Lakeland University Blog

Familiar faces join Lakeland faculty


Familiar faces join Lakeland faculty

Lakeland University is welcoming two familiar faces and two newcomers to its faculty roster for this academic year.

Emily Alvarez is Lakeland’s instructor of music and director of choral activities. She had served in a visiting role last school year.

Former Lakeland art faculty member Denise Presnell is returning this year in a visiting role, and she’s joined in visiting roles by Mark Heimermann and Jessica Talamantez.

Alvarez will again directs the Lakeland Choir and teach applied voice and other music courses. She also maintains a private voice studio, and her students have received professional contracts with the Skylight Opera Company in Milwaukee, Wis., and KIDS From Wisconsin.

The soprano is also an active performer. Full roles performed include Rosalinda (“Die Fledermaus”), Wife (“The Music Shop” by Richard Wargo), La Rose (“Le Petit Prince”), Mae (“The Pajama Game”) and Lady Thiang (“The King & I”).

She received her Master of Music in Vocal Performance at Southern Illinois University-Carbondale, and Bachelor of Arts in Music and History from Luther College.

Presnell returns to Lakeland after a 26-year career here that started in 1989 and culminated with her retirement in spring of 2015. She will be a visiting associate professor of art and director of the Bradley Art Gallery.

She is a painter/mixed media artist currently living and working as a full-time artist in Sheboygan, Wis. She earned her BFA in Printmaking from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and her MFA in Painting from the Pennsylvania State University. Graduate school was followed by 31 years of teaching art on the college/university level.

For most of those 31 years, her imagery centered around the natural landscape – mostly focusing on the landscape in Wisconsin. Over the past two years, her work evolved from heavily abstracted landscapes into full-blown, formal abstraction. Her current work unapologetically celebrates the exhilaration of risk taking.

Presnell’s work has been exhibited in over 100 solo, group and competitive exhibitions across the United States as well as exhibitions in Tokyo, Botswana, Kenya and Shanghai. Learn more at her personal website:

Heimermann is a visiting assistant professor of interdisciplinary studies. He joins Lakeland from Holy Family College, where he served as assistant professor of English for the past three years. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. His research interests include childhood studies, comics studies and contemporary literature, and his current project is on depictions of grotesque children.

Talamantez is a visiting instructor of interdisciplinary studies. She earned an MFA from Texas State University in 2009 and a Master of Arts in Philosophy from Tufts in 2012. She is a Ph.D. candidate at Northwestern University, where her research interests include political theory, philosophy of education and applied ethics.