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Cynthia Buckingham 

Executive Director

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Cynthia has been with Utah Humanities since 1983, serving as Associate Director until 1997. Her priorities for UH include expanding and diversifying funding sources, expanding outreach activities, and designing programs to reach new audiences. 

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She came from Minnesota, where she was Assistant Director for Government and Public Affairs for the Federation of State Humanities Councils from 1980 to 1983. In 1988-89, she took a leave from UH to work as Administrative Director for the fledgling University of Utah Humanities Center, developing its structure, programs, and funding base. She has served on the board of the Federation of State Humanities Councils (Vice Chair), the Utah Cultural Alliance (Chair), and the Utah Nonprofits Association (Chair). Her academic background is in English and French, with graduate work in American Studies.

 

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Jean Cheney 

Associate Director

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Jean joined UH in 1997 after a career teaching American literature and writing in colleges and high schools in several states. As founding director of the Utah Humanities Book Festival, she led UHC’s signature event from 1998 until 2005. 

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Currently, she directs Utah’s Clemente Course, “Venture,” a college-level humanities course for adults living on low incomes which is offered at three sites in Utah. She is piloting a similar course for high school students in Salt Lake City. Jean has a Ph.D. in English from the University of California at Davis and, in the spring of 2015, taught American literature and environmental writing in Chongqing, China, under a Fulbright grant. In the spring of 2017, the University of Utah Press will publish a book about the Venture Course that she co-wrote with four other Venture faculty.

 

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Jodi Graham 

Grants and Outreach Program Officer

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Jodi began her history with the Utah Humanities in 1996 with a variety of responsibilities. She particularly enjoyed coordinating the Speakers Bureau, managing the grants program, and working with board members. 

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In 2004, Jodi left UHC and moved with her family to Vienna, Austria, where she worked for the International Atomic Energy Agency. After being immersed in the rich culture of a big city, her family landed in Riverton, Wyoming, where they found an abundance of pioneer history, Native American culture, and wide open spaces. During her time in Wyoming, Jodi worked as the secretary for a Title I elementary school and assisted in the administration of the Title VII Indian Education and Johnson O’Malley grant programs for Fremont County School District #25. Jodi returned to UHC in 2012, and is so happy to be “home”. She received her BS in Musical Theatre Performance from Weber State University, and still sings with her husband whenever she has the chance.

 

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Jamie Gregersen 

Finance and Office Manager

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Before joining Utah Humanities in 2013, Jamie’s interest in the non-profit world began at Salt Lake Donated Dental Services, where she served in various positions for seven years that included key leadership responsibilities. 

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In addition to key leadership responsibilities, she played a major role in the development and implementation of a program that became the organization’s primary source of revenue. Passionate about service, Jamie actively participates in community projects and is a long-standing volunteer with a local hospice agency.

 

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Shianne Gray

Administrative Assistant

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Shianne grew up in California, Japan, and Colorado before moving to Salt Lake City in 2011 to attend Westminster College, where she graduated with a degree in Theatre Arts and an Honors degree. 

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In 2015, she started the Great Salt Lake Fringe Festival, an annual performing arts festival and the first of its kind in Utah, and currently serves as its managing director. She frequently works as a theatre director, stage manager, and technician for local productions. Outside of work, she loves to travel, paint, and play music.

 

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Michael McLane 

Literature Program Officer

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Michael joined Utah Humanities in 2012 and brings with him a passion for the literary arts and community service as well as twelve years of experience in literary nonprofits and education organizations in Utah, Colorado, and Idaho. 

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He pursued undergraduate studies in English and anthropology at the University of Utah, an MFA in Creative Writing at Colorado State University, and is currently beginning his thesis work for an MS in Environmental Humanities at the University of Utah. Most recently, he worked as a research fellow for the American West Center but has also worked in various capacities with the Utah State Archives, as a composition instructor at Colorado State, and spent six years working in the rare book trade. Michael has served on the board of City Art for ten years, including four years as co-president, and has served on the board of Writers @ Work for six years, including three as the chair of the Young Writers @ Work conference. He spent five years as adjunct faculty for the Sawtooth Writers Conference and worked as the administrative assistant for Literacy Through Poetry, a nonprofit literacy program for K-12 students in Fort Collins, Colorado. He is also a poet who has performed widely in Utah and beyond and whose work has appeared in numerous journals including Denver Quarterly, Interim, Colorado Review, Laurel Review, Sidebrow, and Matter Journal.

 

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Deena Pyle 

Communications Director

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Prior to joining Utah Humanities, Deena was the Communications Director for the Utah Association of Public Charter Schools where she was responsible for the strategic and tactical elements of the Association’s communications, events, and public relations. 

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Her previous experience includes communications, event, and public relations work at several nonprofit organizations including The American Cancer Society (Utah County Chapter), and Utah Special Olympics. Her corporate experience includes contract communications work for many successful companies including KSL television, Novell, and Franklin Covey, as well as an account executive position at Allbee Green, an events agency where the team she led earned a prestigious Addy (advertising) Award for creative work. Her education includes a B.S. in Psychology, Organizational Behavior from Brigham Young University, and graduate work in Public Relations at the University of Utah. She founded Channing Hall, an International Baccalaureate school in Draper, and served as the board chair and the chair of the Policy Committee. She currently serves on the Advisory Board of the Utah Charter Network.

 

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Megan van Frank 

History and Museums Program Officer

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Megan joined Utah Humanities in 2009 and brings strong project management skills and many years experience with museum cultural collections and public history to her position directing the UH Center for Community Heritage. 

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Megan's background includes study in anthropology, history, international politics, and museum studies. Her interests in local history and indigenous heritage have motivated her work in museums, universities, local and state government, and community groups. She ran professional education programs at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and has curated and managed cultural collections at the Australian Museum, Sydney University Museums, Natural History Museum of Utah, and the Utah Museum of Fine Arts. Megan spearheads Utah's Museum Interpretation Initiative – an award-winning program to assist Utah’s small museums tell their stories – and provides resources, hands-on training, and on-site assistance to museums and cultural organizations around the state. 

 

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Cristi Wetterberg 

Development Specialist

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Cristi joins Utah Humanities with over 10 years of development experience and a passion for connecting people to people, ideas, and resources. 

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She began her career at the University of Utah's Central Development office working behind the scenes on various development duties. Wanting to be out more, collaborating and connecting with people, she accepted a position at United Way of Salt Lake (UWSL) managing workplace campaigns and leadership donor networks. After 5 years with UWSL she wanted to reconnect with her alma mater and began to work for the Dean's office for the College of Social & Behavioral Science. Over the next two years she worked closely with alumni, faculty, and staff on scholarships/fellowships, grants, events, and cultivating important collaborations for the college. Cristi holds a Bachelor's degree from the University of Utah in Anthropology and is currently a board member for Canines with a Cause.

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