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Meet UW's New Faculty

March Profiles

The Ellbogen Center for Teaching and Learning is launching its New Faculty Profile Series to introduce and welcome the 2017-18 cohort of new faculty to our campus community. Each month we will feature several new faculty. Here are March's profiles. 

Please join us in welcoming them to UW!



Bryan Raya

Title: Associate Director of Bands
Department: Music
Education: D.M.A. Wind Band Conducting, Arizona State University
Research Interests: Marching Bands, Conducting, Community Bands
Teaching: Marching Band, Marching Band Techniques, Symphonic Band, Brass Methods, and Aural Theory
bryan raya headshot

Prior to coming to UW, Bryan was a graduate teaching assistant at Arizona State University while completing his doctorate. He is enjoying the small town feel of Laramie after coming from the Phoenix area with lots of people and traffic. He is also extremely pleased to see the great attitudes and work ethic of the outstanding students in the UW Marching Band as well as the other classes he teaches.

His interest in music goes back to elementary school, and he knew it would be his profession since high school. For students to be successful in his classes, Bryan says “Go to class. I was not the best undergraduate student, but I persevered and finished. Find a discipline that you enjoy and everything else will work itself out.”

Here are some interesting things to know about Bryan:

  • If he had a superpower it would be: The ability to read minds.
  • Favorite quote: “It’s nothing personal, it’s just business.” – The Godfather
  • In his free time you can find him: Watching sports, traveling, and playing poker.
  • He prefers: Spring to fall.

So the next time you hear the sounds of the Western Thunder Marching Band, give a shout out to the director!



Erin Page Headshot

Breanna Krueger

Title: Assistant Professor
Department: Communication Disorders
Education: PhD University of Kansas
Research Interests: Speech Sound Disorders
Teaches: Intro to Communication Disorders, Phonological Assessment & Treatment

Breanna is an alum of UW and is very excited to be back in Laramie. Her main professional interests are in improving treatment efficiency and efficacy for late-acquired sounds in children with speech sound disorders. If she wasn’t a professor, she says she would be running a yarn shop or bakery.

Interesting things to know about Breanna:

  • If she got a million dollar grant, she would: Study treatment efficacy and efficiency in late-acquired sounds in young and old children.
  • If she had 15 minutes to interview someone in her field? Judy Gierut
  • If she could time travel, she would go back to: The Tudor era.
  • In her free time you can find her: playing Nintendo or reading.
  • Prefers: Vanilla to chocolate.


Lars Kotthoff

Title: Assistant Professor
Department: Computer Science
Education: PhD University of St. Andrews
Research Interests: Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning
Teaches: Algorithms and Data Structures

Lars Kotthoff Headshot

Prior to joining the UW faculty, Lars was at the University of British Columbia. He says that one of the most exciting things about UW is access to the world-class computing facilities at Mount Moran and the NCAR supercomputer in Cheyenne. These facilities give him a great advantage because he can conduct his research much faster.

Lars finds tackling challenging problems very rewarding, especially in Artificial Intelligence. He says that coming up with new ways of solving a problem can make a difference between being able to solve it in seconds and having to wait millions of years for a solution.

Lars is a self-proclaimed undercover archaeologist and has excavated Maya ruins in Central America. He likes the idea of taking data that archaeologists generate, make it accessible to the public, and analyzing it to come with new models and insights about early civilizations.

He prefers:

  • Cold Weather to Hot Weather
  • Vanilla to Chocolate
  • Mountains to Beach
  • Do-it-Yourself to Call an Expert


Kris Koski Headshot

Leigh Hall

Title: Wyoming Excellence in Higher Education Endowed Chair in Literacy Education
Department: College of Education/School of Teaching Education
Education: PhD Michigan State University; M.Ed. Vanderbilt; B.S. University of South Florida
Teaches: Adolescent Literacy for Educators

Leigh joins UW from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. She has lived in big cities all her life and is enjoying the benefits of small town life, including walking or riding her bike to work. When Leigh was growing up she found that school was not a place she wanted to be or thought she belonged. As a first-gen navigating college was difficult but thankfully she found good mentors to guide her through the process. This led her to the desire to make the experience better for others.

When asked, what is the best advice you give to your students about what it will take to be successful in your classes? Leigh replied, “Sometimes classes are just hard. That’s ok. Keep at it and seek out support. There were times when I didn’t understand the content of a class until the next semester. It can take time to process difficult concepts. Don’t compare yourself to others and their achievements or your perception of how things seem easier for them. Be the best version of you.”

Here are some interesting things to know about Leigh:

Leigh says she has the most amazing job because she gets to work with teachers and students all around the state and help make an impact. Her colleagues are brilliant and amazing. “It’s like a dream.”



Contact Us

Ellbogen Center for Teaching and Learning

1000 E. University, Dept. 3334, Coe Library 510

Laramie, WY 82071

Phone: 307-766-4847

Email: ellbogenctl@uwyo.edu

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