses with the surrounding community and organizations, focusing on the benefits that might arise from such synergistic collaboration. Dr. Ellison "grapple[s] with the mixed aspirations perpetually circulating within and between academic and community cultures" (Ellison 1). She describes possibilities for the role of humanists in public life and details some obstacles and conflicts that may arise from humanists and artists' inclusion in politics or other cultural avenues. She takes what President George Bush said in his 2002 State of the Union Address to inspire a call to action in her readers: "[Bush] invited us to imagine what 'a new culture of responsibility could look like.' We can, he said, 'change our culture'-a statement with which I passionately agree. This is precisely what public scholarship is about-the shared public work of changing our culture" (9). Humanists and artists are what complete the public soul. "The public soul needs the expression of grief, witness, and testimony, yes. But it also needs action, including educational action" (10). By having humanists and artists collaborate with public scholarship the outcome (the whole) will be greater than the sum of the parts.

Ellison, Julie. "Tenure: A Public Matter."

The controversial issue of tenure is addressed in this article. Dr. Ellison discusses the problems that arise with the current method of receiving tenure. She explores the impact of the restricting force that tenure puts on public scholarship: "The current system extracts a high price both from communities, because they aren't getting access to publicly-engaged faculty, and from scholars who feel that they can't practice the kind of scholarship they want to pursue" (1). Dr. Ellison also explains how one type of tenure system is not the answer to the problem. Tenure systems need to be able to fit the needs of the many different schools that would use them: "We need changes that are flexible and credible" (2). There needs to be a greater sense of seriousness while at the same time a flexibility in order for the tenure program to meet its potential.

Ellison, Julie. "Tears for Emerson." Cambridge Companion to Emerson. Ed Joel Porte. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1999.

---. "A Short History of Liberal Guilt." Critical Inquiry 22.2 (1996): 344-71.

---. "The Politics of Fancy in the Age of Sensibility." Re-Visioning Romanticism: British Women Writers, 1776-1837. Ed Carol Shiner Wilson and Joel Haefner. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania, 1994. 329.

---. "The Gender of Transparency: Masculinity and the Conduct of Life." American Literary History 4.4 (1992): 584-606.

---. Delicate Subjects: Romanticism, Gender, and the Ethics of Understanding. Ithaca: Cornell UP, 1990.

The above citations represent only a tiny sample of Dr. Ellison's creative and scholarly output. For a complete list of publications, please see her bio page at the University of Michigan website:

ENGL 520

ENGL 520, Graduate Seminar on Literary Studies and the Profession, is an experimental pilot course combining what will become two separate seminars: an introduction to graduate literary study and a capstone experience for graduate students in English to help them prepare for work in the field, whether they enter teaching jobs, advance to doctoral study or engage in other professional activity. The spring 2006 students agree that the Mary Louise White Symposium provides a wonderful opportunity for them to gain contemporary perspectives on the role of the humanities and the status of the university in American culture, as well as a focus on issues concerning the construction of "the human." Students Erin Ackerman, Erynn Anderson, Melissa DiMartino and Jeffrey McConnell will represent graduate students in the department during the "Student Practice" session on Friday afternoon. They each bring a different area of emphasis to the panel, and together will address the stakes of graduate study in the humanities today.

David Ewing

A native Clevelander, Dave Ewing earned a B.A. in Biology and General Science from Hiram College, and a Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry from Ohio University. He has done additional research training at Case Western Reserve University and Ohio State University. Dr. Ewing was a member of the Chemistry faculty at John Carroll University from 1985 to 2005, starting as a Visiting Assistant Professor and rising through the ranks to full Professor. At John Carroll, Dr. Ewing also served as Chair of the Department of Chemistry 1994-99, and Chair of the Dolan Science Center Planning Committee from 1998 to 2003. In the fall of 2005, Dr. Ewing moved to SUNY Fredonia as Dean of the College of Natural and Social Sciences.

Leonard Faulk

Dr. Len Faulk has been a professor in Political Science, administrator (Chair, Interim Vice President for Academic Affairs, Associate Vice President and Graduate Dean), and an active contributor to academic outreach at SUNY Fredonia (Founder and Director of Center for Regional Advancement) for the past 25 years. He received his bachelor of arts degree in Social Science from Wheaton College; his Master of Social Work in Community Organization and Ph.D. in Social Policy from the University of Pittsburgh. Prior to coming to SUNY Fredonia, Dr. Faulk was a successful administrator of several community service agencies including the Director of the Jamestown Community Action Agency, Coordinator of the Chautauqua County Small Business Assistant Program, Founder and Executive Director of the Chautauqua Home Rehabilitation and Improvement Corporation, and Associate Director of Rural American in Washington, D.C.

Natalie Gerber
Natalie Gerber is Assistant Professor of English at SUNY Fredonia. Her research and teaching focus upon 20th-century poetry and poetics, especially the expressive use of language. She also enjoys exploring how film, dance, and other arts equally use the resources of their mediums for expressivity. She firmly believes that an engagement with literature and the arts belongs beyond the classroom and, for more than ten years, she helped organize poetry festivals, series, and events around the country, including the Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Festivals and U.S. poet laureate Robert Hass's Watershed conference at the Library of Congress.

Christine Givner

Dr. Christine Givner is the Dean of the College of Education at SUNY Fredonia. She has extensive experience in the areas of the education of students with emotional/behavior disorders and learning disabilities and the use of technology to facilitate the learning of students with disabilities, with gifts and talents, or at-risk for academic failure. She has particular interest and expertise concerning the following issues: a) establishing successful learning environments in inclusive, heterogeneous classrooms; b) formal, informal, and authentic assessment; c) change and innovation in schools; d) collaboration and consultation in schools; e) the instruction of students with mild/moderate disabilities or at-risk for academic failure; and f) the use of teacher research to facilitate greater teacher reflection.

President Dennis L. Hefner
Dennis L. Hefner was appointed President of SUNY Fredonia in 1996, and since then has aggressively made improvements to the efficiency and productivity of the university. Under his leadership, Fredonia's enrollment has grown to a record total of 5,300 students, applications have nearly doubled, its teacher education programs have been nationally accredited by NCATE, and the average SAT scores for its incoming freshmen have increased by more than 50 points. Annual fund raising, which was about $700,000 at the time of his arrival, has approached or exceeded $2 million in each of the past five years. Fredonia was named 9th in the North by U.S. News & World Report, and was ranked 7th in the nation for 4-year graduation rates among public regional universities.

In addition, President Hefner serves on various community boards, including Brooks Memorial Hospital and the Chautauqua Integrated Delivery System.

He serves New York State as a member of the State Education Department Policy Advisory Group; SUNY Task Force on Student Fees and Charges; and the SUNY committee on the Budget Allocation Process, and is a member of the NCAA's Financial Aid Committee.

Virginia Schaefer Horvath

Dr. Virginia Horvath has been serving as Vice President for Academic Affairs at SUNY Fredonia since July 2005. Formerly, she was Dean of Academic and Student Services at Kent State University and Special Assistant to the President for Strategic Planning. A recipient of Kent State's Distinguished Teaching Award, she is a Professor of English, with specialties in medieval literature, children's literature, poetry, and faculty professional development issues-including the scholarship of engagement/outreach. She has publications on a range of subjects and has presented many papers and workshops across the United States and internationally.

A native Buffalonian, Dr. Horvath grew up in Eggertsville and graduated from the Buffalo Seminary in 1975. She received her bachelor's degree in English from SUNY Buffalo, and her master's degree and doctorate from Kent State. She has traveled extensively, and studied and taught in Kenya, China, India and Japan.

In 2002-03, she was one of 36 people selected nationwide by the American Council on Education (ACE) for its Fellows Program, spending a year as an ACE Fellow at Mount Union College in Alliance, Ohio. The ACE Fellows Program is considered the nation's premier higher education leadership development program.

James Ivey

James Ivey is in his sixth year at SUNY Fredonia as the Chair of Theatre and Dance. Mr. Ivey has acted in recent productions of The Music Man and Fiddler on the Roof at the Chautauqua Opera. He came to Fredonia from Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene, Texas where he was chair of theatre for nine years. He wrote and directed his own play, A World of Their Own, in 1999. His directing credits include Oleanna, Macbeth, Dancing at Lughnasa, The Taming of the Shrew, J.B., and Exit the King. He looks forward to a fall sabbatical in Europe studying at the Scuola Internazionale Dell'Attore Comico.

Christina Jarvis
Christina Jarvis is Associate Professor of English and Director of American Studies at SUNY Fredonia, where she teaches courses in 20th-century American literature and culture. She is the author of The Male Body at War: American Masculinity during World War II (2004), and has published articles on gender and embodiment in journals such as Women's Studies, The Southern Quarterly, and War, Literature, and the Arts. Her next book project will explore representations of and cultural dialogues about fatherhood in 20th-century America.

Mike Kirst

Mike Kirst was happily making his way through life as a printing pressman when all of the industrial jobs in Chautauqua County suddenly migrated south. Since following the jobs to a sunnier climate would have been too much of a shock to his Dunkirk bred system, he returned to school, earning an Associate's degree in Humanities from Jamestown Community College and Bachelor's and Master's degrees in English from SUNY Fredonia. He has taught English at every level from kindergarten through community college, has taught and administered adult education programs and conducted and designed industrial and vocational trainings. He is currently the Director of Literacy Volunteers - Chautauqua County and teaches composition and literature at Jamestown Community College.

Ana Maria Klein

Ana Maria Klein, Ph.D. (McGill University, Montreal, Canada) Assistant Professor College of Education, SUNY Fredonia, teaches numeracy and cultural awareness courses. She currently runs a literacy program in Forestville, New York. Dr. Klein has been involved with the Dunkirk community since 2001 and finds that most programs established here are short-lived and dependent on seasonal funding.

Jill Marshall

Jill Marshall's current work as a faculty member in the SUNY Fredonia College of Education teaching elementary social studies education motivates her interest in understanding how students make sense of history and its relevance in their lives through the use of primary sources.

Robert Marzec

Robert P. Marzec is Associate Professor of English literature, postcolonial studies, global studies, and contemporary criticism at SUNY Fredonia. His book An Ecological and Postcolonial Study of Literature: From Daniel Defoe to Salman Rushdie is forthcoming from Palgrave Macmillan. He is currently at work on a second book project tentatively entitled Land and Empire: Literature in the Era of Globalization. He has had articles published in boundary 2, The Journal of Commonwealth and Postcolonial Studies, rhizomes, and Janus Head. He is also the editor of the book Regional American Cultures: the Mid-Atlantic States (Greenwood Press, 2004).

Shannon McRae

Shannon McRae is an Assistant Professor in English at SUNY Fredonia. She received her Ph.D. in 1999 from the University of Washington and a Master's in Philosophy in Irish Studies from University College Dublin in 1987. Her main interests are Modernist poetry, ancient and medieval literature, and the literary uses of myth.

Jeanette McVicker

Jeanette McVicker, current chairperson of the Department of English, brings a multidisciplinary perspective to her work in the humanities. She holds a B.A. in English (1981) from Purdue University with a minor in women's studies; her graduate work at SUNY Binghamton on literature, critical theory and philosophy resulted in an M.A. in Philosophy (1986) and a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature (1988).

Since her arrival at Fredonia in 1988, she has taught theory, world literature, journalism, and seminars on Thomas Pynchon, Virginia Woolf and Michel Foucault. She directed the Women's Studies program from 1996 to 2000 and, currently, coordinates the Interdisciplinary Minor in Journalism as well as serving as faculty advisor to The Leader.

Aimee Nezhukumatathil

Aimee Nezhukumatathil is the author of the poetry collection, Miracle Fruit (Tupelo Press, 2003), winner of the ForeWord Magazine Book of the Year Award in poetry, and Corpse Flower, forthcoming in 2007. She has been awarded the Richard Hugo Prize in poetry from Poetry Northwest and a Middlebrook fellowship at the Wisconsin Creative Writing Institute. She is an Assistant Professor of English at SUNY Fredonia.

Stephen Rees

Professor Stephen E. Rees serves two humanities-based organizations, the Department of Theatre and Dance at SUNY Fredonia, where he serves as the Technical Director, Professor of Theatre, and Associate Chair, and a member of the Board of Directors of The 1891 Fredonia Opera House, where he is now in his third 3-year term.

Mr. Rees freelances as a technical director or lighting designer for such organizations as The Summer Opera Theatre Company of Washington, D.C., OPERADelaware, and most recently for Compania Lirica Nacional in San Jose, Costa Rica. He earned a B.S. in Theatre from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, and a M.F.A. at the University of Memphis. He served as the Technical Director and Lighting Designer at the University of Georgia before coming to Fredonia in 1982.

Thomas Roque

Thomas Roque, current Dunkirk School Board member, initiated the successful program 2XL. His enthusiasm and dedication placed Dunkirk area youth on the headlines earning multiple trophies in boxing and dance. 2XL ran successfully for several years until its funding and location were eliminated. The Adams Art Gallery and Rural Ministries attempted to continue the program yet again were cut short for lack of funding. In this meeting of minds, as we seek to provide our community with the tools to empower children and youth to reach their utmost potential, we share our story in hopes that more permanent funding and support are provided for the Dunkirk community.

Paul Schwartz

Dr. Paul J. Schwartz is the Dean of Arts and Humanities at SUNY Fredonia. He received his B.A. in French from Harvard University (1967) and a Ph.D. from Yale University (1971).

Before coming to Fredonia, Dr. Schwartz served for seven years as the director of academic affairs at Penn State University's Wilkes-Barre campus.

Prior to his Penn State appointment, Dr. Schwartz was an American Council on Education Fellow at Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania. From 1971 to 1989, he was a faculty member, then department chair in modern classical languages at the University of North Dakota, where he also coordinated the honors program.

He is the author of Georges Perec: Traces of his Passage (Summa Publications, 1988).

Lauren Silberman

Much of keynote speaker Lauren Silberman's work revolves around Edmund Spenser's The Faerie Queene. In her extensive work and research concerning this epic poem, Silberman attempts to show that Spenser "has something to say to late 20th-century readers." She also applies what might be considered "modern ideas" to classic works such as The Faerie Queene and the Renaissance Bible. Her published work incorporates "classic" texts with new ideas of sexuality and female erotic desire, for example.

In response to her book, Transforming Desire: Erotic Knowledge in Books III and IV of The Faerie Queene, literary critic Anne Lake Prescott remarked that "Lauren Silberman...understands that Spenser's exploration of erotic not designed simply to demonstrate a truth expressible in a sermon or parental exhortation to behave oneself but rather to test, to interrogate, to analyze, to comment with some irony on human sexual behavior and the desires that impel it. What first struck me...was Silberman's ingenious way of reading Spenser's early modern text in the light of some very postmodern science. Silberman doesn't mean that Spenser anticipated quantum mechanics or string theory, but she does show that what modern science has to say about 'chaos' and other concepts is already figured in Spenser's sense of the world's and Amor's slipperiness."

Silberman, who is Professor of English at Baruch College (part of the City University of New York system), also writes on Milton, Donne and other medievalists and is a past president of the International Spenser Society. She is a graduate of Yale and Smith.

Selected Bibliography

Silberman, Lauren. Transforming Desire: Erotic Knowledge in Books III and IV of The Faerie Queene. University of California Press, 1995.

---, with Patrick Gerard Cheney, eds. Worldmaking Spenser: Explorations in the Early Modern Age. University of Kentucky Press, 1999.

---. "The Faerie Queene, Book V, and the Politics of Text." Spenser Studies: A Renaissance Poetry Annual 19, (2004), 1-16.

---. "The Specter of Dido: Spenser and Virgilian Epic." Sixteenth Century Journal, Vol. 27 (Autumn 1996), No. 3, 969-970.

---. "The Poem's Two Bodies: The Poetics of the 1590 Faerie Queene." Renaissance Quarterly, 1992.

---. "Spenser and Ariosto: Funny Peril and Comic Chaos." Comparative Literature Studies, 1988.

---. "The Faerie Queene, Book II and the Limitations of Temperance." Modern Language Studies (1987) Vol. 17, No. 4, 9-22.

---. "Singing Unsung Heroines: Androgynous Discourse in Book III of The Faerie Queene." In Rewriting the Renaissance: The Discourses of Sexual Difference in Early Modern Europe, ed. Margaret Ferguson et. al. University of Chicago Press, 1986.

Bruce Simon

Bruce Simon is an Associate Professor of English and teaches courses in American, African American, and world literature. He is a former co-editor of Workplace: A Journal for Academic Labor and has published his research in Postcolonial Theory and the United States: Race, Ethnicity, and Literature, Race Consciousness: African-American Studies for the New Century, The Social Construction of Race and Ethnicity in the United States, and The Politics of Information For more on his teaching and research, including on-line syllabi and essays, see his website at

Lindsay Smith

Lindsay Smith, a graduate student in one of Jill Marshall's social studies education courses, shows that history is more than a collection of facts for children to memorize through her jackdaw (collection of primary sources) of the World War II period. Her enthusiasm for the time period and for understanding its events and people is a powerful illustration of the fact that our link to the past surrounds us.

Theodore Steinberg

Theodore Steinberg is Distinguished Teaching Professor in the Department of English at SUNY Fredonia. Although he teaches primarily medieval and Renaissance literature, his latest book focuses on twentieth-century epic novels. He is a strong believer in the value of the humanities.

James Stevens

James Thomas Stevens is the author of four books of poetry, Tokinish (First Intensity Press 1994), Combing the Snakes from His Hair (Michigan State UP 2002), dis(Orient) (Palmpress, 2005), and Mohawk/Samoa: Transmigrations (subpress, 2006), and two forthcoming, The Mutual Life (Plan B Press 2006) and A Bridge Dead in the Water (Salt Publishing 2006). He is a member of the Akwesasne Mohawk tribe, and he attended the Institute of American Indian Arts and Naropa University and holds an M.F.A. from Brown University. He is a 2000 Whiting Award recipient and a 2005 National Poetry Series finalist. He has published in over thirty journals and done readings from Stirling, Scotland and Cambridge, England to Amman, Jordon and Grenoble, France. He is an Associate Professor of English and Director of Native American Studies at SUNY Fredonia.

Loretta Slaton Torain

Loretta Slaton Torain is currently the Director of the Upward Bound Program at SUNY Fredonia. She formerly worked as the Recruitment and Retention Coordinator for the McNair Scholars Program , SUNY Fredonia; Project Administrator for the Teacher Opportunity Corp, SUNY Fredonia; Administrative Assistant for the Middle School Science Teacher Enhancement Program, SUNY Fredonia; and Legal Secretary for Towne, Rubenstein, Snyder & Polowy.

She is also currently the President of the Dunkirk-Fredonia Branch National Association for the Advancement of Colored People; President of the Board of Directors of the Core Area Preservation Company; and a member of multiple area Boards of Directors.

She was a former advisor for the Black Student Union, SUNY Fredonia; and a former member of 1891 Fredonia Opera House Board. Loretta received a Bachelor's Degree in English and her Master of Arts in English from SUNY Fredonia.

She is married to Frank G. Torain who is a JROTC Instructor at Dunkirk High School and they are the parents of Zachary Franklin Torain age 10 and Franceska Giannine Torain age 12. They reside in the City of Dunkirk, New York.

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