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. 


Barbara Beitch PhD

Barbara Beitch PhD is no stranger to ILR. She has led courses on classical and molecular genetics, bizarre reproductive strategies in the animal kingdom, human sexuality in the mature years, the history of the Sleeping Giant, and most recently (teaming with her husband Richard Yanowitz) an overview and challenges of climate change.

The impetus for this course on leafcutter ants [ more ]

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.

Rita Brieger

Rita Brieger has been teaching bridge in the New Haven area for 35 years. She is a Bridge Life Master, which is the highest ranking you can achieve in bridge and is also an accredited American Contract Bridge League teacher.

Shula Chernoff

Shula is a retired Professor who taught generations of teachers at Southern Connecticut State University. Her field was Early Childhood and Child Development. She has been writing poetry for 25 years. Her second book called "Solace" came out on her 94th birthday. She has been teaching for ILR for many years.

Leo Cristofar

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

Kristen Cunningham

Kirsten Cunningham is a law student at Quinnipiac University School of Law and a member of the Human Trafficking Prevention [ more ]

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 ]

Matilda (Jerre) Dumbrill MA

Matilda (Jerre) Dumbrill MA knew from the age of 10 when she learned to sew that she would work in fashion. With a UConn degree in Art, Clothing and Textiles/ English minor and as a runner-up in the national Vogue Magazine Prix de Paris writing contest, she landed [ more ]

Richard Dumbrill BA MBS

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 ]

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.

Michael Frame

Michael Frame for many years taught fractal geometry and geometry of nature to Yale humanities students who thought they were afraid of math. He convinced them that they were not.

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.

Annis Fusaris

Annis Fusaris is a a retired nurse who believes that the arts enrich our environment and appreciate the humanity of other cultures.

Audrey Galer

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

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, LLB

Marcia has a Master's degree in Library Sciences and a law degree. 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.

Phyllis Gwatkin

Phyllis Gwatkin, MS, CAGS is a former high school and university biology instructor. An avid reader since childhood, she particularly likes [ more ]

Sheila Hayre

Sheila Hayre received degrees in psychology and anthropology from Stanford University and from Yale Law School. She clerked fo [ more ]

Arnold Heiser

Arnold Heiser is a retired Emeritus Professor of Astronomy from Vanderbilt University where he taught astrophysics course [ more ]

Lisa Beth Hill PhD MA BA

Lisa Beth Hill PhD MA BA is the Chair of the Department of History and AP Coordinator for US History and US Government at Hamden Hall Country Day Preparatory School. She received her degrees from Emory University . . . [ more ]

Lewis House PhD

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.

Marcia Jamron

Marcia Jamron since early childhood has been fascinated by travel as a very exciting option. Colleges, followed by family duties, have not dulled the anticipation of a new place to see and learn all about. I have applied this urge to look for new and different places to our bus travels. I am always looking around the next corner to discover a new place.

Minna Kaufman

Minna Kaufman is a registered nurse and teacher. She is also a certified CPR instructor.

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

Ira H. Kleinfeld, Eng.Sc.D, Professor Emeritus UNH, served as Associate Provost for Graduate Studies, Research and Faculty Development at the University of New Haven. He earned his BS, MS and Eng.Sc.D. in . . . [ 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 ]

Shannon Leslie

Shannon Leslie is the director of Yale Open Labs, an organization focused on scientific outresearch. This group of scientists is passionate about research and sharing their love of science with members of the community. Their aim is to make science accessible and engaging for everyone.

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 ]

Harold Miller

Harold Miller, Bridge Life Master, is a retired CPA and native of New Haven and teaches the basics of bridge for beginners.

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. 

Nini Munro-Chmura ME

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.

Music Haven String Quartet

Music Haven String Quartet serves as the permanent quartet-in-residence and teaching faculty for Music Haven. It spearheads [ more ]

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.

Earl Page

Earl Page received a BS in physics from the University of North Carolina and an MS in nuclear Engineering from North Carolina State College in 1957. NC State was the first college in the world to offer a nuclear Engineering [ more ]


Joe Petti BSME MSIE MBA PE retired from Cadbury Schweppes as Vice President of Manufacturing and Engineering and has been instructing in the master's program in the Business and Engineering Departments at UNH.

Elaine Piraino-Holevoet

Elaine Piraino-Holevoet is a graphic designer who has lived in New Haven since graduating from Yale in 1975. She has a life-long interest in environmental issues, is involved with a number of civic and "Green" groups in the city, and sporadically posts on her blog http://ontheroadtogreenness.blogspot.com/

Chef Andrew Randi

Chef Andrew Randi, MS holds an AS in Culinary Arts and BS in Hospitality and Tourism Management from Johnson & Wales University, as well as an MS in Hospitality and Tourism Management from the [ more ]

Rachel Ranis

Rachel Ranis is a graduate of Brandeis and Yale University with degrees in sociology. She taught at the University of Bridgeport, University of Maryland, Howard University, and Quinnipiac University. She has done research in Pakistan, Mexico, Columbia, UK and Germany.

Jim Rhodes PhD

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 work 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.

Faisal Saleh

Faisal Saleh produced and now manages one of the largest Palestinian projects in the USA after 40 years as an entrepreneur.

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.

Michael Stein PhD

Michael Stein PhD on his first trip to Paris in 1965 fell in love with the art, architecture (and food) of the capital of France. During more than thirty 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.

Chelsea Tipton

Chelsea Tipton, II is a conductor who has won over audiences and critics alike with his vibrant musicality, accessibility, versatility and commitment to Arts education. He is Music Director of [ more ]

Francine Vallillo

Francine has been a horticultural lecturer and landscape professional for over 30 years. She started her career at golf courses, nurseries and garden centers. She holds degrees in Plant Science from UMass Amherst and in Turfgrass Management from Stockbridge School of Architecture. In addition she holds a BA in liberal arts from . . . [ more ]

Dana Wade MD

Dana Wade MD graduated from Saint Matthew School of Medicine, did a research fellowship in cardiovascular disease prevention at Albert Einstein School of Medicine and Yeshiva University, and graduated with M.B.A. from [ more ]

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 ]

David Wolffe

Dave Wolffe is a certified mediator in New York State and served as an adjunct lecturer at John Jay College of Criminal Justice for 13 years, teaching a basic course in the conflict resolution program. He is the author of two books: Settling the Unsettling: Understanding and Resolving Conflict, and Peace: The Other Side of Anger, used in an anger management program he developed for and with teens.

Richard Yanowitz PhD

Barbara Beitch PhD and Richard Yanowitz PhD are experienced teachers who encourage a relaxed, congenial classroom tone replete with humor. Barbara's PhD is in biology; Richard's is in the humanities with focus on the history of science. They have participated in Yale graduate courses related to climate change and attended an Al Gore training pro- gram from which they are able to draw on many of Gore's own slides.

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