Humanities & Social Sciences Faculty
- BA, University of Nevada, Reno
- MA, University of California, Berkeley
- PhD, University of Washington
O’Bryan teaches courses in American literature, philosophy, world religions, American and world history, ethics, and Latin. His interests include historiography and the challenges that new perspectives such as postmodernism offer to traditional historical understanding; philosophy in terms of the many intersections between Asian and Western thought; the psychological and sociological dimensions of religion; and the role of literature as the most sensitive reflection of any historical epoch.
- MA in Counseling Psychology, Pacifica Graduate Institute
- BS, Allegheny College
Donna Axton is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. She had her own private practice for several years, and held internships at Tahoe Safe Alliance, Truckee Group, Individual and Family Therapy Services, Glenshire Elementary School in Truckee, and St. Nicholas Community Services in Tahoe City during her training. At Sierra Nevada College she teaches the counseling related psychology courses: Counseling and Clinical Psychology, Art and Music Therapy, Clinical Methodologies, Health Psychology, Abnormal Psychology, and Human Development.
Axton spent 14 years touring the world as a pianist in Hoyt Axton’s band. She played country western, boogie woogie, gospel, and rock and roll on 21 albums, co-produced two, and appeared on dozens of television shows, including the Tonight Show. She has many writing, arranging and directing credits to her name and has directed, conducted and/or played for scores of local musical productions at all levels from community to professional. She is also known as a chamber music and solo pianist.
Agroecology and Sustainable Development
- BA, Global Economics, University of California, Santa Cruz
- MA, Environmental Studies, University of California, Santa Cruz
- PhD, Agroecology, University of California, Santa Cruz
Nick’s teaching and research interests focus on agroecology, food systems, and sustainable development. He uses interdisciplinary approaches to understand and promote sustainable land management and community development in both tropical and temperate landscapes.
In his dissertation research, he evaluated the impacts of Fair Trade marketing networks and the adoption of agroecological farming practices on reducing smallholder coffee farmer vulnerability in Costa Rica. Partnering with local coffee cooperatives and an international NGO, the results were used to improve smallholder agricultural systems and marketing strategies, and were published in the Journal of Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems and in a policy brief for Food First: The Institute for Food and Development.
His postdoctoral research has focused on US water policy, evaluating obstacles and opportunities for meeting water quality goals in both rural and urban watersheds. These projects involve undergraduates at every phase from project design to publication to improve our understanding of the adoption, maintenance, and spread of water conservation and climate change best management practices. This work has been published in Land Use Policy, Climatic Change, Landscape and Urban Planning, Journal of Forestry, Journal of the American Water Resources Association (JAWRA), and by Purdue Extension.
The same commitment to community-based approaches, policy-relevant and applied topics, and sustainability that inspires his research also drives his work with students in the classroom and the field. His aim is to encourage students to become lifetime active learners and engaged citizens. His teaching and mentoring use experiential and field-based service learning opportunities to demonstrate connections between complex course materials and learners’ lives. He is excited to work with Sierra Nevada College students and the Lake Tahoe community towards the larger goals of justice and environmental sustainability.
- BA, Religion and Philosophy, University of La Verne
- MA, Women’s Studies in Religion, Claremont Graduate University
Shannon Beets brings twenty years of experience in higher education as a senior administrator and faculty member. Immediately prior to assuming the role of Interim President of the College, Ms. Beets served for three years as Executive Vice President and Provost. She joined Sierra Nevada College in 2006 and has held a variety of positions across key academic areas, including as Vice President for Assessment and Institutional Effectiveness, as Associate Provost, as the Dean of Education for the Teacher Education Department, and as Dean of Enrollment Services.
During her tenure she has worked closely with faculty, the executive leadership, and the Board to create high impact academic programs, measure student learning outcomes, and assess institutional effectiveness. She successfully led the College’s most recent reaccreditation process; and she has launched three successful Master’s degree programs, including the Master of Arts in Education (M.Ed.), and two innovative, low-residency programs: the Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.) in Creative Writing and the MFA in Interdisciplinary Art. Most recently she spearheaded development of the College’s Strategic Plan for 2014-2021 through a process that engaged all sectors of the College community, as well as key external stakeholders.
As an innovative educator, she has passionately advocated for active learning, leading and collaborating with SNC faculty to create significant new initiatives to increase high impact practices in the classroom – a distinguishing hallmark of Sierra Nevada College. In addition to her administrative responsibilities and her work in designing innovative curriculum, she continues to teach, both in the landmark freshman year experience course, CORE 101, and in senior level courses in a variety of areas.
Beets is a frequent presenter on academic innovation and student engagement both nationally and internationally, recently representing the College in China during a multi-university tour to collaborate on the teaching of entrepreneurial thinking to Chinese youth. In keeping with her strong commitment to the community, Beets serves as the facilitator for the North Lake Tahoe-Truckee Leadership Program, which trains, informs and engages accomplished professionals throughout the region in preparation for leadership roles in the community.
- B.A. English and Government, Pomona College
- M.A. Communication/Journalism, Stanford University
Ann Marie Brown is the author of 14 outdoor travel guidebooks plus hundreds of articles that have appeared in Sunset, Backpacker, VIA, Islands, California, Hemispheres, Travel + Leisure, Wanderlust, Cross Country Skier, and other magazines. She has taught writing classes for college students and adults for more than 20 years. At SNC, she teaches mass media theory, reporting and editing, travel and adventure writing, and rhetoric and composition classes.
- BS, University of California, Davis
- MA, University of California, Berkeley
- PhD, University of California, Berkeley
Christina M. Frederick teaches psychology courses ranging from the introductory level to courses with more specialized emphases such as cognitive/behavioral, neuroscience, sensation and perception, social psychology, developmental, and research methods. Although her background is cognitive, her teaching and research experience has taken her far outside the cognitive domain. Christina’s research interests range from human memory, to human perception, to undergraduate plagiarism. Her non-academic interests revolve around her family, with whom she is dedicated to living life to the fullest.
Outdoor Adventure Leadership
- BA, Anthropology and Geology, Bowdoin College
- MA, Multicultural Adventure Education, National University
Rosie Hackett teaches classes in interdisciplinary studies, outdoor leadership, wilderness ethics, service learning and senior portfolio. Rosie won SNC’s Distinguished Teaching Award in 2011 and the Distinguished Advising Award in 2015. Her mission is to empower her students to become “growth” junkies, passionate leaders, competent outdoor professionals, and lifelong environmental stewards.
Rosie has dedicated the past 20 years to field instruction, curriculum design, environmental stewardship, and leadership development, and is a fervent believer in the power of outdoor adventure education to change and enrich lives. Her extensive and varied field experience includes instructing/guiding sailing, sea kayaking, whitewater rafting/kayaking, rock climbing, mountaineering, backcountry skiing, and outdoor leadership for schools and organizations all over the world.
Prior to establishing SNC’s Outdoor Adventure Leadership Program, Rosie developed and directed the successful Wilderness Education Program at Lake Tahoe Community College. While growing LTCC’s Wilderness Program, she was also an assistant professor at Prescott College and a lead facilitator in organizational leadership for Adventure Associates.
On her days off, Rosie can usually be found skiing, surfing, climbing or biking with her husband, Bret, her two children, Ruby and Van, and her dog, Osa, near her home in South Lake Tahoe or in a far away place.
Philosophy, Literature, Political Economy
- BA, English Literature, University of Florida
- MA, Literature, Theory, and Cultural Studies, Purdue University
- PhD, Philosophy, Purdue University
Robert Drury King is an associate professor in the Department of Humanities at Sierra Nevada College. He is also a research fellow with the Centre Leo Apostel at the Free University of Brussels. He has been a visiting fellow at Duke University’s Center for the History of Political Economy and at the Saxo Institute at the University of Copenhagen, Humanities Division. As a graduate of the Philosophy and Literature program at Purdue University, his doctoral dissertation, “System Individuation in Differential and Dialectical Ontology: Deleuze, Hegel, and Systematic Thought,” received the 2011 College of Liberal Arts Distinguished Dissertation Award.
Robert publishes in the fields of systems theory, philosophy, and political economy. He has studied at the School of Criticism and Theory at Cornell University; the Collegium Phaenomenologicum in Citta di Castello, Italy; and within the Unseld Lecture Series at the University of Tübingen. He has been a visiting fellow of the World Congress Summer School in Glasgow, Scotland with the Association for Social Economics; in the National Endowment for the Humanities’ 2012 Summer Institute in Experimental Philosophy at the University of Arizona; and a fellow at the National Humanities Center’s Summer Institutes in Literary Studies, in Robert Pippin’s J.M. Coetzee seminar.
Robert has received a grant from The John F. Kennedy School for North American Studies, and a Franklin Research Grant from the American Philosophical Society which he used to study the Norbert Wiener Papers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is an inaugural member of the London Graduate School’s Summer Academy in Critical Humanities and he was a text seminar leader on Hegel’s Logic under Angelica Nuzzo at the Collegium Phaenomenologicum in the summer of 2014. His work has been the subject of a Guy L. Leonard Memorial Lecture at the University of Nevada, Reno and an Illuminations Lecture at Purdue University. He is also the book review editor for Constructivist Foundations.
- MFA, Creative Writing, Bowling Green State University
June Sylvester Saraceno is originally from Elizabeth City, North Carolina. Her work has appeared in various journals including American Journal of Nursing, California Quarterly, The Pedestal, Silk Road, Smartish Pace, Southwestern American Literature, Tar River Poetry and others; as well as several anthologies including A Bird as Black as the Sun: California Poets on Crows and Ravens; Intimate Kisses: the poetry of sexual pleasure; Passionate Hearts: the poetry of sexual love, and Tahoe Blues. Her chapbook Mean Girl Trips was published in fall 2006 by Pudding House Press. She has published two full-length collections of poetry, Altars of Ordinary Light (Plain View Press, 2007), and Of Dirt and Tar (WordTech Communications, 2014). She is currently English Program Chair at Sierra Nevada College, Lake Tahoe, founding editor of the Sierra Nevada Review and Director of Writers in the Woods literary reader series.
- MFA, University of Oregon
Brian Turner is the author of two collections of poetry: Here, Bullet (Alice James Books, 2005; Bloodaxe Books, 2007) and Phantom Noise (Alice James Books, 2010; Bloodaxe Books in October of 2010). Both collections were published in Swedish by Oppenheim forlag and his poetry has been translated into several languages. His poetry and essays have been published in The New York Times, National Geographic, Poetry Daily, The Georgia Review, Virginia Quarterly Review and other journals. Turner earned an MFA from the University of Oregon before serving for seven years in the US Army. He was an infantry team leader for a year in Iraq with the 3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division. Prior to that, he deployed to Bosnia-Herzegovina with the 10th Mountain Division (1999-2000). Turner was featured in the documentary film Operation Homecoming: Writing the Wartime Experience, which was nominated for an Academy Award.
He received a USA Hillcrest Fellowship in Literature, an NEA Literature Fellowship in Poetry, the Amy Lowell Traveling Fellowship, the Poets’ Prize, and a Fellowship from the Lannan Foundation. His most recent book, Phantom Noise, was short-listed for the T.S. Eliot Prize in England, and he was awarded a Fellowship in the NEA/Japan-US Friendship Commission Creative Artist Program for 2012. His work has appeared on National Public Radio, the BBC, Newshour with Jim Lehrer, Here and Now, and on Weekend America, among others. He is the Director of the new Low Residency MFA program at Sierra Nevada College.
- BA, English, Dartmouth College
- MA, English Education & Curriculum Development, Stanford University
- CLAD, credential in English, Mills College.
Katie teaches English composition: Writing and the Environment and Educational Issues, communications, Principles of Interdisciplinary Studies, Service Learning , Senior Portfolio and a variety of other courses in the Humanities Department. She also teaches mountaineering and telemark skiing at the college.
Under the auspices of University of California, Berkeley, she designed and founded a literacy and leadership program, Adventure, Risk and Challenge (ARC) for high school youth. In 2011, she received the LL Bean Outdoor Hero award for her innovation with this program. A former outward bound instructor, she has taught mountaineering, rock climbing, backpacking, expeditionary canoeing and backcountry snowboarding courses across the United States for over a decade. She has worked with teachers, families, adults, youth in a range of 1 week to semester long expeditionary courses. She also taught English at Berkeley High School and English Language Development (ELD) at Sierra Mountain Middle School in Truckee.
At Sierra Nevada College, she is currently the Chair of the Interdisciplinary Studies Program and the advisor of the First Generation Club. Katie combines her academic focus in communication, writing and integrative learning with her passion for outdoor adventure education with her commitment to social justice and providing access to educational opportunities for all students. Through collaboration with faculty across departments, Katie has helped to build SNC’s Interdisciplinary Studies program. She hopes to bring active learning, service learning, communication skills, and integrative thinking to the college community and to inspire students to get out into the community to make a difference.