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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.


 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.



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..


Brandon Cesmat

BRANDON CESMAT has taught cinema at Palomar College and CSUSM since 1992. He earned an MFA in Creative Writing with correlative study in screenwriting from San Diego State. He has curated the Cinema Series for Carlsbad Library and received several San Diego Press Club awards for “Best Critical Writing” about movies. He is the author of several books of poems and fiction, which include his reflections on movies. His concept album of original music, Califor-Noir is widely available online. He can be followed @cesmatmusic


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.      



Costa Dillon

CONSTANTINE (COSTA) DILLON is a retired National Park Service ranger and superintendent who worked in more than a dozen parks in his 35-year career. He has taught classes on national parks for the University of New Hampshire, San Diego State, and Indiana University. His awards include the Department of the Interior’s Meritorious Service Award and the National Parks Conservation Association's Stephen Mather Award. Costa has a B.S. in Park Management from UC Davis and a Master of Public Administration from the University of Colorado.


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.

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.



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.




CHUCK GUNDERSON was raised in San Diego, California, the site of the Beatles 8th stop on the 1965 North American tour. He was too young to attend the show, but fondly recalls his older siblings spinning the records of the Fab Four as he grew, which perked a life-long love for the band. He has worked in the outdoor advertising industry most of his life although his true passion is history; he obtained his B.A. at San Diego State University and an M.A. at the University of San Diego both in the field of history. Having published a few articles over the years, Chuck turned his sights to researching and writing the critically-acclaimed, “Some Fun Tonight! The Backstage Story of How The Beatles Rocked America: The Historic Tours of 1964-1966.” He has consulted on a number of various Beatles related projects such as director Ron Howard’s recent documentary, “Eight Days a Week.” Chuck and his wife Christina live in Carlsbad, California and are the parents of four children, each a self-described Beatles fan.



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.



JASON HENSLEY, PhD (Holocaust and Genocide Studies), Dmin (Biblical Studies), 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 higher-education ambassador for the Council on Foreign Relations, and the award-winning author of 12 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 Holocaust documentary. Connect with him at



 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.


Howard Kerner

HOWARD KERNER is a retired English professor who taught at the high school, college and university levels in NY and FL during his 47 year career. Before and since retirement, his “passion project” has been discovering and sharing fascinating, unknown stories about inspiring people who performed brave acts of kindness even during the unlikely period of the Holocaust. He has presented his uplifting programs at OLLI’s, temples, churches and civic organizations across the country and in Canada. His philosophy is that although there is no bad time to learn about human goodness, there is no better time than now!



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.


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.


Gideon Marcus

GIDEON MARCUS, founder of Journey Press, an independent publisher focused on unusual and diverse speculative fiction, four-time Hugo Finalist Gideon Marcus also runs the time machine project, Galactic Journey. He is a professional space historian, much sought after for his public speaking talents. An acclaimed science fiction author, he has just finished Hyvilma, third book in The Kitra Saga. His short fiction can be found in Dark Matter, Utopia, Simultaneous Times, and elsewhere.Gideon lives in San Diego County with his writer/editor wife and their polymath artist daughter…along with a cat, a snake, and an immense library.


David Meir-Levi

DAVID MEIR-LEVI is an American-born Israeli currently living in Palo Alto, CA. He holds a BA from Johns Hopkins University and an MA in Near Eastern Studies from Brandeis University. He taught Archaeology and Near Eastern History at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and at the University of Tel Aviv in the 60's and 70's, during which time he completed his service in the Israeli military. Most recently he lectured on the Middle East and Israel in the Department of History at San Jose State University (San Jose, CA) and on Biblical studies and Archaeology at Santa Clara University (Santa Clara, CA).



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.



LAURIE RICHARDS is a retired 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.  


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.

Stephenie Slahor

DR. STEPHENIE SLAHOR holds a Ph.D. degree and J.D. degree. She is retired from her law practice and university teaching, and now focuses on writing, lecturing and creating innovative, informational and fun courses for OLLI programs around the nation. She is a Life Member of the Phi Kappa Phi National Honor Society, the South West Marine Educators' Association, the International Centennial Lions Club, and the Coachella Valley Archaeological Society, and a member of the Grand Canyon Conservancy, the Shadow Mountain Gem and Mineral Society, the Astronomical Society of the Desert, and Past President of her local chapter of the American Business Women's Association. Her hobbies include travel, kayaking, snorkeling, archery, horsemanship, and hiking (when the equine doesn't want to go!).  


JON SPENARD, Ph.D. is Associate Professor of Anthropology at CSUSM. He joined the department in 2016 after earning his PhD from UC Riverside and his M.A. from Florida State University. In 2018, he started his Rio Frio Regional Archaeological Project (RiFRAP), the first long-term archaeological study ever conducted in the Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve in central Belize. The project’s initial focus was understanding the ritual caves in the Rio Frio Valley, but when they rediscovered the ancient Maya city of Nohoch Batsó near the Rio Frio Caves after just their second season, the scope of the project grew. Today, the project has three main foci investigated under Dr. Spenard’s supervision: the caves, Nohoch Batsó, and the ancient Maya granite quarrying industry in the Mountain Pine Ridge.


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.


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).​