Please download the Principles of Civility for NEH Institutes for encouraging an ethos of openness and respect, upholding the basic norms of civil discourse.
Christa A. Toohill is from Bloomington, Indiana, where she teaches middle school Spanish and World Languages and cultures. Her hobbies are running and cycling. Christa also enjoys traveling and has journeyed to Spain, Ecuador, Peru, Costa Rica, Mexico, and Guatemala. She volunteers with an international student ministry at her church. Christa plans to share the knowledge and experiences of borderland narratives with her 6th, 7th, and 8th grade students through creative curricular units. Follow her classes @BMS_WLC.
Dana Zions teaches English IV at Infinity Math, Science & Technology High School in the Little Village neighborhood of Chicago, Illinois. She has worked with students through a book club, poetry slam team, public speaking competitions, and is currently planning a new circle of friends club to promote empathy and discourage forms of bullying behaviors. Dana enjoys running, practicing photography, and traveling with friends. She lives with her partner, Bobby, and their beagle, Rey. Dana is ecstatic about the opportunity to study through the Chihuahuan Desert Summer Institute in order to develop work with her school, community, and curriculum-sharing projects throughout the city.
Francesca Alonso is from El Paso, Texas. She teaches U.S. History dual credit at Northwest Early College High School in Canutillo, Texas, a community outside of El Paso. Francesca enjoys cooking and the outdoors. She has taught for six years at an early college high school. Francesca plans to incorporate the history of the Chihuahuan Desert into her courses. The Summer Institute will provide her with resources to bridge the gap between the grand historical narrative of the United States and the regional history of the borderlands.
Kate Hoin is from Troy, Michigan, and teaches Spanish at various levels in high school as well as community college and for adult learners. After attending the University of Michigan, she studied in Sevilla, Spain, for one year, lived in Texas for seven years, received her master’s in Spanish Language and Linguistics from the University of Houston/University of Salamanca, and travels as often as possible to Spanish-speaking countries. Katie is an avid reader, aspiring writer, chef-in-training, and sometimes-actress. She is excited to embark on this journey to study the stories of the borderlands as well as share to them with her students in Michigan.
Katherine “Katie” Whelan teaches all levels of secondary, sheltered ESL social studies and English language arts. She integrates the arts and humanities and finds intersectional identities to be frequent themes for her students. Therefore, Katie is excited at the potential for this workshop to enrich projects in both the classroom and community. She produces “Chispa” on the Richmond Independent Radio’s WRIR 97.3 with students. Katie works with organizations to support LGBTQ youth as well as families who are undocumented and teachers of students who are undocumented. Katie takes trumpet lessons, likes a good show, and is slowly restoring a 1967 Chevy and centenarian storefront in Richmond, Virginia, where she lives with a husky named Lola.
Marty Frazier hails from Cleveland, Ohio, and teaches 11th and 12th grade literature at Hathaway Brown School. He has taught in public, charter, and independent schools and has worked with elementary through high school students in a variety of educational contexts. Outside of teaching, Marty is a part-time graduate student pursuing an M.A. in English with a focus on 19th century American literature. In Cleveland, he can be found romping around the Cuyahoga Valley National Park with his Goldendoodle, Theo, and cheering on the Cavaliers. Marty is thrilled to bring back borderlands histories and stories to the Midwest and hopes to infuse his curriculum with diverse narratives of the region.