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 Abrams

Barbara Abrams is a retired speech and language pathologist. She now assists with helping people struggling with depression. She advocates for removing the stigma of mental illness.

Elijah Anderson PhD

Elijah Anderson PhD is the Sterling Professor of Sociology and of African American Studies at Yale University. He is one of the leading ethnographers in the U.S. His publications include Code of the Street; Decency, Violence and the Moral Life of the Inner City: Streetwise: Race, Class, & Change in an Urban Community; A Place on the Corner and most recently, [ more ]

Linda J. Anderson LLB

Lisa J. Anderson LLB is a trained mediator, consultant and community association lawyer. She draws upon her 30-plus years [ more ]

Janet Barrett

Janet Barrett was raised in New York, graduated from Indiana University with a BS in Communications, and now lives in Connecticut with her husband and two cats. From the moment she heard [ more ]

Barbara Beitch 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 program from which they are able to draw on many of Gore's own slides.In recent years Barbara and Richard Yanowitz have both done extensive reading about climate change and trained in Al Gore's three-day Climate Reality Program. They are looking forward to lively discussions about this timely and important subject in their upcoming ILR course.

David Bennett

David Bennett is the JCC MakerSpace Coordinator. He has designed and built two MakerSpaces, including the one at the JCC. David taught [ more ]

Harriet Bergmann, PhD

Harriet 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. She thinks that she has taught "Moby Dick" at least ten times over the years and she's delighted to be doing it once more. 

Rita Brieger

Rita taught 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. She is an accredited American Contract Bridge League teacher. 

Christopher Calandra CFP

Christopher Calandra CFP is the founder and principal of Elliot Wealth Management Services LLC which has offices in Southington, Connecticut and Summerfield, Florida. Christopher is a certified financial planner with over [ more ]

Edith Carlson

Edith Carlson is finding that after 34 years of teaching, retirement is a delight — with a perfect day being spent with a friend, learning something new, seeing one beautiful and one silly something...and enjoying a good meal. 

David Chervan PhD

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 ]

Lawrence S. Cohen, MD

Lawrence S. Cohen is the Ebenezer K. Hunt Professor of Medicine (Emeritus) and former Chief of Cardiology at Yale School of Medicine. His early research explored the diagnosis and therapy of patients with coronary [ 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 ]

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 ]

Rabbi Richard Eisenberg

Rabbi Richard Eisenberg served congregations as a spiritual leader for 35 years and worked at the APT Foundation in New Haven as a rehabilitation counselor for 10 years. [ more ]

Joel N. Feimer PhD

Joel 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 ]

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 ]

Matthew Garrett

Matthew Garrett is the Director of Communications and Web Opera- tions at the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies.

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 ]

Frank Griffel PhD

Frank studied philosophy, Arabic literature, and Islamic studies at universities in Göttingen (Germany), Damascus, Berlin, and London. He received his PhD in 1999 from the Free University in Berlin. In his thesis he researched about the development of the judgment of apostasy in classical Islam. After a short period as a research fellow at the Orient  . . [ 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

Lew is a graduate of New York University and a Professor Emeritus of Southern Connecticut 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, 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 taken this urge to look for new and different places to for our bus travels. I am always looking around the next corner for the excitement of discovering a new place. 

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 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," Greenwood Press.

Korean Spirit and Culture Promotion Project (KSCPP)

Korean Spirit and Culture Promotion Project (KSCPP) is a non-profit organization that is dedicated to raising awareness of Korean history and culture. In appreciation for the United States' support for Korea during . . . [ more ]

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) . . . [ more ]

Jack Lawson MD

Jack is an Emeritus Professor of Radiology and Biomedical Imaging at Yale University. Born in England, he obtained his medical degree at the University of Manchester and has lived in Connecticut for over 50 years. He reads with first graders in the New Haven Public School system. 

Dr. Henry C. Lee

Dr. Henry C. Lee is one of the world's foremost forensic scientists. His work has made him a landmark in modern-day criminal investigations.  [ more ]

Evie Lindemann LMFT, ATR-BC

Evie Lindemann LMFT, ATR-BC is an Associate Professor in the Graduate Program of Art Therapy at Albertus Magnus College. She also travels abroad to teach about creativity and the uses of expressive arts therapy for well-being and personal discovery. She is learning to dance the tango and spends time in India for the renewal of her inner spirit.

Nick Maiorino

Nick Maiorino BS, MS has been a presenter for ILR since 2014. He is a former educator with 50 years' teaching experience at the high school and university levels. Nicks holds BS and MS degrees in science with certification . . . [ 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 ]

Debbie McKeever

Debbie McKeever is a self-proclaimed foodie. She experiments with new recipes, especially those that involve baking. She also loves to explore different locations to experience all types of delicious cuisine. For the past five years, she has continued her search for interesting and different menus through "Lunching Adventures", paired with enjoying a meal with friends, old and new. As Julia Child noted, "people who love to eat are always the best people."

Harold Miller

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

Nini Munro-Chmura ME

Nini with 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 had led flora and fauna walks for Audubon, Sierra, and Appalachian Mt. Clubs. 

Maestro Alasdair Neale

Maestro Alasdair Neale will become the 11th Music Director of the New Haven Symphony Orchestra in the 1019-2020 season. 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 BS MS received a physics BS and an MS in nuclear engineering from the University of North Carolina in 1957. Following design and support work for the Enrico Fermi Fast Breeder Reactor in . . . [ more ]

Tim Parrish MFA

Tim Parrish MFA is the author of three books: Fear and What Follows; The Violent Education of a Christian Racist, a Memoir; and The Jumper. He is the recipient of a Gerald A. Freund Grant-in-Aid from the Whiting Foundation, two Connecticut . . . [ 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.

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 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 English for many years at Southern Connecticut State University and is the author of the book Poetry Does Theology: Chaucer, Grosseteste, and the Pearl-Poet.

Alan Rosenthal

Alan Rosenthal is a certified facilitator of DBSA (Depression and Bipolar Disorder Support Alliance Groups). He sought this training after recovering from an episode that occurred after years of battling bipolar disorder. His goal is for people to intelligently manage their illness so they can lead fully functioning lives. Psychiatrists refer patients to Alan's group. He dedicates his time, expertise, and compassion without compensation.

Sheilah R. Rostow

Sheilah Rostow was a corporate fiduciary at the Bank of America for 32 years. Part of her responsibilities for 13 years was settling the estate of clients of the bank and she is a veteran deaccessioner. She has been retired for 10 years and is constantly getting rid of "stuff."

Jim Silk

Jim Silk is the Berger Clinical Professor of Human Rights at Yale Law School where he teaches the Lowenstein International Human Rights Clinic and is co-Director of the Schell Center for International Human Rights. He is the Director of Yale College's Multidisciplinary Academic Program in Human Rights, a program he started in 2014.

Irene Sommers PhD

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 ]

Stephen Spignesi

Stephen Spignesi is the New York Times bestselling author of close to 70 books and a retired Practitioner-in-Residence from the University of New Haven where he taught Composition and Literature and courses based on his books for 10 years. He is considered . . . [ more ]

Michael Stein PhD

Michael Stein PhD on his first trip to Paris in 1965, Michael 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.

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 ]

Dorothy Stubbe MD

Dorothy Stubbe MD received her medical degree from the U. of Arizona School of Medicine and her psychiatry and child and adolescent psychiatry residence training from Yale University School of Medicine. She is Associate Professor and Program Director of the Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Albert J. Solnit integrated . . . [ more ]

Wendy Swain, BA

Wendy Swain, BA has been sculpting in various mediums for the last 20 years. She is a studio member of the New Canaan Sculpture Group and has participated in several . . . [ more ]

Leng Tang

Leng Tan is passionate about her love of dance. She is known for being a patient instructor, especially with inexperienced beginners. She offers classes in the tri-state area for Israeli and International Folk Dance.

John Thomas, BA, JD, LLM,MPH

John is a freelance writer, professor at the Quinnipiac University Schools of Law and Medicine in Hamden, Connecticut, and a guitarist still striving for mediocrity. He holds a BA and JD from the University of Arizona and an LLM and MPH from Yale University. John teaches international law and health law. John's 200 + publications address topics from gun violence to . . . [ 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 ]

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 ]

Martin Wolf, LLB

Martin H. Wolf LLB has been a lifelong resident of the greater New Haven area with time out for military service, attendance at the University of Connecticut and Harvard Law School. He practiced law at Cohen & Wolf, PC for his entire legal career, retiring in 2000. He continues to be active in volunteer organizations including ILR.

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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