Teacher Bios

Alexandra Tax

Ever the interdisciplinarian, Alexandra Tax has had unorthodox education. In high school at Douglas Anderson School of the Arts in Florida she studied visual arts, theater and creative writing. In college she discovered ethics and aesthetics and became an enthusiast of philosophy. From personal experience she knows that pursuit of wisdom and its rigorous methods can be truly life-changing. She has a B.A from Brooklyn College in New York, where she studied French language and literature and modern History.

Andrea Michalowsky

Andrea Michalowsky has an MFA in poetry from Pacific University and a BA in writing seminars from Johns Hopkins University. Her work has appeared in the Atlanta Review as an honorable mention in their international poetry contest and received a Vaclav Havel Scholarship to the Prague Summer Program for Writers. Her current book-length project presses past love into ownership of the self within the structural arc of the sonnet. She’s interested in diverse forms, from the traditional to the experimental, and specializes in the ghazal. She also offers personalized sessions as a poetry mentor.

Brennah Hale

Brennah Hale is a writer, editor, and book marketer. She found her passion within the literary industry studying English as an undergraduate and continued her education at Portland State University where she obtained a master’s degree in book publishing. In her freelance work, Brennah enjoys guiding authors to reach their publication goals through editorial and marketing services and focuses on a wide variety of genres–anywhere from memoir to young adult.

Daude Teel

Daude Teel is an aspiring political philosopher and existentialist. He thirsts for knowledge, though also experiences a strong urge for depth in his areas of specialty. Daude always has time for discussions in the humanities, for he enjoys throwing around ideas, and particularly delights in asking questions that that were previously unconsidered. Daude’s adamant about the idea that a teacher is first a student. He lives by Erasmus’ words: “When I have little money, I buy books; and if I have any left, I buy food and clothes.

Ian Hayes

Ian Hayes is a St. John’s College graduate with a BA in Liberal Arts, majoring in both Philosophy and History of Mathematics and Sciences with a minor focus on Classical Studies and Comparative Literature. His academic interests include cultural criticism, existentialism, film studies, information technology, literary criticism, philosophy and psychology. A freelance grant writer and digital content specialist, Ian also writes long-form realist, speculative, and literary fiction with a focus on morality and mortality.

Jen Brown

Jen Brown is a professional artist who paints large figurative works in oil. She is interested in using the familiar postures, symbolism, and constructs of Western Art. Brown holds a Master’s Degree in Art History and a Curatorial Diploma from York University in Toronto (class of 2004). She is a self-taught painter; however her education in art history bears insight into the subject and style of her paintings. She is Canadian but has lived in Japan and Mexico, and currently lives and works in Portland, OR.

John Capaccio

John Capaccio has a love of learning and sharing ideas with others. John’s formal educational background includes time at SUNY Buffalo (B.A.), San Diego State University (M.A.), and the University of Oregon (Ph.D., Philosophy). His primary areas of interest include 20th Century Continental Philosophy, Aesthetics and Theology. He currently teaches philosophy at Chemeketa Community College, Yamhill Valley Campus located in the heart of wine country.

John Sibley Williams

John Sibley Williams is the author of As One Fire Consumes Another (Orison Poetry Prize, 2019), Skin Memory (Backwaters Prize, University of Nebraska Press, 2019), Disinheritance, and Controlled Hallucinations. A nineteen-time Pushcart nominee, John is the winner of numerous literary awards, including the Wabash Prize for Poetry, Philip Booth Award, and Laux/Millar Prize. He serves as editor of The Inflectionist Review and works as a poetry editor, writing coach, workshop leader, and literary agent. Visit him at https://www.johnsibleywilliams.com.

Josuee Hernandez

Josuee Hernandez has a BA in English from the University of Oregon (minoring in Political Science) and a MA in English from Portland State University, where he focused on African-American literature and Critical Race Theory. His research and interests involve philosophy, literary and cultural criticism, and the material relations between race, gender and class. He is also an aspiring novelist and short story writer of literary fiction, and can usually be found workshopping other people’s writing. He currently serves as Vice President of The People’s Colloquium.

Kellye McBride

Kellye McBride is a graduate of the CRMEP program in Contemporary European Philosophy at Kingston University London. Her primary research focus is horror and the abject. One of her essays can be found in Stephen King and Philosophy published by Rowman and Littlefield. She has also presented at both national and international conferences about various philosophical topics, including, but not limited to feminism, psychoanalysis, critical theory, existentialism, queer theory, and film studies. She lives in Portland, OR where she also writes flash fiction.

Maraya Karena

Maraya Karena is a Writer, Counselor and Consciousness Researcher. She explores poetry, dance, phenomenology, social issues, sex, futurism, mysticism, joy and agony all to learn a little bit more about who we really are and how we can most authentically express ourselves. Maraya has degrees in Creative Writing, Cyborg Anthropology and Process-Oriented Psychology. You can help her pay her student loans by booking a session for counseling, developmental editing, by attending one of her monthly Make Reality More Real events. www.MarayaKarena.com

Mark Montesano

Mark Montesano retired from Arizona State University in 2015 after teaching for 19 years, where he’d offered a variety of humanities seminars. Beforehand he’d been a therapist and counselor for 20 years. He holds graduate degrees in counseling psychology, religious studies, and English. He also has an abiding love of jazz, and is a DJ on KMHD jazz radio. His central interest is exploring what it means to be a human being through the study and synthesis of philosophy, literature, politics, music, religion and comedy.

Morgan Fears

Morgan studied History at Portland State University, completing a thesis that explored alchemy’s powers of transformation. She has a passion for global history, with sub-specialities in the Middle East, Mediterranean region, Sub-Saharan Africa, and the US. Topically, her emphasis is on the history of ideas, sub-cultures, and secret societies. Morgan is also a writer and painter, and creates sculptures of suspended objects. She fuses her studies in theology, linguistics, politics, and philosophy with her writing and artwork in order to create socially and politically powerful applications.

Richard Pope

Richard Pope is a graduate of Kent State University with a BA degree in philosophy, and also the Oregon College of Oriental Medicine with a MS degree in acupuncture and oriental medicine. His topics of interest include western philosophy, Buddhism’s contemporary practice in the USA, and speculative fiction as a vehicle for ideas. In addition to his lecturing and discussion facilitation, Rich is an aspiring novelist; his novels typically combine Buddhist philosophy with an experimental narrative structure. He currently volunteers as the executive director of The People’s Colloquium.

Rito Sengupta

Formally employed as an engineer in the Portland metro area, Rito S. received his PhD in Organic Chemistry from Pennsylvania State University, PA. Prior to his industrial transition, Rito taught undergraduate chemistry classes catering to pre-med students. Rito is personally invested in conducting science outreach for general public and takes interest in public speaking and improvisational acts including stand-up comedy. He is passionate about promoting resources for scientific decision-making in everyday life.

Past Teachers

Ceri Shaw

Ceri Shaw is a former college lecturer and private tutor from Cardiff, Wales. He has a B.A. in Philosophy/History and a U.K adult teaching qualification (P.G.C.E.F.E.) He has taught both the O and A level at Ebbw Vale F.E. College in south Wales. His main areas of interest and expertise include: Philosophy of Science, the history of Western Philosophy, and German idealism. He’s currently the Executive Director of a small Welsh-American arts and culture non-profit organization, the Meriwether Lewis Memorial Eisteddfod Foundation.

Gregory Sotir

Gregory Sotir is a K-12 educator, environmental activist, anti-militarism organizer, and fiction writer. He’s self-published a ‘zine and disbursed cassette tape poems, and published in Rethinking Schools and The Beachhead. He’s currently the coordinator for the Cully Air Action Team and lives in the Cully neighborhood of Portland. He has rocks from every major continent in his home, and an affliction for constant intellectual growth, and one day he plans to move his rocks and body to an island in the Mediterranean.

Josef Ginsberg

Josef has a BA in English Literature from San Francisco State University. He is currently completing an MA in English at Portland State University where he teaches college composition. He is also an aspiring writer of speculative fiction (magic realism or something). His academic interests include literary theory, cultural criticism, philosophy, psychology, religion, mysticism, and absolute truth. He specializes in nothing in particular.