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New College of Arts and Sciences faculty join Willamette this fall

by Marketing & Communications,

Cher Anabo

Artistic Director and Instructor of Dance and Movement

Cher AnaboAnabo is a somatic educator, multidisciplinary artist, and collaborator who has taught, choreographed, and performed in the United States and throughout Southeast Asia. Anabo has an MFA in Dance from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa and is a certified yoga teacher. She extensively studied Okinawan dances under the tutelage of Classical Okinawan Dance Master, Cheryl-sensei Nakasone and Balinese masks dances under I Ketut Wirtawan of Kakul Mas and I Made Widana of Segara Madu.

As an educator, Anabo taught at The School of the Arts in Singapore, Damansara Performing Arts Centre and Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris in Malaysia (UPSI), St. Mary’s College of California, University of California Santa Cruz, San Francisco Ballet, Northwestern State University of Louisiana, Texas Tech University, Texas Woman’s University and University of North Texas.

As a researcher and choreographer, Anabo investigates the effects of colonization, decolonization, and neocolonialism on the formation of identity and analyzes movement traditions and practices surrounding Southeast Asian dances and contemporary dances in the diaspora.

Faith Avery

Adjunct Instructor of English

Faith AveryAvery completed her dissertation in December of 2020. She utilizes a framework of ethical philosophy to consider how three 21st century collections of documentary poetry propose poetics that exceed official documentation as they record and respond to violence in the exclusionary conditions of American citizenship.

In 2013, Avery graduated from Willamette University with a BA in English and Music. She earned a graduate certificate in Gender, Women's and Sexuality Studies in 2016 and an MA in English in 2017, both from the University of Iowa. Her PhD in English from the University of Iowa was completed in December of 2020.

Avery currently manages the Employee and Community Education program at Goodwill Industries of the Columbia Willamette. She is excited to return to academia as an adjunct instructor of English at Willamette, where she and her students will explore some complexities of place and identity through literature.

Austin Blake Conlee

Guest Artist: Costume Design

Austin ConleeConlee received his MFA in Costume Design from the University of Maryland and BFA in Theatrical Design from the University of Memphis.

As a Queer artist, Conlee enjoys designing innovative works and revamping conventional classics. Skilled in the art of digital rendering, Conlee pushes the artistic boundaries of costume design.

He has worked all over the country as a freelance costume designer, associate designer and wig designer. These credits include The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Signature Theatre, Arena Stage, Utah Shakespeare Festival, Northern Stage, Opera Columbus, Cumberland Playhouse, Ohio Light Opera, Studio Theatre, Folger Shakespeare Theatre, Imagination Stage, Maryland Opera, Louis Repertory Theatre and Hattiloo Theatre. 

Natalie Brenner

Visiting Professor of French and Francophone Studies

Natalie BrennerBrenner received her PhD in Romance Languages and a graduate certificate in Women’s and Gender Studies from the University of Oregon in 2019.

She’s been fortunate to have firsthand immersion experiences as a student and as a language teacher in France, in addition to her academic pursuits first as a French and history major at Kalamazoo College in Michigan, then as a masters and doctoral student at the University of Oregon.

Her research focuses on the Jewish experience of the intersections between the Holocaust and decolonization in the Francophone world, particularly as represented in Jewish women’s autobiographical and fictional narratives.

Calvin Deutschbein

Assistant Professor of Computer and Data Science

Calvin DeutschbeinDeutschbein is a computer scientist and their research focuses on using machine learning techniques to develop formal models for secure behavior of processor designs. They have taught coursework at both University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Elon University and been part of research programs at UNC Chapel Hill, University of Chicago and University of California San Diego.

As an instructor and a scholar of quantifiable methods and empirical data, Deutschbein also brings to the classroom a passion for evidence-based approaches to equity and inclusion and looks forward to continuing this work at Willamette.

Qinqing Q. Hilkert

Visiting Assistant Professor of Music, Director of Instrumental Music

Qingqing HilkertHilkert has extensive experience as a conductor, performer and educator throughout North America, Asia and Europe.

She has conducted professional orchestras, bands, opera productions, choruses and music festivals in Minneapolis, St.Paul, San Francisco, Boston, Washington, D.C., Shanghai, Beijing, Sapporo and Larnaca. She has had advanced conducting study with Marin Alsop, Fabio Luisi, Michael Tilson Thomas, Colin Metters, Paul Nadler, Vance George, John Nelson, Eugene Corporon and Jack Stamp.

She holds a Doctoral of Musical Arts in Orchestral Conducting from the University of Minnesota and a Master of Music in Instrumental Conducting from the San Francisco Conservatory. She also holds a Master of Music in Orchestral Conducting, a BA in Piano Performance, and a BA in Audio Engineering from the Shanghai Conservatory.

She is married to Captain Adam K.Hilkert, U.S. Army Bands, and together they have two sons, Gavin and Lionel.

Heather Kitada Smalley

Albaugh Assistant Professor of Statistics

heather-kitada2.jpgSmalley is an applied statistician and has worked on a variety of research and consulting projects. Her research in public opinion and survey statistics has focused on developing and improving methodology for bias estimation and correction in longitudinal studies with applications from the Oregon Department of Transportation, the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey and United States Presidential Election Polls.  

Smalley organized Willamette’s inaugural DataFest in May 2021. This was a 48-hour data analysis competition that focused on data provided by the Rocky Mountain Poison and Drug Safety Center. This competition brought together participants from across six schools in Oregon; 42 students, six mentors and five judges. After the event, one of the teams even went on to earn second place at the 2021 International Statistical Institute (ISI) Florence Nightingale Prize for Data Visualization.

Kyle Lemoi

Guest Artist: Lighting Designer/Production Supervisor

kyle-lemoi.jpegLemoi taught at California State University, Sacramento and as visiting faculty at Ole Miss and the University of Hawai’i.

Graduating with an MFA in Lighting Design from the University of Washington, Lemoi has guest lectured at Stanford University and Arizona State University.

In his 30-plus year career, he has collaborated with many artists, including Rachel Rosenthaul, Anthony Braxton, Joseph Chaiken, Sha Sha Higby and Douglas Turner Ward. In New York City, he worked Broadway, off-Broadway, at the American Museum of Natural History and at the Whitney Museum.

Lemoi has also worked with several MacArthur Fellows, including Trisha Brown and Jennifer Tipton. He will be teaching design and production classes. 

Kimberly King Parsons

Dean’s Writing Fellow

Kimberly King ParsonsParsons is the author of "Black Light," a debut story collection which was longlisted for both the 2019 National Book Award and the 2019 Story Prize. "Black Light" was also a finalist for the 2020 Edmund White Award for Debut Fiction, the 2020 Texas Institute of Letters Best Work of First Fiction Award and the 2020 Oregon Book Award.

Parsons' story “Foxes” was among the trio in The Paris Review that won the 2020 National Magazine Award for Fiction. Parsons received her MA in literary studies from the University of Texas at Dallas and her MFA from Columbia University. She is the recipient of fellowships from Yaddo, Literary Arts, the Oregon Arts Commission, PLAYA and the Sustainable Arts Foundation.

Parsons has taught creative writing workshops and courses centered on queer form, child narrators, prose poetry and experimental literature; as the College of Arts and Sciences Dean's Writing Fellow for 2021-2022, she will be teaching intro- and upper-level creative writing.

Parsons lives with her partner and sons in Portland, where she is completing a novel (forthcoming from Knopf) about Texas, motherhood and LSD.

Robert Vaughn

Technical Director and Instructor of Theatre Technology

robert-vaughn-headshot.jpgVaughn comes to Willamette with decades of experience making theatre. Painting, building and designing sets are his primary theatrical disciplines, with additional experience in sound design. 

Vaughn holds a BA degree from Linfield University and an MFA from Northern Illinois University. Rob's goal as an educator is helping students gain confidence in the artistic process by providing hands-on experiences to explore their potential through artistic collaboration.

A spouse, parent and Star Wars fan, Rob is a resident of Salem who enjoys board games, home repair projects and baking bread.

About Willamette University

Based in Salem, Oregon, Willamette is the premier private university in the Pacific Northwest. Willamette’s beautiful, historic campus — located across the street from the Oregon State Capitol and co-located with Tokyo International University of America — features a residential undergraduate College of Arts and Sciences and two professional graduate schools: the College of Law and the Atkinson Graduate School of Management.

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