Liberal Arts Instructors
MEGAN BLOUNT, BS, DC
Dr. Blount earned a doctor of chiropractic degree from Northwestern Health Sciences University. Her experience includes work as a practicing clinician for 10 years while teaching at area trade schools, technical colleges, and universities. Retired from practice, she now teaches full time in the areas of anatomy and physiology and microbiology.
“I love teaching the natural sciences because it challenges a student’s thinking process while providing a functional knowledge of the human body. I owe it to my students to make a difficult subject approachable by bringing consistency, humor, and warmth to the classroom. I help students going into a healthcare field acquire the necessary foundation to make appropriate decisions that lead to beneficial outcomes.”
LAUREN EBBECKE, BA, MS
Lauren earned her MS in cellular biology from Western Kentucky University and her MS in natural resources from the University of Wisconsin–Stevens Point. Her coursework and research have covered topics in a wide variety of sciences including renewable energy, sustainability, botany, human anatomy and physiology, pathophysiology, and immunology. She keeps up with the current research and is passionate about life-long learning for her own professional development. Lauren’s research has included identifying DNA sequences in ferns, mentoring women in science, and the latest treatment for patients with mastocytosis.
“Teaching gives me the opportunity to provide a meaningful learning experience for students. I love sharing my enthusiasm for science and watching my students get excited when the “light bulb” goes on. I also love getting to know my students and watching them grow both professionally and personally—it’s a real privilege to make a positive difference in their lives."
SUSITHA KARUNARATNE, BS, MS
Susitha earned his MS in statistics from Texas Tech University. He comes to Mid-State with 20 years of experience teaching mathematics and statistics. He has had the opportunity to teach a wide variety of courses, from the development level to higher-level courses in mathematics and statistics to graduate, undergraduate, and high school students.
“Being a mathematics instructor is very rewarding. For me, a key priority in the classroom is to cultivate motivation and positive habits in students that will make them want to succeed in math. I’m very much interested in students' success at Mid-State Technical College and beyond!”
DEBORAH KRAUSE, BS, MS, PhD
Dr. Krause has a PhD in clinical psychology from Texas A&M University. In addition to teaching at several colleges in the past, she has over a decade of experience working in clinical settings. Dr. Krause is dedicated to being a lifelong learner by regularly attending continuing education workshops and participating in professional conferences.
“I am privileged to be a facilitator of goals, dreams, and new beginnings through insights gained from psychology.”
MEGAN KUNDINGER, BS, MS
Megan holds a master’s degree in bacterial genetics and pathogenicity from Texas A&M University. Prior to joining Mid-State, Megan worked with research labs at the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service and in the Environmental Health and Medical Genetics labs at the Marshfield Laboratories. She has published papers on bacterial genetics in research journals.
“Teaching allows me to share my passion for science with my students every day. I love seeing their faces when they accomplish their goals.”
DESIAH MELBY, BA, MST
Desiah has been an educator for more than 20 years in a wide variety of settings. Her experience as a high-school and college-level educator have honed her skills in planning, preparing, and delivering instruction while building strong, respectful, and successful relationships with her students. Outside the traditional school setting, her time working abroad and in the US as a bilingual tutor, ELL instructor, and executive director of the Portage County Literacy Council gives her a wealth of experience in working with adult English Language Learners. As a continually publishing freelance writer and web designer, she practices the writing craft that she teaches, staying fresh with industry standards and needs.
“My education practices derive from both a passion for teaching the curriculum and a deep love of building relationships with my students. A continual desire for self-improvement and an unending motivation to help my students succeed drive my daily teaching practices. I approach each day with positivity, a true desire to serve others, and boundless energy.”
MICHELLE PERIA, BA, MA, PhD
Dr. Peria earned her PhD in sociology from the University of California, Irvine, and holds an MA in social anthropology from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, National Museum (PPGAS). Her research and teaching interests are in the fields of race and ethnicity, social movements, and globalization. Employing ethnographic methods, Dr. Peria has studied informal work on the US-Mexico border, the growth of the contemporary megachurch movement in the United States, and race policy and grassroots movements in Brazil. Her work is published in Ethnicities, Ethnography, Sociological Compass, and Latin American and Caribbean Ethnic Studies.
“I’m delighted to be teaching sociology courses at Mid-State Technical College, since it was at a community college that my passion for studying the impact of social forces on individuals was first ignited. In the classes I teach, I love helping students turn their attention toward the social structures that influence our life experiences.”
JILL QUINN, BA, MA, MFA
Jill holds an MFA from Goucher College. Her essays have appeared in Orion Magazine, OnEarth, and Natural History Magazine, among others. She has written two books: Deranged (Apprentice House, 2010) and Sign Here if You Exist (Mad Creek Books, 2020). She is a winner of the John Burroughs Award for Best Nature Essay (2010), a Rona Jaffe Writers' Award (2013), and The Journal Non/Fiction Collection Prize (2020). In addition, her work has been selected for Best American Science & Nature Writing 2012 and Best American Essays 2016.
“Teaching at Mid-State allows me to focus on students in addition to subject matter. Our small class sizes and tutoring support systems allow time, space, and resources for working with individual writers to improve their clarity and style.”
MEGAN SOKOLOWSKI, BA, MA
Megan holds an MA in communication from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. Her areas of specialization include public speaking, Interviewing skills, resume writing, and active learning strategies in classroom and hybrid/online/accelerated environments.
“Want to be a better communicator? Think like the other person. This concept forms the foundation on which all of my communication classes are based. If everyone applied this, imagine the possibility of erasing miscommunication! In the words of George Bernard Shaw, ‘The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion it has taken place.’”
BETH SPINDLER, BS, MAM
Beth earned her master of arts in mathematics from the University of Houston and her BS in secondary mathematics education from UW-Stevens Point. She has taught math and adult basic education for 12 years at Mid-State. Previously she taught math in grades 6–12 for over three years, substitute taught K–12 for five years, and was professional math tutor for two years.
“Being a mathematics instructor, it is rewarding to see a student finally understand a subject that has troubled them their entire life. I feel like I am really making a difference in the lives of the students at Mid-State.”
JON STEELE, BA, MBA
Jon earned a BA in political science and an MBA from the University of South Florida. He has since pursued additional master’s-level education in moral and political philosophy, ethics, and political science. His combination of classroom and industry experience allows him to approach instruction using practical applications important for those desiring a career-based education while also providing the academic emphasis necessary for those seeking to continue their education beyond an associate degree.
“The social sciences help us build awareness of our world, possess the critical thinking skills needed to develop this awareness, consider diverse perspectives, and provide a path for moral progress in our society. This creates better citizens and is precisely why I am passionate about teaching.”
KELLY SOCZKA STEIDINGER, BA, MA
Kelly earned her master’s degree from UW–Stevens Point and an e-learning and online teaching graduate certificate from UW–Stout. She is an enthusiastic instructor and researcher who strives to use industry experiences to reinforce communication theories in both face-to-face and online class environments. Although Kelly’s pursuits have been primarily instructional in nature, she continues to share her pedagogy by publishing articles in the Communication Teacher journal, the Communication and Theater Association of Minnesota Journal, the National Communication Association’s E-Tools series, and the edited resource book, Communication in the Classroom: Collection of GIFTS.
“Communication touches every aspect of our lives, and teaching these essential skills in an interactive, engaging manner is what drives me to teach Mid-State’s students every day.”
BRADLEY WEISS, BS, MST
Bradley holds a master’s in the science of teaching from Portland State University and has more than 18 years of teaching experience, including teaching positions within the University of Wisconsin system and at Portland Community College in Portland, Oregon. His service activities have included three years on the board of directors for the Wisconsin Mathematics Council, an advocate for quality mathematics education at all grade levels.
“I love sharing my knowledge of mathematics and enjoy working with students from diverse backgrounds and ability levels. Although we may not always notice, math plays an essential role in our daily lives.”