Past Speakers for UNLV Creates

These speakers will showcase the diverse, engaging, and transformative opportunities at UNLV.

2018 Creates Speakers

Celine Ayala, M.A. is a first generation college student who recently received her Master’s degree in Sociology at the University of Nevada Las Vegas. Her master’s work was an ethnography that focused on the ways in which communal relations were formed in Las Vegas through participation in social scenes. Celine spent a little over a year and a half with the Las Vegas Street Car Scene attending car meets, car shows, and street racing events. Her work concludes that the Las Vegas Street Car Scene allows individuals to have a sense of accomplished affiliation that serves as a proxy for communal relations in Las Vegas. She will be pursuing her PhD in Sociology at UNLV where she expects to graduate in the spring of 2022.

Brett Caroline Levner, MFA, is an associate professor of film in the College of Fine Arts.  She graduated with honors from New York University and got her start at MTV where she worked her way up from intern to producer on shows like True Life, Diary, Made and My Super Sweet Sixteen.  She attended Columbia University’s graduate film program where she became the first woman to win the Coca Cola Refreshing Filmmaker Award.  She directed the music video for O.A.R.’s hit song Lay Down, which took home the MTVu Woodie Award for Most Streamed Video and has produced and camera operated on several hit shows including The First 48, Bridezillas, The Shift, Flip This House and Sister Wives. She most recently directed, The Track, a feature film about underage sex trafficking in Las Vegas starring Sam Trammell (True Blood). The film was awarded “Best Local Feature” and “Best First Time Feature Film Director” at the Las Vegas Film Festival.  It is currently available on Amazon Prime.  She is the faculty advisor for Cinefemmes, a student organization that supports women in film, and is on the board of the Nevada Women’s Film Festival.

Mark Padoongpatt

Mark Padoongpatt, Ph.D., is an associate professor of Asian and Asian American Studies and of Interdisciplinary Studies in the College of Liberal Arts. He is also the director of the Asian and Asian American Studies program. His research and teaching interests include Asian American and Pacific Islanders history, race, immigration, food history, and metropolitan history. His book, Flavors of Empire: Food and the Making of Thai America (University of California Press, 2017), traces the rise of Thai food in Los Angeles and how it became central to Thai American identity and community. He is currently working on two research projects: one on the history of health inspections of Asian restaurants in the United States; another on post-World War II Asian American suburban culture. He is also launching a podcast series that will highlight the lives and histories of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in Las Vegas.

2017 Speakers

Finley Cotrone

Finley Cotrone, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor in Residence in the Harrah College of Hotel Administration. She is also the faculty advisor for the UNLV chapter of The National Society of Minorities in Hospitality. Prior to joining UNLV, Finley built a career in the hospitality industry. Her areas of expertise are in leadership and management development, service culture development, the emotion sciences as they relate to service, and diversity. Joining the academic community was a natural step and has combined her passions for service, education, and the application of exciting research.

Finley Cotrone

Samuel Song, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor of School Psychology in the College of Education. His research focuses on strategies that promote healthy school cultures and climates for all children including the "ecological minority." Current projects focus on preventing school bullying and reducing racial/ethnic discipline disparities through the implementation of restorative justice practices, and he seeks to advance social justice in school psychology and psychology broadly. He enjoys talking to students who may be interested in pursuing careers in psychology, education, and school psychology.

Finley Cotrone

Anita Tijerina Revilla, Ph.D. is an activist scholar, artist, and associate professor and director of Gender and Sexuality Studies and Interdisciplinary Degree Program. Her research focuses on student movements and social justice education, specifically in the areas of Chicana/Latina, immigrant, feminist and queer rights activism. Her expertise is in the areas of Jotería Studies, Chicana/o Education, Chicana and Women of Color Feminism, and Critical Race/Ethnic Studies. In her personal and professional life, she is an activist of social justice.

Finley Cotrone

Michael Green, Ph.D. is an associate professor of history at UNLV and teaches classes for both the history department and the Honors College. His courses range throughout U.S. history, but his teaching and research particularly focus on Las Vegas and Nevada history, the Civil War era and Abraham Lincoln, and the U.S. Supreme Court. He has authored books and articles about Nevada and Las Vegas, as well as three books on the Civil War era. He is a columnist for Nevada’s Washington Watch and Vegas Seven, and writes “Nevada Yesterdays”, for KNPR and Nevada Humanities, and is a board member for The Mob Museum.