Faculty / Staff / Students Bios 2018-2019

Dr. Brian Yothers

Dr. Brian Yothers is the Frances Spatz Leighton Endowed Distinguished Professor of English at UTEP and a 2014 recipient of the UT Regents’ Outstanding Teaching Award. He is the author of Reading Abolition (2016), Sacred Uncertainty (2015), Melville’s Mirrors (2011), and The Romance of the Holy Land in American Travel Writing (2007), and co-editor, with Jonathan Cook, of Visionary of the Word (2017), editor of Critical Insights volumes on Billy Budd, Sailor (2017) and The Scarlet Letter (2018), co-editor, with Harold Bush, of Above the American Renaissance (2018), and associate editor of Leviathan: A Journal of Melville Studies.

Dr. Yasmin Flores

Dr. Yasmin A. Flores is an assistant professor and one of the co-coordinators of music at El Paso Community College. She received her B.M. degree in Clarinet Performance from West Texas A&M University in Canyon, Texas, and her M.M. in Multiple Winds degree from Florida State University in Tallahassee, Florida. In 2009, she received her D.M.A. degree in Clarinet Performance and Pedagogy from the University of Iowa. She has performed with the Las Cruces Symphony Orchestra and is a member of the El Paso Clarinet Quartet. Dr. Flores is a faculty fellow of The Humanities Collaborative at EPCC-UTEP.

Dr. Jeffrey Shepherd

Jeffrey P. Shepherd is an Associate Professor and Director of the PhD Program in History at the University of Texas at El Paso. His research focuses on the histories of Indigenous peoples in North America, particularly communities in the U.S. Southwest and along the U.S.-Mexico border. He is finishing a book on the environmental and cultural history of the Guadalupe Mountains and National Park; and he is beginning a biography of Wendell Chino, who was the Chairman of the Mescalero Nation for over 40 years. He teaches classes in U.S., Native American, Western, Borderlands, and Public History at the graduate and undergraduate levels.

Dr. Thomas Schmid

Dr. Thomas Schmid is the Director of Literature at UTEP and holds a seat on the Executive Board of the International Conference of Romanticism. He is the author of Humor and Transgression in Peacock, Shelley and Byron, which won the Rocky Mountain Modern Language Association Book Award (1992), The Student Guide to Writing about Literature (2005), a collection scholarly essays on Romanticism and Pleasure, co-edited with Michelle Flaubert (2010), and a book of fiction, Fools of Time (2015) from Texas Review Press. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Utah in nineteenth-century British literature and British Romantic studies, and he has published frequently in such scholarly publications as The Keats-Shelley Review, The Wordsworth Circle, Gothic Studies, and Studies in Romanticism.

Crisol Escobedo

Crisol Escobedo received her MA in philosophy from the University of Texas El Paso. After eight years of teaching philosophy, her research interests switched from metaphysics and structural identity to pedagogical techniques that demonstrate the practical value of the humanities. Her goal is to show how a commitment to the study of the humanities will help any student reap benefits such as a unique approach to problem solving. She works at accomplishing her goal by developing various interdisciplinary programs and activities. She is currently a philosophy instructor at El Paso Community College, the director of the Rising Stars after-school learning program for children, and head of organizing the Connecting the Pillars of Knowledge student conference.

Patrick Pynes

Patrick L. Pynes is an Associate Professor of History and teaches American and World History at El Paso Community College where he has worked for 13 years. Previously he taught History and Western Cultural Heritage classes at UTEP. He serves as the History Faculty Coordinator at Valle Verde Campus and has recently been appointed to serve as Coordinator of the Honors Program. He has worked on the Pathways Program for the last few years and has served as Chair of the Curriculum Committee. He was fortunate to have received an NEH Grant to study Religious Pluralism at the Newberry Library in Chicago for three Summer Institutes from 2014 to 2016. He earned a Bachelor’s Degree and Master’s Degree in History from the University of Texas at El Paso.

Elizabeth Acosta

Elizabeth Acosta is an Associate Professor in English at El Paso Community College. She earned her BA in Organizational and Corporate Communication from UTEP, her MA in British and American Literature from UTEP, and will earn her Ph.D. from Wayne State University in fall 2018. Her areas of specialty are literary and cultural studies before 1700 with an emphasis in drama, especially Shakespeare. She is actively involved at her Institution, serving on various committees including the Literary Fiesta Committee and the Association of Women in the Community College among many others and in the community, serving as a board member for the Border Arts Residency and on the CBS Host Committee for the Sun Bowl. She is currently serving as a Faculty Fellow for the UTEP-EPCC Humanities Collaborative.

Brian Kirby

Brian F. Kirby is an Associate English Professor and enters his fourth year as District-wide Coordinator of English at El Paso Community College (EPCC) where he has worked for 6 years. He has mentored two EPCC students, Itzel Tejeda and Andrea Portillo Porras, to earn the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Transfer Scholarship and is co-Principal Investigator for the Mellon Foundation grant supporting the Humanities Collaborative at EPCC-UTEP. He earned a Bachelor's Degree in philosophy and a Master's Degree in English from New Mexico State University.

Margaret Nelson Rodriguez

Margie Nelson Rodríguez is an Associate English Professor and has led developmental education redesign at El Paso Community College (EPCC) where she has worked for 10 years. She is also the Pathways Instructional Liaison, Special Projects Assistant to the Vice President of Instruction and Workforce Education, and co-Principal Investigator for the Mellon Foundation grant supporting the Humanities Collaborative at EPCC-UTEP. She received the EPCC Faculty Achievement Award and NISOD Excellence Award in 2014 and earned a Bachelor's Degree and a Master's Degree in American and English Literature from the University of Texas at El Paso.

Dr. Meredith Abarca

Dr. Meredith E. Abarca is a professor in the Department of English at the University of Texas at El Paso and the Humanities Book Review Editor for Food & Foodways. Her publications include: Voices in the Kitchen (2006); Rethinking Chicana/o Literature Through Food: Postnational Appetites (2013); Latin@s’ Presence in the Food Industry: Changing How We Think about Food (2016); and numerous of articles in scholarly journals and edited collections. Abarca has presented her work at the Southern Foodways Alliance Symposium in Oxford, Mississippi, the University of Gastronomical Sciences in (Colormo) Parma, Italy, the University of Technology in Sidney, Australia, the University of Paris-Sorbonne, France, and the University of Oslo, Norway.

Program Manager

Vincent Martinez

Vincent Martinez received his BA in English: Creative Writing and MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Texas at El Paso before working as a writing instructor at El Paso Community College. He later worked as a corporate copywriter for twelve years in the personal care and wellness industry before returning to The University of Texas at El Paso where he obtained his BA in English and American Literature and his MA in Literature. He currently works as the Program Manager for The Humanities Collaborative at EPCC-UTEP.