Faculty Spotlight: Bertena Varney
Bertena Varney is a popular sociology instructor at SKYCTC who was born in Eastern KY and raised outside Lexington. She attended Morehead State University and received a B.A. and M.A. is Social Science and Secondary Education and an M. A in Sociology and Criminology. She has one son Tre', 22 years old who is a rising musician in Louisville.
Her first memory of vampires was Count von Count from Sesame Street. While it may sound corny, she would get her mom to buy her Count Chocula cereal and she would eat it while watching Sesame Street, Count Duckula, and the Addams Family. As she got older, she advanced to Dark Shadows reruns, Cliffhangers, and was even allowed to watch Bela Lugosi’s original Dracula. She loved the vampire because it was so human and she was able to identify with it
While in college, she turned her love of the vampire into an independent academic study. Her undergraduate studies centered around the concentrations of social science and education and she purposely chose classes that would add to her growing library of vampire knowledge. She wrote a paper on folklore of the old world and focused on vampires. While pursuing her first graduate degree, she was studying sociology, criminology, and organized literary and first person research on deviant subcultures focused on vampire lifestyles and serial killers who were labeled as vampires.
Her last study was a master’s paper titled, “Search for the Lure of the Vampire.” This ultimately became the beginnings of her book. After graduation she continued to write and research on vampires until she developed her first book, Lure of the Vampire: A Pop Culture Reference Book. It has been published by two separate publishing houses and has won Amazon and Kindle Best Seller in the Reference and Pop Culture sections.
Because of her knowledge about vampires in history and pop culture, many state libraries asked her to do presentations on those topics; from there she was asked to be a guest star at conventions ranging from ScareFest, Fright Night Film Festival, Dead Winter Con and more ranging from Salem, Ma, and Vail, Co. from there she was nicknamed the Vampire Professor She spent three years touring all around the country and doing television and radio interviews as well as book signing and lectures. During these tours she got to meet and hang out with Elvira, Corey Feldman (Lost Boys), Colin Ferguson, Norman Reedus and the others from The Boondock Saints, Sean Astin, Bruce Campbell, James Marsters (Spike from Buffy), and Sam Trammell (Sam from True Blood) and many more stars.
She still stays busy even with school going on. She has also helped with collection and submissions in seven anthologies and is working on training manuals for “fun” correspondence classes that she teaches on her own. She also hosts her own blog and website and writes arts and entertainment articles for Examiner.com and Yahoo.com.