Debra Kolodczak, PhD, is a professional multimedia producer, AEM6 managing editor/UX designer, and adjunct faculty at the University at Buffalo, Department of Communication. She teaches hybrid courses in graphic communication, visual literacy and virtual media ethics.
As a graduate student in the UB American Studies program, she worked closely with John Mohawk, Oren Lyons, and Michael Frisch. In 2003, Kolodczak was named Fulbright Research Scholar, Canada. While based in Ottawa for 10-months, she gathered case studies to represent the centuries-long survival of indigenous peoples, particularly those living in Western New York and Southern Ontario. The case studies are included in her dissertation, Canoe Links: Work, Play, Symbol, Show in North America's Native/Newcomer Encounter. By using the canoe as a way to see what is not always obvious when considering the ordinary, her research adds context to understanding how 'things' got to be the way they are and why we should care. The study underscores the ironic fact that North America’s indigenous peoples remain among the most impoverished communities living in two of the world's wealthiest nations.
Today, her practice-based research involves environmental literacy and placed-based humanities. Kolodczak manages web-based communication while sustaining a pre-Civil War farmstead situated on a nature preserve adjacent to the ancient canoe route of the Americas. Her interests continue to be guided by Oren Lyons, Onondaga Faithkeeper and SUNY Distinguished Professor Emeritus.