Michael Patrick Lynch is a writer and the Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor of philosophy at the University of Connecticut, where he directs the Humanities Institute. He is the author or editor of seven books, including, In Praise of Reason: Why Rationality Matters for Democracy, Truth as One and Many, The Internet of Us: Knowing More and Understanding Less in the Age of Big Data. and the New York Times Sunday Book Review Editor’s pick, True to Life. Michael is also the recipient of the Medal for Research Excellence from the University of Connecticut’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Lynch has held grants from the John Templeton Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Bogliasco Foundation among others. A frequent contributor to the New York Times “The Stone” weblog, Lynch lectures widely, including at TEDx, Chautauqua, and South by Southwest. In 2013, he authored an amicus curiae brief on behalf of the ACLU’s federal case against the NSA. His latest book Know-It-All Society: Truth and Arrogance in Political Culture was released in August 2019.
Alexis L. Boylan is the director of academic affairs at the University of Connecticut Humanities Institute and an associate professor with a joint appointment in the Art and Art History Department and Africana Studies Institute. She is the author of Ashcan Art, Whiteness, and the Unspectacular Man (Bloomsbury Academic, 2017) and editor of Thomas Kinkade, The Artist in the Mall (Duke University Press, 2011). Boylan has articles published in Public Books, American Art, Journal of Curatorial Studies, MELUS, Rethinking Marxism, Prospects, and Woman’s Art Journal as well as contributing essays to numerous museum exhibition catalogues. Her next book project is titled, Not an Art Museum: Seeing Science at the American Museum of Natural History, 1900-2017.
Yohei Igarashi is assistant director of Digital Humanities and Media Studies at the University of Connecticut Humanities Institute and an associate professor of English. He is the author of The Connected Condition: Romanticism and the Dream of Communication (forthcoming from Stanford University Press). His articles have appeared in New Literary History, Romantic Circles, and Studies in Romanticism, the last receiving the Keats-Shelley Association of America annual essay prize in 2015. His current projects are on topics including the datafication of literary works and the history of the relation between high school and collegiate literary studies.
Jo-Ann Waide has been Program Coordinator at the Humanities Institute since its founding in 2001. She is also a grant manager for the Institute’s Humility and Conviction in Public Life program. She earned a Masters of Arts degree from UConn’s Communication Sciences department and a Bachelor of Sciences in Communication Disorders from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Before coming to UConn she completed interpreter training at the National Technical Institute for the Deaf and worked as a free-lance sign language interpreter in Western Massachusetts. After graduate school, Jo-Ann was employed as a grant manager for a collaborative project between the American School for the Deaf (ASD) and the CT Department of Children and Families. At the conclusion of the grant, she was hired as a school administrator at ASD where she served on the senior management team for several years. She has lived in Storrs long enough to witness the transformation of Storrs to the Downtown Partnership from the small town center consisting of the Universal grocery, Phil’s five-and-dime store, Farr’s Sporting Goods, and the Cup O’ Sun restaurant.
Nasya Al-Saidy is the fiscal officer of the NEHC and financial coordinator of the University of Connecticut Humanities Institute. She is a Ph.D. candidate in the Economics department at the University of Connecticut. Her research focus is on Environmental Economics and Microeconomics. At the University of Massachusetts Boston, her thesis explored the cost-effectiveness of phytoremediation to reduce brownfield pollution in Boston’s low-income urban areas. Her current work seeks to extend and improve upon the game theoretic models used within the emissions permit market. She is currently serving as a financial coordinator for the Humanities Institute and fiscal officer for the Humility and Conviction in Public Life Project. Nasya is currently President of the Association of Graduate Economics Students and a senator in the Graduate Student Senate.
Siavash Samei is an anthropologist, zooarchaeologist, and postdoctoral fellow at the University of Connecticut Humanities Institute (UCHI). He studies the social and environmental foundations of human economies, especially pastoral economies, and the impact of these economies on long-term trajectories of cultural development and environmental change across Southwest Asia. He received his bachelor’s degree in anthropology from the University of Georgia, and his master’s and doctorate from the Department of Anthropology at the University of Connecticut. His dissertation research, funded by the National Science Foundation explored how pastoral practices shaped and reflected demographic, environmental, and climatic conditions involved in a period of rapid cultural turnover in the South Caucasus at the end of the Chalcolithic period (ca. 5000–3500 BCE) and the beginning of the Early Bronze Age (ca. 3500–2200 BCE). He is currently working to publish several articles related to his dissertation work, and he is revising his dissertation as a book manuscript. In his position as a research associate, Siavash will also serve as UCHI and NEHC’s social medial strategist, communications coordinator, and web designer.