Faculty & Staff
Nicole Esquibel MFA
School of Visual and Communication Artsmore
Nicole Esquibel is an award-winning video and filmmaker, writer, and poet. She is a graduate of the prestigious University of Iowa's MFA-Film and Video Production program. Her theoretical articles and written works of fiction have appeared in publications such as Sinister Wisdom and Our Voices. Ms. Esquibel's films and videos have screened both domestically and internationally, including winning the "Between the Lines" award at the Ann Arbor Film Festival. hush, the first film created under her production company Flying Dragon Films, received tremendous critical acclaim and the project was a closing night selection for the Kansas International Film Festival and screened at the Hot Springs International Documentary Film Festival. Recently she completed, La Pucelle, an experimental retelling of the trial of Joan of Arc, shot on Super16mm. Tu Me Quieres Blanca (You want me White) 2010, is a found footage project inspired by a poem by Alfonsina Stori, which seeks to explore the secondary role of Chicana women and Machismo in 20th Century America. Esquibel is author of The Image and the Border: the Films of Willie Varela, a chapter in Experimental Film: The Missing Frames. Currently, in pre-production on a feature length documentary, Neva (working title), examining the death of Neva Arlene Romero, a 21year-old college student and a series of bombings that took place in Boulder Colorado in the spring of 1974.
Eric Winter MFA
Associate Professor; Chair of Art + Design
ERIC WINTER, MFA
Associate Professor, Chair of Department Art + Design
Eric Winter is a visual communicator with a varied professional background in print, environmental and interactive design. He has specific interest in the areas of design activism, sustainability, and design's affect on both built and natural environments. As an educator, Eric strives to prepare students for professional practice by providing a constructive foundation in graphic design, and inspiring a passion for responsible design and its significant role in society.
Prior to joining Avila, Eric worked as an environmental graphic designer for Gensler, a global architecture, design, planning and consulting firm. His experience at Gensler involved a collaborative, multi-disciplinary, team approach to designing branded environments and signage/wayfinding systems for a variety of retail and corporate clients.
A small-town Kansas native, Eric balances his passion for design with a life-long passion for the outdoors. He holds a M.F.A. in Visual Communications from Kansas State University and has studied abroad at the Norwich University College of the Arts, Norwich, England.
Marci Aylward MFA
6010 Oak Street
Kansas City, Missouri 64110
Kansas City, Missouri USA based artist Marci Aylward, whose paintings are shaped by influences from her education at the Kansas City Art Institute in Kansas City, Parsons School of Design in New York and Brighton Polytechnic in Great Britain. Studies in art introduced her to Cezanne, Corot and other masters in the “plein aire” painting tradition. The freshness and immediacy of working from life outdoors has inspired her to paint the immediate surroundings in which she lives. Paintings of both urban areas and the Midwestern countryside, expresses color, light and shadow is an attempt to portray harmony and contrast in the immediate world that she lives in.
Study of art with such artists as Stanley Lewis, Wilbur Niewald, Paul Resika and Leland Bell have had the most influence on the artistic path traveled. This formed a philosophy, which is grounded in the present yet looks to what is universal to all humans. It is the honest expression of the world in which we all live in today. Aylward mostly works with oil paint, but also utilizes pastel, watercolor and gouache. Aylward states, I would like to accomplish work that exemplifies the nuance and truth of the visual world. Each composition is compared to writing a poem or a piece of music when I paint. The process of making art is most important and that experience fulfills and grounds me in the essential important things in life worth doing.
Marci Aylward has shown her work extensively in the United States in the Midwest and East Coast. The Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art has three of her paintings in their permanent collection and is in numerous private collections. She has also shown her work Internationally in Germany, Russia, Vietnam, Mongolia and South Korea.
She currently is an Associate Professor of Art at Avila University in Kansas City, and Director of the Thornhill Gallery.
Dr Dotty Hamilton Ph.D
Communication: Film and Digital Mediamore
Scholarship & Teaching Interests:
She received a Ph.D. from the University of Kansas in film studies, a master’s from Webster University in media communication, and graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Missouri. Hamilton also received a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities to study black film history at University of Central Florida.
Benjamin Pascoe, MFA
Film & Digital Mediamore
Benjamin Pascoe is an award winning filmmaker who has written, directed, produced and edited a variety of films that have screened for enthusiastic audiences around the world. His foundation is in narrative storytelling, but Ben has developed a taste for both experimental and documentary works. His most recent feature film, LEAVE IT ON THE TRACK, a documentary exploring roller derby culture in Austin, Texas, enjoyed a lengthy run on the festival circuit, including a celebrated world premiere at the 66th Edinburgh International Film Festival.
Ben has always been interested in teaching, but his spark was reignited while living and working in Austin, Texas. As an instructor for the Austin Film Society, he helped high school students develop and produce their own short films. Ben found this experience to be extremely rewarding and he decided on a career path that would offer him the best of both worlds: “Avila University encourages excellence in the classroom as well as professional development from their faculty. I fell into a wonderful opportunity here; one that will allow me to grow as an artist, and one that will enable me to guide our young filmmakers in their intellectual and creative development.”
Ben’s current project is a biography about Radames Pera, the child actor who played the iconic character, Grasshopper, in the 1970s television series, KUNG FU (1972-1975). Ben is also a board member for the Kansas International Film Festival and he enjoys contributing to its continued success.
Since joining the VisCom team at Avila University, Ben has come up with a set of priorities. On the very top of that list are his students: “I have spent my life developing a certain set of tools. Now I have the chance to share my knowledge and influence the next generation of storytellers, as we collaborate and discover new paths together.”
Benjamin Pascoe’s Productions: http://vimeo.com/channels/pascoe
Dr. Joseph Anthony Snorgrass Ph.D., MCRP, AICP
Office: 806 Dallavis
Communication, Advertising, Branding & Strategic Media Advisor: Talon Media Network, Talon Advertising Group (TAG), AAF Student Chapter, and Avila BSUmore
influences: Gordon Parks, Paul Robeson, Frank Lloyd Wright, E. Simms Campbell, Marshall McLuhan, Al Reis, Howard Luck Gossage, Daniel Burnham
Dr. J. Anthony Snorgrass is a recognized and awarded professional in the fields of advertising, management, administration, and brand development. He is also a credentialed photographer and mixed-media artist. He received his Ph.D. from Walden University's School of Public Policy and Administration focusing on emergent media communications in public policy environments and non-profit management. He also holds two Master's degrees from the Ohio State University and a B.A. from the University of Kansas. He is certified as an Economic Development Specialist (EDS) by the National Development Council and has national certification from the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP). Snorgrass specializes in new media, augmented reality applications, accessibility, universal design strategies, brand cultivation, and diversity marketing.
As an educator, Snorgrass describes his teaching style as intellectually demanding, introspective and visionary. He expects students to develop an appreciation and understanding of both the art and science of advertising, media, technology and communication mediums then to become confident in this knowledge and it's applications in the real world. He teaches with a "bottom-line" orientation and a genuine sensitivity for the holistic nurturing of his students. His teaching philosophy is geared to prepare students not just to react to the world, but prepare them to change the environment and society in which they exist through forces of their own.
Snorgrass is a change driven, rule-bending creative thinker, deeply invested in using digital technology and the design process to elevate community engagement, institutional innovation and participatory problem solving.
Linda Strelluf, MLA
Advertising, Public Relationsmore
Linda Strelluf has been engaged in the study and practice of oral and written communication for more than twenty-five years. Following this passion, she received a BA in Speech from the University of Missouri-Kansas City and earned a Master's degree in both Film and Literature from Baker University.
Before coming to Avila, she was employed as a company agent for Starlight Theatre, worked on promotions for a national theatre chain, taught classes in communication, English, and theatre, lectured on how to overcome audience anxiety and conducted seminars on how to access creativity. In 1986, Strelluf founded a small company and in 1998, affiliated with Country Sampler Group.
Currently, she is an assistant professor at Avila University in Kansas City. She teaches a variety of classes including communication fundamentals, public relations, corporate communication, film studies, American pop culture, mass media and society and promotional writing. She works with “real world" clients to give students the opportunity to practice the high standard that professionals expect in the workplace. Her students have worked with the WW I. national museum, the Kansas City Toy and Miniature Museum, and a variety of retail and health related organizations, winning numerous local, regional national, and international awards for their work. Strelluf is also the faculty adviser for the campus chapter of the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC/AU).
Linda Strelluf was elected by the national membership to the Association for Women in Communication (AWC) Board of Directors. Strelluf served a three year term on the board and was board liaison to 36 student chapters at universities.across the United States. She was also Chairman of AWC's Clarion Award Committee and has been a judge for the past Ten years. Strelluf is a member of the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) and the adviser to Avila University's IABC student chapter. She is a past member of the St. Joseph Institute for the Deaf Advisory Board, and served as Secretary/Treasurer on the executive committee.
Specialties: Strelluf specializes in using current popular culture trends, which enhance public relations messages.
By using interactive communication methods, she facilitates student enthusiasm that results in academic and personal growth of students.
Teresa Johnson, MFA
Thornhill Gallery Director
Office: Thornhill Office
Thorhill Director and Art instructor
Dr. Paige Illum, Ph.D.
Office: Hodes Center
Fundamentals of Communicationmore
Paige Illum has worked in higher education for over twenty-five years serving in a variety of enrollment and student life related positions at public and private institutions. For the last thirteen years Dr. Illum has worked at Avila University and most recently in the role of Coordinator of Retention and the First Year Experience. She has served the Department of Visual and Communication Arts as an adjunct faculty since 2008. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Mass Communication at Kansas State University and her Master’s in Higher Education Administration and Ph.D. in Foundations of Education and Communication Studies from the University of Kansas.
She has delivered numerous conference presentations including key-note addresses on issues related to higher education. Her personal influences include her parents her showed her the value and example of hard-work and perseverance.
Her professional influences include Dr. Ray Hiner, Emeritus Professor of History and Education who influenced her love of history and the value of good teaching and advising and Dr. Everett Rogers who developed the Diffusion of Innovation theory (http://sphweb.bumc.bu.edu/otlt/MPH-Modules/SB/SB721-Models/SB721-Models4.html).
Dr. Illum enjoys teaching Fundamentals of Communication as she feels the need to possess stellar interpersonal communication skills, work within a group/team environment and deliver messages in a public forum are important to any career and a valuable to personal development.
“Communication works for those who work at it.”
- John Powell
Janice Nannie Mead MS, LPC, ATR-BC, RASAC-II, CTS
Art + Design
Nannie graduated from Avila University in 2008 with a dual Masters in Counseling Psychology and Art Therapy. She currently practices as an Art Therapist, Professional Counselor, Substance Abuse Counselor, Clinical Trauma Specialist and Certified DBT Clinician at Ozanam for adolescent boys and girls. Nannie's background includes work with individuals and groups in psychiatric hospitals and a residential facility setting. She has developed an art therapy substance abuse program serving adolescents and has completed a painting series and mural research project involving youth within a residential setting. She has a private practice, Art Affects, LLC, in Downtown Lee's Summit, Missouri. She provides gallery showings on the Fourth Fridays of the summer months in connection with the Downtown Lee's Summit Cultural Arts Committee. She serves on the Board of the Kansas Art Therapy Association. Nannie received the 2015 School of Visual and Communication Arts Alumni Association Award She has taught Art Therapy classes at Avila since 2013.
Kathy Mendenhall, MA
Art + Design
Office: Dark Room
Georgia Mueller, MA
Art + Design
Georgia Mueller earned her BFA from the Kansas City Art Institute and her MA from University of Central Missouri. She has been a painter most of her life and has work in several private and public collections. She enjoys the classroom and feels teaching is a good fit with her artistic pursuits.
The process of tapping into the nebulous zone that only occurs when I am actively engaged in seeing, filtering, reacting and drawing, is a continuous flow. The fragility of this equilibrium is stunning. Tapping into this state of mind results in a moment of purity. I am in a state of connection with my painting and the real world. A lightning rod between the two, I make the circuit complete.
My artistic influences include Wilbur Niewald, Paul Cézanne, Vincent Van Gogh and Jackson Pollock.
Philosophy of Teaching
I think it is very important to give the students an opportunity to see original art. In my view there is nothing like the primary source. I feel the real function of this class is to give students an opportunity to find themselves face to face with art that has the possibility to change their lives. We venture out and discover a world many of them were not aware existed. If I can somehow ignite a spark in them that opens this world, they will be forever changed. And expanding your students’ world view is always a goal in teaching.
Donald Simon, JD
Media Law, Fundamentals of Communication
Susan Lawlor, MFA
Art + Design
She has been Creative Director for Fleishmann-Hillard Public Relations, Woods Creative Group, and the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Her graphic design work has won national awards from the Public Relations Society of America, the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education, and the International Association of Business Communicators, as well as awards from the Kansas City Advertising Club and the Kansas City Art Director's Club.
Susan earned a Master of Fine Arts from the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, and a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Kansas City Art Institute. She also attended the Maryland Institute College of Art. Prior to joining the faculty at Avila University, she taught Graphic Design at the Kansas City Art Institute and the University of Kansas.