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 tenured professor of cinematic arts and sciences at Morgan State University and director of the Screenwriting and Animation (SWAN) program and the Digital Media Center in the James H., Gilliam Jr. College of Liberal Arts. 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 School of Theater, Film, and Television. Mehlinger has a track record of successful experience as a marketing communications and corporate film and video producer in Los Angeles. He has also served as in-house producer for Fortune 250 companies including Northrop Aircraft and TRW Space and Defense. As director of the corporate division of SI Communications in Burbank, Ca., he expanded the company client base, and also produced multiple episodes of the syndicated documentary series, "Story of a People" including "African Americans: An Amazing Century."

His new projects include cinematic arts workshops for Baltimore Youth Film Arts in partnership with Johns Hopkins Film and Media Arts through an Andrew W. Mellon Foundation grant.

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

MK Asante Jr., MFA

Headshot of MK

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. Asante is currently adapting his NY Times bestselling book "Burck" into a feature film, and he is producer of the new Snapchat TV series, "While Black."

David W. Warfield, MFA

David WarfieldMaryland native and tenured professor David Warfield holds an M.F.A. in screenwriting from the UCLA School of Theater, Film, and Television, 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 work includes digital illustration, 2D/3D animation, VR programming, and graphic comics. 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. In 2019, he delivered his firs TED Talk in 2019. 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

Kobina N. Yankah holds an M.F.A. in Animation from the UCLA School of Theater, 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 in the SWAN program at Morgan Statue since 2014.

David Roberts

David Roberts

David Roberts is a detail-oriented producer, director and editor, with experience creating digital content for journalism, education, sales and entertainment. His professional work spans two decades and includes filmmaking for organizations like the Maryland Transit Administration, the Baltimore Public School System, the Baltimore Sun and AFRO newspapers, and more. Roberts earned his M.F.A. from Ohio University, and his films have received accolades from organizations like the Association of Black Media Workers and the United Negro College Fund. He is the founder of King David Productions, and he is currently working on his third feature-length documentary.

Watch work recently produced by Roberts and his Baltimore Youth Film Arts students here.


Jessica Pettiford

Headshot of Jessica Pettiford

Jessica Pettiford holds a BFA in film, and she works as the production coordinator for the SWAN 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.