Our Study Group Leaders

ILR classes have always been led by enthusiastic and knowledgeable Study Group Leaders. Many have advanced degrees. Others may be without academic credentials but project the enthusiasm of seasoned teachers and performers, skilled crafters, forceful debaters and voracious readers. 

Distinguished emeriti from Yale, SCSU, Quinnipiac and other universities have conducted courses for us in many different fields, from literature to mathematics, from astronomy to music and cultural history, from political science and sociology to chemistry and genetics.

Members interested in delving into a new topic sometimes lead a class and share what they have learned with those of like minds. Since our beginning in 1990, members have led courses on aspects of a variety of ethnic cultures, on overlooked films and artists, on novelists and poets, on folk music and art. 


Dr. Joseph Baxer

Dr. Joseph J. Baxer is President of the United Nations Assoc. of Conn. and has been US representative to the UN for the London-based NGO Strategies for Peace. He is engaged in sustaining cultural diversity and mediating cross-cultural conflicts. He focuses on creating an atmosphere in which reconciliation can occur. He has lectured on such topics locally and internationally and participated in international peace missions. He has masters' degrees in Philosophy and Sociology, and doctorates in Theology and Psychology. His most recent book, An Intercultural Life, explores the crossroads of religion and culture. He and his wife live in Kent, Connecticut

Barbara Beitch PhD

Barbara Beitch, PhD, is no stranger to ILR or to the New Haven area. At ILR she has taught such diverse courses as genetics, bizarre reproductive strategies among animals, the Sleeping Giant, leaf cutter ants, and climate change. She has been teaching human sexuality since the early 1980s to diverse groups from high school seniors to life seniors. She has been a long-time mentor to others in the field, through Planned Parenthood and the Sexuality Education and Information Council of the US (SIECUS). She looks forward to sharing her knowledge and perspectives with members of ILR.

Harriet Bergmann, PhD

Harriet Bergmann PhD retired in 2002 as a Professor of American Literature at the Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD. She then moved to New Haven and taught creative writing as an adjunct at Yale for 14 years.

Charlotte D'Aniello

Charlotte D'Aniello is a graduate of the University of Toronto and the Royal Conservatory of Music with degrees in music and piano. She taught piano for thirty-six years and continues with a few special students. In addition, she has taught [ more ]

Mathew Duman

Mathew Duman is a photographer, author and graphic designer who grew up in Bethany, Connecticut. He [ more ]

Leonard Engle

Leonard Engel, Professor Emeritus at Quinnipiac University, served as chair of the English department for 18 years. He was selected "Outstanding Faculty of the Year" in 1989 and received Quinnipiac's "Excellence in Teaching Award" in 2013. He has edited many books and written numerous articles with a special focus on cinema.

Joel N. Feimer PhD

Joel N. Feimer PhD taught undergraduate and graduate level English Literature and Composition at Mercy College in Dobbs Ferry New York from 1967 to 2010. He earned a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from the City University of New York in 1983. He has published a number of essays on topics in Medieval and Modern . . . [ more ]

Doug Fenichel

Doug Fenichel has been a firefighter since high school and a paramedic for 30 years. He is currently the public information officer for the Orange Volunteer Fire Department. He has worked in journalism and corporate communications and was an adjunct professor in communications at Fairleigh Dickenson and Montclair State universities in New Jersey. In addition to holding a bachelor's degree, he is an accredited public relations practitioner.

Alan Franzi MS, C-IAYT, PAS

Alan Franzi MS, C-IAYT, PAS has over 25 years' experience as a Yoga and Movement Therapy practitioner. His specialized individual therapeutic work centers on Posture Alignment Therapy and Movement Re-patterning to address the causes of musculoskeletal pain, imbalances and other movement challenges.

Susan Galli

Susan Galli has a BA in Economics and an MBA in Finance. She spent her career as a research administrator in various laboratories in the area.

Peter Gibbon

Peter Gibbon is currently a Senior Research Scholar at Boston University Wheelock College of Education and Human Development, where he [ more ]

Zvi Goldman

Zvi Goldman is a self-taught sculptor specializing in abstract figurative forms created with wood, clay, metal and other materials. He is a board member of the New England Sculptors Association, a member of the Artists Collective of Westport, and is an art therapy volunteer with Jewish Senior Services in Bridgeport.

Marcia Goodman

Marcia has a Master's degree in Library Sciences and a JD degree in law. She has a wide variety of experiences ranging from President of the Board of Police Commissioners in Bridgeport in the 80's to Director of the nonpartisan bill-drafting office of the Connecticut  . . . [ more ]

Frances S. Grodzinsky PhD

Frances S. Grodzinsky PhD is Professor Emerita Computer Science and Information Technology at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield and Past Co-Director of the Hersher Institute of Ethics.

Lisa Beth Hill PhD MA BA

Lisa Beth Hill, PhD MA BA is the Director of Inclusion, Equity and Diversity, and the Chair of the Department of History and AP Coordinator for US History at Hamden Hall Country Day Preparatory School. She received [ more ]

Hedda Kopf

Hedda Kopf PhD taught literature and gender studies at Quinnipiac University for more than three decades. She continues to develop and lead book discussions at ILR as well as several public libraries and other institutions in Connecticut. Hedda volunteers as a reading mentor in a New Haven public school and is the author of Understanding Anne Frank's The Diary of a Young Girl: A Student Casebook to Issues, Sources and Historical Documents published by Greenwood Press.

Sharif Kronemer

Sharif Kronemer is a PhD candidate at Yale University studying the neural mechanisms of consciousness using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), scalp/intracranial electroencephalography (EEG), and pupillometry in the lab of Hal Blumenfeld MD, PhD. Sharif's primary interests include neuroscience, neuroethics, the philosophy of mind and consciousness. Sharif is also active in science communication and outreach.

Elaine Lawson

Elaine Lawson was born and educated in England and has lived in the United States since the 1960's. She has degrees in History and [ more ]

Nick Maiorino

Nick Maiorino BS, MS is a veteran ILR study group leader who has been presenting courses for the last five years. He is a former high school and university instructor whose teaching experience spans [ more ]

Mithat "Mito" Mardin PhD

Mito was born in Istanbul, Turkey and is a graduate of the German High School in Istanbul. He attended University of Göttingen with a PhD in Organic Chemistry, Physics and Microbiology. He worked as a Senior High School teacher for Physics and Chemistry during his dissertation. He joined Bayer Pharmaceuticals in 1977 and worked . . . [ more ]

Kenneth P. Minkema

Kenneth P. Minkema is the Executive Editor and Director of the Jonathan Edwards Center at Yale University and a member of the Research Faculty at Yale Divinity School. 

Maestro Alasdair Neale

Maestro Alasdair Neale is the 11th Music Director of the New Haven Symphony Orchestra. He is also the Music Director of the Sun Valley Summer Symphony (SVSS)) and the Marin Symphony. In his twenty-four years as Music Director of the SVSS, Mr. Neale has propelled this festival to national status.

Joyce Saltman

Joyce Saltman is Professor Emeritus of Special Education at Southern Connecticut State University. Her experience in the areas of education, therapy, and comedy has provided an outstanding background for her research on the "Therapeutic Value of Laughter." Since 1983, when she began lecturing on "Laughter," she has been interviewed on national radio and TV programs.

Ken Steller, MS, MA

Ken Steller, MS, MA has 30-plus years of experience in organizational and clinical settings as a counselor, trainer, facilitator and mediator. He has designed and delivered . . . [ more ]

Wendy Swain, BA

Wendy Swain MA has been a sculptor and sculpture teacher in various mediums after retiring from a teaching career in languages. She is presently a studio member of [ more ]

Sten H Vermund, MD, PhD

Dr. Sten Vermund is currently Dean of the Yale School of Public Health and a pediatrician and infectious disease epidemiologist focused on diseases of low and middle income countries. He is a Professor of Epidemiology (Microbial Diseases) and a Professor of Pediatrics at the Yale School of Medicine.

Rabbi Alvin Wainhaus

Rabbi Alvin Wainhaus, son of Holocaust survivors, was raised in an Orthodox environment in Brooklyn, New York. A graduate of Brooklyn College with a degree in philosophy, he earned a Master of Education degree from NYU and was ordained in Tel Aviv, Israel in 1972. Rabbi Wainhaus served congregations in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia and . . . [ more ]

Ann O'Brien

Ann O'Brien is the Director of Community Engagement at Integrated Refugee and Immigrant Services (IRIS) in New Haven CT.

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