Our 2022 Fall 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.

If you are interested in teaching a class,  please complete The SGL Course Proposal Form which is attached or contact The Curriculum Committee

We are accepting course proposals for the 2022 Fall semester.  Please use the attached form below and submit by July 29, 2022 to curriculum@ilralbertus.org

Below is a partial list of our Fall Study Group Leaders


Altson, John

John Altson has been involved in hi-tech since 1961. During the years 1965-1967 John managed the team that wrote the software that flew the SR-71 spy plane missions.

Averbach, Julie

Julie Averbach is a History of Art and Psychology double major at Yale University, with a particular passion for visual culture as a tool for social change. Her interests encompass areas as diverse as Russian & Soviet protest art, Indian graphic novels, and decorative arts of the Belle Époque. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Julie launched smARTee, a virtual enrichment platform expanding arts access. To date, smARTee tours have welcomed participants from 18 countries.

Baxer, Dr. Joseph

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

Beard, Phillip L.

Phillip Beard has taught modernist literature in universities for over twenty years, (including a Fulbright year in Germany), has published articles on twentieth century literature and philosophy, and is currently an editor for the Bulletin of the George Santayana Society.

Birnbaum, Susan

Susan Birnbaum, owner and operator of SusanSez NYC Walkabouts, is a native New Yorker obsessed with its history and food. Since 2002, Susan has been a licensed NYC Sightseeing Guide, member of NYC & Company (NYCGo.com) -- the official marketing, tourism, and partnerships organization, and sits on the Education committee and co-chairs the Ethics and Oversight committee of the Guides Association of New York City ( GANYC ), the oldest and most active tour guides association in America. Susan has had a lifelong interest in history (Hunter College - Bachelors in History ) and is a member ofThe Bronx, Brooklyn , and New York Historical Societies . She also regularly volunteers as a docent at the Museum of the City of New York . In 2010, Susan was the recipient of The Bronx [ more ]

Blosveren, Dr. Marc J.

Dr. Marc Blosveren holds degrees in Chemistry and Psychology degrees and a Doctorate in Science Administration. He has done extensive work in Curriculum Review and Development. Science Supervisor New Haven Board of Education and OSHA Health & Safety Consultant.

Boyce, Timothy

Timothy Boyce practiced law for many years, most recently serving as the Managing Partner of the Charlotte, North Carolina office of Dechert LLP, a global law firm with offices in 13 countries. He holds an M.B.A. from The Wharton School of Finance, and a J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania Law School. He received a B.S. from Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service. Tim, who currently lives in Tryon, North Carolina with his wife, two horses, two dogs, two cats, and almost 5,000 books, retired in 2014 to devote all his time to writing.

Brand, Gabriella

Gabriella Brand is a bilinigual educator, writer, and public speaker. She has over 30 years experience as a teacher of French language and literature. In addition, she has served as an intern at the United Nations in her university years. She was a program director for Alliance Française. Gabriella hold a diploma from the Université de Neuchâtel, Switzerland, and an MA in French pedagogy from Middlebury college.

Celentano, Jillian

Jillian is a transgender woman who began her transition in 2016 at the age of 55. She recently received her bachelors degree in psychology at Albertus Magnus College and her master's degree in social work at Southern Connecticut State University. She is an author, an advocate for the transgender community, and has organized support groups for transgender children and young adults. She is

Chevan PhD, David

David Chevan PhD has an open-minded passion for music and love of playing the bass that has led him to explore a wide range of musical realms from singing in synagogue to playing bass in gospel groups. As an educator he directs and arranges for various ensembles and has developed a series of college [ more ]

Cristofar, Leo

Leo has led hikes in and around Connecticut for more than 25 years.

Duffy, Thomas C.

Thomas C. Duffy - Professor of Music, Clinical Professor of Nursing, and Director of University Bands at Yale University. His interests and research range from non-tonal analysis to jazz, from wind band history to creativity and the brain. Duffy developed a musical intervention to train nursing students to better hear and identify body sounds with the stethoscope. His compositions have introduced a generation of school musicians to music with political, social, historical and scientific themes.

Dumbrill BA MBS, Richard

Richard Dumbrill BA MBS, a naturalized American, has the distinction of having lived on three continents. Born in London, he spent his formative years in Durban, South Africa. He earned his BA degrees in English and Political Science at the University of Natal. After [ more ]

Douskey, Franz

Born in New Haven in 1941, Franz Douskey  taught at Gateway Community College for 44 years and at  Yale from 1999-2003.  He has published seven books. WEST OF MIDNIGHT was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize in 2014. A SINATRA AND ME second edition will be released in April 2022.Other writing has appeared in the nation, Las Vegas Life, The New Yorker, USA/Today, the New York Times, Rolling Stone,Yankee, etc.

Engel, Leonard

Leonard Engel, Professor Emeritus of English at Quinnipiac University, served as Chair of the English Dept. for 18 years; in 1989, he was selected "Outstanding Faculty of the Year"; in 2013, he received Quinnipiac's "Excellence in [ more ]

Feimer PhD, Joel H.

Joel N. Feimer PhD taught undergraduate and graduate level English Literature and Composition at Mercy College in New York from 1967 to 2010. He earned a PhD in Comparative Literature from the City University of New York in 1983. He [ more ]

Fenichel, Dr. Emily

Dr. Emily Fenichel is a professor of Art History at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, Florida. She received her M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Virginia. Dr. Fenichel's research focuses on the interaction of art and religion in the Renaissance, particularly in the art of Michelangelo. She is the author of numerous articles and is currently working on a book on Michelangelo's late career.

Fenichel, Karen

Karen Fenichel, DMD,  has taught Mah Jongg at several venues including synagogues and adult education at high school. She has played more than 10 years. It is a good way to meet new people and make friends.

Galer, Audrey

Audrey Galer pursued the study of watercolor with several instructors after retiring from teaching. She fell in love with the beauty of the medium. She volunteered to teach a group for ILR after she found she had a talent for sharing [ more ]

Glick, Bud

Growing up, all I wanted to do was draw and paint. I began college as an art student and finished as a history major. In 1977 I withdrew from a graduate program in Linguistics and began full-time study of photography. Since then, the camera has been the tool I use to connect with, understand, and explain the world around me. For over 40 years I have earned my living as a photographer and adjunct professor of photography.

Goodman, Marcia

Marcia Goodman JD 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 [ more ]

Goodrich, Phillip

Phillip Goodrich (aka Phillip Hornbostel) is a historian specializing in early United States history. His best-known work is "Somersett: Benjamin Franklin and the Masterminding of American Independence" which was a finalist in Audiobook form for "Best Work of History or Biography in 2021" for a SOVAS award in 2021, and "Best Work of History" for an "Audie" award in 2021. He continues to contribute to both Reddit history and Quora Digest on early American history.

Grodzinsky PhD, Frances S.

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.

Hernandez, Rafael

Rafael Hernandez is a Professor of Spanish and Chair of the Department of World Languages and Literatures at Southern Connecticut State University. He has taught at universities in Mexico, the United States, and Canada, and has published numeorus articles in academic journals as well as contributed to collective volumes on Latin American culture and literature. He is the author of several books, including his most recent Food Cultures of Mexico. Recipes, Costumes, and Issues.

House PhD, Lewis

Lewis House PhD is a graduate of New York University and a Professor Emeritus of Southern Connecticut State University. He is the published author of several books and many articles. Currently he is a Consultant to Educational Testing Service. He is a veteran of the US Military.

Jamron, Marcia

Marcia Jamron has been fascinated by travel since early childhood. College, followed by family duties, have not dulled the anticipation of a new place to see and learn all about. She applies this urge to look for new and different places to the ILR bus and zoom trips she plans and conducts.

Kleinfeld, Eng.Sc.D, Professor Emeritus UNH, Ira H.

Ira Kleinfeld PhD earned his BS, MS and Eng.Sc.D. from Columbia University. He served as Associate Provost for Graduate Studies, Research and Faculty Development at the University of New Haven where he initiated UNH' [ more ]

Kopf, Hedda

Hedda Kopf 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 at 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.

Kronemer, Sharif

Sharif Kronemer PhD graduated as a PhD in neuroscience from Yale University where he studied the neural mechanisms of visual perception. He is now a postdoctoral Fellow at the National Institute of Health where he is using neuroimaging and machine learning to explore the complexities of human cognition and perception.

Maiorino, Nick

Nick Maiorino PhD is a seven-year ILR instructor with more than 50 years of teaching experience on both public and university levels. His main background was in the biological sciences, but his interests are very eclectic as evidenced by the ILR courses he has presented. These include topics in the sciences, politics, history, and current events. He serves on the Board of Directors, Curriculum, and Strategic Planning Committees of ILR and is also an active member of the Connecticut Audubon Society. He believes deeply in the concept of life-long learning, a belief which is imbedded in the philosophy of ILR.

Mardin PhD, Mithat "Mito"

Mithat "Mito" Mardin PhD was born in Istanbul, Turkey and is a graduate of the German High School there. He received a PhD in Organic Chemistry, Physics and Microbiology from the University of Göttingen. He worked at Bayer Pharmaceuticals for 33 years in various [ more ]

Marino, Leo

Leo Marino was born and raised in the Wooster Square section of New Haven. He spent the first 27 years of his life there at the height of the Great Depression, while he attended Eaton and Columbus schools and graduated from Commercial High School. He worked in factories, route sales, and, at 52, opened a bakery distribution business. He and his wife, Teresa, the love of his life, have been married for 68 years and together have three children, eight grandchildren and one great granddaughter. He is a veteran of WWII and the author of the award winning book "The House on Greene Street."

McCraven, Victoria

Victoria McCraven is a Programs Manager at NXTHVN.  Founded in 2018, NXTHVN is a groundbreaking institution that combines the best of arts and entrepreneurship. Through access, education, programming and impact investing, NXTHVN launches the careers of artists and curators and strengthens the livelihood of its local community. Cornerstone programs include its renowned fellowship program designed to educate and accelerate the careers of emerging and underrepresented artists, paid arts apprenticeships for local teens and business incubation to nurture cultural and capital value in the neighborhood.

Munro-Chmura ME, Nini

Nini Munro-Chmura ME has a Masters in Guidance and Counseling, and a Sixth Year in Counseling. She was an original Head Start teacher in New Haven, and a high school guidance counselor. She has led flora and fauna walks for Audubon, Sierra, and Appalachian Mt. Clubs.

Musco, Marie

Marie Musco is retired nurse and has been a resident of Orange for 45 years. She enjoys teaching the game of Canasta to friends and family.

Neale, Maestro Alasdair

Maestro Alasdair Neale is the 11th Music Director of the New Haven Symphony Orchestra, beginning his tenure in June of 2019. In addition to the NHSO, he is Music Director of the Sun Valley Summer Symphony (SVSS) and Music Director of the Marin Symphony. In his 25 years as Music Director of the SVSS, Mr. Neale has propelled this festival to national status. It is now the largest privately funded free admission symphony in America.

Parlapiano, Tom

Tom Parlapiano, currently head of the Education Department at the Yale Peabody Museum, has decades of experience teaching bird ID methods to birders of all ages and experience levels. Prior to starting at the Peabody Museum in 2009, Tom was an environmental educator for the parks & recreation departments of Hamden and New Haven and has been a World Series of Birding participant for more than 25 years.

Procopion BS , Lois

Lois Procopion was born in New Britain, Connecticut. She received her BS Degree from CCSU. She retired as a Project Manager at Aetna Healthcare in 2014. For the past 45 years, Lois has been an active Justice of the Peace. She has been a gourmet cook for over 50 years and has won first prize in various local baking competitions. Her specialty is bread-making.

Ranis, Rachel

Rachel Ranis has sociology degrees from Brandeis and Yale universities. Her research on social welfare issues, aging and vocational education has taken her to Pakistan, Mexico, Columbia, Germany, and the United Kingdom. She taught at the University of Bridgeport, the University of Maryland, Howard University and is retired from Quinnipiac University.

Rhodes PhD, Jim

Jim Rhodes PhD graduated from Holy Cross College as a philosophy major and earned his PhD from Fordham University specializing in Medieval Literature and the works of James Joyce. He taught for many years in the English Department at Southern Connecticut State University and is the author of the book Poetry Does Theology: Chaucer, Grosseteste, and the Pearl Poet.

Saltman, Joyce

Joyce Saltman, facilitator, who works exclusively with adults, has a doctorate from Columbia University in Higher and Adult Education, as well as advanced degrees in Counseling and Clinical Services! In addition, her experience as both a university professor and humorist have provided the perfect training to help others overcome difficulties in the area of making small talk!

Sommers PhD, Irene

Irene Sommers PhD is a retired Associate Professor of Humanities from Housatonic Community College in Literature, Film and Art History.  Her specialty is Art History—particularly the Italian Renaissance.   During her time at HCC she led  . . . [ more ]

Stein PhD, Michael

Michael Stein PhD fell in love with the art, architecture (and food) of the capital of France on his first trip to Paris in 1965. During more than 30 subsequent visits he photographed the monuments, churches, museums (and pastries) of Paris to supplement his lectures. For more than five decades, Professor Stein taught both studio art and art history at Kent State University, the Cleveland Institute of Art, Wilkes University, and Housatonic Community College.

Talmor, Monica

Lab Manager of Molecular Diagnostics Lab at Yale University; involved in amateur genealogy for over 25 years, board member of the Jewish Genealogy Society of Connecticut for over 15 years; has lectured on "DNA for Genealogy" and "How to start your Genealogy".

Wainhaus, Rabbi Alvin

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 ]

Wigren, Christopher

Christopher Wigren is the Deputy Director of Preservation Connecticut, the statewide nonprofit for preserving and promoting the state's significant buildings, landscapes, and communities. Currently, he is coordinating a project with the Connecticut State Historic Preservation Office to document the heritage of the Olmsted landscape architecture firm in Connecticut. Mr Wigren is the author of Connecticut Architecture: Stories of 100 Places and serves on the State Historic Preservation Board and the Merritt Parkway Advisory Committee.

Zaret, Barry

Dr. Barry L. Zaret is currently the Robert W. Berliner Professor Emeritus of Medicine at Yale University and former Chief of Cardiology at Yale for over 24 years. He has written poetry for over 18 years. His work has appeared in many journals and publications and collections. He is the author of three poetry volumes published in the past 10 years, with a 4th volume expected to be ready for publication in the fall. He has had many readings, both locally and around the country.

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