Darlena Cunha: Freelance Writer and Former TV Producer (Gainesville, FL)

CunhaDarlena Cunha is a freelance writer for national and international publications like Time, The Washington Post, The Atlantic, and The Guardian. She writes on several topics including health and science, politics, parenting, feminism, and social justice issues such as race relations and poverty. Her breakout essay “This is what happened when I drove my Mercedes to pick up food stamps” remains the top-read piece in The Washington Post’s online history.

Cunha has just completed her Master’s degree in mass communications, and will begin a teaching role at the University of Florida come January, in addition to her freelance work. Before turning to freelance, Cunha produced television news programming for top markets such as Boston, San Diego, and Hartford, CT.

Along with Rebecca Onion, Darlena will host the first of three breakout sessions (“An Alternative to Academia”), and will join the event in-person. She blogs at and Tweets at @parentwin.

Cynthia Greenlee: Historian, Writer, and Activist (Durham, NC)

Dr. Cynthia R. Greenlee is a socially-engaged writer and historian. Focusing on issues of race, gender and African-American history, Greenlee has published at American Prospect, Dissent, RH Reality Check, Rolling Stone, and other publications.

She completed her Ph.D. in history at Duke University, where she specialized in the legal history of African-Americans, women, and the U.S. South. Her first project is a history of early segregation law, sexuality and reproduction, and black girls in South Carolina from 1880-1920. She’s also at work on a new project about the history of black Americans and abortion from the postbellum period onward.

Greenlee is also a reproductive-justice activist and was a founding member of the Carolina Abortion Fund, the only organization in her home state of North Carolina that gives women and girls small grants for their abortion procedures. She holds a master’s in journalism from the University of North Carolina and considers it her work as a scholar-writer-citizen to translate history into popular media for thoughtful people who will likely never read a monograph.

Along with Sean Trainor, Cynthia will host the second of three breakout sessions (“Establishing Your Expertise”), and will join the event remotely via Skype. You can follow her on Twitter at @cynthiagreenlee.

Kevin Knudson: Mathematician and Columnist for Forbes (Gainesville, FL)

KnudsonKevin Knudson is Professor and Associate Chair in the Department of Mathematics at the University of Florida. His research focuses on questions in topological data analysis and he is most interested in using topological methods to study data from the hard sciences, social sciences, and education. He writes about mathematics and its applications for Forbes and The Conversation.

Knudson earned his Ph.D. in mathematics from Duke University. After a postdoctoral fellowship at Northwestern University, he held faculty positions at Wayne State University, Mississippi State University, and the University of Florida. He is especially keen on working with undergraduates and from 2009-14 served as director of the UF Honors Program.

Aside from his normal teaching duties in mathematics, Knudson has taught courses in origami and in literature through the Honors Program. In spring 2015 he co-taught (with Dr. Eric Kligerman) a course through the UF Center for the Humanities and the Public Sphere’s Team-Teaching in the Humanities Initiative. The class, 2+2=5: Reframing Literature through Mathematics, delved into authors’ use of mathematical ideas as metaphor and structure in their writing.

When he’s not teaching, writing, or putting out fires in Little Hall, Knudson cooks, drinks coffee, watches baseball, and plays the guitar.

Along with Donna Winchester, Kevin will host the third of three breakout sessions (“Informing Public Discourse”), and will join the event in-person.

Rebecca Onion: History Writer for (Athens, OH)

OnionRebecca Onion is a history writer for, and runs the site’s history blog, The Vault. She has recently written about history and culture for Slate, the Boston Globe‘s Ideas Section, the Virginia Quarterly Review, and Aeon Magazine.

Onion holds a Ph.D in American Studies from the University of Texas at Austin, and has received support for her research from the Chemical Heritage Foundation, the Friends of the Princeton University Library, the Children’s Literature Association, and the Consortium for History of Science, Technology, and Medicine.

Her book, Innocent Experiments: Childhood and the Culture of Public Science in the United States, will be published by the University of North Carolina Press in 2016.

She is a visiting scholar in the history department at Ohio University, and lives in Athens, Ohio.

Along with Darlena Cunha, Rebecca will host the first of three breakout sessions (“An Alternative to Academia”), and will join the event remotely via Skype. She Tweets at @rebeccaonion.

Sean Trainor: Writer, Historian, and Educator (Gainesville, FL)

TrainorSean Trainor is an historian, writer, and educator living in Gainesville, Florida. He has a Ph.D. in history and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies from the Pennsylvania State University.

At present, he is employed as the Digital Pedagogy Content Designer at The People’s Contest Digital Archiving Project – a joint venture of the Richards Civil War Era Center and the Penn State University Libraries. He also teaches history and humanities at Santa Fe College in Gainesville, FL.

In addition to his scholarly publications, Trainor’s writing has appeared in The Atlantic, The Appendix, The Chronicle of Higher Education, Salon, Time, U.S. Studies Online, and elsewhere. His public-facing work focuses on the intersection of nineteenth-century U.S. history and twenty-first century American politics, as well as contentious issues in higher education.

Along with Cynthia Greenlee, he will host the second of three breakout sessions (“Establishing Your Expertise”), and will join the event in-person. He blogs at and Tweets at @ess_trainor.

Donna Winchester: Strategic Communications Director at UF (Gainesville, FL)

As Director of Strategic Communications for the University of Florida, Donna is responsible for devising and implementing strategies to raise the national profile of the university by positioning and promoting UF faculty, primarily those engaged in the $1 billion UF Preeminence initiative. She coordinates communication efforts across 16 colleges, makes national and local media pitches, and creates messaging aimed at internal and external stakeholders utilizing print, audio, video and social media platforms. Additionally, Donna works with the media relations team to support university priorities, serves as a spokeswoman for the university, and engages in day-to-day crisis management. Prior to joining UF in September 2014, Donna worked from 1999-2009 as an education reporter for the Tampa Bay Times and then spent five years managing a 13-member team as communications director for the Pinellas County School District. She earned an undergraduate degree in English literature and a master’s degree in journalism from the University of South Florida.

Along with Kevin Knudson, Donna will host the third of three breakout sessions (“Informing Public Discourse”), and will join the event in-person.