Staff

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The Baldy Center staff includes faculty, research faculty, administrators, and students who focus on supporting and fostering innovative research in law, legal institutions, and social policy. 

Samantha Barbas.

Samantha Barbas

Samantha Barbas is the director of The Baldy Center. Barbas researches and teaches in the areas of legal history, First Amendment law and mass communications law. Her work focuses on the intersection of law, culture, media and technology in United States history. Her recent research has explored the history of the law of privacy and defamation.

Learn more about The Baldy Center director.

Caroline Funk.

Caroline Funk

Caroline Funk, PhD, Associate Director

Caroline Funk is the Associate Director of The Baldy Center. She is responsible for activating the agenda and decisions of the Director, and she manages all activities in the center. Previously, she served as The Baldy Center Research Associate, assisting Baldy-affiliated faculty to develop funding proposals.

Funk holds a PhD in Anthropology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, with a specialization in Arctic Archaeology. She has a Research Assistant Professor appointment in UB’s Department of Anthropology, and her work has been profiled in UB’s alumni magazine At Buffalo. She has worked in multidisciplinary and multinational teams in Russia, Portugal, and Alaska to research the intersection of cultural and environmental histories. Dr. Funk currently leads and collaborates in federally funded multidisciplinary research which focuses on the history of human-environmental dynamics in the Aleutian Islands, Alaska. Her published works and academic history can be viewed on her C.V.

Laura Wirth.

Laura Wirth

Laura Wirth, MS, Assistant Director

Laura Wirth is the Assistant Director of The Baldy Center. She holds a masters degree in Interdisciplinary Social Sciences from the State University of New York at Buffalo. She collaborates with The Baldy Center staff to develop and support projects, fellows, research, and conferences. 

2021-22 Multimedia Producers

Julia Merante is a second-year law student at the University at Buffalo School of Law. She is the Vice President of the Jessup International Moot Court, a Human Rights Fellow at Legal Aid, a Student Ambassador, and an Associate of the Buffalo Environmental Law Review Journal.

Julia Merante, Blog Host/Producer, 2021-22

BLOG HOST/PRODUCER 2021-22 
Julia Merante, 
a second-year law student at the University at Buffalo School of Law, is host/producer for the 2021-22 Edition of The Baldy Center Blog. At this time Merante is the Vice President of the Jessup International Moot Court, a Human Rights Fellow at Legal Aid, a Student Ambassador, and an Associate of the Buffalo Environmental Law Review Journal. The award-winning poet and essayist graduated SUNY Geneseo summa cum laude with a Bachelors Degree in English, Biology, and Human Development. Merante plans to become a public interest advocate, and then become an educator to continue engaging in important, legal scholarship. 

Edgar Girtain.

Edgar Girtain, Podcast Host/Producer, 2021-22

PODCAST HOST/PRODUCER, 2021-22 

Edgar Girtain is host/producer of the 2021-22 Edition of The Baldy Center Podcast. He is a PhD student in the music department at SUNY Buffalo, where he studies with David Felder. Girtain is a director of the Casa de Las Artes at the University of Southern Chile (UACh), and president of the Southern Chilean Composers Forum (FoCo Sur). Girtain is an eminent composer, pianist, and writer of his own biographies. His diverse areas of work are often collaborative, cross-disciplinary, and international in ambition if not in practice. 

2020-21 Multimedia Producers