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Meet Our Instructors


Instructor Bio


 David Bame

DAVID BAME is a retired U.S. Foreign Service Officer (diplomat), with 29 years of experience working in more than 30 other countries as well as in Washington.  Mr. Bame’s political-military focus throughout his career has included work on key U.S. national security policies around the word, especially the Middle East and Europe.  His last assignment was in San Diego, where he advised Navy SEALs and other special operations personnel about national strategy and foreign policy issues.  He has lectured in Austria, Iraq, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and numerous U.S. and foreign universities.  Mr. Bame holds a B.A. and M.A.T. from the University of Virginia, and a Masters in Military Studies from the USMC Command Staff College in Quantico, Virginia.  He and his wife now regularly secure cease-fires and try to facilitate negotiations among their three children.


 Douglas Barker

DOUGLAS R. BARKER, MA, is an art historian, a professional meta-physical worker and an avid world traveler. He holds a Master’s degree in Art History from the University of Chicago and spent fourteen years in England, Germany and Switzerland where, among other things, he studied Dr. Rudolf Steiner’s system of alternative education – the Waldorf Schools – and worked as a tour guide on art/study tours in Great Britain, Israel and Kashmir/Ladakh in northwestern India. Douglas has traveled extensively in nearly forty countries, most recently in Peru. Much of his expertise derives from spiritual experiences in sacred sites around the globe. Douglas also earned a diploma in Astrological Counseling from the Astrological Psychology Institute near Zurich, Switzerland in 1986.


charlene baron

CHARLENE BARON, JD, MA, practiced law for 30 years. She was a certified family law specialist and sat as a judge pro tem, settlement conference judge and court appointed minors’ counsel in the Superior Court in Vista, California. Charlene’s honors include being named Attorney of the Year in 2002 by the Family Law Judges in San Diego County. She was also instrumental in developing and teaching in The People’s Law School, a public education program of the North County Bar Association to help citizens represent themselves in various areas of the law.


 Richard Bell

RICHARD BELL is Professor of History at the University of Maryland. He is the author of the new book Stolen: Five Free Boys Kidnapped into Slavery and their Astonishing Odyssey Home, a finalist for the 2020 George Washington Prize and the 2020 Harriet Tubman Prize. He is the recipient of the National Endowment of the Humanities Public Scholar award and is a fellow of the Royal Historical Society.


 Dom Betro

DOM BETRO has a B.S. Degree in Psychology and a Masters Degree in Social Work.  Both degrees are from Fordham University in New York.  He also has a certificate in Non Profit Management from the Columbia University Non Profit Institute. Mr. Betro is the Past President/CEO of Family Service Association.  He assumed direction of the agency in 1985 and guided it through enormous growth and diversification. Dom continues as a Lecturer at various Universities: California State University San Marcos, Human Development, Social Work and Extended Learning; California State University, San Bernardino, Graduate School of Social Services and Public Administration; School of Business at University of Notre Dame, Nonprofit Administration; and LaSierra University, Social Entrepreneurship. Dom was also elected to public office as Ward One Councilman for the City of Riverside from 2004-2008.      


Osher_Alexandra Bunyak

ALEXANDRA BUNYAK, MD, is a regenerative medicine physician who's known for translating the latest stem cell research into actionable therapies in her arthritis, sports, and spine clinic. She is quadruple board certified in Sports Medicine, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Holistic Medicine, and Pain Medicine, and completed a research fellowship at the National Institutes of Health.


sam and candy caponegro

SAM AND CANDY CAPONEGRO have worked in all aspects of theater for over 40 years. They hope to keep the classic movie musical and the golden age of Broadway alive through their lectures.


 Alejandro Castaneda

ALEJANDRO CASTANEDA, holds a Bachelor's Degree in Communications from La Salle University and a Master's Degree in Communications from “Universitá Internationale Delle Arte and Universitá Statale de Firenze both at Florence Italy”. As a consultant, professional corporate trainer and keynote speaker for more than 30 years, Alejandro has taught at the University of San Diego, SDSU, Cal State San Marcos, the  Universidad Anáhuac and Universidad Iberoamericana.  He currently holds an academic online tenure at Universidad Autonoma de Coahuila. Mr. Castañeda is bilingual, bicultural and fluent in two more languages: Italian and french. He is also a published writer with nine books to his name  in the fields of leadership, productivity, customer services, and sales.  Since 2001, Mr. Castañeda has resided in Chula Vista, CA with wife Vida (bachelor in art restoration), daughter Vida and son Leonardo. Both, SDSU alumni..

 Rob Crisell

ROB CRISELL is an author, attorney, actor, and Shakespearean in Temecula, CA. He’s teaches Shakespeare with the Murrieta Valley Union School District as part of its Visual and Performing Arts (VAPA) program. He also regularly teaches at St. Jeanne de Lestonnac and other area schools. He has appeared in The Merchant of Venice, Complete Works of Shakespeare (Abridged), Baskerville: A Sherlock Holmes Mystery, Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, The Tempest, and Macbeth, among others. Rob is the author of an adventure novel for pre-teens The Zoo of Impossible Animals (De Portola Press 2016). His 2016 TED Talk entitled “How NOT to Hate Shakespeare” can be found on YouTube. He’s a graduate of Yale University and George Mason University Law School. He lives with his wife and their two children Soren and Miranda in Temecula, California.


Blaine Davies

BLAINE DAVIES has an MA in history and a BS degree in Business.  He taught US history at Boise State University for 14 years.  Prior to that, he spent 20 years as a product marketing manager at Hewlett-Packard.  He enjoys researching and preparing history lectures.  He enjoys traveling and often reads historical novels in the same locations where the stories take place.  Also plays pickleball and tennis and enjoys ballroom dancing.      




JARED DAY, PhD, taught American history at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh for sixteen years. His areas of specialization are U.S. political, urban, and cultural history as well as world history from the late eighteenth century to the present. He is the author of several books along with numerous other popular and peer-reviewed articles.



Robin Douglas

ROBIN DOUGLAS, MA, an art professor for 36 years,  has experience in many materials and techniques. She served as associate director of the school of art & design, art education chair, faculty senator, chancellors honors faculty, served on the board of the Spurlock museum, Krannert Art Museum council and the Urbana Arts Council. She was ranked excellent by her students, awarded teaching awards, and is still considered a distinguished faculty member. Her commissioned art work is in private collections, offices, hotels, and university buildings.


DAREL TAI ENGEN earned his Ph.D. in Ancient History from UCLA and is currently an Associate Professor of History at California State University San Marcos in San Diego County.  He has published works on the ancient Greek economy, including Honor and Profit:  Athenian Trade Policy and the Economy and Society of Greece, 415-307 BCE, and is now focusing on depictions of the ancient world in film.  He has presented several papers on the subject at the APA, SCS, Film and History, and AIMS conferences, and is currently working on a book entitled, Myth and/or History:  Ancient Greece in Modern Film.

Karen Eso

KAREN ESO, has been a professor at Cal State San Marcos since 2004. Her undergraduate studies were in Biology and Chemistry and as a graduate student at the University of Victoria she studied Clinical Neuropsychology.  Eso's area of specialty is traumatic brain injury and in such, she is thrilled to be teaching a class on the Aging Mind.  On a more personal note, she is the proud mother of seven and grandmother to one with one on the way.

Holly Gilzow

HOLLY GILZOW, MA, has a background in psychological science and more than seven years of  experience researching selective trust in children, as well as cognition and visual memory in adults. Both her BA and MA were completed here at CSUSM. She’s been involved with teaching introductory psychology classes, as well as sensation/perception, research methods, and critical thinking. She is a mother of four.



PHILIP GOSCIENSKI, MD, retired from the Navy with the rank of captain and was head of the Infectious Diseases Branch in the Department of Pediatrics at the Naval Regional Medical Center in San Diego.  A former clinical professor of pediatrics at the UCSD School of Medicine, today he invests his expertise in writing newspaper and magazine articles.




FRANCE-MARIE HAEGER, MA, ATR, is a fine-arts instructor, registered board certified art therapist, and artist. She brings more than 40 years of experience in the arts to our program. She designed and facilitated an Art Therapy program in her native Switzerland, as well as several expressive arts therapy programs in San Diego. She currently teaches and advises for a certificate program she helped develop at UCSD Extension called Art and the Creative Process.


Bill Havlicek

WILLIAM HAVLICEK, PhD, has over 30 years of experience in college teaching, museum administration, publishing and fine art/studio production and exhibition. He currently teaches at the Laguna College of Art and Design. His military experiences as a psychiatric technician included a study of psychology and art therapy. With combined strengths in art history, studio art, aesthetics, philosophy, psychology, art therapy, museum education and publishing, he brings a broad range of experience to the classroom.



JASON HENSLEY, PhD, teaches religious studies at a private school in Los Angeles. He is a fellow of the Michael LaPrade Holocaust Education Institute of the Anti-Defamation League, a member of Civic Spirit's teacher education cohort, and the award-winning author of 10 books. His work has been featured in The Huffington Post as well as the BBC, and he has served as the historical advisor for a recent Holocaust documentary.



 Kim Keeline

KIM KEELINE fell in love with Shakespeare's plays when she was 12 years old. She has a Ph.D. in English Literature from the University of Southern California and has lectured extensively on Shakespeare the past few years.  She writes mysteries and had two published short stories released in 2020.  A book collector, steam train operator, and freelance web site and graphic designer, Kim geeks out about history, technology, and books.

Dane Kuta

DANE KUTA is a Certified Sommelier and Italian Wine Professional. Dane has traveled, tasted, and explored in the wine regions of California, New York, Oregon, Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Mexico, and New Zealand. When not teaching a wine appreciation class, Dane can be found pouring at major wine festivals, attending local wine and food events, providing sommelier services, and hosting private parties.


Ben Kamin

RABBI BEN KAMIN, DD, is a rabbi, award-winning author, and a scholar of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.- about whom he has written and taught extensively and around the nation. He speaks frequently at both the Martin Luther King Jr. Institute at Stanford University and the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis. In 2004, he founded Reconciliation: The Synagogue Without Walls, an interfaith outreach institute serving Southern California.



ALBERT KOETSIER, MA, received his degree in electronic engineering. He managed a medical X-ray company for many years and specializes in all matters related to radiation. Albert has special interests in x-ray photography as well as the history of science and technology.



BRUNO LEONE, MA, earned his degrees in history with supporting fields in European intellectual history, history of science and technology and anthropology. Bruno has taught at several universities throughout this career and is currently an adjunct faculty member at SDSU.  The recipient of a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship, his most recent publications include: Origin: The Story of Charles Darwin (2012) and Disease in History (2016).


David Lewis

 is the founder and director of the San Luis Rey Chorale which he has directed for the past 32 years. He is the director of music at Trinity Episcopal Church in Escondido and also teaches continuing education music classes for Mira Costa College.


David Miller

DAVID MILLER, PhD, completed his graduate work in 19th Century United States history at UCSD. He teaches at USD offering courses in the history of race, immigration, and the Civil War. He is co- editor for the Journal of San Diego History and speaks frequently at organizations and institutions throughout Southern California. In his spare time he enjoys watching soccer and braking for historical markers.


Asya Pereltsvaig

ASYA PERELTSVAIG received a PhD in Linguistics from McGill University and has taught at Yale, Cornell and Stanford, as well as in several U.S. and European universities. Her expertise is in language and history, and the relationship between them. Her most recent books, Languages of the World: An Introduction, 3rd edition (2020) and The Indo-European Controversy: Facts and Fallacies in Historical Linguistics (2015) were published by Cambridge University Press. Asya is a popular instructor for SCU’s Osher program and was the faculty host for the Osher trip to the Baltic countries and St. Petersburg in July 2017.    



LAURIE RICHARDS is a lawyer who has turned her analytical skills to the craft of writing. She has served as the director for the San Diego Writers and Editors Guild, judged the San Diego Book Awards, and received numerous awards for her short stories. Laurie is also the assistant editor for Narrative Magazine online, advances literature in the digital age by supporting the finest writing talent and encouraging reading across generations, in schools, and around the globe.  




DAVE ROBERTS, PhD, has worked in the field of applied anthropology for over thirty-five years. Dave worked as a U.S. government scientist throughout Panama and Central America, has traveled the world, and now shares his experiences with audiences on cruise ships across the world. Dave, now retired, is actively involved in many museums throughout Balboa Park.

Elena Romine

ELENA ROMINE received her Ph.D. from Moscow State University and her Diploma in Education from Moscow Linguistic University. She is a published author, fluent in three languages and was a senior lecturer for the Institute of Advanced Training in Publishing in Moscow. Dr. Romine has been a cross-cultural communication instructor and consultant at the University of California, Riverside, Extension for over 26 years teaching Cross-Cultural Communication, Cross-Cultural Perspectives, Diversity, Russian Culture, Cinematic Cultural Exploration and other courses. .In 2016 Dr. Romine was given an International Education Programs Distinguished Service Award for 23 year’s service to IEP at UCR, Extension as a facilitator of engagement between international students and the City of Riverside.


MARK STADLER retired in September 2021 after 32 years at the San Diego County Water Authority, the San Diego Region’s public water wholesaler. Mark served in several capacities at the Water Authority. From 1997 to 2021, he was manager of the San Diego Integrated Regional Water Management (IRWM) program, an interdisciplinary, collaborative effort aimed at developing long-term water supply reliability, protecting water quality and natural resources and addressing climate change impacts. Prior to joining the Water Authority, he worked as a writer and editor for several local newspapers. Mark has lived in San Diego since 1962. He has a bachelor's degree in political science from UCSD and a master’s degree in public administration from San Diego State.

Doug Stowell

DOUG STOWELL has been a Furman University OLLI instructor in Greenville, S.C., since 2015 and for OLLI institutes across the U.S. since 2019. His background is in corporate market research and public opinion polling. Career positions include director of market research for the Xerox Corp., U.S. client director for National Opinion Polling Ltd. in London, and senior client representative with Wirthlin Worldwide Polling in Washington, D.C. Doug opened Market Resource Associates in 2008 and continues today conducting consumer and political issues surveys.


Andy Strathman

ANDY STRATHMAN, PhD, is a lecturer in the Department of History at California State University San Marcos, where he teaches courses on United States history, with an emphasis on California history and the American West. He received his Ph.D. in History from the University of California, San Diego in 2005. His doctoral dissertation focused on San Diego County water politics from 1910 to 1947. He has also taught in the History Departments at UCSD and the University of San Diego. Dr. Strathman is the co-editor of The Journal of San Diego History; he served as the book reviews editor for the journal from 2007 to 2018.

Frank Turner

FRANK TURNER, MA, received his B.A. in History, and M.A. in Digital History, both from CSUSM. He is an instructor at Palomar and San Diego Miramar College, where he teaches United States  and Ancient World History. He is the Vice-Chairman, and Historian, for the Oceanside Historical Preservation Advisory Commission (OHPAC).​

Eran Vaisben

ERAN VAISBEN, PhD, earned his Master’s Degree in Education at the Jewish Theological Seminary and in 2014, completed his doctoral degree in Educational Leadership at The University of California, Davis. Between 2006 and 2018, he served as a school educator and administrator. He has lectured at numerous academic programs about educational leadership, bible studies, organizational change and Jewish history. Eran participated in archeological excavations at two sites in Israel and studied middle eastern history at various academic programs.


 ramon veloso

RAMON C. VELOSO, PhD, teaches United States history at Palomar College. He received his Ph.D. in history from the University of California, Irvine, and graduated with a B.A. Cum Laude from Santa Clara University. He is a cultural and social historian, who specializes in the history of youth, family, gender, and middle-class formation in early America. Prior to teaching at Palomar College, he taught at the University of California, Irvine; California State University, Long Beach; Occidental College; and La Sierra University.

 Gordon Williams

GORDON WILLIAMS has had a wide-ranging career in the arts, including many years as publications editor for Australia’s symphony orchestras. His interest in the broader cultural aspects of music began while living in Central Australia. Since then he has written the libretto for Journey to Horseshoe Bend (composer Andrew Schultz), and, for the Adelaide Symphony, produced Music is our Culture, the first orchestral work by Indigenous Australians. Other writing includes new dialogue for Sydney Symphony’s revival of the first Australian opera, 1847’s Don John of Austria. He has been LA reviewer for OperaWire and taught at OLLI@UCLA and OLLI@UHM (Hawai’i).


MICHAEL YEE earned his M.A. in History from California State University San Marcos.   His past roles: Chair of the San Diego Chinese Historical Museum (SDCHM), conference chair of the Sixth Chinese American Studies Conference (SDCHM sponsored) at the University of San Diego in 1999, and tour guide of the Asian Pacific Historic District in downtown San Diego.  He is currently a docent trainer at SDCHM, a Board Trustee of the Balboa Park Conservancy, and committee member of the Creative Catalyst artist program at the San Diego Foundation.