Instructor Bios

Ahmad Abojaradeh is the Founder and Executive Director of Life in My Days, a Global Non-Profit paving the way for starting difficult conversations around Mental Health and Disabilities, Abuse and Trauma, and Justice worldwide by supporting individuals and communities on their journeys for self-actualization. They are also a Peer Support Specialist, supporting individuals from around the world, specializing in working with individuals displaced by war, torture and complex childhood trauma, individuals experiencing houselessness, and individuals at risk of dying from suicide. Ahmad is a non-binary/trans, disabled, Muslim, queer, Palestinian Refugee of the World and living with multiple mental health challenges who is passionate about centering lived experience and transforming systems.

Emanuel Abramovits is a Mechanical Engineer with an MBA and has been a concert promoter since 2000, directly involved in many events by international artists. He designed and staged many original orchestral events, including an Event of the Year winner and several world premieres. He served as the Cultural Director at UNION ISRAELITA DE CARACAS from 2008 to 2019, releasing books, organizing film cycles, concerts and art exhibits. He has been consistently teaching online and in presence across the US since 2020.

Muhammad Abubakar holds an M.S. in Neuroscience and a B.S. in Biological Sciences. He is a high school science teacher at a private high school in Windsor, CT which means he is very comfortable in a classroom setting. He began his college education here at the Waterbury UConn campus where he conducted research and tutored biology.

Stacey Altomari has been an EP Clinical EFT Master Practitioner and Life Coach for over 13 years guiding people on a journey of self-discovery and acceptancce. According to Stacey, “there is no greater exploration than looking within ourselves.”

Peter Anderheggen is a nationally certified teacher of the Alexander Technique and has studied it since 2006. He taught writing, literature, and public speaking at the college level for 30 years and has also taught Hatha Yoga.

Thelma Appel has had her paintings represented by galleries in NYC, VT and TX since the early 1970’s. Her work was acquired by many leading corporations, municipalities, the Port Authorities of NY & NJ, the Federal Reserve, and museums in CT, VT, NY, and WI. In 2019, the Brattleboro Museum mounted a 50 Year Survey of her work.

Lisa Smith Arnold holds a BFA from the School of Visual and Performing Arts at Syracuse University. She has also attended the Art Students League as well as the School of Visual Arts in NYC. Following employment at Conde Nast Publications, she decided to pursue her love of art, and as an educator, sharing her knowledge. She has given art history lectures throughout Connecticut and Rhode Island.

Alphonse AviTabile has worked with bees for 50 years, and has conducted and continues to do bee research. He has been published in the American Bee Journal six times; three times in 2015 and three times in 2016. He is the Emeritus Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the UConn Waterbury campus. He is co-author of The Beekeeper Handbook and has published honey bee papers in bee journals and magazines.

Raghdaa Barmo recently graduated the University of Connecticut with a degree in Computer Science. She was born in Damascus, Syria. She aspires to spread awareness about the cultures of the Middle East about Islam, but is especially excited for the opportunity to do so in an academic setting. Raghdaa is trilingual and a practicing Muslim.

Dr. Joseph J Baxer has been engaged in sustaining cultural diversity and mediating cross-cultural conflicts. He has taught Physics, served as a CT high school principal, directed an inner city emergency shelter, taught at Emory University, St Joseph University and the Hartford Seminary. His Doctorates are in Theology and Psychology.

Martin Begnal is the president of the Friends of Riverside Cemetery and is the assistant managing editor at the Republican-American newspaper in Waterbury.

Annie Beierle has been a nurse for more than 30 years, most of that time working in a Critical Care Unit. She is a slow but content runner, an avid reader and an artist searching for her medium!

Richard Bell is a professor of history at the University of Maryland. He holds a B.A. from the University of Cambridge (he’s British by birth and sense of humor) and a Ph.D. from Harvard University. He is the author of the new online course, America’s Long Struggle Against Slavery, which you can find at, and the new book “Stolen: Five Free Boys Kidnapped into Slavery and their Astonishing Odyssey Home” which has just been shortlisted for the George Washington Prize and the Harriet Tubman Prize. He has won more than a dozen teaching awards, including the University System of Maryland Board of Regents Faculty Award for Excellence in Teaching, the highest honor for teaching faculty in the Maryland state system. He has held major research fellowships at Yale, Cambridge, and the Library of Congress and is the recipient of the National Endowment of the Humanities Public Scholar award. He serves as a Trustee of the Maryland Historical Society, as an elected member of the Colonial Society of Massachusetts, and as a fellow of the Royal Historical Society.

Alan Bisbort is the author of Beatniks: A Guide to an American Subculture and co-author of Rhino’s Psychedelic Trip. He has written extensively about postwar American history, culture, and counterculture for the New York Times  and the Advocate newspapers, among many other venues.

Gary Bischoff has been to China 18 times both for business and pleasure. He has many contacts and associates in China in addition to being able to speak and read Chinese.

Bill Blair is a lifelong learner and inveterate international traveler with various degrees in English and Anthropology. He has lectured domestically and internationally about topics as diverse as George Orwell and the Rwandan genocide. He currently is a member of the adjunct faculty at Naugatuck Vallet Community College.

Timothy Boyce retired from the practice of law at Dechert, LLP, an international law firm, in 2014 to devote his time to writing and speaking. In addition to editing and publishing Odd Nansen’s WWII diary, his articles have appeared in World War II Magazine, The Scandinavian Review, The Quarterly Journal of Military History, and Viking Magazine.

Rev. Jim Bradley earned a BA in English/Political Science from West Virginia University, a Master of Theological Studies from Harvard Divinity School, a Master of Divinity from Virginia Theological Seminary, a Doctor of Ministry from Hartford Seminary, and is an ordained Episcopal Priest. He was Rector of St. John’s in Waterbury for 21 years.

Gabriella Brand is an educator, consultant, and author. Her poetry, short stories and travel writing appear in over fifty publications, including “The Christian Science Monitor,” “The Globe and Mail,” and “Echoes.” She currently serves as the Poet Laureate of North Haven. She has over 25 years of teaching experience, primarily in world languages and literature. She holds an M.A. degree from Middlebury College.

Dr. Walter Brooks received a BA from Boston College, an MA and PhD from Fordham University along with a Post Doctoral from Harvard University. Research and teaching fellowship Harvard University.

Stuart Brown is the producer/host for over 25 years of the podcast “On Broadway” and is also a member if the CT Critics’ Circle covering Broadway plays and musicals. With his affable and witty presentation style and wealth of knowledge and resources for the topic, his passion for genre is readily apparent. He is also the Dean of Student Affairs for UCONN Waterbury.

Bob Burns has led the Mattatuck Museum as director since 2012 and brings a wealth of art, history, and nonprofit experience to his role overseeing all of the museum’s operations.

Virginia Bush received her PhD from Columbia University and is a Fellow of the American Academy in Rome. She has decades of experience teaching and writing about art history and has amassed a collection of about 30,000 art images to share with OLLI students.

Steve Bustamante has been playing guitar and writing songs, in earnest, since 2008. He loves sharing what he has learned from various songwriting camps, workshops, and of course, writing and performing.

Angela Buzzelli was born in Italy and came to the United States at the age of nine. She has a BS degree in Italian and Spanish from SCSU and a Master from Sacred Heart University. She also spent a semester abroad in Florence, Italy and a summer in Valencia, Spain. She has traveled throughout Europe, and extensively in Italy, and has visited a majority of the 20 Italian regions. She has taught the Italian language at Holy Cross High School, Torrington Middle School, Naugatuck High School and as an adjunct professor at Naugatuck Valley Community College and Post University.

Donna Cameron has been on staff at the Palace Theater since it’s reopening in 2004. She was promoted to House Manager in 2019, and she has been a tour guide for many years. Her knowledge and experience will enhance the student’s enjoyment of the gem of Waterbury.

Geralyn Cappabianca is a board certified chaplain and licensed professional counselor, she served as a hospital chaplain for more than 15 years and was manager of the Spiritual Care Department at Saint Mary’s from 2009-2014. She holds a master’s degree in counseling from Fairfield University and a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the University of Connecticut. She is author of the book “Memoirs of a Hospital Chaplain” and continues to facilitate workshops about hope and healing all over Connecticut.

Catherine Capuano received a B.A. in English and later earned degrees in Law, Library Science, and Liberal Studies. She was an employee of the Connecticut Judicial Branch, and, after retirement, served as a book discussion facilitator for Connecticut Humanities and as a presenter in the OLLI program at UCONN.

Dr. Ellen C. Carillo is an Associate Professor of English at the University of Connecticut and the Writing Coordinator at its Waterbury campus. She is the author of Securing a Place for Reading in Composition: The Importance of Teaching for Transfer (Utah State UP, 2015), A Writer’s Guide to Mindful Reading (WAC Clearinghouse/University Press of Colorado, 2017), Teaching Readers in Post-Truth America (Utah State UP, 2018), the MLA Guide to Digital Literacy (Modern Language Association, 2019), and co-author of Reading Critically, Writing Well, 12th edition (Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2019). Her scholarship, which focuses on the importance of teaching reading alongside writing, has also been published in many journals and edited collections.She has been awarded grants from the Northeast Modern Language Association (NeMLA), the Conference on College Composition and Communication (CCCC), and the Council of Writing Program Administrators (CWPA).

Nicole Carpenter is a museum professional with ten years of experience in exhibition design and curation as well as collections management and museum education in cultural organizations and non-profits. She serves as the Westport Museum for History & Culture’s Director of Programs and Education. Carpenter received her Master’s degree in Museum Studies at Syracuse University and her Bachelor of Arts at Castleton University.

Rev. Michael E. Carroll is a semi-retired Episcopal priest who most recently served as pastor of St. John’s on the Green in Waterbury, CT. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Philosophy and a Master’s Degree in Counseling.

Vincent Casanova has a B.A. in History from SCSU, a Masters of Religious Studies, M.A.R. (non denominational) from Yale University, and has taught for 35 years in Public Education (27 years at the high school level and two years at the College of Greater New Haven State of Connecticut Technical College).

Denne Chennette.  Since 1986, Denna Chennette PhD has worked with individuals with disabilities and their families in a variety of settings. She has served on various boards & committees; presented at conferences; facilitated support groups; designed caregiver education and wellness programs; created a stroke education program for grandchildren; and has held several adjunct faculty and guest lecturer positions. In her free time, Dr. Chennette leads small family caregiver support groups and meets with individuals to provide support, encouragement and resources related to their caregiving issues and unique circumstances.

Rose-Ann C. Chrzanowski was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY,  went to Brooklyn College for her undergraduate degree, Fordham University for her masters, and Southern for her 6th year certificate. She lives in Naugatuck and has been teaching at OLLI since retiring in 2012. She is the widow of Ray Chrzanowski, the love of her life.

Diane Ciba has an MBA and has taught Marketing, Computer, and Internet classes at Youngstown State University and UCONN. Diane is passionate about history and the tools used to create family trees. Using a variety of research methods, she has helped many students uncover the richness of the stories of their ancestors.

Bill Cloutier is a retired nuclear engineer with a lifelong interest in astronomy and space exploration history. He is also an amateur astronomer and co-founder of the McCarthy Observatory, a facility dedicated to promoting science literacy, and involved in its many outreach initiatives.

Edward Conlan is a retired teacher and was a sports official for 34 years, including 15 years at the Division I College level.  An OLLI member, Ed is also an AARP driver safety instructor.

Mary Conseur holds a Master’s degree in French from Purdue University and completed advanced studies in French at the University of Fribourg, Switzerland. She has taught French for about 20 years.

Julie Cook is a published poetry and fiction writer as well as a musician, teacher and composer who facilitates music and poetry workshops for well-being and self-expression. She has developed gentle supportive skills to foster creativity and enhance participants’ lives through the arts.

F. David Corbett taught U.S. History, Contemporary Issues, and Law and Society as a high school teacher in the Waterbury Public Schools. He has a bachelor’s degree in economics, with a minor in history. He graduated cum laude from the University of Connecticut Law School in January, 1977. He was awarded the Constitutional Law Award for the highest grade in constitutional law in his class. He has practiced law in Connecticut for over forty-two years.

William Courtland taught the Spirituality of Chinese Medicine and courses in Acupressure at the CT Center for Massage Therapy at Westport and Newington CT. He was also the author of the book “A Medicine from Spirit.” William sadly passed away in February, 2024.

Sean Crose is the Writing/ESL Specialist at Post University where he also teaches subjects such as literature, composition, and poetry. Additionally, Sean is a senior writer for Boxing Insider and a contributor to The Berkshire Edge.

Dorothy M. Cunningham holds a B.A. in English from the University of Rhode Island and has taught in public and private schools for over thirty-five years. She gives Iditarod talks at various gatherings including OLLI – URI and George Mason U. Her enthusiasm and love for the dogs attracts many to her presentations. The Iditarod has been a favorite topic among her students and their parents throughout this time.

Jared Day holds a Ph.D. and has taught American History at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh for sixteen years. His areas of specialization are U.S. political, urban and environmental history from the late eighteen century to present. Between 2007 and 2010, he led seminars on the effective teaching of history for public school teachers at the Pittsburgh Teachers Institute at Chatham University and has taught numerous courses for the Osher Academy for Life-Long Learning at the University of Pittsburgh. He is also the author of Urban Castles: the Tenement Housing and Landlord Activism in New York City, 1890-1943(Columbia University Press, 1999) and co-author of Race and Renaissance: the African American experience in Pittsburgh Since World War II (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2010) along numerous other popular and peer-reviewed articles.

Clementine Delaney took her first yoga class at 63 years old, even though she had asthma at the time.  At age 70 she became a certified yoga instructor with Yoga Spirit Studio. She is now 77 years old and going strong, no longer suffering from asthma!

David J. Dewitt is a successfully retired Nationwide Insurance Agent. Mr. Dewitt is also a Certified Graphoanalyst. As such, he has spent decades studying, analyzing, and interpreting the handwriting of countless individuals.

Ann DiLorenzo has been a health educator for over 25 years at Kennedy High School. She also holds an MS Degree in Health Education, and has been a certified yoga instructor for 35 years with many special certifications. She has taught various population groups with various interests from adolescents with anxiety issues to populations with joint issues and weight management.

Leon Di Martino has a Bachelor of Science degree from Pace University and a Master’s Degree in Educational Psychology and History from Fordham University.

Dr. Laura Donorfio is a professor at UConn in the Department of Human Development and Family Sciences.  She has been teaching for over 20 years with her coursework and research concentrating on gerontological education, intergenerational relationships, and later life dependencies.  Laura incorporates service learning experiences into her courses, having students work with OLLI personnel and members.  She also opens up many of her courses to the OLLI members, creating intergenerational classes, experiences, and activities.  Laura serves as a faculty liaison to the UConn OLLI program.   

Judith Dreyer, MS, BSN, is a Master Gardener and teacher with over 20 years experience developing workshops and classes, speaking and writing about holistic health, edible and medicinal plants, sustainable landscapes and more. She has degrees in Nursing and Nutrition Science and has taught Holistic Health Studies and Nutrition Science at both university and college level.

Glenn Dulko was the past president of Yale University Toastmasters. He currently gives presentation workshops for the Center of Excellence at the West Haven VA. He loves empowering people and their stories.

Cindy Eastman is a writer and a teacher. She holds a Master’s degree in Education and has taught English as an adjunct at Naugatuck Valley Community College. She has been an OLLI presenter for five years teaching internet skills and journaling. Cindy recently published her first book in April 2014, Flip-Flops After 50, a Collection of Essays.

Dr. David K. Ewen is a renowned educator, entrepreneur, and global figure with over three decades of experience in various fields. He is a well-known authority on global communication and entrepreneurial studies, having earned international acclaim for his expertise in business, education, and digital multimedia technology. Dr. Ewen’s contributions to the field of education and business have earned him worldwide recognition, and his work continues to inspire and influence others.

James F. Farnham is Professor Emeritus of Literature at Fairfield University. He holds a PhD from Case Western Reserve and held post-doctoral fellowships at Yale in Cognitive Anthropology and Judaic Studies. Among the courses he has taught are American Romanticism, Existential Literature, and Literature of the Holocaust. He has published studies of Hawthorne, Melville, Faulkner, and Flannery O’Connor.

Nunzio De Filippis has a B.A. with honors in Political Science from Queens College, CUNY along with 45 graduate credits from CUNY Graduate School and Center. He was a businessman for over 35 years who began teaching at the age of 51 while still in business. Nunzio has been teaching operas, international movies, gardening, food preparation and Italian since 1997 at multiple institutions. His work was recognized in the NY Times, NY Daily News and with a NY Governor Pataki Proclamation in 2002. He’s been presenting Italian courses at OLLI since 2010.

Joseph Gambini has a masters degree in Education and worked six years in Education and Administration. During his career, he presented state-wide workshops for teacher in grades 9-12.

Ramin Ganeshram is the Executive Director of Westport Museum for History & Culture. An award-winning journalist and historian she is the author of The General’s Cook, about George Washington’s enslaved chef, Hercules Posey. She holds a master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University and was a Paul Cuffe Fellow for the Study of Minorities in American Maritime History.

Dana Goin is the Wildlife Outreach Specialist at the Wolf Conservation Center in South Salem, NY, a not-for-profit environmental educational organization. She holds a degree in Wildlife Conservation, and has worked in various areas around the country studying large and mid-sized carnivores including mountain lions, coyotes, bobcats, and raccoons.

Shelley Goldstein is the library director at UConn Waterbury, and is responsible for research instruction on campus. For more than 20 years – as the internet has consumed nearly every aspect of our lives, – She has been providing insight on how to search wisely. She has a love-hate relationship with technology, recognizing its potential to enhance our lives while at the same time having a deceptive and intrusive nature.

Linda Gordon holds a B.S. in elementary education and M.S. in talented and gifted education – both from Southern CT State University. She was a middle school and TAG teacher in Region 16 schools for 28 years.  Linda has written for and performed in Shakesperience Productions’s Neighborhoods project for two years.

Maureen Goss, M.S. L.Ac, is a National Board Certified and New York and CT-licensed acupuncturist with a private practice in Guilford, CT. She was certified to teach qigong in China in 1992 and has taught this form of exercise to students of Chinese Medicine, those with special needs, to children and to seniors.

Rosalie Griffin holds a B.A. and M.A.L.S. in Mathematics and has taught as a high school math teacher for 40 years and as an adjunct instructor at NVCC for 19 years. She is also a Waterbury native.

Christine Guiditta holds a Master’s degree in Remedial Reading and Language Arts, teaching for 35 years in Region #15, Southbury, CT, where she utilized children’s literature across the curriculum. As adjunct professor in the graduate teacher program for the University of Bridgeport she stressed the value and use of children’s literature in all curriculum. She is also an avid collector of children’s literature.

Taylor Hagood, Ph.D., is a unique figure–a mix of public intellectual, educator, lecturer, writer, entertainer, artist, and many other dimensions. An internationally-renowned scholar on William Faulkner and writers of classic literature, he has held a Fulbright Professorship at the University of Munich and is currently Professor of English at Florida Atlantic University. As a literary critic he has published six books and over forty articles, winning the prestigious C. Hugh Holman Award for best book in Southern Literary Studies.

In addition to scholarly writing, Dr. Hagood has published fiction and poetry and contributes articles to the Palm BeachPost and Throomers. He lectures regularly to both academic and general audiences on topics ranging from writers and artists to profiles of cities such as Key West and New Orleans in venues throughout the United States and Europe, maintaining a speaking schedule in south Florida at numerous private clubs and at the Society of the Four Arts in Palm Beach and the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute in Boca Raton and Jupiter.

Hagood’s range of experiences, interests, and talents goes far beyond academia, lecturing, and writing to include travel, history, music, art, and more. Born in a town mid-way between Tupelo and Memphis, he carries on the traditions of southern blues, country, and rock-a-billy music, playing the guitar, banjo, harmonica, and piano. As an artist, he paints in oil, acrylic, watercolor, and egg tempera, primarily in a representational vein with extra emphasis in the Florida traditions of A. E. Backus, Howard Schafer, and the Highwaymen. The child of a magician, Dr. Hagood is both a practitioner and historian of magic. He is also a classical fencer with the Manhattan-based Martinez Academy of Arms.

Richard Haiduck has an undergraduate degree in Marketing from Miami University and an MBA in Finance from Xavier. He was an executive and then mentor for start up biotech companies and currently mentors social enterprises in the developing world through a program at Santa Clara University. He retired 7 years ago, and as he gradually wound down his work activities, he increased his retirement activities.

Paul Hammer has taught theater in the New Haven Public Schools, at the Educational Center for the Arts, and in a variety of of after school programs. He has been a producer, playwright, director, performer, composer, and lyricist in community theater for over 35 years.

Elizabeth Hanahan is a retired public school teacher who has been teaching dulcimer at OLLI for the past three years. She has also taught dulcimer to adults at Folkcraft Music in Winsted, CT.

James Hannon graduated from Thomaston High School in 1963 and served in the U.S. Navy on board the Destroyer Escourt USS Brumby Delogg in 1966 and 1967. He has received an Associates in Arts Degree from Tunxis Community College in 1976, has been a lifelong amateur astronomer (involved in various star research), and has self-published his memoir “Waxing and Waning a Memoir of an Amateur Astronomer”.

John Harmon has a Ph.D. in Tudor Stuart England and the Renaissance and Reformation from the University of Rochester. For several years, he taught history courses at the University of Rochester while working in the University’s Office of Research Administration.

Michaela Hauser-Wagner is a nationally certified Alexander Technique teacher. She found the Technique when she was looking for ways to supplement her daughter’s scoliosis treatment. She has a background as a Speech, Language, and Voice Therapist from the University Tübingen/Germany.

Jon Haveman is the Executive Director of the National Economic Education Delegation (NEED). Dr. Haveman is an expert on economic policy and holds a Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Michigan.

Arnold Heiser is a Vanderbilt University Emeritus Professor of Astronomy. A graduate of the University of Chicago, he is a member of the American Astronomical Society, the International Astronomical Union, and a published author. He was a director of Vanderbilt’s Dyer Observatory and a NASA Faculty Fellow. Currently, he volunteers at Yale’s Leitner Family Observatory and Planetarium, and at the Peabody Museum of Natural History.

Martin Herman For almost forty years, he successfully led a series of businesses and then was an executive consultant with clients – foreign and domestic – to help take them from the brink of bankruptcy towards profitable successes. Simultaneously, He wrote both fiction and non-fiction under a series of pen names. In 2015 he published a full-length novel under his name. It is now in its 8th printing and sold internationally alongside his other 6 published books. There are two to three more books scheduled for publication early to mid-next year.

Dr. Kenneth Hinga was a research scientist and Assistant Dean at the Graduate School of Oceanography of the University of Rhode Island studying various topics in marine ecology. Later, he was a science advisor for the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service, advising on agricultural/environmental issues and food safety.

Bruce Hirsch is a retired special education teacher from the Stratford Public School system. Presently, he works at The Palace Theater in Waterbury, the Waterbury Symphony Orchestra, The Shubert Theater in New Haven, and the New Haven Symphony.

Alfred Hunt is a professor of History (Emeritus) at SUNY Purchase. He is the Dean of College of Letters and Science and a Fulbright Scholar in Venice, Italy, and Barbados. He was a lecturer at the University of Virginia from 2008 to 2013 where he did four Semesters-at-sea, which were round-the-world voyages for full semesters.

Bryan Holmes is a nationally certified cybersecurity professional with a deep background in technical training and education. He was an award-winning middle and high school teacher of math and science, as well as a military flight instructor and trainer. He now serves as a Cybersecurity Advocate helping people and organizations learn about cybersecurity so that they are empowered to be safe online.

Marlene Hutchinson is a guitar instructor, musician, published author, producer and founder of Marlene’s Music, developed a simple method of learning to play guitar that has influenced and inspired guitarists around the world. As seen by millions PBS, Marlene’s popular Learn to Play Guitar in a Day! workshop is based on her signature guitar method created to help the absoulute beginner learn to play quickly and easily. Marlene has been featured on CBS, NBC, NPR, Acoustic Guitar, Making Music Magazine, Women’s International Music Network, several news publications and her program is a 2014 Player’s Choice Award nominee.

James Isaak is a recovering technologist with 30 years in computers, 6 in academia, and 10 in Life Long Learning. Jim is also an active volunteer with IEEE, the worlds largest society of technical professionals, having served on the Board of Directors and as President of the IEEE Computer Society. Currently Jim is helping to develop and promote policies on Broadband, Privacy and Social Media.

Dr. Avi Isseroff is a Psychiatrist and creator of the presidential board game “Who Said What in the White House.”  He was Chief Resident in Psychiatry at UMDAJ and Director of Psychiatric Inpatient and Outpatient programs in New York and New Jersey.

Judy Jaworski attended The Rhode Island School of Design. She has taught at the Naugatuck Adult Education center, the Naugatuck Senior Center, Heritage Village, the Prospect Senior Center, and Washington Art Assoc. (the former Young Women’s YMCA in Waterbury).

Amy Johnson is a partner and Managing Editor of West Cornwall Publishing and holds a MFA in Professional and Creative Writing from Western Connecticut State University, where she focused on journalistic non-fiction. She has taught in non-traditional settings and has been an avid writer for years. She is also an artist and rock-climbing instructor who loves to bring out bravery in others and support them to believe in themselves and their talents.

Robert Joyce is also an accomplished composer, producer, author and educator. He has over 30 years of teaching at Augustana University and also the University of South Dakota, UC and is a popular OLLI presenter with a history of over ten years of presenting to Osher Lifelong Learning Institute members in the Midwest.

Dr. Sergei Kambalov retired from the United Nations in 2010. His former position was the Executive Coordinator of the United Nations Global Alliance for Information and Communication Technologies and Development. Prior to joining the UN, he was a First Secretary on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the USSR, and before that he worked in academic research on international economic relations. He has several academic publications, including a book on economic sanctions as a tool of foreign policy. He graduated magna cum laude from the Department of Economics of the Moscow State University and has a PhD in International Economics from the Diplomatic Academy, Moscow. He currently is an adjunct professor at the University of Bridgeport.

Stephen Knifton began his career in television news, producing network shows in both Toronto and New York. He evolved to brand journalism and online content, and moved to teaching; eventually developing and teaching smartphone filmmaking at various schools across the Canada and USA.

Steven Kobylenski was born and educated in Naugatuck. He has been an artist since his childhood, experimenting in a wide variety of media.

Jessica Kott is a Senior Portfolio Manager and Registered Investment Advisor at YHB Investment Advisors, Inc. in West Hartford, Ct. Her business career spans 36 years. She holds a Certified Financial Planning designation (CFP). Jessica has previously taught the subject Investments course for OLLI.

Robin Ladouceur is the Senior Center Manager at the Bent of the River Audubon Center (BOTR). Despite holding a PhD in Russian Lit., Robin has professionalized her love of all things birdy and environmental with her new role at the Audubon. She comes to her role via the Audubon chapter network where she volunteered her time over the past five years as the Advocacy Chair for Menunkatuck Audubon Society in coastal CT.

Sheila Lafferty has a MS in Library Science and has worked for UConn libraries in Waterbury and Torrington since 1989. She often teaches a 1 credit class on genealogy in the spring for UConn students. She is a self taught genealogist and has been researching ancestry for many years.

Eric Lanzieri‘s career has included the practice of law and litigation management on behalf of casualty insurers followed by teaching college courses in law for thirteen years (four of them as director of a paralegal program). He has been a guest speaker, at times in person and at times via the internet, at two universities and four high schools in Italy.

Charles Lasky received a BA in Psychology from St. Bonaventure University and a MS in administration from George Washington University. He is a retired professor of computer technology at Naugatuck Valley Community College.

Nina Lesiga has a passion for leading participatory music making in pubic places. She facilitates ukulele workshops for all ages in Stratford, Norwalk and Waterbury.

Evan M. Levine is the president and founder of Complete Advisors in Valley Stream, Long Island, an independent fee-only financial planning and advisory firm. With 30 years of financial services experience, Evan understands how important retirement income planning is for your well-being. He enjoys educating adults who are transitioning into this next phase of life to help you understand income, insurance, investments and estate planning and get the financial advice you need to thrive in retirement.

Jack Levine retired as a chief financial officer and has written and published seven books including a memoir, short fictional stories, comedy skits and parodies as well as short and full-length plays. Jack was a presenter at the Palace Theater’s 2nd Act series (March 2020) and has been an actor, improv performer, standup comedian and personal storyteller.

Dr. Roger Levy is professor emeritus of international studies at St. Thomas Aquinas College in Sparkill, NY. Over the last seven years, he has taught a variety of courses at OLLI, mostly on East Asia. In the spring of 2022, he described for his class what it was like to survive the Holocaust in Lyon, France, his place of birth.

 Jack Lewis holds a degree in Aerospace Engineering and Business. He has a passion for writing from experience. Drawing on his overlapping careers in industry and education, and especially as a father and grandfather, Jack shares his passion for story and poetry, encouraging others along their own creative paths.

Garrison Leykam has been a record producer for industry giant London Records, performed as a singer-songwriter at Nashville’s iconic Bluebird Café and CBGBs (the Bowery’s birthplace of punk), held leadership positions at companies such as MCI Telecommunications and Grand Circle Travel, been a published author, news-talk radio show host on WSTC/WNLK, stand-up comic whose appearance at NYC’s legendary Gotham Comedy Club was the premise for the television documentary “Comic on a Half Shell,” and producer and host for Connecticut Public Television (CPTV). He is a Forbes contributor and Certified Career Coach.

John Long is the principle of ZeeLand Productions, LLC which produces stage and video productions. John is producer, director and writer of video documentaries: Pursuit of Precision, about the Henedy Machine Company in Torrington that has been broadcast on CT Public Television and won a Gold Aurora Award for historical documentary. On stage, John has worked as a playwright and director in New York City and Connecticut.

Irving Lubliner teaches math, blues harmonica, and literature classes for the OLLI program at Southern Oregon University (SOU).  An emeritus SOU professor specializing in mathematics education, he taught for 40 years (at all levels, kindergarten through graduate school), led seminars for teachers in 39 states, and gave over 350 conference presentations, including several keynote addresses.  In 2019, he created Felabra Press and published his mother’s writings about her experiences during the Holocaust.

Vincent De Luise is a retired eye physician and surgeon who is now mentoring and educating at the intersection of music, art and medicine. He is the founder and president of The Connecticut Summer Opera Foundation and serves on the Board of Directors of The Connecticut Virtuosi Orchestra. He is currently a fellow at Harvard University in the Advanced Leadership Initiative and teaches as an Assistant Clinical Professor of Ophthalmology at Yale University School of Medicine, as an Adjunct Clinical Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology, and a member of the Humanities and Medicine Committee and the Music and Medicine Initiative at Weill Cornell Medical College.

Hamish Lutris is an Associate Professor of History, Political Science, and Geography at Capital Community College in Hartford, Connecticut. He has worked in some of America’s premier natural and historical sites, leading hiking and historical programs. He has also lectured extensively in the United States, Europe, and Canada, presenting programs on wide-ranging historical topics, including Native American history, the Civil War, Scientific History, Social and cultural history, World War I, World War II, and the American West.

Rachael Lynch emigrated from Ireland to the US for love in 1984. She earned a BA in French and English from Trinity College Dublin, and MA and PhD degrees at Boston University.  She is an Associate Professor of English at UConn, and her research interests are in recent and contemporary Irish literature and women’s fiction.

Mary Mahoney is a Mellon Postdoc in Digital Humanities at Trinity College. She earned her Ph.D. in History from the University of Connecticut in 2018 where she studied the history of bibliotherapy.

Reggie Marra is the author of four volumes of poetry and four books of nonfiction, the most recent of which is Healing America’s Narratives (nonfiction, 2022). An educator since 1975, Reggie has served as a teacher, administrator, and basketball coach in secondary and higher education, as a teaching poet for all ages (literally), as a professional coach, and as co-founder and principal instructor of the Fully Human initiative (

Salvatore Martone has been practicing psychotherapy for 43 years and hypnosis for 27 years. He is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, a Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor in Connecticut, and a Reiki master. He is a certified Hypnosis Instructor.

Sondra Martinez is an Ayurvedic Practitioner and certified yoga instructor since 2005 with a desire to bring balance and wellness to all individuals through ancient science and wisdom. Believing we are all provided our own tools for self healing, Sondra has presented Ayurvedic philosophy and techniques to the Waterbury and Connecticut communities at large offering one on one consultations and educational pretension for self improvement using herbs, foods and lifestyle modifications.

Emily Mattina renowned actor, stage director, teaching artist, and co-founder/Artistic Director of Shakesperience Productions. Since attaining her M.A. in 17th Century English Literature with an emphasis on Shakespeare from the University of Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, England, Ms. Mattina has directed approximately half of Shakespeare’s canon at least once.

Raeleen D’Agostino Mautner, Ph.D. is the author of “Living la Dolce Vita” and “Lemons into Limoncello”. She is host of the radio show The Italian Art of Living Well, and weekly advice columnist for The Italian Tribune.

Cynthia Mazzaferro is a retired Physical Therapist with over 30 years of clinical practice and is the owner of Industrial Ergonomics and Educational Services where she performs worksite analysis and injury prevention education. She continues to educate in various venues with self-help presentations, Mile and OLLI programming; coaching and treating clients as a Master Reiki practitioner.

Jean McGavin has a B.A. in Intellectual History, and an M.F.A. in Theater Design. She owns Global Voice Systems, Inc., a boutique voice-over production company, and History Chip, which is a web site where everyone’s true stories are welcomed and celebrated, and history includes everyone.

Fran e. McIntyre is an experienced professional entertainer and educator. She holds a B.S. in Biological Sciences and an M.S. in Real Estate Development & Investment. Fran combines her extensive musical educational talents and improvisational skills to enhance the enjoyable sound.

Nancy Mckenzie has a Ph.D. in Philosophy with a concentration on Ethics and Political Theory (at Vassar College, Pennsylvania State University and the New School). I am the author/editor of “Aids: Social, Political, Ethical Issues” (Penguin), “The Crisis in Healthcare” (Penguin) and “Beyond Crisis: Confronting Healthcare in the US”.  She retired in 2016, and now lives in the Hudson valley.

Charles McNair, MD was born in San Diego, CA. He attended the University of California San Diego for his undergraduate education, and the University of California San Francisco Medical School for his medical degree. He practiced medicine for over 35 years in Woodbury, CT, and retired in 2016.

Fiona de Merell received her B.A. degree in Classics and Ancient Greek from the University of Wales, and her M.A in Adult Learning from the University of Connecticut. Her academic interests include narrative, and transformative, learning theory, both of which form the basis for her grief support group format, “Seen and Heard”. Fiona has featured at many spoken word events throughout Connecticut. Some of her personal essays are published in the anthology, “This One Has No Name” (2016).

Allison Middlemass is the Senior Coordinator, Community Conservation Programs at BOTR. She first worked for Audubon right out of college as a Wildlife Guard/Salt Marsh Steward Crew Leader. Allison also has a degree in Fine Arts. Nature and wildlife are often the subjects of her creations.

Dr. Marc Milstein specializes in taking the leading science research on brain health and presents it in a way that entertains, educates and empowers his audience to live better. His presentations provide science based solutions to keep the brain healthy, boost productivity and maximize longevity.

Debbie Mitchell has been teaching Meditative Art workshops since 2016. She became certified by the Founders of Zentangle in 2018.

Charles Monagan has been a writer and an editor for 40 years, primarily working for newspapers and magazines (including 25 years as Editor of Connecticut Magazine). He has published eight books, written speeches for a Connecticut governor, wrote the musical, “Mad Bomber” and is now at work on a novel about Waterbury’s Carrie Welton.

Alakananda Mookerjee has been a journalist/writer for about two decades, whose byline has appeared in publications, such as the Atlantic, the Millions, PopMatters, Big Think and elsewhere. On the teaching front, she has taught a freshman course at the Juilliard in Manhattan.

MaryClaire Morin is originally from Portland, OR and moved to Northern California as a teenager. She attended the University of California, Davis as a teenager and California State University, Sacramento as an older woman. She has lectured on art history through OLLI for around five years. She is new to Connecticut and is loving it!

Maurice Mosley was appointed a Superior Court Judge in 2013. He has been president of the Granville Academy of Waterbury for 25 years. Granville is an after school program designed to help inner city students access higher education.

Sharmila Mukherjee is an Associate Professor of English at Bronx Community College, at the City University of New York. She has received a PhD in Globalization Studies and literature from New York University. 

Peter Mulholland graduated from UConn in 2014 with a degree in English, concentrated in Creative Writing.  His overall focus is in reading and writing poetry. He has participated in four poetry workshops, two with Ira Joe Fisher and two with Penelope Pelizzon.

Andrew Muson, during a 30+ year career as an A-list studio session player, Juilliard educated Andrew Muson has played upright and electric bass on numerous gold and platinum albums, TV themes, film scores and commercials in every studio in New York and Los Angeles, appeared on stages throughout the world from Carnegie Hall to Montreux, recorded and performed with an eclectic roster of artists that includes James Taylor, The Manhattan Transfer, Bette Midler, Yoko Ono, B.J. Thomas, Leo Sayer, Mary Travers (Peter, Paul & Mary), Albert King and Toots Thielemans to name just a few. In addition to his studio career, Muson has been a pioneering music technologist, composer, producer and music supervisor for numerous television, film and video projects. 

Souleymane T. Ndiaye was born, raised, and educated in Senegal. He graduated from the Academy of Science and Technology, in Dakar. He has been a practicing visual artist since the age of seven and has experience in weaving, quilting, batik design, and much more. He is also an oral historian who loves to share his innate knowledge of his homeland.

Elizabeth Neuwirth is the daughter of a painter who spent many hours as a child trailing him through museums and galleries looking at modern art. Having context helps people look at art with deeper understanding, but she also believes what her father told her: “Just keep looking. You’ll know.” Her first career was as a psychotherapist and her second was as a health care attorney.

Dr. William G. North is a resident of Hanover, New Hampshire. He recently retired as Professor of Physiology and Neurobiology at the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth where he taught courses in endocrinology, digestive physiology, and bioethics for over 45 years. As a member of the Norris Cotton Cancer Center, he researched new cancer treatments. He is president of Woomera Therapeutics, a small biotechnology company.

Jamie Novak, you may have seen her on morning TV or read her newest bestseller, Keep This, Toss That. She hosts a 10-minute podcast and has a popular YouTube show. She spends most days presenting virtual programs on how to de-clutter, with a humorous twist.

Donna Obarowski is a UConn graduate and has served as Minister of Music at several greater Waterbury area churches (currently at Middlebury Congregational Church). A returning instructor, she was a long time instructor for Foothills Adult Education and other adult education programs. Donna and her husband, David, live in Woodbury where they raised their four children.

Gerald O’Connell was a high school teacher from 1980-2017 and has been teaching at the collegiate level from 1991-today. He has a B.S. degree in History and Secondary Education, an M.A. degree in European History, and an M.S. degree in Administration, Curriculum and Instruction.

Penny O’Connell holds a BA in Political Science from Skidmore College. A retired high school history teacher, she taught Ancient, European and American History. She is passionate about the mysteries of our historical past and is delighted to share her discoveries with those who have inquiring minds.

Timothy Padgett started with monochrome at the age of seven. Since then, he has been at the forefront of the digital age and has been published several times during his career. As well as being a passionate instructor, Tim is a professional fashion and commercial photographer and is Microsoft-certified.

Patricia Palsky has taken business courses at NVCC. Her love for art, nature and music has taken her on a long voyage of creativity, always looking for new ways to make the sublime vibrant and sometimes mysterious. Her latest endeavor: she wrote a play, produced it, chose the cast and costumes, plays two parts, then gave a stirring narrative at the end.

John Percivalle retired after a 30-year career as a high school English teacher in Newtown. He taught literature and humanities courses, specializing in Creative Writing and Poetry. A UConn graduate, John has facilitated a monthly book club for over 15 years and has published poems in Caduceus and The CT River Review.

Elizabeth Petruccione has written and published two books titled “Losing Weight with Elizabeth: The Handbook” and “Born Fat.” She is the owner of Losing Weight with Elizabeth and a life and wellness coaching business.

Wang Ping is a retired college professor. She taught for many years at Qingdao Technical College in Qingdao, China. She taught courses in Logistics Management and Marketing, International Business and E-commerce. She has been on faculty exchange programs in Canada and in Xinjiang Province. Her hobbies include photography and travel.

Bonnie Plourde studies Anthropology and Archaeology at Central Connecticut State University. She is a wife and mother of two children and has four years of experience in excavation, lab, and museum work.

Dr. Jim Prado is the creator of the acclaimed lifestyle change course, The Holistic Lifestyle: Contemporary Science Discovers Ancient Wisdom. Jim has practiced chiropractic in Southbury, CT since 1987 where he utilizes a true holistic approach to treatment of acute and chronic pain syndromes, including back and neck pain, fibromyaligia, stress related muscle tension syndromes and sports injuries. Jim lives in Roxbury, CT with his wife Karen and son Matt. His interests include organic gardening, fly-fishing, and long-distance bicycle touring.

Dr. Jon Purmont received a B.S. degree from Georgetown University, an M.S. from SCSU, and an Ed.D. Degree from Teachers College at Columbia University. He served as the Executive Assistant to Governor Grasso.

Dr. David Reed retired after 45 years of practicing medicine. With a passion for Russian and Eastern European History, he has visited Russia on several occasions and recently completed a book, The Czechoslovak Legion and the Russian Civil War (unpublished).

Brian Reynolds M.S, CSCS, FRCms, has been in the field of health & fitness since 2005. A graduate of Eastern Connecticut State University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Sports Management, and a graduate of Southern Connecticut State University with a Master’s Degree in Exercise Science; Brian has dedicated his life to helping others live the longest and healthiest lives possible. Brian currently owns and operates Thunder Sports & Fitness, a group training and fitness studio for older adults in Naugatuck, CT.

Carmelita V. Rifkin, PT, MS, CLT-LANA has been a physical therapist for over 45 years, owned her own PT practice for over 25 years and still practices part-time. She has taught at Quinnipiac University and also taught continuing education courses nationally.

Lawrence Rifkin has been a broadcaster in the state of Connecticut for five decades, including a twenty-seven year stint as the programming executive for Connecticut Public Television.

Carol Rizzolo is a veteran OLLI presenter who is delighted to be returning! Dr. Carol Rizzolo holds a Ph.D. in Mythological Studies with an emphasis in Depth Psychology from Pacifica Graduate Institute in Santa Barbara, CA. After a first career in Genetics and a 2nd career as a Physician Assistant, Carol went on to complete her PhD in Mythological Studies with an Emphasis in Depth Psychology in 2011. Her current passions include teaching Myth and political rabble rousing.

Naida Rodriguez-Rosado is a licensed/certified Group Exercise Instructor with over 30 years experience in the field. She holds a variety of Specialty Group Class certifications that include Zumba series, (Aqua, Gold, Toning, Basic) Kickboxing, Active Older Adult Chair Exercise, Strenght in Motions, and more. She acquired her certification for the Enhanced Fitness Trainer Certification through the YMCA, which allows for specialized skill sets for working with participants who need to manage chronic medical conditions.

Juan Santiago is a retired Graphic Artist and musician having attended two semesters at Leham College in the Bronx, NY for music and presently attending Naugatuck Valley College for the completion of an Associates Degree in Performing Arts in Music. Started his own Latin Jazz/Salsa band in the Bronx 5 years playing local venues and recently released his own self produced Latin Jazz CD as well as an alternative Jazz, Rock and R&B CD for another artist here in CT.

Nancy Schuler was born and raised in Waterbury. She studied at Paier College in Hamden, taught art at St. Margaret’s School in Waterbury, and loves to paint, write, and act. Nancy studied stage at the Herbert Berghoff Studio in New York and is currently a student of film at the Barrow Group in New York City. Her story about Teresa, her Italian immigrant grandmother, has been awarded a place at the New York Public Library Equity Theater’s 2017 search for new playwrights and also the Manhattan Repertory Theatre in NYC.

Linda Schuyler Ford is a performing storyteller and teaching artist with 30 years’ experience. She is also a retired therapeutic recreation director and social worker, serving primarily senior learners. Her style (and personality) is very supportive, fun. She has the ability to demonstrate genuine respect while keeping learners on track, staying engaged, and having fun.

Patricia Senich is a certified graphoanalyst who has been a member of the International Graphoanalysis Society, Inc. since 1966. Pat has taught over 200 students, and delivered more than 110 presentations over the past fifty years. She is interested in bringing positives of personality to the surface.

Mary Donnarumma Sharnick is an award-winning novelist. Her third novel, Orla’s Canvas, took first place in the 2016 Connecticut Press Club’s Communications Contest in the novel-for-adults category. She is a writing instructor who earned a B.A. in literature from Fairfield University and an M.A. in Renaissance literature from Trinity College in Hartford, CT. She teaches writing to young adults and adults.

Sarah Sherman graduated from UConn in 2014 with a B.A. in English and is currently pursuing an M.A. in English as a graduate student at Central Connecticut State University. She has worked internships in multiple businesses, including an online magazine called Miss Millennia.

Jay Sherwin has had a long and diverse career. He has practiced law, given away money for five different charitable foundations, worked as a philanthropy consultant and served as an interfaith hospital chaplain. He created the Life Reflections Project in 2019 to educate people about legacy letters, ethical wills and other legacy documents.

Jane Sirignano has taught at OLLI since the inaugural session and has been teaching Food For Life, classes for 12 years. She has a diploma in nutrition, several certificates in health/wellness, and has been a food and nutrition educator. She has been as assistant chef in various settings: a restaurant/bakery, a lunch counter in the natural foods store that she managed, and at a raw food conference. Jane did nutrition workshops and food shopping tours with the Coronary Health Improvement Project (CHIP).

Trevor Smith is a Certified Laughter Leader, professional trainer and Chief Happiness Officer at Blue Sky Consulting; a training and development company based in Springfield, MA. He has more than 15 years of experience as a Therapeutic Recreation Specialist and mental health practitioner. He holds certifications through the World Laughter Tour and Laughter Yoga International. Also, he is certified as a Laughter Wellness teacher through the Laughter Wellness Institute. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Education from Curry College, a Master’s Degree in Counseling Psychology from Lesley University, and a Master’s Degree in Education with a concentration in Therapeutic Recreation from Springfield College in Springfield, MA.

Maureen Sperrazza, she holds a BA in Sociology/Anthropology from Western Connecticut State University, MS in Sociology from Southern Connecticut State University and a Women’s Studies Graduate Certificate from Southern Connecticut State University. She is an Adjunct Faculty member at WCSU.

Bryan Southworth has taught subject matter that has pertained to Middle Eastern and North Africa (MENA): history, culture, religions, geography and literature. Beyond teaching MENA courses Bryan has also taught intro to IR theory and several Political Science/Economy courses.

Dorothy Sterpka is a teacher, writer, and volunteer Social Worker. She is especially interested in poetry (and all writing) as therapy.

Diane Stone has been an OLLI presenter since 2011. She teaches courses that unite European history and travel, emphasizing and placing the sights travelers will see in historical context. Her background in European history, coupled with years of business and leisure travel, made her realize that her knowledge enriched her travel experience because she understood the social, political, cultural, and economic forces operating when these historical sites were created. The study of history at the undergraduate level at Queens College of The City University of New York and European history at the graduate level earned her a Master’s at The University of Michigan.

Doug Stowell is a consumer and political polling veteran in both U.S. and EU Markets. His career includes Market Research Director for the Xerox Corp., U.S. Clients Director for the U.K. firm NOP, Ltd. in London and Senior Polling Executive for Wirthlin Worldwide in Washington, D.C. He launched Market Resource Associates in 2008 and conducts opinion polls on U.S. and global issues today. He is a member of the Furman University OLLI in Greenville, SC and conducts Zoom programs for more than 80 groups nation-wide.

Dr. Raymond Sullivan, M.D., is a retired surgeon with a significant interest in Early American history. He is an Author, Lecturer, Revolutionary War Re-enactor and docent with John Glover’s 14th Continental Regiment out of Marblehead, Ma. He has taught history at OLLI since its inception.

Wendy Swain is a former French and Spanish teacher who is presently a sculptor and public speaker. She brings a depth of knowledge and research to this program.

Kim Tallcouch holds a B.A. degree in Cultural Anthropology and Psychology and is a retired State of Connecticut Adult Probation Officer and a former Family Relations Counselor for the CT Judicial Department. She is a Certified Reiki Master Teacher, Animal Communicator and a Shamanic healing practitioner. Kim is a Docent at the Connecticut Beardsley Zoo and a volunteer at H.O.R.S.E. of CT, and equine rescue facility in Washington, CT.

Bilal Tajildeen joined Connecticut Community Foundation in 2017 as a program coordinator and oversees youth programming and grassroots initiatives as well as assists in the Foundation’s community leadership efforts. His duties include grant-making, facilitating community conversations, and working with Waterbury, CT residents on developing their grassroots projects. In addition to serving on the executive committee of the Queer Unity Empowerment Support Team (QUEST), he is also on the community council of Waterbury Bridge to Success, a city-wide cradle to career and collective impact collaborative. He is currently working on his master’s thesis from Central Connecticut State University, focusing on post-colonial and queer theory.

“The Three Amigos” Monsignor Joseph Donnelly, Rabbi Eric Polokoff and Imam Gazmend Aga serve congregations within the greater Waterbury area. They are active in the community, and celebrate interfaith dialogue, learning and understanding.

Raymond Uy, D.M.A. is an award-winning music educator/lecturer. As a conductor and singer, he has performed in venues including Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, MSG, and Radio City Music Hall.

Greg Van Antwerp is a writer, photographer and public speaker who has taken his passion for history to create educational public presentations for the purpose of teaching the importance of finding, restoring, preserving and sharing local, regional, and national history. A resident of Brookfield, CT, Greg travels the Northeast in search of hidden history and venues where he can share his “Stories from the Attic.”

Abe Vorensky possesses a lifelong love and depth of knowledge of humor and comedy specifically its diverse history. This love began when he worked as an MC in a Catskill mountain hotel where he sang, told jokes and introduced other entertainers. While that entertainment career ended, Abe remained an enthusiastic watcher of how comedy has played a role in our personal, social and political thought.

Nancy Wallace worked for 40 years in the computer field on Wall Street. Since retiring, she has taught in her computer club in FL, on cruise ships, and at the Education Connection. She has also taught at the Waterbury Literacy Council.

Maria Ward found that a regular yoga practice has made her healthier and stronger physically and emotionally; the lessons learned in yoga can be applied to life outside the yoga studio. After practicing yoga for 15 years, she decided that she would like to teach others the many benefits yoga has to offer for the body, mind, and spirit.

Pam Watson has an AA and BA degree in Communications and is credentialed in English. She has taught in the public schools for 15 years and has been a professional public speaker her entire professional career. She has also taught business professionals and lay lecturers public address skills. She is semi-retired and currently teach two OLLI classes via Zoom for Nevada State University at Reno and CSULB OLLI in Long Beach, CA. Previous to now, she has taught in various OLLI’s throughout California and in Nevada, the state in which she resides.

Sharnetta Weechie Baker is a Tarot Healing Specialist. She uses tarot as a healing tool in her integrative practice (Queen of Forces Healing Ministries) and holds an M.A. in Professional Mental Health Counseling, as having been ordained metaphysical minister and initiated priestess. She has also been a professor of Sociology, English as a Second Language and Human Services courses at the university level, so teaching and learning are second nature to her.

Roman Weil. BA in economics and mathematics Yale, 1962. MSIA Carnegie Mellon, 1965. PhD Carnegie Mellon, 1966. CPA, CMA. Faculty University of Chicago from Instructor through Emeritus Professor, 1965-to present time. Visiting Professor Stanford, Princeton, Carnegie Mellon, Harvard, UC San Diego, Johns Hopkins, Georgetown, Berkeley, U Washington Seattle. Consultant to several dozen business, not-for-profit, and government enterprises.

Douglas Welsh was an AP scholar in English in High School and minored in literature at Boston College. He has masters and doctoral degrees and taught at Princeton University for 26 years.

Ted Welsh taught History and International Politics at Norwalk High School in Norwalk, CT for 32 years. Among other activities, he also instituted and directed the school’s international student exchange program with ZiBo #4 High School, Shandong Province, China and the school’s Model United Nations program for 25 years.

Mary Werblin graduated from George Washington University with a B.A. in English Literature.  She holds a JD from Seton Hall Law School and is a member of the state and federal bar.  She led the legal team in the case of State v Foreshaw for twenty-two years to obtain the early release of a woman who was unjustly charged with a crime, and who received the longest sentence of any woman in the history of Connecticut. For the past four years she has written a bi-weekly column for the Republican-American about legal issues in the news. She has a love of law and literature; and she has taught criminal justice at Post College.

John Westcott is a retired Marketing Manager with a major Fortune 500 Corporation. He had worldwide responsibility, including significant assignments overseas, for sales and marketing of products in the agricultural economy. He holds BS and MS degrees in Horticulture and minored in Foreign Service at Iowa State University.

Tyler Westcott is a Senior Financial Services Representative with The Principle Finance Group and is the Connecticut Chapter President for the Society of Financial Awareness. He specializes in retirement planning, long term care, and estate planning. He presents financial seminars and workshops at local community centers, schools, churches, and businesses. He is dedicated to improving the financial success of families, individuals, and businesses.

Nancy T Whitney is a graduate of UConn and loves to give back with teaching writing. She is an ‘elder student,’ and this is her 11th year with OLLI. She also served on the board of Voices and Visions and is a published poet. She has a passion for reading, writing and loves to have fun teaching.

Tamari Witkin has earned two Masters in Music from Indiana University, Bloomington IN in performance and composition, a BFA from Purchase College, SUNY in Piano and composition for film, and has studied at Manhattan School of Music, Juilliard and Mannes College of Music. She has enjoyed performing both as a solo pianist as well as a chamber musician and singer in ensembles.

Kimberly Worsham, MPA, MIWM is a water and sanitation specialist with over a decade of experience across the globe – from the US to Sub-Saharan Africa, and across Asia. She is the founder of FLUSH, a boutique advisory firm working to improve sanitation and hygiene for the world.

Deirdre Wright is a clinical social work, a working poet with an interest in Japanese poetry form, and an actively working fiber artist.

Maria Xavier graduated from Southern CT State University with a B.A. in Spanish and Communication. She has been a Financial Advisor for Edward Jones for two years. Her goal is to help her clients make the most out of the money they make by creating a strategy that will serve them well in the future for themselves and their families.