Deborah Keene, sitting in front of a mountain range

Deborah Keene

Associate Director, Foundations Coordinator

147 Blount Living-Learning Center | (205) 348-3334 | dakeene@ua.edu

Deborah Keene is an archaeological scientist who specializes in Southeastern U.S. prehistory. She started excavating with the Schiele Museum when she was 15 and went on to work for various private archaeological firms while an undergraduate and then graduate student. She worked as a principal investigator at the South Carolina Institute of Archaeology and Anthropology after earning her Ph.D. She specialized in ceramic analysis, shallow geophysics, households, and subsistence strategies. After moving to Alabama, her focus changed from fieldwork to education. She uses her anthropological and scientific backgrounds to teach liberal arts courses for the Blount Scholars Program.

Heidi Benstead

Program Coordinator

202 Oliver-Barnard | (205) 348-1706 | heidi.benstead@ua.edu

Benstead has a B.S in Marine Biology, a M.S in Entomology, 15 years lab/field biological research experience, a few yoga certifications, an interest in palliative care, and is an avid knitter. Past positions include: Greenpeace canvasser, grave yard shift gummy fruit machine cleaner, tea server at hippy hot tub joint, bartender, roofing helper, forklift operator/shrink wrapper, bindery/printing worker, employee at organic sauerkraut factory, and aquatic biologist at remote field station on North Slope of Alaska. Stop by her office any time for snacks, coffee, and sympathy.

Kendra Abbott

Senior Fellow

Mary Harmon Bryant Hall 357 | (254) 653-7300 | kabbott3@ua.edu

Kendra is a professional nature photographer, educator and outdoor enthusiast. She is an ecologist and has focused on endangered species and conservation issues much of her career.

Seth Bordner with a young child on his shoulders

Seth Bordner

Senior Fellow

333 Ten Hoor Hall | (205) 348-5942 | seth.bordner@ua.edu

Full Profile

Seth Bordner joined the University in 2011 after finishing his doctorate at UNC Chapel Hill. Originally from central Pennsylvania, he is a first-generation college student who never took the sensible advice to get a real job. He teached the History of Philosophy sequence (PHL 211 & 212) in the philosophy department, along with regular sections of Intro to Ethics and Philosophy of Sport. His research is an eclectic mix of history of philosophy and contemporary applied issues in science and sports. Fall 2017 is his first semester teaching in Blount.

Toni Copeland standing with a group of women

Toni Copeland

Senior Fellow

201 Oliver-Barnard Hall | (205) 348-1706 | toni.copeland@ua.edu

“But I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world, and a desire to enjoy the world. This makes it hard to plan the day.” (E.B. White 1969).

Toni Copeland is a biocultural medical anthropologist interested in how biological, cultural, and social factors interact to influence health and illness. Her research as primarily been in Kenya and the American Deep South.

Andrew Dewar

Andrew Dewar

Senior Fellow

221 Lloyd Hall | (205) 348-9928 | adewar@ua.edu

Full Profile

Andrew Raffo Dewar is a composer, musician, ethnomusicologist, and arts organizer.

As a composer and performer of experimental acoustic and electronic music, his work has been presented throughout North America, Europe, and Southeast Asia, and he appears on nearly two dozen commercially released recordings.

As a scholar, Dr. Dewar’s research interests include experimentalism in the arts, jazz and improvisation, music technologies, intercultural music, and 1960s intermedia arts. His writing has been published in the Journal of the Society for American Music, Leonardo Music Journal, Jazz Perspectives, the New Grove Dictionary of American Music (2nd Edition), Musicians and Composers of the 20th Century, and the Jazz Research Journal. He also has chapters published in Negotiated Moments: Improvisation, Representation and Subjectivity, edited by Gillian Siddall & Ellen Waterman (Duke University Press, 2016), and Experimental Music in Practice: Perspectives from Latin America, edited by Alejandro Madrid, Ana Minutti, Eduardo Herrera (Oxford University Press, 2017).

Dr. Dewar is an Associate Professor in New College and the School of Music.

Matt Feminella

Senior Fellow

263-B BB Comer Hall | (205) 348-9067 | mfeminella@ua.edu

Matt Feminella is an Assistant Professor of German in the Department of Modern Languages and Classics and the Fulbright Program Advisor for UA. He received his PhD from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill in 2016. When he isn’t teaching undergraduate and graduate German courses, Dr. Feminella spends his time researching eighteenth-century intellectual history and theater cultures.

Jolene Hubbs

Senior Fellow

ten Hoor Hall 106C | (205) 348-5940 | jhubbs@ua.edu

Alan Lazer

Alan Lazer

Senior Fellow

201 Oliver-Barnard Hall | (205) 348-1706 | adlazer@ua.edu

Hank Lazer

Hank Lazer

Senior Fellow

138 Blount Living-Learning Center | (205) 348-8324 | hlazer@ua.edu

Full Profile

Hank Lazer has published twenty-five books of poetry, including Poems Hidden in Plain View (2016, in English and in French), Brush Mind: At Hand (2016), and The New Spirit (2005). He has two new books of poetry forthcoming in the fall of 2017: Thinking in Jewish (N20) and Evidence of Being Here: Beginning in Havana (N27). In January 2014, Lazer retired from the University of Alabama after 37 years in a variety of positions, including Associate Provost for Academic Affairs, Executive Director of Creative Campus, and Professor of English. Lazer’s Blount / New College seminar is “Zen Buddhism and Radical Approaches to the Arts,” where students practice meditation and learn about some radical art forms. Lazer convenes a weekly meditation session (open to all) on Monday evenings, 5:15-6:00pm, at the Ferguson Center. He can be reached at hlazer@bama.ua.edu .

Yolanda Manora

Senior Fellow

Morgan Hall 213 | (205) 348-9270 | ymanora@ua.edu

Richard Richards

Richard Richards

Senior Fellow

335 ten Hoor Hall | (205) 348-5942 | rrichard@ua.edu

Full Profile

Richard Richards, professor and chair of the philosophy department, has been involved with the Blount Scholars program since its first year. His research is in the philosophy of science and philosophy of biology, and he has two books published by Cambridge University Press, The Species Problem: A Philosophical Analysis, and Biological Taxonomy: A Philosophical Introduction.  He is finishing a third book with Cambridge, The Biology of Art.  

Stephen Schwab

Stephen Schwab

Senior Fellow

352 ten Hoor Hall | (205) 348-1238 | schwa008@ua.edu

Full Profile

Dr. Stephen Schwab, former (and retired) official at the Central Intelligence Agency, is now an adjunct assistant professor of history at The University of Alabama. Since 2009, he has been doing his best to inspire or, if necessary, “spook” young Blount Scholars into doing their best to succeed as undergraduates and later in life.  

Stephen Tedeschi

Senior Fellow

224 Morgan Hall | (205) 348-5065 | satedeschi@ua.edu

Full Profile

Steve Tedeschi is an English professor at UA.

Claire Thompson

Claire Thompson

Senior Fellow

ten Hoor Hall | (205) 454-4954 | cethompson1@bama.ua.edu

Dr. Claire Thompson is an anthropologist who specializes in Southeastern archaeology. She enjoys bringing a cultural perspective to the Blount Foundations courses that she teaches.

Lessye DeMoss

Junior Fellow

ldemoss@crimson.ua.edu

I am studying to be a medical anthropologist, using a biocultural approach and mixed methods to study health disparities in the Southern United States. My Master’s research was an investigation of cultural models for what men aged 19-25 believe they should be doing during that phase of life, conducted in the Roanoke Valley of Virginia.

Tori Jessen

Junior Fellow

tkjessen@crimson.ua.edu

I am a PhD student in the department of history studying 20th century American religion, rhetoric, and labor. My research interests are primarily centered on examining the relationship between Protestant denominations and labor during the Great Depression era.

Will Ramsey

Junior Fellow

weramsay@crimson.ua.edu

I am a PhD student in the Hudson Strode Program in Renaissance Studies. I study the intellectual and literary history of the long Middle Ages.

Matt Smith

Junior Fellow

mcsmith14@crimson.ua.edu

I am a PhD student in the English department, studying early modern drama, rhetoric, politics, and sociology. My dissertation explores how early modern dramatists use rhetorical theory to define and articulate civic identity from 1580-1642.