Our Speakers

As a collaborative endeavor, we are fortunate to have help from such great guest speakers.  They are always generous with their time, willing to share their experiences, and passionate about their work.

Deanne Fitzmaurice

© 2019 Chala Janpraphasakul

© 2019 Chala Janpraphasakul

Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial and commercial photographer Deanne Fitzmaurice conveys personal, intimate and emotional stories through images. Her method is a blueprint for establishing trust and telling compassionate stories with a humanizing impact.

Deanne has also partnered with foundations and non-profits including the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Lucile Packard Foundation. She is a Nikon Ambassador and an assignment photographer for National Geographic, Sports Illustrated and ESPN. Her commercial clients include Apple, Nike, Google and Facebook.


Peter Bohlin

Peter is one of the founding principals of Bohlin Cywinski Jackson, which began practice as Bohlin and Powell in 1965. The firm’s success, and the professional recognition it has attained, are in large measure attributable to his design insights and unflagging dedication to setting the highest standards for all design work produced by the firm. His leadership and inspiration have established a culture of thoughtful, thorough design thinking throughout the practice, and he remains keenly interested in both broad conceptual thinking and detail expression, reviewing the development of design and documentation regularly with project teams. In 2010, the American Institute of Architects awarded Peter with the Gold Medal, the highest honor for an individual in the profession.


© 2018 Rob Lettieri

© 2018 Rob Lettieri

Doug Menuez

Doug is an award-winning photographer and photojournalist who has shot assignments for The Washington Post, Time, Newsweek, LIFE and more as well as ad campaigns for the world’s largest global firms. His work includes Fearless Genius a book documenting his unprecedented access to Steve Jobs and other technology pioneers in Silicon Valley’s golden age.  www.menuez.com


Pamela Zuccker
Founder, Creative Director, Principle

Pamela is a partner and co-founder of Principle.  Pamela graduated with a BFA from the University of Michigan and continued her design studies at the Portfolio Center in Atlanta. She began her career at Rigsby Design in Houston, working with clients such as Dell and International Paper where her responsibilities ranged from conceptual development to design to highly-crafted production. Prior to establishing Principle in 2005, Pamela ran her own design office, landing national accounts that encompassed everything from book design to advertising. Outside the office, she serves as a portfolio advisor to senior design students, has juried international design competitions and is a past board member of the AIGA Houston.  www.designbyprinciple.com

Joseph Cartright
Beauty & Fashion Photographer

New York City based beauty and fashion photographer Joseph Cartright is as diverse and creative as the city he grew up in.  With an Engineering and Avionics background, and a career in Music Production he's coalesced the precision of engineering and the fluidity of Music Production into a unique visual art form.  His technical and artistic background has made him a much sought after teacher at Parsons School of Design and he has taught seminars for Apple Computers, Phase One, Microsoft, Xrite and HP.


Dr. Na Tosha Gatson

Dr. Gatson specializes in neurology and subspecializes in neuro-oncology. Her clinical interests include primary and metastatic brain tumors, cancer neurology issues (neurology symptoms secondary to cancer treatment), neuro-oncoimmunology, and reproductive and women’s neurology. Dr. Gatson earned her MD and her PhD from The Ohio State University. She also completed a neurology residency and a neuro-oncology postdoctoral year at the same institution. Dr. Gatson completed her fellowship in neuro-oncology at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.

Dr. Gatson's interests include women's neurology and neuro-oncology, cancer neurology, brain tumor imaging, clinical trial design and clinical research, and cancer immunology.



Butch Comegys
Senior Staff Photographer, Scranton Times-Tribune

Following in his father’s (Fred Comegys) footsteps as an accomplished photographer, Butch has been awarded the Pennsylvania Associated Press Media Editors Paul Vathis Memorial Photography Portfolio Award. Twice!

Instagram: @butchcomegys


John Todd

John is the team photographer for Major League Soccer’s San Jose Earthquakes since the team’s inception in 1996. He also owns and operates International Sports Images, the official photography supplier to the U.S. Men and Women’s soccer teams, Stanford Athletics, and the former Maverick’s Big Wave Surfing contest.

His work has appeared in Time Magazine, USA Today, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Sports Illustrated and ESPN the Magazine, and has been displayed at the Smithsonian Institution as part of a women-in-sports photography exhibit. In addition to his commercial and editorial work,  John also teaches a yearly sports photography and Yosemite Landscape class in the Stanford Continuing Studies program at Stanford University.


Chala Janpraphasakul
Computer Programer & Surrealistic Photographer

Chala is a Scranton-based fine art photographer and computer programmer.  She was born, raised, and lived in Thailand until 1998.  After graduating from Hunter College, New York, in 2004 with a Computer Science degree, she moved to Scranton, PA.

Chala was introduced to photography during her teenage years.  But it was the digital era that inspired her to apply photography as a medium to express herself.  She was drawn to a surrealist style of photography and found it satisfied her need to transform her imagination, thoughts, feelings or dreams into a story in an image.  She merges her subjects with multiplicity, levitation and movements in order to tell a story and to depict the impossible.



Philip Dente
Urban Landscape Photographer

“I live in Northeastern Pennsylvania and have been photographing for about 30 years.

For me, photography will always be an exciting journey. Whether it be the physical trek from place to place or a spiritual pilgrimage, the paths taken ultimately lead to new discoveries and expanded awareness. It is a journey that continues to bring me home. Not in the geographical sense but rather in the context of vision and emotions. It is an infinite journey where the end becomes yet another beginning.

With my exploration of the urban landscape I try to demonstrate the feeling of a continual loss of the past through the disruptions of the present.

Among the last vestiges of the familiar there still remains a certain elegance that I find extraordinary.”


Amanda Grace Frider

Amanda is a photographer and serves on the Board of Trustees for Everhart Museum of Natural History, Science, and Art in Scranton, Pa.

Niko J. Kallianiotis
Contributing Photographer, The New York Times

Niko is an educator and photographer based in Scranton, Pennsylvania. His formative years were spent in Greece, but for all of his adulthood he lived in the United States. Because of his hybrid background he views the world and his surrounding environs from two different perspectives, both culturally and socially. With photography he is attempting to comment on his cultural dichotomy and simultaneously reflect on the social landscape of the communities and cities he has lived. He is currently teaching at Drexel University in Philadelphia,  Marywood University in Scranton, Pa, and he is a contributing photographer for The New York Times. 



Stacy Herb
Immuno-oncolog Research Project Leader, Celularity

Stacy has an MBA and a Masters in Public Health. Her research includes stem cell therapies and innovative “killer cell” treatment.

“Our goal is to make effective, safe, affordable treatments with fewer side effects.”


Tom Reilly

Tom Reilly, is a dad, an artist, a story teller and an award- winning photographer based in Northeast PA. He is passionate about expressing thoughts and emotions through images and most importantly, allowing clients to relive special moments for the rest of their life.


Shane T. McCoy
Operational Photojournalist / Video Photographer, U.S. Marshals

Originally from a rural town in California's Sierra Nevada foothills, Shane began photographing for his school newspaper and yearbook as a teenager.  He received additional technical photography training during his fifteen year career in the U.S. Navy where he was a Combat Cameraman and editor of All Hands Magazine.  Shane also studied photojournalism at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University.



Mark Kitaoka

"I haven’t always been a photographer and photography isn’t the only thing in my life, but it sometimes feels that way. I was a suit, a corporate guy, a money hungry animal. Now I make my livelihood photographing people and I love it, along with donuts."


Aimee Dilger
Photojournalist, The Times Leader

"I grew up in the middle of nowhere, took lots of pictures with my purple Le Clic.  I found a Minolta SLR kit with some lenses in my grandmother's house and learned how to use it.  Went off to college and borrowed way too much money, left school, went back, left and went back again. Finally I graduated! 

I started working as a freelance news photographer, photographed some weddings, high school senior portraits.  Bought a digital camera and was hired by The Times Leader.  A decade later I paid off those student loans having taken hundreds of thousands of pictures, got married, had two boys (that I take lot's of photos of), won some awards, taken pictures for some pretty cool publications, taken pictures of some pretty important people, taken more classes and enjoy going to work most days."

Aimee is a staff photographer for The Times Leader Newspaper.  Or visit Aimee's website.

Jim Gavenus
Civil Rights Photographer, Photography Instructor at Luzerne County Community College.

"My work as a documentary photographer usually focuses on the human condition, a social issue, or injustice. I tell the stories of people trying to overcome a tragedy, the courage they demonstrate and their hope for a better day. Many of the people I photograph are forgotten. Their life and condition goes unrecognized. So, I give a voice to their situation.

I do this work to bring awareness and I hope to educate people in hopes of bringing about change. For many years I called myself a documentary photographer but now I use the title storyteller. My work has developed beyond the photograph and now includes the stories of the people I’ve met, photographed and call friends."

Jim Gavenus Photography

Christopher Dolan Photojournalist

Born and raised in Northeastern Pennsylvania, Chris studied communications and initially considered a career in broadcast journalism.  A graduate of Scranton Univeristy, he is an award-winning photojournalist and Staff photographer for the Citezens' Voice Newspaper.



Laura Toole
Executive Vice President, Northeast Regional Cancer Institute

The mission of the Northeast Regional Cancer Institute is to ease the burden of cancer in Northeastern Pennsylvania. Key principles:

  • Focus programming on community needs

  • Apply data-based knowledge in setting and evaluating actions

  • Seek collaborative opportunities and solutions to programming needs

  • Maintain an entrepreneurial culture

  • Seek to balance public and private funding


Ed Ackerman
Writer, Greater Pittston Progress

As a consulting editor and columnist for the Greater Pittston Progress, Ed has served the people of Greater Pittston for 48 years, starting in the newspaper field at age 17. The Pittston resident shares his thoughts on his blog and in a weekly column published in the Progress.

He is also an Assistant Professor in Luzerne County Community College's Communication Arts Department.  

Heather Sincavage
Assistant Professor/Director Sordoni Art Gallery, Wilkes University

Prior to her appointment at Wilkes University, Heather served as director of the Reed Fine Art Gallery and University Collections, University of Maine at Presque Isle, where she was a faculty member in art since 2012. As gallery director she has overseen all phases of gallery operations: community outreach, planning and curating exhibitions,fund-raising, supervising student curatorial projects, and supervising a major relocation project. 

Her experience and training are an excellent match for the position at Wilkes as we seek to engage our many audiences with the visual arts and prepare to open a new gallery with a renewed sense of mission and purpose.  Heather earned her BFA from the Tyler School of Art, Temple University, and her MFA from the University of Washington. She has exhibited widely, both in the United States and internationally. She has been awarded residencies and fellowships in Finland, Spain, New Hampshire, Vermont, and Pennsylvania. She brings a wealth of teaching experience to Wilkes, including appointments at Maine, Kutztown University, Penn State Lehigh Valley, and Lehigh University.


David Brocca
Producer, Documentary Filmmaker, Pitch Films.

Based in Los Angeles, and winner of the 2007 Independent Sprit Awards Meida Lab, David has been a director, and producer for companies such as Spike TV, MTV, IFc, iFilm.com, and Icon.  He is also cofounder of Pitch Films.  David grew up in West Pittston, Pa - just a few miles from the site of the Knox Mine.  The 1959 Knox Mine Disaster is the subject of his current project, a feature length documentary by the same name.


Dr. Chaniga Vorasarun
Clinical Psychologist

Dr. Vorasarun received her Bachelor's Degree from UCLA in Communication and Media Studies and her doctorate in clinical psychology from the PGSP-Stanford Psy.D. Consortium in 2015. Her approach to treatment aims to help individuals become more present to their emotions, improve relationships and live more fulfilling lives.

Michael Black
Commercial Photographer, Black Sun Studios

With a custom designed creative space in State College, Pa Michael

  • shoots commercial, advertising and editorial photography

  • art directs and manages commercial/advertising projects

  • was spotted in the 60s wearing nothing but giraffe swim shorts

  • obsesses over details

  • likes cool distractions

  • has a great crew & travels anywhere

www.michaelblack.com or www.blacksunstudio.com

Jill Price
Adventure Education Coordinator, Student Development, Wilkes University

Not your average yoga instructor.  A modern day version of Peter Pan, except female and better at having more fun.



Keith Perks
Photographer, 1120 Studios

Keith Perks is an award winning photographer based out of Northeastern Pennsylvania that specializes in concert and fine art photography.

He also covers The Coney Island Mermaid Parade, The Village Halloween Parade, Electric City Music Conference, Noir Nights, and several other music, food, and fundraiser events.

He loves diners, dive bars, Southern culture, anything Irish, and vintage America. He knows Cytoxan kicks in after about eight hours and he once helped save a green pig.



Gregory R. Mottola, FAIA, NCARB, AIBC
Architect, Bohlin Cywinski Jackson

Greg is a Principal architect at Bohlin Cywinski Jackson’s San Francisco office. As lead designer for a diverse group of award-winning commercial, workplace, hospitality, academic, and civic buildings, he possesses a deep understanding of how buildings can shape and transform their environment. This is exemplified in his work for for technology companies that includes Square and Adobe, Inc.

He holds a Bachelor of Architecture from Carnegie Mellon University, and his projects have been published in numerous books and periodicals. He has chaired and participated in design awards juries across the country, and regularly lectures on the topics of humane modernism, craft, and detail, and how these themes influence the work of the firm.


(Liza pictured with her husband Robert Rolland.)

(Liza pictured with her husband Robert Rolland.)

Liza Rolland
Organic Farmer, Tilling Point Farm

Tilling Point Farm is a small, off-grid, organic farm in Northeastern Pennsylvania.  They raise produce, flowers, chicken and pigs, and run a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA).

The Farm is exists because of Liza Rolland's vision. Raised in NEPA, she draws on her deep respect of land and nature and a commitment to food justice.

"We dabble in permaculture and biodynamics. Our farming business is built from sweat and tears – which makes for the truly best fertilizer."


Matt Devine

Matt Devine is a self-taught sculptor working with steel, stainless steel, aluminum and bronze. Born and raised in New England, Devine moved to California in 1995, where he learned to weld and fabricate metal while working alongside his father.

The contrasts of nature and industry, light and shadow, chaos and order are themes found throughout Devine’s body of work. Pared-down organic shapes are formed out of sheet and solid materials and welded together in harmonious accord, often allowing the metal to appear as light as paper. These contrasts, plus the relationships of patterns and boundaries, address Devine’s desire to contain chaos and push out the discord of an information-saturated culture.

Since becoming a full-time artist in 2004, Devine has developed his signature sculpture style while building his fine art career. Devine’s sculpture is on display at highly-regarded fine art galleries, art fairs and notable auction houses across North America, Asia and Europe. His works can be found in myriad private, corporate and public art collections on five continents.


Anne Bramblett Barr
Director, West Pittston Library

Anne studied literature at the University of New Hampshire, Clarion University of Pennsylvania and James Madison University.  She also spent a year working for artist Judy Chicago.  But as evidence that you should NEVER judge a book by it's cover, she is known as Daenerys Slamgaryen to her Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Roller Radicals roller derby team mates.


Paul Lumia
Executive Director, The North Branch Land Trust

North Branch Land Trust is a private non-profit land conservation organization focused on helping landowners conserve their property and helping communities develop smart growth strategies for the benefit of their citizens. Primarily, the Land Trust accomplishes its mission by accepting donations of development or subdivision rights on land, through a legal agreement called a conservation easement. Less frequently, the Land Trust will seek financial resources to purchase development rights on land. The Land Trust is also the receptacle for gifts of land or other real property. North Branch Land Trust relies almost exclusively on membership donations, gifts and grants to accomplish its mission.


Aimee Newell
Executive Director, Luzerne County Historical Society

The mission of the Luzerne County Historical Society is to preserve and promote the collective history and heritage of Luzerne County, Pennsylvania.


Lori Albrecht Ryan
Photographer, Lori Ryan Photography

Native of Scranton, PA, Lori received an A.F.A. from Keystone College and in 1992, a B.F.A. in Photography from Tyler School of Art, Philadelphia PA.  Her career led her to Photo Editing in the publishing industry as well as the stock photography industry in New York, NY. Her photographs have been published in national magazines such as Field and Stream and Woman's World, and her personal work has shown in New York, NY, Philadelphia, PA, Cambridge, MA, Trenton, NJ and Scranton and Harrisburg, PA.
She is also an adjunct Instructor at Keystone College, heavily involved with the Scranton STEAMworks, has served on the board of Artists fo Art, and been a judge for Wilkes-Barre's Fine Arts Fiesta.


Michael E. Brewster
Senior Pastor at Mt. Zion Baptist Church, Wilkes-Barre

Pastor Brewster studied Master's Arts in Religion (M.A.R.) at Liberty University in Philadelphia.  The Mount Zion Baptist Church founded in 1893, exists today as a multi-cultural family of believers from various denominational backgrounds and experiences.  The church, located at 105 Hill St. in Wilkes-Barre is also home to Our Daily Bread Food Pantry.



Brittany Boote
Wedding and Studio Photographer

Brittany Boote is a resident of Northeastern Pennsylvania. Her affinity for the camera began as a teenager when she signed a contract with Manhattan based CED talent agency as a model and actress. Brittany was featured in several national spots including an Anti Drug campaign and on numerous magazine & book covers. In her early twenties she began photographing the regional skateboard and local music scenes. These shoots led to the discovery that her true passion, was behind the camera, as a photographer, since then Brittany has worked on numerous productions including "The Barre" as an assistant director, and actress. She continues to explore her love of fashion, art culture, and photography at her studio in Forty Fort, PA.



Frank Lauri
Sports Photographer

Frank specializes in sports action, competitive cheer & dance, team & individual portrait photography.

His work has been featured in Yankees Magazine, MLB.com and MiLB.com as well as Sports Choice baseball cards.  He is a contributing photographer for MiLB, ProBaseballInsider.com, Action Moments Photography (Chattanooga, TN), GameFace Media, and also provide freelance services for the Citizens Voice Newspaper, Wyoming Valley Sports Shot and King's College.


Holly Pilcavage
Director of Business Development, Coal Creative

Holly's truest passions are people, telling stories, and calendars. With a background in Business and Higher Education, Holly focuses her energy on creating meaningful connections while developing the company from inside out.



Nicholas Snyder (AIA)
Architect, Bohlin Cywinski Jackson

Nick joined Bohlin Cywinski Jackson in 2001, and since then has contributed to and managed a variety of project types, including custom residential projects, academic buildings, museums, parking garages, and historic renovation and adaptive re-use projects. This varied experience has provided him with a wealth of knowledge in space planning, sustainable materials research, and project detailing necessary to realize a project from the beginning of conceptual design through the end of construction.

He earned a Bachelor of Architecture (BArch), Architecture from Virginia Tech and is also on the Board of Directors for the Greater Wilkes-Barre Chamber and the North Eastern Pennsylvania Chapter of the American Institute of Architects.

Jessica & Chris Kang

Violinist Jessica Nataupsky Kang is the founder of AVIVA Strings, and performing member of the Northeastern Pennsylvania Philharmonic.  She is also the Philharmonic's librarian.

Chris Kang is Board member for the Philharmonic and an attorney.

John Aciukewicz
Executive Director, CASA of Luzerne County

John joined CASA in 2016 after serving three years on the Board of Directors. His desire to help CASA achieve the growth he knew it was capable of was so great that he stopped practicing law after more than 30 years and redirected his attention to helping abused and neglected foster children in Luzerne County.


Amanda Hrycyna
Freelance Photojournalist

"I am a freelance photographer and life artist.
I have passion and respect for what I expierence, envision, partake in and create."


David Pedri
County Manager, Luzerne County, Pa

David is an attorney who was born and raised in Luzerne County.  After graduating from St. Joseph’s University and Law School at Temple University, he accepted a position as a Luzerne County Assistant District Attorney where he worked for 7 years and compiled 13 homicide convictions.

In May of 2013, David was appointed as Luzerne County’s first Chief County Solicitor under the new Home Rule Government where he handled all legal matters on behalf of the County. 

He was appointed County Manager by the Luzerne County Council in May, 2016 where he now oversees all day-to-day operations of Luzerne County government including the supervision of over 1,400 employees and a $300 Million Budget.


Sean McKeag
Photo Journalist


Sean became interested in photography as a way  tell peoples' stories. He is an active member of the National Press Photographers Association and has won a Keystone press award for feature photography. Sean has done work for The Boston Globe and Pittsburgh Tribune-Review and was also a staff photographer for the Times Leader in Wilkes-Barre, Pa.



Jude Mooney

"I consider myself an artist and a record keeper, documenting a unique time and place in life. Life changes quickly and kids grow up fast so take lots and lots of pictures along the way!

I was educated at Urban High School in San Francisco, Sarah Lawrence College in New York, and I received my BFA from The San Francisco Art Institute in 1994. I have been shooting weddings and portraits in the Bay Area for over a decade, as well as showing my fine art in Bay Area galleries."


Jennifer Lema
Bohlin, Cywinski, Jackson architects

Jennifer moved to Wilkes-Barre to work for Bohlin Cywinski Jackson after graduating from the school of architecture at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI). She grew up in New York City, where she explored art and design through creative youth development programs and taught summer design studios to high school students. Jennifer’s passion and background in architecture has been the scaffold for continuing her work on creative projects and her years as a student, volunteer and teacher have deepened her belief in the positive impacts of a design education.


Photo: Josiah Lewis

Photo: Josiah Lewis

Corinne Chace
Graphic Designer, Founder Steadfast Design Studio

Corinne's résumé includes projects for clients such as eBay, Louboutin, Lacoste, Yves Saint Laurent, QVC, author Cecilia Galante, Queen City Pops, and DKNY.

"From a young age I have loved design and photography, but I officially got my start at Hallmark Institute of Photography in Turners Falls, Massachusetts. While there, I developed my photography skills and also discovered that I enjoy using Adobe software, such as Photoshop. To learn more about the Adobe suite and graphic design, I attended courses at Montclair State University in New Jersey. Since then, I have focused on collaborating with creative clients, especially entrepreneurs with a need to market their small businesses."



Garth Bixler
Board Member, Petaluma Arts Center