M'Banna Kantako, Masters Student, UNT
M'Banna Kantako was born in Springfield Il, in 1981. He is a humanitarian who has
always led by example as he strives to teach the importance of community service.
M'Banna graduated from Collin College in 2014 with his Associates of Arts degree where
he was also the President of the Black Student Organization. M'Banna went on to graduate
from the University of North Texas with a Bachelor of Science degree with concentrations
in Political Science, History and International Studies. M'Banna is currently in his
last year of studies completing his Masters degree in Public Administration at the
University of North Texas. He is passionate about the pursuit of purpose and community
service, and aspires to one day be Secretary General of the United Nations after becoming
President of the United States of America.
Brandy D. Spencer, Lifelong Learner
In December of 2016 Brandy D. Spencer graduated Magna Cum Laude from Southern Methodist
University, earning her BA in English and History with distinction in both departments.
However, this was not Brandy’s first foray into the world of academia. Like many typical
American kids, she was pushed into college directly out of high school. In 1991 she
enrolled in the fledgling Collin County Community College, but the typical American
path was not quite the journey the universe had in mind for her. After fighting a
proliferative cellular disorder throughout her adolescence, Brandy was ready to live
her life rather than spend four-plus years in college working toward an unknown destination.
After one aimless semester at Collin, she opted instead for a quick ten-month cosmetology
program and spent her twenties dressing fabulous hair and living an overindulgent,
glamorous lifestyle in University Park. By 2001 she had become restless in her superficial
routine, so she sold all of her possessions and spent most of the next decade traveling
the globe. As she met new people and discovered different cultures Brandy became fascinated
with food and its significant relationship with community. In 2010 she enrolled in
Le Cordon Bleu where she began her research in food history. Earning an AAS in Culinary
Arts led her to a position as the research assistant on a highly acclaimed, narrative
heavy cookbook, which won the prestigious James Beard Award the year following its
publication. After completing the cookbook project in 2012 her desire to continue
researching and writing provoked her to test the waters of traditional college once
again. Twenty years after her first attempt she enrolled in the rebranded Collin College.
By this time both Brandy and the college had grown and changed, and she then found
Collin to be her perfect match. Brandy’s two years at Collin College taught her that
formal education is a reward that isn’t limited to only one demographic, and she sings
the school’s praises to anyone who will listen!
Currently, Brandy is exploring graduate school options, navigating the blogosphere,
and looking forward to whatever exciting experiences life has in store ahead of her.
Jason Wang, MBA
CEO of Byte Size Moments
Early in life, Jason faced great adversity and hardship. To escape, he turned to a
life of hustling, gambling, and eventually joined a gang. At the age of 15, Jason
was incarcerated and earned a 12 year sentence, 3 of which he spent within a juvenile
prison. It was here that Jason finally committed to turning his life around.
Since being released from prison, Jason has graduated from UT Dallas with a double
masters (MBA, International Business), has raised over a quarter million dollars in
private funding for non-profits, serves on the board of directors for TCJC, is featured
in the hit documentary, Chasing Bonnie and Clyde, and is the CEO and Founder of Byte
Size Moments, a company specializing in hand delivering gifts and capturing the reaction
(featured on MSNBC)!
Jason is passionate about entrepreneurship and creating positive change in the lives
of formerly incarcerated individuals.
Jennifer K. L. Buchan
Published Author & Student - University of North Texas
Jennifer K. L. Buchan attended Collin College from 2011 to 2013. She is a published
fiction and nonfiction writer, a senior at the University of North Texas (UNT), and
the 2013 recipient of the prestigious Jack Kent Cooke Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship
award. Jen (her preferred name, as she encourages informality whenever possible) is
an active member of UNT’s Honors College and several honor societies, most notably,
Phi Theta Kappa, Phi Kappa Phi, Sigma Tau Delta, an English honor society, and Triota,
an honor society for Gender and Women’s Studies. She heads a small creative writing
group in Denton, Texas, and has a piece forthcoming in this year’s North Texas Review.
Jen’s research deals primarily with gender and class issues, especially as they pertain
to domestic violence and abuse. She is passionate about helping others see their own
potential and strength. As both a child and adult survivor of domestic violence, she
advocates for those unable to speak for themselves. Currently, she is researching
how to open a women's shelter close to her home. While she devotes free time volunteering
at the local animal shelter and preventing animal cruelty, she still thinks her dog
is the best dog in the world (nothing can convince her otherwise). Ultimately, she
hopes to write a great American novel, buy a farm, and save everyone. You can find
her at http://www.jenklynn.com.
Alex T. Williams
PhD Student - University of Pennsylvania, Annenberg School
Alex T. Williams attended Collin College from 2006 – 2008, where he began studying
the immigration debate in Texas. After transferring to the University of North Texas,
he was awarded undergraduate fellowships from the National Science Foundation and
the Ronald McNair Program. As a second-year doctoral student at the Annenberg School
for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania, he was recently awarded the Google
Journalism Fellowship and the National Science Foundation’s Graduate Research Fellowship.
Alex's research explores how political, economic, and technological changes influence
media innovation and political discourse. He has studied the role partisan news websites
played in spreading the derogatory political term “anchor babies”; how the expansion
of user-generated content in newspapers led to more moral and cultural arguments against
immigration being printed; and the evolution of the debate over the digital paywall
model in the newspaper industry. His work has been published by the Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication and Digital Journalism, and presented at conferences held by the American Sociological Association and the
National Communication Association. His address will focus on the benefits of undergraduate
research and practical steps students can take to build upon their research.
Ray Wheatley, MS, CLP™
UT Southwestern Medical Center - Office For Technology Development
Ray Wheatley is Director for Technology Transfer and Cooperative Research in the Office
for Technology Development at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center
at Dallas. He joined UT Southwestern in 1984 and has worked in technology transfer
since 1990 where he and his staff are responsible for the management and licensing
of UT Southwestern's intellectual property (patents, trade secrets and copyrights).
Mr. Wheatley has negotiated hundreds of various intellectual property and license
agreements, working with US and foreign companies including major pharmaceutical companies,
venture capital firms, and leading medical device manufacturers in their efforts to
license products such as pharmaceuticals, medical devices, software, and bioengineered
research materials. He has been an invited speaker at many national and international
meetings and has spoken on a variety of topics. Mr. Wheatley is active in both the
Licensing Executives Society (LES) and the Association of University Technology Managers
(AUTM) and served as a liaison between these two associations for 3 years. Mr. Wheatley
has a BS degree in biochemistry from the University of Illinois and a MS degree in
health care administration from Texas Woman's University. He is also a recipient of
a Certified Licensing Professional credential.
Alan R. Sanders, M.D.
- Graduated from Texas A&M University with a B.S. in Biology (1986), from Baylor College
of Medicine in 1991, and attended University of California at Los Angeles - Neuropsychiatric
Institute and Hospital and West LosAngeles - Veterans Affairs Medical Center from
1991-1995 as an Intern, Resident, & Chief Resident in Adult Psychiatry.
- He previously held medical licenses for California and Texas, is currently licensed
in Illinois, and is board certified in psychiatry by the American Board of Psychiatry
- Dr. Sanders has been appointed to numerous faculty positions including but not limited
to: NIMH-IRP as a Sr. Staff Fellow, the University of Chicago as Assistant Professor
& Full Professor, Northwestern University as Associate Professor, and is currently
the Clinical Associate Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Chicago. He has
also worked at the University of California at Los Angeles, West Los Angeles – VACM,
the University of Chicago Hospitals and is currently working at Medical Group NorthShore
University Health Systems.
- Dr. Sanders has been an Investigator, Founder, Director, & Associate Director of
Research, of respectively, Genetic, Molecular Psychiatry, Behavioral Sciences, Psychiatry,
Psychiatric Genetics and is currently & Co-Vice Chair of The IRB at NorthShore University
- He has served on numerous committees, mentored countless students, received a dozen
scholarships, & won scores of accolades. Some of those awards include: Federal Junior
Fellow, Departments of Respiratory Therapy, Radiology, and Social Work, Amarillo VAMC,
Research Assistant, Institute of Developmental Biology, Texas A&M University, Top
Graduating Senior and Gonfalonier, College of Science, Texas A&M University, Faculty
Achievement Award, College of Science, Texas A&M University, Texas Medical Association
Mental Health and Mental Retardation Committee, Howard Hughes Medical Institute Medical
Student Research Training Fellow, Baylor College of Medicine, Alpha Omega Alpha Student
Research Fellow, Baylor College of Medicine 8th Annual Bingham Award for scholarship
in schizophrenia, Schizophrenia Foundation of Kentucky and Kentucky Mental Health
Association, American Psychiatric Association - Leadership Conference, American Psychiatric
Association - Research Colloquium for Young Investigators, Association for Academic
Psychiatry – GlaxoSmithKline, Junior Faculty Development Award, Research Career Development
Award, NorthShore University HealthSystem Fellow, Searle Junior Fellows Program &
The Searle Center for Teaching Excellence Northwestern University.
- Dr. Sanders has also acted as an Editor and Reviewer for the following publications:
Biomedical Psychiatry, BMC Genetics, Genes, Brain and Behavior, Human Genetics, Journal of Affective Disorders, Molecualr Psychiatry, Neuroscience Letters, and Pharmacogenetics and Genomics.
- Dr. Sanders has received various research grants, mostly from the National Institutes
of Health, over the past decade, totaling millions of dollars in research support.
- Finally, Dr. Sanders has had 63 original, Peer-Reviewed research articles published,
he has written 5 Editorials, Reviews, Chapters, Books, and Commentaries. He has created
3 Web-Based publications and other on-line Teaching Materials, holds 3 Patents, and
in the past 5 years alone, has Presented his work at 13 different conferences.
Dr. M.K. Underwood
Dr. Underwood, Ashbel Smith Professor of Psychology in the School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences at UTD.
In 1999 Dr. Underwood “received a $3.4 million dollar grant from the National Institutes
of Health to conduct the first-ever study of the content of teens’ texts, e-mails
and instant messages. Dr. Underwood has been studying 250 children and their families
since 2003, when the students were in the third grade. The study began as an effort
to understand how children make and keep friends. As the students grew up, it became
clear that electronic communication was an enormous part of their social lives. Underwood
adapted her study to capture this important aspect of the students’ social development”
(UTD News Center).
Dr. Underwood’s scholarly interests lie within the broad domains of children's emotion
regulation, peer relations, and developmental psychopathology. She earned her doctoral
degree from Duke University in child clinical psychology in 1991, and then joined
the faculty and was granted tenure at Reed College in Portland, Oregon. In September
of 1998, Dr. Underwood began her appointment as Associate Professor of Developmental
Psychology in the School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences at the University of Texas
Because gender and emotion regulation and peer relations are intimately intertwined,
other recent work has explored the extent to which empirical research supports the
claims that boys' and girls' social groups are sufficiently different as to be separate
cultures. Other studies have examined the long-term outcomes associated with childhood
peer problems for girls, including delinquency but also adolescent motherhood.
“My research focuses on how children express anger in their peer relationships. We
are particularly interested in the more subtle forms of anger expression common among
girls, behaviors we call social aggression. We are observing how children use social
aggression across contexts (face-to-face, behind-the-back, and online), and beginning
to investigate the developmental precursors and outcomes associated with social aggression”
Underwood, M.K., Beron, K.J., & Rosen, L.H. (2009). Continuity and change in social
and physical aggression from middle childhood through early adolescence. Aggressive Behavior, 35, 357-375.
Underwood, M.K., Beron, K.J., Gentsch, J.K., Galperin, M.B. & Risser, S. D. (2008).
Interparental Conflict Resolution Strategies, Parenting Styles, and Children’s Social
and Physical Aggression with Peers. International Journal of Behavioral Development, 32, 566-579.
Underwood, M. K. (2003). Social aggression among girls. Guilford Press.
Mark P. Orbe, Ph.D.
A native of New London, Connecticut and a product of New London public schools, Dr.
Orbe is a internationally known educator, author, and consultant/trainer. With a bachelor’s
degree in Organizational Communication (Ohio University, 1986) and a master’s degree
in Higher Education Administration (University of Connecticut, 1989), Dr. Orbe has
worked as a student affairs administrator at several colleges and universities. In
1993, he received his doctoral degree in Interpersonal/Intercultural Communication
from Ohio University and began teaching full-time.
Dr. Orbe’s teaching and research interests center on the inextricable relationship
between culture and communication as played out in a number of contexts (intrapersonal,
interpersonal, intergroup, mass media). He teaches a wide variety of undergraduate
and graduate courses (interpersonal communication, interracial/intercultural communication,
communication theory, critical research methods, and gender and communication) and
is actively involved in numerous research projects. He has presented over 80 papers
at regional, national, and international academic conferences, and published close
to 100 books, articles in scholarly journals, and chapters in edited books. His publications
have appeared in a variety of journals including: Communication Education; Critical Studies in Media Communication; Communication Theory;
Health Communication; Race, Class, and Gender; Howard Journal of Communication; Management
Communication Quarterly; International Journal of Intercultural Relations; Journal
of Intercultural Communication Research, New Directions in Child and Adolescent Development.
Journal of International and Intercultural Communication, Women’s Studies in Communication,
and Communication Methods and Measure.
To date, he has published seven books: Constructing Co-Cultural Theory: An Explication of Culture, Power, and Communication (Sage Publications, 1998); Interracial Communication: Theory Into Practice (with T. Harris, Wadsworth Publishing, 2001); Building Diverse Communities: Applications of Communication Research. (with T. McDonald and T. Ford-Ahmed, Hampton Press, 2003); Contemporary Issues in Interpersonal Communication (with C. Bruess, Roxbury Publishing, 2005); The Same and Different: Acknowledging the Diversity Within and Between Cultural Groups,, (with B. Allen and L. Flores, NCA Press, 2006); Communicating Within/Across Organizational Contexts (with B. Allen and L. Flores, NCA Press 2007); and Intercultural Communication in a Transnational World (with L. Flores and B. Allen, NCA Press 2009). A second edition of Interracial Communication: Theory Into Practice was published Sage Publications in 2007.
In addition to his award-winning teaching, research, and service accomplishments,
Dr. Orbe has actively sought out opportunities – across the U.S. and abroad – to utilize
his expertise beyond the walls of the university. Specifically, he has worked with
a number of corporate, educational, health-care and community-based organizations
in terms of promoting communication competence in an increasingly diverse society.
His range of expertise includes communication and diversity, community building, strategic
planning, mentoring, and academic writing/publishing.
At present, Dr. Orbe is Professor of Communication & Diversity in the School of Communication
at Western Michigan University where he holds a joint appointment in the Gender and
Women’s Studies Program. He also is the immediate past Editor of The Journal of Intergroup Relations and the current Co-Editor of The International and Intercultural Communication Annual. From 1993-1997, he served as an Assistant Professor of Communication at Indiana
University Southeast, where he also served as Department Coordinator and the first
campus-wide Director of Diversity.