Conference Team

You can reach the conference organizers at .


Andrea Olinger, Director

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Andrea Olinger is an associate professor of English at the University of Louisville, where she also directs the composition program. With Caitlin Burns Allen, Michael Benjamin, and Alex Way, past Watson Conference assistant directors, she coedited a special issue of Writers: Craft and Context, "Conferencing toward Antiracism: Reckoning with the Past, Reimagining the Present." A selection of other work can be found on her institutional repository page. Outside of work, you'll find her conducting fieldwork on the Louisville dessert scene.

Shayani Almeida, Assistant Director

Shayani Almeida, a brown woman with short black hair, is framed in front of a white wall

Shayani Almeida is a Ph.D. student in Rhetoric and Composition. She obtained her Bachelor of Arts degree in Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL) from the University of Kelaniya, Sri Lanka, where she worked as a Temporary Lecturer at the Department of English Language Teaching. She completed her PGD (TESL) at the Post Graduate Institute of English, Open University of Sri Lanka. Her research interests include ESL writing, second language acquisition, and vocabulary in language learning. Outside of work, she enjoys reading, watching movies, and listening to music.

Steve Shoop, Assistant Director

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Steve is a Ph.D. student with a fellowship at the University of Louisville where he studies Rhetoric and Composition. He earned his B.A. in English (Film Concentration) and his M.A. in Rhetoric and Composition from Salisbury University in Maryland. His current research interests include multimodal theory and semiotics, and their applications to composition pedagogy, digital literacy, disability access, and film. Outside school and work, he enjoys spending time with his niece and nephews, playing Dungeons and Dragons, quoting 25 year-old episodes of The Simpsons, and of course, watching and discussing movies and television.

Support Staff

Michael Benjamin, Pet-a-Palooza Commissioner

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Michael is a Ph.D. candidate in Rhetoric and Composition. He earned an M.A. in English at St. John’s University, where he served as a graduate assistant in the University Writing Center. He has also taught English in Slovakia as a Fulbright Fellow and taught first-year composition at multiple universities across New York. His current research interests include writing center studies, critical pedagogy, popular culture, and literacy. He also enjoys nerding out about hip hop, food, anything Queens, New York-related, and pro football.

Hung Nguyen, Technical Support

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Hung Nguyen supports all aspects of the English Department's technology. At the Watson Conference, he will be setting up the hybrid technology in the Humanities Building and helping to troubleshoot equipment in the Belknap Academic Building. He can be reached from 8 am-6 pm at 502-852-6932 (his office number). His office is in the Humanities Building room 104C (across from 104A).


Rae Stilwell, Website Support

Photo of Rae StilwellWith an MA in Website Design and Development from the University of Denver, Rae Stilwell serves as the Web Developer for the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Louisville. Beyond her professional endeavors, Rae's passions include digital design, writing, and art, and is a self proclaimed a maker, dreamer, writer, coder, and doodler. When not working or creating, Rae hangs out with her pets, Jennifur, Rico, and Charlie or scouring the internet for more fun glasses to add to her collection.





Accessibility Team

Michelle Houston, CART captioner

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Michelle Houston, RPR, attended Lincoln Business Institute where she studied court reporting, following which she worked as an official court reporter for 20 years with the First Judicial District of Pennsylvania and Circuit Court for Prince George’s County, Maryland.  After completing CART captioning training with Prince Institute and National Court Reporters Association, she then transitioned to CART captioner and is presently self-employed at in Southern Maryland.

Career highlights are captioning for a deaf pre-med student at Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, Georgetown University Law Center in Washington, DC and The White House for the anniversary of the ADA and Rehabilitation Acts this past fall. In her spare time, she enjoys swimming and hiking.

Desirae Jura, CART captioner

photo of cardinal birdDesirae worked in California before moving to Florida where she worked as a freelance reporter and then as an official in federal court.  She moved to Washington, DC to work for the House of Representatives and then the Senate; she then retired from federal service, and now freelances and does closed captioning. Her favorite assignments are providing CART services.

Angélica Zetina Gonzales, Spanish-English Interpreter and Translator

Angelica Zetina, indigenous American woman of Olmec origins with brown hair, is framed in boke lights in the background during the winter in downtown Oslo, Norway.Angélica is a translator & digital marketing consultant. She has translated websites, novels, and scientific papers; subtitled documentaries and conferences; and interpreted in hospitals and courthouses.

Angélica has also worked with small businesses to help them increase their customer base, reach customers, and set up social media and digital channels.