Spring 2021 Speaker Biographies
Dustin B. Wygant is a Professor of Psychology and Director of Clinical Training for the Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.) program at Eastern Kentucky University. He received his Bachelor’s degree in Psychology at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio prior to completing his Master’s and Doctoral degrees in Clinical Psychology at Kent State University in Kent, Ohio. Dr. Wygant is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association and the Society for Personality Assessment. In 2015, he gave the EKU College of Arts and Sciences Ruric and Mary Roark Distinguished Lecture, and he is a recipient of several professional awards, including an EKU Excellence in Research and Creative Activities Award, the Outstanding Undergraduate Mentor Award from the Kentucky Psychological Association Foundation and the John Exner Scholar Award from the Society for Personality Assessment.
Dr. Wygant’s primary research interests include the conceptualization of the psychopathic personality and the DSM-5 model of personality disorders. Other research interests include the detection of malingering as well as the use of personality assessment in forensic and medical settings. His work is the subject of a recent feature in EKU Stories.
In addition to his academic position, Dr. Wygant is a licensed psychologist who conducts forensic psychological evaluations and testifies as an expert witness.
“No one breaks down the complexity of race, media and popular culture more cogently than Eric Deggans,” writes Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. Eric Deggans is NPR’s first full-time TV critic. He came to NPR from the Tampa Bay Times newspaper in Florida, where he served as TV/Media Critic and in other roles for nearly 20 years. He also serves as a contributor and media analyst at MSNBC/NBC News. A journalist for more than 20 years, he is also the author of Race-Baiter: How the Media Wields Dangerous Words to Divide a Nation, a look at how prejudice, racism and sexism fuels some elements of modern media, published in October 2012 by Palgrave Macmillan.
Deggans has guest hosted CNN’s media analysis show Reliable Sources many times, joining a select group of journalists and media critics filling in for departed host Howard Kurtz. In 2013, he was awarded the Florida Press Club’s first-ever Diversity award, honoring his coverage of issues involving race and media. That year, he also received the Legacy award from the National Association of Black Journalists’ A&E Task Force, an honor bestowed to “seasoned A&E journalists who are at the top of their careers.” Eric also serves on the board of educators, journalists and media experts who select the George Foster Peabody Awards for excellence in electronic media.
He also has joined a prestigious group of contributors to the first ethics book created in a partnership between Craigslist founder Craig Newmark and the Poynter Institute for Media Studies. Developed as Poynter’s first ethics book for the digital age, The New Ethics of Journalism was published in August 2013 by Sage/CQ Press.
Eric has won reporting and writing awards from the Society for Features Journalism, American Association of Sunday and Feature Editors, the Society of Professional Journalists, the National Association of Black Journalists, The Florida Press Club and the Florida Society of News Editors. In 2010, he made national headlines interviewing former USDA official Shirley Sherrod at the NABJ’s summer convention in San Diego, leading a panel discussion that was covered by all the major cable news and network TV morning shows.
Named in 2009 as one of Ebony magazine’s “Power 150” – a list of influential black Americans which also included Oprah Winfrey and PBS host Gwen Ifill – he was selected to lecture at Columbia University’s prestigious Graduate School of Journalism in 2008 and 2005. He has also lectured or taught as an adjunct professor at Loyola University, California State University, Indiana University, University of Tampa, Eckerd College and many other colleges.
His writing has also appeared in the New York Times online, Salon magazine, CNN.com, the Washington Post, Village Voice, VIBE magazine, Chicago Tribune, Detroit Free Press, Chicago Sun-Times, Chicago Tribune, Seattle Times, Emmy magazine, Newsmax magazine, Rolling Stone Online and a host of other newspapers across the country.
From 2004 to 2005, he sat on the then-St. Petersburg Times editorial board and wrote bylined opinion columns. From 1997 to 2004, he worked as TV critic for the Times, crafting reviews, news stories and long-range trend pieces on the state of the media industry both locally and nationally. He originally joined the paper as its pop music critic in November 1995; he has also worked at the Asbury Park Press in New Jersey and both the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and Pittsburgh Press newspapers in Pennsylvania.
Now serving as chair of the Media Monitoring Committee for the National Association of Black Journalists, he has also served on the board of directors for the national Television Critics Association and on the board of the Mid-Florida Society of Professional Journalists.
Talithia Williams is professor of mathematics and statistics at Harvey Mudd College in Claremont, California and the author of the critically praised book, Power In Numbers: Rebel Women of Mathematics. Williams received her B.S. in Mathematics from Spelman College before earning Master’s degrees in Mathematics from Howard University and in Statistics from Rice University and finally a PhD in Statistics from Rice University. In addition to teaching, her professional experience include research appointments at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the National Security Agency and NASA.
Renowned for her popular TED Talk, "Own Your Body's Data," Dr. Williams takes sophisticated numerical concepts and makes them understandable to a wide audience. She demystifies the mathematical process in amusing and insightful ways, using statistics as a way of seeing the world in a new light and transforming our future through the bold new possibilities inherent in the STEM fields.
Talithia Williams develops statistical models which emphasize the spatial and temporal structure of data and has partnered with the World Health Organization in developing a cataract model used to predict the cataract surgical rate for countries in Africa. Through her research and work in the community at large, she is helping change the collective mindset regarding STEM in general and math in particular—rebranding the field of mathematics as anything but dry, technical or male-dominated, revealing it instead as a logical, productive career path that is crucial to the future of the country.
She is active in her faith community and serves with her husband as a Christian marriage mentor couple, all while being the mom of three amazing boys.
Sara Incera is Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology and a Principal Investigator in the Multilingual Laboratory at Eastern Kentucky University, where she teaches courses in Research Methods and Cognitive Psychology. Her research interests include cognition, bilingualism, foreign accents, second language acquisition, and language development across the lifespan, and her work has been presented in national and international venues.
Dr. Incera was been the recipient (in 2018) of a QEP research grant to examine critical reading at EKU. She has also been a leader in the recent development of the Noel Studio for Academic Creativity’s Data Science Program, which provides undergraduate and graduate students with opportunities to work with real data. Data Science consultants are trained to support students, faculty and staff in their research and analysis projects. The team follows best practices in data science in ways that will improve how researchers across campus think about data collection, data visualization, and data analysis.
Incera completed both a Bachelor’s and a Master’s degree at the Universidad de Salamanca in her native Spain, during which time she also profited from an Erasmus program study abroad year at University College Cork in Ireland. Sara went on to earn another Master’s degree and then her Ph.D. at Cleveland State University, where she wrote a dissertation on “Bilingualism Across the Adult Life-Span: Age and Language Usage Are Continuous Variables” and spent a year as a Postdoctoral Researcher prior to arriving at EKU in 2017.
Jennifer Frey teaches philosophy at the University of South Carolina, specializing in virtue ethics and action theory. Prior to joining the faculty at South Carolina, she was a Collegiate Assistant Professor of Humanities at the University of Chicago and a member of the Society of Fellows in the Liberal Arts and an affiliated faculty in the philosophy department. Frey earned a B.A. in Philosophy and Medieval Studies with a Classics minor at Indiana University and and completed her PhD in philosophy at the University of Pittsburgh, where she worked under the direction of Michael Thompson and John McDowell.
Dr. Frey’s research lies at the intersection of philosophy of action, ethics, and meta-ethics. She is the co-editor (with Candace Vogler) of the book, Self-Transcendence and Virtue, published by Routledge in 2018. She writes for The Virtue Blog and hosts a popular philosophy and literature podcast called “Sacred and Profane Love.”
She has broader research interests in the history of ethics, especially in the medieval and early modern periods. The philosophers who have most positively influenced her work are the three A’s: Aristotle, Aquinas and Anscombe. She admits in spite of better judgment that she is also obsessed with Kant.