2017 UNITED Conference - Invited Speakers

2017 UNITED Conference Line Up

The 2017 UNITED Conference will take place on the Northern Michigan University campus in Marquette, Michigan on September 25 and 26, 2017.

Thank you for your interest in this conference. Listed below are the significant voices invited to contribute to this year's Conference (NMU is not responsible for external content).

Biography (Last Name A-Z)

Stacy Alaimo

Tuesday, September 26

Stacy Alaimo is Professor of English and Distinguished Teaching Professor at the University of Texas at Arlington. Alaimo’s books include Undomesticated Ground: Recasting Nature as Feminist Space (2000); Bodily Natures: Science, Environment, and the Material Self (2010), and Exposed: Environmental Politics and Pleasures in Posthuman Times (2016). She co-edited Material Feminisms (2008) and edited Matter (2016). Dr. Alaimo has published around 50 articles in the environmental humanities, gender theory, new materialism, and science studies. Her work has been translated into Swedish, Portuguese, Polish, German, and Greek.  She is currently writing the book Blue Ecologies: Science, Aesthetics, and the Creatures of the Abyss and co-editing a book series at Duke UP called “Elements.”






Alison Grillo

Tuesday, September 26

Alison Grillo is New York City’s Woman Trapped inside a Woman’s Body.  A former college professor who has been on Last Comic Standing, Alison performs at colleges and universities throughout the US and at NYC comedy clubs, and other venues.  She has published fiction in various literary magazines.  Her academic degrees include a BA in economics and political science from Drew University, an MFA in creative writing from Emerson College, and a PhD in English from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. 

Grillo’s presentation is made possible by King*Chavez*Parks initiative






Joe Grimm

Monday, September 25

Joe Grimm teaches in the School of Journalism at Michigan State University. One of his classes publishes books, including more than a dozen 100-question guides to cultural competence. A lifelong Michigander, Grimm worked at the Detroit Free Press for 25 years before joining Michigan State in 2008. He has taught at dozens of universities and companies in the United States, Russia and Saudi Arabia. He has published books about Michigan history, the songs of the Great Lakes sailors, Coney Island hot dogs and, soon, Faygo.






Lama Tsultrim Gyaltsen

Tuesday, September 26

Lama Tsultrim, AKA Matthew “Ben” Bennett, is a native of Marquette, and graduated from Gravaret High School and the University of Michigan—Ann Arbor.  He’s taught high school math and science as well as working in the field of computers.  He was married and has two sons.  In 1992, he began a three-year meditation retreat at the Karme Ling Retreat Center and was ordained as a monk in 1994.  He is currently the retreat master for the men’s retreat.






Robin Jones

Monday, September 25

Robin Jones is the Director of the Great Lakes ADA and Accessible IT Center and an Instructor at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She has extensive experiences as a trainer regarding ADA for business, government and disability organizations. Robin says, “Throughout history, community attitudes and physical barriers in the environment have prevented people with disabilities from fully participating in society.  Access to education, employment, housing, recreation, cultural events, and transportation has been denied to many people.  Along with growth in the disabled population, the quest for independence and equal rights has grown as well.”  Today’s session will explore that history and the many changes that have been made.









Chris Mosier

Monday, September 25

Chris Mosier is a NMU Wildcat alumnus. His presentation is made possible by Platform Personalties.



Tuesday, September 26

Olmeca, Hip-Hop artist/scholar/activist 

Olmeca has visited deportee encampments in Mexico, marched against policies such as HR337, expansion of 287(g), SB1070, HR2281, performed for hunger strikers in Phoenix, and fasted with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers during the “Fair Food Campaign.” He has interviewed dozens of people and shared dialogue with various organizing groups throughout the U.S., Mexico, Canada and London about the plight of immigrant communities. He has worked with undocumented youth providing story-telling workshops and facilitated healing spaces. Olmeca provides a unique perspective on immigration not only as an artist, but participant in the struggle.



Malea Powell

Tuesday, September 26

Malea Powell is Professor and Chair of the Department of Writing, Rhetoric and American Cultures at Michigan State University as well as a faculty member in American Indian and Indigenous Studies. She is lead researcher for the Digital Publishing Lab at MSU, director of the Cultural Rhetorics Consortium, editor-in-chief of constellations: a journal of cultural rhetorics, past chair of the CCCC, and editor emerita of SAIL: Studies in American Indian Literatures. A widely published scholar and poet, her current book project, This Is A Story, examines the continuum of indigenous rhetorical production in North America, from beadwork to alphabetic writing. Powell is a mixed-blood of Indiana Miami, Eastern Shawnee, and Euroamerican ancestry. In her spare time, she hangs out with eccentric Native women artists & poets, and does beadwork.



Kellie Raffaelli

Tuesday, September 26 - Erie Room of the NMU University Center

Kellie Raffaelli is the Director at Michigan Technological University’s Center for Diversity and Inclusion. Kellie has her Master's Degree in Education from Regis University in Denver Colorado and a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology from State University of New York at Oneonta.  Kellie is the co-chair of the University’s Diversity Council and is the advisor to the MTU chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers. Before assuming the role as director in 2015 she was the Assistant Director where she coordinated programing for the Center’s Social Justice Lecture Series, Cultural Competency Training, and Heritage and History month programming. Kellie has been working in Higher Ed for 12 years with previous roles in Academic Support and Learning Center management.







If you have any questions regarding the 2017 UNITED conference, please contact the NMU Multicultural Education and Resource Center at 906-227-1554. Thank you!

Northern Michigan University is located in beautiful Marquette, Michigan on the southern shore of Lake Superior and is situated upon the ancestral homelands of the Anishinaabeg.