Barry Mauer and John Venecek

Barry Mauer

Barry Jason Mauer is associate professor, English, at the University of Central Florida. He is the author of Deadly Delusions: Right-Wing Death Cult (2020) and co-editor (with Anastasia Salter) of the forthcoming volume, Re-imagining the Humanities (Parlor Press). He has published numerous articles and book chapters about citizen curating, which brings ordinary people into the production of exhibits, both online and in public spaces.


John Venecek is a Humanities Librarian at the University of Central Florida. His primary areas of interest include open education resources, textbook affordability, and digital humanities. Prior to his arrival at UCF, John taught English at the College of DuPage and served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Ekaterinburg, Russia where he taught English and founded a foreign language library/resource center.

Emily Smeltz was born and raised in Lakeland, FL and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and Management from Polk State College (PSC). To pursue her long-term goal of becoming a college professor, in 2017, she was hired as a Tutor and Teacher’s Assistant at PSC for upper-level English and Business courses. In fall 2021, she was hired as an Adjunct Professor for Webber International University and PSC. She is currently teaching English courses at both institutions. Also in fall 2021, she joined University of Central Florida’s (UCF’s) Library team to produce Strategies for Conducting Literary Research, an open-resource textbook for UCF professors. She continued her education and graduated with a master’s degree in English Technical Communications at UCF in December 2021. Along with her passion for teaching, she also has a natural talent for media production and successfully built several professional websites. Additionally, she has a love for writing, film production, and social sciences. In the near future, Emily hopes to continue her academic career by applying for overseas PhD programs.


Nikky Suárez — MA English: Literary, Cultural, and Textual Studies program 2023 UCF. She is a Latin-American woman who was raised in Saudi Arabia. Her research focus lies in bridging cultures of underrepresented languages and civilizations through digital archives and history, uniting critical theory with classical and contemporary texts and media. E-portfolio:

Erika Maribel Heredia is an emergent scholar working at the intersection between the humanities and digital technology. Her interest in national identities, their racial aspects, and social configurations are displayed in her doctoral dissertation “How Twitter exposes daily whiteness practices in Mexico and Argentina” (UCF, 2021). Her background includes an M.A. in Humanistic Studies (Tec. De Monterrey, 2014) and a BA in Audiovisual Communication (UBP, 2005).

Jada Reyes

Jada Reyes is sometimes a poet, always a teacher. She loves reading, writing, and doing both of those things with her students! She’s currently a graduate student at UCF where she is working on her Master’s in Teaching English Secondary Education. Her research interests include poetry (inside and outside of the classroom), writing workshops in the high school ELA classroom, reading-writing connections, teacher narratives, and writing centers at the secondary level. Her classroom values are equity, inclusion, respect, and collaboration.


James Paradiso focuses on problems related to adaptive learning / intelligent tutoring systems, open education / pedagogy, the cognitive science of teaching and learning, instructional design, applied linguistics / second language development, and how complex dynamic(al) systems theory applies to them all.


Mireya Ramirez joined the Graphics team in Summer 2019 as a newly graduated UCF Knight with a B.F.A. in Emerging Media, specializing in Graphic Design. As the team’s newest designer, she works with Instructional Designers and faculty to create both in-house and Webcourses@UCF graphics, which includes everything from infographics and banners to logos and book covers. When she is not working on designs, Mireya continues to be creative by learning new languages, lettering, and trying to cook Mexican food. She also volunteers her design skills to non-profit organizations as a way of contributing to our community.


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