About Our Volunteers

Oakhill Volunteers

Oakhill Volunteers participate in a roundtable discussion hosted by the Center for Russia, East Europe, and Central Asia. From left to right: Sergey Karpukhin, Janelle Pulczinski, Colleen Lucey, José Vergara, Judith Kornblatt, Zachary Rewinski, Ronald Kuka. Photo credit: Maria Vishnevsky


Nick Knittel facilitates classes on poetry and narrative.

Megan Kennedy is a graduate student in the Slavic department at UW-Madison. She holds a BA in philosophy from St. John’s College. At Oakhill, she co-taught a creative writing and literature course in 2014-2015 and is currently teaching a philosophy course.

Ron Kuka has co-facilitated the Fiction/Memoir class and is a Faculty Associate & Creative Writing Program Coordinator at the UW-Madison, where his teaching has been recognized with the Chancellor’s Hilldale Award for Excellence in Teaching.

Claire Mason is a PhD student in Interdisciplinary Theatre Studies at UW Madison. She has been teaching Drama and Performance at Oakhill since July 2015 and currently serves as the Project Coordinator.

Michael McDaniel teaches American Indian Literature, Composition and other courses in the English Department at Madison Area Technical College. At Oakhill he has led classes on creative writing and the short story.

David O’Brien is a Ph.D. candidate in the philosophy department at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, writing a dissertation in moral philosophy. He has a degree in mathematics from Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland and degrees in English and philosophy from Florida Atlantic University. He is currently teaching a philosophy course at Oakhill.

Janelle Pulczinski has a Master’s Degree in English, a Master’s Degree in Near Eastern Languages and Cultures, and is currently working towards a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She has led a reading group which discussed novels and short stories and examines how those stories speak to the experiences of students. Janelle secured a grant through the University of Wisconsin Madison’s HEX program to buy books for the Afro-American Studies class and for the reading group.

Zachary Rewinski is a graduate student in the Slavic department at UW Madison. Zachary has taught several courses on world literature and creative writing at Oakhill.

Liz Scheer is a PhD Candidate in the English Department at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She holds a BA in English from Haverford College and an MA in Romantic poetry from the University of Oxford. Before pursuing her PhD, Liz also worked as a middle school art teacher in Philadelphia. In her free time, Liz enjoys running, cooking and making art of her own. She loves good ideas and bright color.

Manon van de Water is the Vilas-Phipps Distinguished Achievement Professor in the Department of Slavic Languages and Literature and the Interdisciplinary Theatre Studies Program.  She is the Director of the Theatre for Youth program which is committed to experiment with form, content and outreach strategies.  She has taught Drama and Performance at Oakhill since 2015 and is the current Faculty Director of the Oakhill Prison Humanities Project.

José Vergara is a Ph.D. candidate completing a dissertation in the Slavic Department at UW-Madison. He has been teaching classes on literature and creative writing at Oakhill since May 2011 and served as Project Coordinator from July 2014 through August 2015. He is currently organizing a large, traveling exhibit featuring the work (texts, music, drama, art) of men from Oakhill.