Representing Senate District 16
First elected to the Nevada State Senate in 2010, Ben Kieckhefer was re‐elected in 2014 to represent a district that covers southern Washoe County and the entirety of Carson City. Ben was elected into Senate Republican Caucus leadership following the 2012 elections, and in 2015 was chosen as the Senate’s Assistant Majority Leader and Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee.
Prior to his election, Ben served the State of Nevada as communications director for Governor Jim Gibbons and public information officer for the Department of Health and Human Services. He is also a former journalist, having worked for the Reno Gazette‐Journal and the Associated Press covering government and politics.
The majority of Ben’s work in the Nevada Legislature focuses on budget and tax policy, healthcare, and education. His accomplishments include the creation of Nevada’s first need‐ based scholarship program for community college students, the development of alternate routes to licensure for Nevada teachers, the creation of a statutory sunset committee to review state government operations, and legislation cracking down on child sex offenders.
Outside of the Legislature, Ben works full‐time as the Director of Client Relations for the statewide Nevada law firm McDonald Carano Wilson LLP, and also serves on numerous charitable boards in northern Nevada.
Among Ben’s numerous honors, he was recognized as a 2011 winner of Reno‐Tahoe Young Professionals Network’s Twenty Under 40 awards, he was selected as a Fellow in the 2013 class of the Aspen Institute’s Rodel Fellowship in Public Leadership, and he was recognized by the Builders Association of Northern Nevada as the 2015 Outstanding Public Official.
Ben completed his undergraduate studies at DePaul University in Chicago, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in English. He also received a Master of Arts in Public Affairs Reporting from the University of Illinois – Springfield.
Despite Ben’s enthusiasm for public policy, his family remains his first priority. Ben and his wife April have two sets of boy‐girl twins: Aspen, Austin, Lucy, and Lincoln. In what little free time he can find, Ben likes to fish, ski, hunt, and cheer tirelessly for the Chicago Cubs.
Fiction, Poetry, Music
- Ph.D. in American Literature, University of California at Davis
Christian Kiefer’s first novel, The Infinite Tides (Bloomsbury) appeared on best of the year lists from Kirkus, Publishers Weekly, and Booklist and was given rave reviews in The Washington Post, Oprah.com, the San Francisco Chronicle, Brooklyn Rain, Library Journal, Huffington Post, and elsewhere. T.C. Boyle called the novel “smart, lyrical [and] deeply moving” and noted its “emotional complexity and pure aching beauty.” Pam Houston called it “the most emotionally and syntactically sophisticated debut I have ever seen.” His second novel, The Animals (Liveright / W.W. Norton) was a best book of the year from Amazon.com and was praised by Richard Ford, Janet Fitch, and many others. Porter Shreve, writing about the novel in the San Francisco Chronicle, noted that “the book is not just a galloping great read; it’s a violent, tender, terrifying, genuine work of art.”
Kiefer is the recipient of a Pushcart Prize for his short fiction, which has appeared in Santa Monica Review, Zyzzyva, Catamaran Literary Reader, and elsewhere. He writes and publishes poetry on a regular basis, and has a long second career in music, under the auspices of which he has collaborated with members of Smog, Sun Kil Moon, Wilco, Low, and The Band.
He teaches regularly at conferences including the Squaw Valley Community of Writers and the Catamaran Writing Conference, and has been a fellow at the Sewanee Writers’ Conference. Upcoming work includes the novella, One Day Soon Time Will Have No Place Left to Hide (Nouvella) and the novel, Kingdom of Wolves (Liveright / W.W. Norton).
He lives in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada northeast of Sacramento, California with his wife and sons.
Barry M. Klein received his Ph.D. in condensed matter theory from New York University in 1969 following an undergraduate degree in Engineering Physics from NYU in 1962. From 1969-71 he held a postdoctoral appointment at the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL). In 1971 he became a member of the NRL staff working in condensed matter theory and in plasma physics on the theory of x-ray emission from laser-produced plasmas. In 1978 he became head of the NRL Electronic Structure of Solids Section, leading a theoretical effort in electronic structure studies of a wide range of solid systems, with particular emphasis on fundamental investigations of superconducting properties and point defects. In 1984-85 he was Program Manager for Condensed Matter Theory and Acting Section Head for Condensed Matter Sciences at the National Science Foundation (NSF). Returning to NRL in 1985, Dr. Klein became Branch Head for Condensed Matter Physics, supervising efforts in experimental x-ray physics, plasma spectroscopy and synchrotron radiation, in addition to theoretical condensed matter research. In 1989 Dr. Klein became Branch Head for the Complex Systems Theory Branch, leading a theoretical effort involving over 20 scientists engaged in studies of a wide range of condensed matter properties from electronic structure theory, to many body theory, to atomic physics. In 1992 Dr. Klein became Professor of Physics and Chair of the Department of Physics at the University of California, Davis. In 1998 he was appointed to the position of Vice Provost for Academic Personnel at UC Davis, a position he held for three years. On July 1, 2001 Dr. Klein was appointed Vice Chancellor for Research at UC Davis, a position he held until September 2010. He is currently Professor of Physics and Director of the McClellan Nuclear Research Center at UC Davis.
Dr. Klein is a Fellow of the American Physical Society (APS), a Fellow and Chartered Physicist of the Institute of Physics, and he is a Foreign Member of the Russian Academy of Sciences. He has also been Chair of the APS Division of Computational Physics. He was the recipient of a New York City Mayor’s Committee on Scholastic Achievement undergraduate scholarship, a NASA Graduate Fellowship, and a National Research Council Postdoctoral Associateship. He has received several government awards including a Navy Meritorious Civilian Service Award in 1992. He has been a member of numerous NSF, DoD and DoE and DOE Laboratory committees including: the NSF Supercomputing Center Peer Review Committee; the High Performance Computing Advisory Board for Los Alamos and Oak Ridge National Laboratories; the Advisory Committee for Physical Sciences and Space Technology and the Director¹s Advisory Committee at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory; and the Materials Science and Technology Advisory Committee at the Los Alamos National Laboratory. He has been involved in developing and supporting numerous major research initiatives at UC Davis, and he has served on many committees and boards in support of UC Davis, the UC system, and the international scientific community.
Dr. Klein’s condensed matter research efforts have been in electronic structure theory and applications, studying the fundamental properties of condensed matter systems using theoretical and computational approaches. He has over 140 research publications.
- BA, Governors State University
- MEd, Curriculum and Instruction, Governors State University
- PhD, Instructional and Curricular Studies, University of Nevada, Las Vegas.
Dr. Jeanne A. Klockow, is currently serving as the Director for the Master in Education degree in Advanced Teaching and Leadership (M.Ed.) Program. Dr. Klockow created and developed the M.Ed. program, with a primary focus on advocacy and teachers as agents for change through active leadership. The primary purpose of the M.Ed. program is to encourage professionals to become leaders in their respective professional fields. Dr. Klockow also serves as a Professor in the Department of Teacher Education, where she teaches classes in leadership and educational theory. Prior to coming to SNC, Dr. Klockow served in other educational capacities including the Director for the Center for Teaching & Learning-Assessment and also Curriculum Developer for large environmental agencies.
Warren C. Kocmond, Chairman and CEO of BG Radia Corporation, Research Professor of Atmospheric Physics. Prof Kocmond brings extensive senior-level management experience to the SNC Board and has directed operations of companies ranging from a few scientists and engineers to several hundred professionals. With a mathematics degree from the Univ of Arizona and a masters in meteorology from Penn State University, Kocmond went on to become Head of Atmospheric Physics at Cornell Aeronautical Laboratory when he was 29.
In 1978 Kocmond was named Executive Director of Atmospheric Sciences at the Desert Research Institute and later Acting President of the Institute in 1983. While at DRI he was honored as one of a handful of scientists to have his experiments chosen for flight on board space shuttle’s Atmospheric Cloud Physics Laboratory (ACPL). In 1984 Prof Kocmond became President of Sierra Nevada Corp, a navigation and avionics firm specializing in proprietary product development. SNC is now the largest defense contractor in the state of Nevada. Currently he is Chairman and CEO of BG-Radia Corp, an award winning designer and manufacturer of high performance loudspeakers that qualify as some of the finest audio products in the world.
He is a 36 year resident of Incline Village and is married to Janet Pahl, recognized as a long time friend of Sierra Nevada College.
- BA, Psychology, University of Nevada, Las Vegas
- MS, Elementary Education, Nova Southeastern University
- MEd, Special Education, University of Nevada, Las Vegas
- PhD, Special Education, University of Nevada, Las Vegas
Delilah Krasch is an adjunct faculty member for the online M.Ed. program. Dr. Krasch is also a project facilitator for the Early Childhood Department of Clark County School District and is an autism and early childhood special education content specialist for the New Teacher Center and the e-Mentoring for Student Success program. She has also served as a part-time instructor at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and taught third grade, second grade, and self-contained autism classes.
- PhD, University of Nevada, Las Vegas
Dr. Dottie Kulesza is a former Clark County School District administrator. All of her degrees are from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. She has been teaching a variety of courses for the past several years in Sierra Nevada College’s TED, both face-to-face and online. Dr. Kulesza joined SNC as a full-time staff member in 2013.
History of Art
- Ph.D. Art History, Pennsylvania State University
- M.A. Art History, The Courtauld Institute of Art
- B.A. Art History and Anthropology, The University of Arizona
Pierette studies the intersection between Renaissance Italy and Italy under the Fascist dictatorship. Her research explores the lives of objects, the way in which objects lead intriguing, multi-faceted lives, continuing to make new meaning after their initial moment of creation. Her research has been published in the Italian monograph La Chiesa di Santa Rosalia: La cappella dei principe Barberini a Palestrina (Palestrina, Edizione Articolo Nove) 2015. Her dissertation was awarded with Penn State;s Alumni Dissertation Award, and she has received a number of fellowships to fund her studies. Pierette teaches topics ranging from introductory surveys to Renaissance Italian art and art in film.
Dr. Lalchandani holds a degree in mechanical engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay, India, and an M.S. and Ph.D. in operations research from Cornell University. Throughout his career he focused on the application of operations-research techniques to a variety of industrial and government problems and operating roles in the high-tech industry, predominantly superconductors, computer systems, and software. His role gradually increased in scope from strategic planner to chief financial/administrative officer and finally as chief executive officer of a venture-backed software company (representative companies are National Semiconductor and Oracle).
For the past 15 years, he has worked as part-time advisor, board member, and general business mentor to a number of early-stage information-technology companies. Representative companies are Juniper Networks, AtHome Corps, and Cerent & Equinix.
- BA, New College of California, San Francisco
- MFA, University of California, Davis
Chris Lanier is an artist with a background in both traditional and digital media, and a demonstrated interest in hybrid forms, having worked in multimedia performance, digital animation, web production, and comics. His animation has screened at Sundance and won awards at several international festivals, including the Grand Prize for Internet Animation at the Ottawa International Animation Festival. His graphic novel “Combustion” was published by Fantagraphics Books, and his comics have appeared in a variety of venues, including the San Francisco Chronicle, the Chicago Reader, Nickelodeon Magazine, and the Indiana Review. He is also an essayist and critic whose art criticism has appeared in a variety of online and print publications, including The Believer, HiLobrow.com, the San Francisco Chronicle, Salon Magazine, the Bay Guardian, and the Comics Journal. Most recently, he curated the exhibit “The Art of Howl,” featuring concept and animation art from the film “Howl,” which featured James Franco as the beat poet Allen Ginsberg. He also did storyboarding for the film. He is currently the Assistant Professor of Digital Art at Sierra Nevada College.