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Moderator Bios

Dr. Keith Alexander

Dr. Alexander’s research interests include the history of the German Green Party, green historic preservation, and service learning in historic preservation education. He teaches classes in architectural history, oral history, modern history, and historic preservation. In the field of German history, he has published an article in German Politics and Society, and contributed chapters to Mauerkrieger and Jahrbuch des Archivs Grünes Gedächtnis. In the field of historic preservation, he has published an article on service learning and cemetery preservation in Preservation Education and Research Journal. His most recent projects include examining Senator Robert Byrd’s role in fostering historic preservation in West Virginia, as well as exploring historic preservation and architecture in Cuba.

Along with Dr. Julia Sandy, Dr. Alexander co-directs the Historic Preservation and Public History concentration within the history major.

Dr. Rebecca Bates

Dr. Rebecca Bates is a Professor and Chair in the Department of Integrated Engineering at Minnesota State University, Mankato where she directs two upper-division, project-based learning engineering programs, Iron Range Engineering & Twin Cities Engineering. These cutting edge programs articulate with community college engineering programs and partner with regional industry to prepare students for all aspects of engineering careers. They are both ABET accredited.  She joined the National Science Foundation (NSF) in 2015 as a rotator Program Officer in the Division of Human Resource Development (HRD) in the Directorate of Education and Human Resources (EHR) where she worked through 2016. She supported the Historically Black Colleges and Universities Undergraduate Program (HBCU-UP), the Tribal Colleges and Universities Program (TCUP) and the Alliances for Graduate Education & the Professoriate (AGEP) program. In 2017, she is a half-time Program Officer in the Division of Undergraduate Education where she supports the IUSE-EHR (Improving Undergraduate STEM Education) program.

She was a PI on a multi-year, five-institution project examining the impact of connections to community and sense of belonging on STEM student engagement.  She is currently a PI on a collaborative grant supporting community research infrastructure in automatic speech recognition. She is the current Vice Chair of the American Society for Engineering Education Diversity Committee and works to support inclusive excellence and practices in engineering education and the field of engineering.   She earned her B.S. in Biomedical Engineering and M.S. in Electrical Engineering degrees from Boston University, an M.T.S. (theological studies) degree from Harvard Divinity School, and her Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Washington. She was a Fulbright Scholar in Brazil. She grew up in Montana and judges figure skating in her spare time.

Dr. Mark Madison

Dr. Mark Madison is an environmental historian and historian of science currently working as National Historian for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Mark conducts educational outreach, designs museum displays, and helps maintain the 500,000 item National Conservation Training Center Archives/Museum. He also teaches environmental history, environmental ethics, and environmental film at Shepherd University. Previously, Dr. Madison taught evolutionary biology, history of science, and philosophy of science at the University of Melbourne and Harvard University. He spent 2 and 1/2 years doing tropical reforestation in the Philippines as a U.S. Peace Corps Volunteer. He grew up in Wisconsin and is currently living in Hagerstown, MD and working in Shepherdstown, WV. His passions include flyfishing and family.

Susan Mills

Susan Mills is recently retired as Senior Programming Director for MacNeil/Lehrer Productions, where she was responsible for new programming initiatives on cable and network television, as well as other distribution outlets.

Mills began her career at CBS News, where she served as a foreign affairs producer covering Central American countries. During that time, she also produced the innovative and award-winning children’s programs In the News and 30 Minutes.

In 1983, Mills joined The MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour on PBS. As a foreign affairs producer specializing in Latin America and the Philippines, she covered breaking news pertaining to the Falklands War and the war in El Salvador, the rise of the Sandinistas in Managua, drug-running in Bolivia, and the fall of Ferdinand Marcos in Manila. She later served as managing producer for the NewsHour in New York City, overseeing videotape reports and graphics for the program.

Her reporting and programming work have earned Mills four Emmy awards and ten Emmy nominations, along with a George Foster Peabody Award, an Alfred I. DuPont Award, Ohio State University’s Journalism Award, and the Gavel Award from the American Bar Association. A graduate of Wells College, Mills now directs new programming initiatives for MacNeil/Lehrer Productions on cable, network television, and other media outlets, with an extensive focus on America’s First Ladies. Recent productions include “Nancy Reagan: The Role of a Lifetime,” “Lady Bird Johnson,” and “Betty Ford: The Real Deal.”

Dr. Sylvia Shurbutt

Dr. Shurbutt came to Shepherd in 1987, having taught previously at Georgia Southern University, after receiving her Ph.D. at the University of Georgia in 1982. Dr. Shurbutt’s primary teaching and scholarly interests are English pedagogy, 19th-century British literature, linguistics, and Women’s and Appalachian studies, with her publications and research projects focusing on the work of such writers as Christina Rossetti, Jane Austen, Zelda Fitzgerald, Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Robert Morgan, and Denise Giardina. Dr. Shurbutt is particularly interested in rediscovering those women writers lost from the traditional canon and has devoted her energy to seeing them in print once again, as is the case with her research of Victorian poet and novelist Caroline Sheridan Norton. Dr. Shurbutt enjoys music, flowers, and visiting her daughter who lives in New Zealand; she is an avid biker and hiker, and she enjoys traveling, in particular guiding student travel study tours at Shepherd University.