BUCKHANNON, West Virginia – West Virginia Wesleyan College welcomed new faculty members for Fall Semester 2022 in several academic areas across campus. 

The new faculty members are Crystal Brown, visiting assistant professor of art and gallery director of the Sleeth Art Gallery; Alexis de Coning, visiting assistant professor of communication; Erin DiStefano ‘08, writing center and ESL coordinator; Elizabeth Mearns ‘19, visiting assistant professor of accounting; Kellie Tatem (M.F.A ‘21), McKinney fellow; Vince Trimboli (M.F.A ‘13), visiting full time faculty in English; Craig Wiernik; assistant professor of sociology and criminal justice; and Meleesa Wohleber ‘00, athletic training program director and associate professor of exercise science and athletic training.

Brown is from Michigan and received her Master of Fine Arts from Ohio University, her Bachelor of Fine Arts, and minor of history from Kendal College of Art and Design. Her research focuses on interdisciplinary art, art history, and curatorial work. She will teach various classes in art and design, and would like to collaborate in the creation of new courses with other departments. After working adjunct for Wesleyan the last five years, she looks forward to her new position. 

De Coning is from South Africa but has lived in the United States for seven years. She received her Ph.D. in media studies at the University of Colorado Boulder, and Master and Bachelor of Arts in English literature from Rhodes University in South Africa. Her research focuses on communicative history and practices of the mens’ rights movement. She will teach classes in communication. De Coning also loves to hike and drink tea. 

DiStefano is from West Virginia but grew up in Virginia and North Carolina. She received her Master of Fine Arts in children’s literature from Hollins University, and Bachelor of Arts in graphic design and minor in English from WVWC. Her research was in female protagonists in middle grade STEM novels, and is interested in researching Appalachian folk and ghost tales, children and young adolescent graphic novels, and illustration in classic children’s literature. She is excited to return to Wesleyan. When she attended WVWC, she played tennis, was in Wesleyan Singers and also worked in the AV office.

Mearns is from Clarksburg, West Virginia and received her Master of Accountancy at West Virginia University, and Bachelor of Science in accounting and a minor in theatre from WVWC. She is excited to return to her alma mater as a professor and give current students the same education she had received.

Tatem is from Georgia and received her Master of Fine Arts in creative writing from WVWC, and Bachelor of Science in media art and animation from The Art Institute of Pittsburgh. Her research focus lies in writing in narrative voice and she would consider pursuing her PhD in order to study this further. Tatem is the McKinney Scholar for 2022-2023 and this is awarded to a recent graduate of the program. The McKinney Fellowship is a teaching mentorship and she will be teaching six classes this year for the English Department. Tatem has two parrots and two dogs.

Trimboli is from Elkins, West Virginia and received his Master of Fine Arts in creative writing and Bachelor of Art in theatre arts at WVWC. He is a published poet who’s work focuses on the dichotomy of Queerness and Appalachia, but the majority of his research focuses on Queerness and Gender in modern poetry and fiction. He has also published three books of poetry, the most recent being “The Book of Rabbits” in 2019 with Moontide Press in Los Angeles, California. He also teaches college English and public speaking classes to inmates at a security prison.

Wiernik is from Yardley, Pennsylvania and received his Ph.D. in sociology and Master of Art in crime, law and justice from Penn State, and a Bachelor of Arts in political science. His research interests are prison education, the link between religiosity and attitudes, and recently examining social trust, families and incarceration. He will teach courses in sociology and criminal justice, but will also teach a class he hopes will be in the fall of 2023, where the same amount of students and prisoners will take a three credit course inside the prison. He also likes to play the guitar, video games, and he enjoys photography and cooking. 

Wohleber is from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and received her Doctorate in health science at Nova Southeastern University, a Master of Science in kinesiology and athletic administration at James Madison University, and a Bachelor of Science in athletic training from WVWC. Her research interests include musculoskeletal injuries in military and tactical populations and athletic training services in the secondary school setting. She is excited to return to her original athletic training career here at Wesleyan and is to work with the students, staff, faculty and graduating a new generation of athletic trainers.


West Virginia Wesleyan College (WVWC) is a private, four-year residential liberal arts college in Buckhannon, West Virginia. A tradition of excellence for more than 130 years, West Virginia Wesleyan is home to 14 Fulbright Scholars. The Princeton Review ranked Wesleyan one of its 2022 Best Colleges in the Southeastern Region of the United States. U.S. News & World Report’s 2022 Best College Rankings designated Wesleyan a “Top 20” Best Value – Regional Universities (South) and one of the “Top 75” Regional Universities (South). WVWC offers students more than 40 majors and 40 minors; graduate programs in athletic training, business administration, creative writing, and nursing; 22 NCAA Division II athletic programs; multiple performing arts groups; and more than 70 organizations. Founded in 1890, the College is closely affiliated with the United Methodist Church and abides by the Wesley doctrine that emphasizes service to others. For more information, visit wvwc.edu.