SWAN Faculty

Today's student needs both theory and practice. Our faculty have the experience needed to give them both.

Our program's faculty bring years of experience in both education and industry to students. As artists, professionals and educators, we know that our students need both a strong sense of where film & animation have been and a well-rounded set of professional skills.


Keith Mehlinger, MFA

HeadshotKeith Mehlinger is an associate professor of English and Language Arts at Morgan State University and director of the Screenwriting and Animation Program (SWAN). He holds a Bachelor of Science in Journalism from the University of California at Berkeley and the M.F.A. in Cinema/TV (Screenwriting) from the UCLA Film School. Mehlinger has over twenty years of on-going successful experience as a documentary and corporate video producer in Los Angeles. As writer and director, he expanded the division client base, and also produced multiple episodes of the syndicated series, Story of a People, The Morehouse Men, and African Americans: An Amazing Century.

He is currently working on a documentary about African Americans in the Korean War, and has begun pre-production on a documentary about Morgan Park, a famous African American community in Baltimore, Maryland.

Sample Work: Excerpt "Carry the Torch" from MSU Screenwriting and Animation on Vimeo.

MK Asante Jr., MFA

Headshot of MK

Asante is a tenured professor of creative writing and film in the Department of English and Language Arts at Morgan State University. He is a bestselling author, award-winning filmmaker, rapper, and professor who CNN called "a master storyteller and major creative force." Asante is the author of four books, including Buck: A memoir which made the Washington Post bestseller list in 2014 and 2015 and is a NAACP Image Award finalist.

Asante studied at the University of London, earned a B.A. from Lafayette College, and an M.F.A. from the UCLA School of Theater, Film, and Television. He is a Sundance Feature Film Fellow for the movie adaptation of Buck. He directed the prize-winning Starz TV documentary The Black Candle and wrote/produced 500 Years Later, winner of five international film festival awards.

David W. Warfield, MFA

David WarfieldMaryland native David Warfield holds an MFA in screenwriting from the University of California, Los Angeles, and was an American Film Institute producing fellow. He has been an advisor to the Sundance Screenwriters Lab in Prague, and a V.P. of Production at Propaganda Films in Hollywood. He has written screenplays for Warner Brothers, MGM, Sony, and ABC. His films include Linewatch (Sony Pictures, 2008), and the independent feature Rows (2015). Warfield has been with the SWAN program at Morgan State since 2012.

Sample Work: ROWS - Official Trailer from David W Warfield on Vimeo.

Dale Beran

Dale Beran

Dale Beran is a writer and artist living in Baltimore, MD. His most recent book is It Came from Something Awful: How a Toxic Troll Army Accidentally Memed Donald Trump into Office (All Points Books, July 2019).

His work has appeared in McSweeney’s, Quartz, The Huffington Post, The Daily Dot, The Nib, and The Baltimore City Paper. Beran holds a BA in classics from Bard and a JD from Fordham.

Watch Beran's 2017 TED Talk here.

Kobina N. Yankah

Kobina N. Yankah

Originally hailing from Ghana, West Africa, Kobina N. Yankah immigrated to the USA at age six and grew up in the state of Michigan. He attended Howard University, in Washington DC, where he graduated with honors from the School of Fine Arts, earning a BFA in graphic design. Following graduation, he served as the first Editor in Chief of the iLLtOP Journal, the first Humor Magazine, founded at a Historically Black College or University, through a collaboration between Howard University and comedian/actor Chris Rock.

Yankah left DC to pursue a Master’s Degree in Animation from the UCLA School of Theatre, Film, and Television. He graduated with honors and served as the Director of Animation for an independent studio in Los Angeles, partnering with international studios to produce a variety of content for clients. Following his time Los Angeles, Prof. Yankah has worked in animation for video games, visual effects and editing for broadcast, winning a National Emmy award for his work with Turner Sports and the NBA, and video production for political communication firms in Washington DC. He currently creates digital ads for 2U, an educational technology firm and has been teaching at Morgan State University since 2014.


Jessica Pettiford

Headshot of Jessica Pettiford

Jessica Pettiford is a graduate of the Screenwriting and Animation (SWAN) program at Morgan State University. She works now as the production coordinator for the program. She is an emerging filmmaker and digital artist who she supports young artists throughout the region thorugh instruction and hands-on support with Baltimore Youth Film Arts.