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Meet UW's New Faculty

December 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 December's profiles. 

Please join us in welcoming them to UW!

Mac Festa

Title: Assistant Professor
Department: Accounting & Finance
Education: PhD, Accounting; Masters of Professional Accountancy; BS in Business Administration – Finance, West Virginia University
Research Interests: Experimental, Ethics, Mentoring, Supervisory Relationships.
Teaching: Financial Statement Analysis, Tax II, and Estate Planning.
mac festa headshot
Prior to joining the UW faculty this fall, Mac worked at West Virginia University, Huntington National Bank, and United Bank. He is excited about new opportunities at UW including teaching new classes, working with great faculty, and exploring a new part of the country. When asked how he got into his field, he said “My dad had me operating a faux bank account when I was 5 years old. So, I was doomed from the get-go.”

Mac’s first job (at 8 years old) was “cutting grass for the entire neighborhood. My dad had me take money out of my savings account to buy a lawn mower and weed whacker. Then he walked me around to the neighbors. By the end of the summer, I cut 8 lawns and had two friends working for me.” Good thing he already knew how to operate a bank account!

To be successful in his classes, Mac wants his students to know that “hard work trumps smarts.” He hopes this message will lead to the successful start of new careers for his students.

Other interesting things to know about Mac:

  • If he could have coffee/tea with someone: Warren Buffet
  • If he could time travel, he would go to: July 1, 1776 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Prefers: Do-it-yourself v. call an expert (this will come in handy since his dream project is building a house).

Erin Page Headshot

Erin Page

Title: Assistant Lecturer/Speech Clinic Coordinator
Department: Communication Disorders
Education: M.S. in Speech Language Pathology, University of Wyoming; B.S. Moderate/Severe Disabilities, University of Kentucky
Teaches: SPPA 5030 Clinical Practicum
Before coming to UW, Erin was in various positions as a paraprofessional, therapeutic recreation counselor and a special education teacher. While she was a special education teacher, Erin worked closely with the school’s Speech Language Pathologist, which sparked her interest in pursuing her master’s degree.

“Watching the positive impact improved communication has on a child’s life was a very strong motivator to make it my ultimate career path,” said Erin.

Erin is excited to be a part of the UW community and the opportunity to educate and train the new generation of Speech Language Pathologists!

Other interesting things to know about Erin:

  • First job: Cashier for family’s butcher shop in Kentucky
  • Best day would include: Catching a huge fish
  • Motivation to get out of bed in the morning: Ashtanga yoga class
  • If she could have coffee/tea with someone: Her favorite author, Somerset Maugham

Daniel Laughlin

Title: Associate Professor
Department: Botany
Education: Ph.D., Forest Science, Northern Arizona University
Research Interests: Plant Community Assembly, Restoration Ecology, Ecological Modeling
Teaches: Vegetation Ecology, Ecological Modeling

Sierra Jepsen Headshot

Daniel comes to UW from the University of Waikato, in New Zealand. Daniel is thrilled to join a community of scholars that is dedicated to important research and higher education in the Rocky Mountain region. He loves the prairie, the quick access to trails, the small college town feel, and the friendly community.

When asked about giving a TED talk and what it would be about, Daniel said “…the miracle of vegetation. Each seed has an absolutely miniscule probability of germinating and establishing. Densely vegetated prairies and forests are a collection of low probably establishment events. Therefore, the vegetation that surrounds us is a collective miracle.” We agree!

Other interesting things to know about Daniel:

  • If he could have coffee/tea with someone: Professor Severus Snape. If that is not possible, then Sherlock Holmes.
  • Favorite quote: “If you can look into the seeds of time, and say which grain will grow and which will not, speak then to me.” Banquo, from Shakespeare’s Macbeth
  • Prefers: Real books over Kindles.

Kris Koski Headshot

Kris Koski

Title: Academic Professional Lecturer
Department: School of Energy Resources
Education: J.D., University of Wyoming College of Law; B.S., Engineering, Colorado School of Mines
Teaches: Property Law I and II; Contract Law; Federal Public Land Law; Introduction to Professional Land Management

Being an alum and growing up in Wyoming, Kris has always had a tremendous amount of pride for the University of Wyoming. Before becoming a lecturer at UW, Kris practiced law for almost 10 years between two different law firms in which he represented a variety of clients, from mid-size oil gas exploration and production companies, to ranching/farming landowners.

Other interesting things to know about Kris:

  • If he could shop for free at one store: The candy story! It is his weakness.
  • Prefers: Batman over Superman
  • If he were to teach something in a PechaKucha/Ignite format (20 images, each for 15-20 seconds): Neat places to see in the State of Wyoming and surrounding areas.

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Ellbogen Center for Teaching and Learning

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Laramie, WY 82071

Phone: 307-766-4847


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