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Faculty Profiles

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Kelsey (Vogan) Alger

BFA/MA – University of Puget Sound

Kelsey is a community focused innovator and programmer passionate about using the arts and literacy to respond to social issues. Her experience is grounded in working to create engagement opportunities, building relationships and structures of support through outreach and arts education, specifically with underserved populations.

Joel Blakely

BA – University of Washington

Joel has 18 years of experience as an artist in the game industry, 10 years as a lead character artist.He currently works full time for Ubisoft San Francisco (remotely). He has worked on a wide range of games, the highlights being Shadow of Mordor, Forza Motorsports and Bowser’s Fury (Nintendo) as well as numerous medical-based training applications.

Dennis Butler

MA – Western New Mexico University

Dennis’s background is unusual, combining engineering, philosophy, and creative
writing. Dennis earned a Master of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies in Psychology and English (2015), from Western New Mexico University, Silver City, New Mexico. He also holds a Bachelor of Arts in Western Philosophy (2011), from American Public University, Charles Town, West Virginia.

Mikko Freeman

BFA – The Evergreen State College

Mikko is a representational artist working in the tradition of fine art oil painting. He is influenced by both pre-modern realism from the European traditions as well as contemporary realism. He has a bachelor’s degree with a major in painting and a minor in business as well as a certificate from the Florence Academy of Art where he studied classical drawing and painting. Mikko has been painting professionally and teaching for ten years. In addition to artwork, intellectually and academically Mikko is interested in storytelling, epistemology, ontology and in general the historiography of art and it’s meaning.

Lisa Garel

BS – University of Colorado, Boulder

MS – DePaul University

As a UX professional who’s been in the field for quite some time, it brings Lisa so much joy to share some learnings from her career.

Samantha Gravis

BFA – Idaho State University

Samantha has managed a multitude of different types of jobs and has also worked freelance creative. She has designed and created websites, curated fine art galleries, and been a participant in multiple gallery shows. She has a degree in Fine Art with an emphasis in painting/drawing and sculpting. Additionally, she is a triple minor in Women’s Studies, Studio, and Mass Communications with an emphasis in photography/web/graphic design. Most recently she has been learning the media buyer’s position and media trafficking for an advertising agency.

Derek Gundy

BFA – Maine College of Art

Derek Gundy is an Illustrator and Fine Artist who includes travel, architecture, and storytelling in many of his creations. Decades of experience in the art supply and picture framing industry has been a key element in Derek’s teachings over the years. Working in a variety of media such as watercolor, gouache, acrylic, and oil,  Derek’s whimsical wine artwork and Italian architectural illustrations are in client collections nationwide, as well as indoor and outdoor mural projects around the Pacific Northwest. In 2017 Derek was contracted by Umpqua bank to create regional illustration work for the Seattle region bank branches.

Derek is well known for being a co-founder of Sketch Seattle, and for being a passionate advocate of both daily drawing and on location sketching. Derek has also been named Artist Ambassador for M. Graham & Co. Paint Company for 2020.

Carli Hillman

BFA – Northwest College of Art & Design

Carli Hillman is an artist and designer who graduated from NCAD with a BFA in Visual Communication, majoring in Illustration and Entertainment Art. Since then, she has worked within the music and live event industry as a Designer and Creative Director for 4 years. During this time, she has still held true to her love for traditional artwork by creating gallery work and developing her brand Carli Christina Art.

Carli has a passion for helping others on their creative path and does so by sharing her knowledge through workshops as well as online on social media.

Kurt Ikemeier

BS – Sam Houston State University

MPA – Seattle University

ABD – Walden University

Kurt is an Experienced Education Director and Instructor with a demonstrated history of working in higher education. Skilled in campus management, academic leadership, recruitment, retention, budgeting, forecasting, and strategic planning. Building community partnerships and connecting with relevant stakeholders. Strong business development professional with a focus on creating educational pathways for students.

Aaron Kapral

BA – Washington State University

MA – University of Utah

Aaron has Masters in Entertainment Arts and Engineering with a concentration in Game Arts. He honed his focus on stylized 3D character modeling, texturing, and animation. He published two games throughout his time at the University of Utah: Magical Strings and Souls of the Wind.

Don Moore

Don Moore

MA – Academy of Art University

Don Moore has been fortunate to have worked at both large global agencies and small design studios. He has also spent time in traditional advertising agencies, as well as managed in-house creative teams on the client-side. He has a range of online and offline experience, managing digital projects as well as traditional print media. Because of his broad experience base, Don can deliver just about any design need, from a logo to a full-integrated campaign, reaching multiple touch points through the use of traditional and new media.

In Don’s 27 years of experience in design and art direction, he has worked with global companies that include, Nissan, Mercedes-Benz, Microsoft, Boeing, Infiniti, Subaru. Isuzu, The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Adidas Golf, PGA of America, Corbis, and Warner Brothers. He has also lectured on design at California State University of Long Beach, the Academy of Art in San Francisco, and at the School of Visual Concepts in Seattle.

Nick Ogilvie

AAs – Olympic College

BFA – The Art Institute

Nick formalized his creative interests with a Bachelor of Fine Art degree from the Art Institute of Seattle with a specific focus on media arts and animation. His career focus remains in the worlds of story telling where he applies his art to illustration, concept art, sculpture, design, motion graphics, and animation as a freelance artist.

Working mostly independently has given Nick the opportunity to work on diverse subjects and develop his skills in bringing projects from concept through to completion in his own studio.

“Art to me is the visual expression of an idea or emotion. This theory can be applied to any subject or medium from traditional gallery work to graphic design or animation. My passion in teaching is helping students develop their artistic skills to not be just technically skilled but successful at expressing ideas and emotions to the audience around them.”

Susan Ogilvie

Susan is originally from Southern California, with a professional background in graphic design and illustration. She has worked for a variety of design studios before opening her own studio, Windsor Graphics in Rancho Cucumonga, CA. Moving to the Northwest, Susan earned her BFA in Fine Art at Northwest College of Art, now NCAD, and her MFA in Traditional Illustration, and an MA in Art History from Academy of Art University, San Francisco. Susan is a member of the SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators) as well as the AIGA.

Valeria Riedemann

MA – London’s Global University

MA – Universidad de Chile

PHD – Oxford University

Valeria Riedemann is originally from Chile, where she initiated her studies in Philosophy, Aesthetics, and History of Art at Universidad de Chile. After obtaining her Master’s degree in Theory and History of Art, she received a Chilean Government scholarship (Becas Chile) to pursue further graduate studies in the United Kingdom. She earned an MA in Comparative Art and Archaeology at University College London (2010), followed by a DPhil in Classical Archaeology at the University of Oxford (2016).

During her academic career, Valeria has been a member of the British School at Athens (2010), and a Wiener-Anspach Fellow Researcher at the Centre de Recherches en Archéologie et Patrimoine (CReA-Patrimoine Research Centre) at Université Libre de Bruxelles in Belgium (2014). She has excavated in Italy and Turkey and is the author of various research papers, articles, and book reviews related to Greek, Apulian, and Etruscan art.

Valeria is currently a Visiting Scholar at the University of Washington (Department of Classics) and, since 2017, and Adjunct Instructor in Art History, Anthropology, Visual Communication, and Popular Culture at the NCAD.

Sara Salazar

BA – Saint Mary’s College-Notre Dame

MA/PHD – California Institute of Integral Studies

Sara is an activist, educator, mother, and community organizer. She holds an MA and PhD in Philosophy and Religion with a concentration in Women’s Spirituality from the California Institute of Integral Studies and a BA in English Literature from Saint Mary’s College- Notre Dame (Indiana). Academic research interests include Chicana spirituality, art, and activism, reproductive justice, indigenous food systems, curanderismo, restorative justice, feminist theory, and Etruscology.

Jerome Schmelzer

Jerome Schmelzer

BA – University of Dayton

MA – University  of Maryland

PHD – Saint Louis University

Jerome is a philosophy professor, who specializes in ethics. For the past 11 years he has taught medical ethics and ethics. Of particular interest to him are the problems surrounding the interaction between philosophical anthropology, the nature of knowledge and ethical methods. Jerome currently lives in Sammamish, WA with his wife Kathleen and his son Alex.

Topher Welsh

Topher has been in the motion design and content creation industry for over 15 years. He is an industry thought leader, teacher, and personality in the design community. He continually tries to further his career by actively contributing to the creative community through his user groups, tutorials, and passion projects to keep his skills sharp.

Mikena Wemple

BA – Gonzaga University School of Education

MA – Perdue University

Mikena has had many wonderful experiences in her career that all seem to have one thing in common: sharing her passion for helping others, regardless of labels. She is passionate about building capacity in people and truly providing coaching relationships. Her theory is that if she shares her tools and tricks with others, then more people will know how to be an impact for the benefit of others.

Michael Wilford

Michael Wilford

BA – Central Washington University

Michael has been working as a designer in one capacity or another since earning his BA in Graphic Design from CWU in the late eighties. He’s owned and run his full-time web design/graphic design business, Wilford Design, since 2002 and worked with hundreds of clients to create successful projects (mostly websites). Michael has designed several websites which were GDUSA Magazine American Web Design Awards winners.

Rory Zaugg

MA – University of Washington

MA – Full Sail University

Rory’s passion is storytelling, whether in novels, short stories or poems. He also loves assisting in other people’s endeavors to tell stories as he edits and gives ideas to their prose or scripts. He would love to share all these things with the world to help inspire and entertain the rest of the world.