MEET OUR TEAM
Founder | UHCL Associate Professor of Communication and Digital Media
I am a documentary filmmaker, video artist & associate professor for communication, digital media & art at the University of Houston - Clear Lake. I hold an M.F.A. in photography and digital media and a B.A. in broadcast journalism and TV production, both from the University of Houston and have the equivalent of an M.A. from the Ludwigs Maximilians Universtaet in Munich in linguistics and literature.
In my video art I explore the subtleties of human perception, in my documentary work I focus on cultural and environmentally related subjects. I have screened both my video art and my documentary films internationally and have won several awards & prizes, not only for my artistic and documentary work, but also for my commercial work.
Co-Founder | UHCL Director of Bayou Theater and Cultural Arts
Eric and Michael came up with the idea for the Sustainable Stories Film Fest while kayaking down Armand Bayou. As the director of Cultural Arts and the Bayou Theater at the University of Houston - Clear Lake (UHCL), Eric has played a big role in the planning of the film festival. Before coming to UHCL, Eric spent his 30-year career as a professional musician, a professor of music and art, and the director of both a community music school and university cultural arts programs. In addition to his administrative work, Despard is an active performer, composer, and champion of new music. His group, the Progression Ensemble has commissioned and premiered more than 20 pieces by national and international composers.
KATHLEEN GARLAND, Ph. D
Senior Lecturer Environmental Manager
UHCL College of Business
Dr. Garland received her Ph.D. in Geology from Penn State University in 1989. Prior to joining UHCL in 2005, she worked as an offshore oil and gas development geologist for Chevron, USA in New Orleans as a remediation project. She also worked as a program manager for the New Mexico Environment Department; director of the Mining and Minerals Division, New Mexico Energy, Minerals, and Natural Resources Dept.; senior scientist for Environet, Inc.; and as sole proprietor of her own environmental and management consulting practice. She is currently a senior lecturer for the Environmental Management program in the College of Business at University of Houston-Clear Lake.
MEGAN TOPHAM, Ph. D
UHCL Institute for Human and Planetary Sustainability
Dr. Megan Topham is the Executive Director for the UHCL Institute for Human and Planetary Sustainability (IHAPS) and Clinical Assistant Professor of Management. She has a Ph.D. in Urban Planning with a concentration in Sustainability and a Master of Science in Information Systems from The University of Texas at Arlington. She has held previous positions with The University of Texas at Arlington, including Campus Director of UTA Fort Worth, a satellite campus in downtown Fort Worth, and Clinical Instructor in both the College of Business and School of Urban and Public Affairs, where she taught graduate courses in sustainability. Dr. Topham has extensive knowledge and experience developing and managing sustainable operations, innovative curriculum and programming, and strong community partners and advocates.
Website and Social Media Manager
UHCL Graduate Student in Digital Media Studies
I'm currently a graduate student at UHCL pursuing a degree in digital and media studies. I worked in the restaurant industry for most of my life, and decided to go back to school when I turned 40 so I could spend more time with my two beautiful boys (Chase and Cory). I earned my bachelor's degree in communication in 2015 and worked for many years with a marketing firm before starting my own digital media marketing company, Elevated Marketing Solutions. I design and manage websites and offer graphic design services for my clients. I was working as a freelance graphic designer and writer for The SCENE Magazine until COVID came along and we stopped production because the majority of our clients were local area restaurants and bars. I decided to go back to school to get my graduate degree and learn more about the ever-changing field of digital media studies and video production. I'm very grateful for the opportunity and excited to work on this amazing project.
University of Houston - Clear Lake Art Gallery
Karen began working at UHCL in 2001 as an instructional assistant. In her current role, she installs exhibitions and art in the gallery and throughout campus. A practicing ceramic artist, Karen has exhibited her wheel-thrown and altered work at various art festivals and centers in the area. She also taught ceramics at Alvin Community College. Karen is a member of the Salt Grass Potters and the UHCL Art Association. She holds a Bachelor of Science in agriculture from The Ohio State University and a Master of Arts in humanities from UHCL.