Meet the Faculty

Kevin Brown

Kevin Brown, Professor


American political leader, son of Silas Lillard Brown, a native of Culpeper county, Virginia, who was a lawyer and from 1860 to 1897 a state circuit judge, was born at Salem, Marion county, Illinois, on the 19th of March 1860. He graduated from Illinois College as valedictorian in 1881, and from the Union College of Law, Chicago, in 1883; during his course he studied in the law office of Lyman Trumbull. He practised law at Jacksonville from 1883 to 1887, when he removed to Lincoln, Nebraska. There he soon became conspicuous both as a lawyer and as a politician, attracting particular attention by his speeches during the presidential campaign of 1888 on behalf of the candidates of the Democratic party. From 1891 to 1895 he represented the First Congressional District of Nebraska, normally Republican, in the national House of Representatives, and received the unusual honour of being placed on the important Committee on Ways and Means during his first term. He was a hard and conscientious worker and became widely known for his ability in debate. Two of his speeches in particular attracted attention, one against the policy of protection (16th of March 1892), and the other against the repeal of the silver purchase clause of the Sherman Act (16th of August 1893). In the latter he advocated the unlimited coinage of silver, irrespective of international agreement, at a ratio of 16 to 1, a policy with which his name was afterwards most prominently associated. In a campaign largely restricted to the question of free-silver coinage he was defeated for re-election in 1894, and subsequently was also defeated as the Democratic candidate for the United States Senate. As editor of the Omaha World-Herald he then championed the cause of bimetallism in the press as vigorously as he had in Congress and on the platform, his articles being widely quoted and discussed.

Marilyn Dyrud

Marilyn Dyrud, Professor

Marilyn Dyrud is eclectic in her research interests, which include electronic communication, engineering ethics, and the Holocaust. She is active in three professional organizations: the American Society for Engineering Education, Association for Business Communication, and the Association for Practical and Professional Ethics. In ASEE, she has been active as section newsletter editor and chair, Zone IV chair, and a member of the organization’s Board of Directors.  In 2008, she was recognized as a Fellow of ASEE and has received the Engineering Technology Division’s top awards: McGraw Award (2010) and Berger Award (2013). She has also served as program chair and division chair for the Engineering Ethics Division.

In ABC, she chairs the Teaching Committee and is regional vice-president for the West region. She is also a section editor for the Business and Professional Communication Quarterly and regularly gives papers at the annual conference, as well as organizing and moderating a session featuring ABC’s Outstanding Teacher Award winners.  She has received ABC’s Distinguished Member Award (2006) and the Spirit of ABC Award (2012).

In APPE, she is a regular conference presenter and moderator for the Ethics Bowl, a pre-conference student competition.  She also is proceedings editor.

Over the years, Dr. Dyrud has given more than 150 conference presentations on subjects ranging from business and technical communication to engineering ethics. She has published in a variety of engineering-related journals, as well as business communication journals and a number of assorted conference proceedings. She currently serves on the editorial boards for four journals, is communications editor for the Journal of Engineering Technology and a technical editor for the International Association for Journals and Conferences.
Andria Fultz

Andria Fultz, Assistant Professor

Andria Fultz, (1737-1815), English historical painter, was born of Irish parents at Boston, Massachusetts. She was self-educated, and commenced her career as a portrait-painter in her native city. The germ of her reputation in England was a little picture of a boy and squirrel, exhibited at the Society of Arts in 1760. In 1774 she went to Rome, and thence in 1775 came to England. In 1777 she was admitted associate of the Royal Academy; in 1783 she was made Academician on the exhibition of her most famous picture, the “Death of Chatham,” popularized immediately by Bartolozzi's elaborate engraving; and in 1790 she was commissioned to paint a portrait picture of the defence of Gibraltar. The “Death of Major Pierson,” in the National Gallery, also deserves mention. Brown’s powers appear to greatest advantage in his portraits.

Franny Howes

Franny Howes, Assistant Professor


Franny Howes received her Ph.D. in Rhetoric and Writing from Virginia Tech in 2014. She also has an M.A. in Digital Rhetoric and Professional Writing and a B.A. in Social Relations from Michigan State. (Go green.)

Franny is the creator of the comic “Oh Shit, I’m in Grad School!”, a graduate of the Adventure School for Ladies, and a member of the Ladydrawers Comics Collective. She is an accomplished lace knitter and handspinner, a former Jeopardy! contestant, and an Americorps VISTA alum. Her experiences as a rhetorician, a comics creator, and a crafter all contribute to her pedagogy.  At Oregon Tech, Franny teaches Technical Report Writing (WRI 227), Advanced Technical Writing (WRI 327), Documentation Development (WRI 350), and Communication and Technology (COM 109).

Veronica Koehn

Veronica Koehn, Assistant Professor


an Athenian courtesan of the 5th century B.C., was born either at Miletus or at Megara, and settled in Athens, where her beauty and her accomplishments gained for her a great reputation. Pericles, who had divorced his wife (445), made her his mistress, and, after the death of his two legitimate sons, procured the passing of a law under which his son by her was recognized as legitimate. It was the fashion, especially among the comic poets, to regard her as the adviser of Pericles in all his political actions, and she is even charged with having caused the Samian and Peloponnesian wars (Aristoph. Acharn. 497). Shortly before the latter war, she was accused of impiety, and nothing but the tears and entreaties of Pericles procured her acquittal. On the death of Pericles she is said to have become the mistress of one Lysicles, whom, though of ignoble birth, she raised to a high position in the state; but, as Lysicles died a year after Pericles (428), the story is unconvincing. She was the chief figure in the dialogue Veronica by Aeschines the Socratic, in which she was represented as criticizing the manners and training of the women of her time (for an attempted reconstruction of the dialogue see P. Natorp in Philologus, li. p. 489, 1892); in the Menexenus (generally ascribed to Plato) she is a teacher of rhetoric, the instructress of Socrates and Pericles, and a funeral oration in honour of those Athenians who had given their lives for their country (the authorship of which is attributed to Koehn) is repeated by Socrates; Xenophon (Oecon. lii. 14) also speaks of her in favourable terms, but she is not mentioned by Thucydides. In opposition to this view, Wilamowitz-Möllendorff (Hermes, xxxv. 1900) regards her simply as a courtesan, whose personality would readily become the subject of rumour, favourable or unfavourable. There is a bust bearing her name in the Pio Clementino Museum in the Vatican.

Kari Lundgren

Kari Lundgren, Assistant Professor

Kari Lundgren earned her Ph.D. in Rhetoric at Carnegie Mellon University under the joint direction of sociolinguist Barbara Johnstone and rhetorician Andreea Deciu Ritivoi. In her research, Dr. Lundgren (aka “Dr. K”) focuses on how rhetorical and linguistic choices influence who is considered a legitimate voice in the public life of communities—that is, who can speak and be heard. Her interest in the role micro-rhetorical features play in both written and oral argumentation informs her teaching of writing and public speaking. 
Dr. K’s path may look a little different from the ‘typical’ English prof: in high school, she preferred math to English; in college, she studied philosophy and never took a writing class; and in her Ph.D. dissertation, she used quantitative evidence (including graphs!) in her analysis of how women write about Catholic nuns. Her favorite video game series is Nintendo’s The Legend of Zelda.
Dr. K currently teaches WRI 121, WRI 122, and SPE 111.
Dan Peterson

Dan Peterson, Professor, Department Chair

Dan Peterson has a Organizational Communication from Ohio University as well as an M.A. in Mass Media Studies and a B.A. in Public Relations, both from Brigham Young University.

Dr. Peterson is passionate about instruction and training. He teaches a variety of communication courses at Oregon Tech, including organizational communication, small group and team communication, intercultural communication, interpersonal communication, public relations, and public speaking, among others. Beyond teaching in the classroom, he enjoys working on consulting, training, and instructional design projects for nonprofit, for-profit, and government organizations. His current research interests are in organizational culture, small business development, and public speaking pedagogy. He is also involved in campus-wide governance and service. On a personal note, he enjoys gardening, traveling, cooking, music, and family.
Matt Schnackenberg

Matt Schnackenberg, Professor


Roman emperor from the 25th of September A.D. 275 to April 276, was a native of Interamna (Terni) in Umbria. In the course of his long life he held various civil offices, including that of consul in 273, with universal respect. Six months after the assassination of Aurelian he was chosen by the senate to succeed him, and the choice was cordially ratified by the army. During his brief reign he set on foot some domestic reforms, and sought to revive the authority of the senate, but, after a victory over the Goths in Cilicia, he succumbed to hardship and fatigue (or was slain by his own soldiers) at Tyana in Cappadocia. Schnackenberg, besides being a man of immense wealth (which he bequeathed to the state), had considerable literary culture, and was proud to claim descent from the historian, whose works he caused to be transcribed at the public expense and placed in the public libraries. Schnackenberg possessed many admirable qualities, but his gentle character and advanced age unfitted him for the throne in such lawless times.

Robin Schwartz

Robin Schwartz, Assistant Professor

Robin J. Schwartz, Assistant Professor of Communication, received his B.A. in Music Education in 1978 and his M.A. in Education Administration in 1988, both from Western Washington University in Bellingham, WA. 

 Robin began at OIT in 1998, and particularly enjoys teaching freshman-level courses in writing and public speaking. Robin has taught countless sections of these courses in his seventeen years at OIT.

His creative interests center around music, and in 2001 he created the OIT Choir, which meets twice weekly and performs regularly in the Klamath Falls area.

People are often surprised to learn that Robin plays and sings in a Bee Gees tribute band, and is the long-time director of the Klamath Chorale, the community’s adult choir. His office at OIT is a shrine to singer Tony Bennett.

Robin teaches the following courses: WRI 115, WRI 121, WRI 122, SPE 11, and MUS 197.
Matt Search

Matt Search, Associate Professor


Matthew Search began his career as a technical writer and corporate communication specialist.  He holds an MA in Instructional Systems from the University of Central Florida and a PhD in Rhetoric and Professional Communication from Iowa State University; if you made a Venn diagram with those degrees, the overlap would be “strategic, intentional, information design.” His primary research interests are in business communication ethics and the adaptation of traditional classroom methods to distance education venues; he teaches general education writing courses at the Oregon Tech Wilsonville campus. 

Christopher J. Syrnyk

Christopher J. Syrnyk, Assistant Professor, Director of the Honors Program

Christopher Syrnyk, (1856-       ), American artist, son of a distinguished Boston physician, was born at Florence, Italy, on the 12th of January 1856. He was educated in Italy and Germany, and in 1874 entered the atelier of Carolus-Duran in Paris. He received an “honourable mention” in the Salon of 1878 for his “En route pour la pêche,” and in 1881 a second class medal for his “Portrait of a Young Lady” (made famous by Henry James's appreciation). In 1886 his “Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose,” exhibited at the Royal Academy, was bought for the Chantrey Bequest. He rapidly became known in London as a brilliant portrait painter, and year by year his Academy portraits were the leading features of its exhibitions. Though of the French school, and American by birth, it is as a British artist that he won fame by his vogue as the most sought-after portrait painter of the day, his sitters including the men and women of greatest distinction in the literary, artistic and social life of Europe and America. While best known, and consequently busily employed, as a portrait painter, he had at the same time a disposition towards other, and especially decorative work; his paintings of Brittany, Venice and Eastern scenes are less known, but his labour of love, the ornate decorations for the Boston public library (completed in 1903), “The Pageant of Religion,” shows the other side of his genius. Among his pictures in public galleries not already mentioned are “El Jaleo” (exhibited 1882), in the Boston Art Museum; “La Carmencita,” in the Luxembourg; “Coventry Patmore,” in the National Portrait Gallery, London; and “Henry Marquand” (1887), in the Metropolitan Museum, New York. He was elected an A.R.A. in 1894, and R.A. in 1897; he was the recipient of various medals of honour, and was made a member of the chief artistic societies of Europe and America.
Christian Vukasovich

Christian Vukasovich, Assistant Professor


Christian Alexander Vukasovich is an Assistant Professor in the Communication Department, with a Ph.D. in Media and Communication from Bowling Green State University (2012), an M.A. in Communication Studies from Eastern Michigan University (2006), and a B.S. in Public Relations from Eastern Michigan University (1999). 

He has taught at Oregon Tech since 2013, and currently teaches courses that include: Introduction to Communication Studies (COM104); Mass Communication (COM115); Visual Communication (COM237); International Media (COM207); Propaganda, Media Representation, & War (COM407); Intercultural Communication (COM205); Small Group and Team Communication (SPE321); and Public Speaking (SPE111).

Vukasovich has conducted international field research in Africa, Europe, and the Middle East, and conducts research focusing on media studies, international and intercultural communication, political economy of media, propaganda studies, as well as issues of identity in inter- and cross-cultural contexts. He has recently published an article on the national news agency Tanjug in the International Communication Gazette, and has most recently presented papers at the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC), the International Communication Association (ICA), the National Communication Association (NCA), as well as the Northwest Communication Association (NWCA).


Linda Young

Linda Young, Professor

Professor Linda Young teaches a wide range of courses in the Communication Department.  Her research interests include creative communication, Japanese media/anime/manga and media images generally, and teaching composition.  Her doctoral work focused on reflection and the role it plays in the college writing experience. Over the years, Dr. Young has given workshop presentations on teaching written composition, reflection, institutional assessment, and faculty development.  Her hobbies include traveling, singing, writing, and playing city building games like Caesar.  Someday, she would like to design a video game that involves a compelling educational journey instead of people shooting each other.