Meet the Faculty

The Barb Schmidt Fellowship is a collaborative effort from multiple departments of the Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters, the wider University, and our community partners at Peaceful Mind Peaceful Life. Students learn from a variety of professors and practitioners each week who specialize in the topics being discussed. The academic curriculum was developed by Karen Leader Ph.D., Angela Nichols Ph.D., William Trapani Ph.D, and Joseph Velasquez MFA.


Karen LeaderKaren Leader

Karen J. Leader is Associate Professor of Art History, and Faculty Associate in the Center for Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies at Florida Atlantic University. She received her BA from the University of California, Berkeley and her MA and Ph.D. at the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University. Her areas of interest include art and popular culture in the 19th-21th centuries, feminist theory and practice, and the history and future of the discipline of art history, the humanities, and higher education. Her current projects include “Art History That! Initiatives for the Future of a Discipline,” “#actually: A guidebook for ally-guys about sexual harassment,” and “Alice Neel: Anarchic Humanist.” You can follow her on Instagram and Twitter @proftinkerbell.  


Angela NicholsAngela Nichols

Dr. Angela D. Nichols is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science at Florida Atlantic University. Dr. Nichols earned her Ph.D. in Political Science with subfields in International Relations and Comparative Politics from the University of North Texas.  She also holds a B.A. in International Relations from The Pennsylvania State University. Professor Nichols’ research broadly focuses on issues related to human rights and conflict. Her forthcoming book Impact, Legitimacy, and Limitations of Truth Commissions examines how truth commissions may contribute to positive outcomes following periods of conflict or mass abuse. She has articles published in the Journal of Conflict Resolution, International Studies Perspectives, Cooperation and Conflict, and Civil Wars. Her newest work examines the causes and consequences of women’s engagement in rebel groups. For more information please visit her website: 


Bill Trapani William Trapani

Dr. Trapani is an Associate Professor in the School of Communication and Multimedia Studies at Florida Atlantic University. Trapani's research and teaching are informed by rhetorical theory and criticism and critical/cultural studies. His principal areas of scholarly interest include the rhetoric of visual culture, national identity and citizenship studies, and the theorization of contemporary protest and social activism. His work primarily explores the rhetorical construction and consequence of varying figurations of the American national character. Trapani's current manuscript is an examination of the discourse surrounding inter-Native American identity disputes, which has been used to thwart minority enfranchisement and the lofty goals of multiculturalism. His most recent essay is included in Rhetoric, Materiality, and Politics , an edited volume theorizing the force of rhetoric in contemporary life.



Joseph Velasquez Joseph Velasquez

Joseph Velasquez is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Visual Arts and Art History at Florida Atlantic University where he teaches Screenprinting, Relief, and Intaglio. Joseph was born in Texas and raised in California. He earned his MFA in printmaking at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and received his BFA from the University of Mary-Hardin Baylor, Belton, Texas. He is the co-creator of a mobile printmaking studio, Drive By Press, that has travelled over 200,000 miles across the country and has been to 145 Universities where he has lectured and demonstrated printmaking practices. He is a National Endowment for the Arts recipient: Funded through The John Michael Kohler Arts Center for a Community Arts Project and residency.

 Velasquez’s work has been exhibited at numerous national and international venues, notably "Air Land Seed” and “Epicentro: Re Tracing the Plains” curated by Nancy Marie Mithlo on the occasion of the Venice Biennale 54th and 55th International Art Exhibition, Venice, Italy; South African Museum, Cape Town, South Africa; The Print Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Doujiao Museum of Art, Songhuang Art Village, Beijing China; and a highlight for him as Artist and Curator, Crossing State Lines: A Survey of American Printmakers, University of Dundee, Scotland, UK. Exhibition of prints from American artists Velasquez met on his mobile printmaking tour.


Guest Speakers and Practitioners

Our guest speakers to date have included: