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Instructor Biographies

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Russ Abbott is a registered financial advisor who holds an MBA in Finance and a BA in Economics. H has taught investment classes for over 20 years.

David Anderson was in the radio business from 1977-1997. He was a program and music director as well as an on-air Rock DJ at FM Rock radio stations. He plays guitar and keyboards and has written articles about rock music.

Emil Augustine, BA Northcentral University; MA University of Minnesota; M.Div. Luther Theological Seminary; Doctoral Studies, Drew University; Adjunct Faculty, Princeton Theological Seminary; Guest Lecturer, Centenary College.

Catharine Bramkamp holds a BA in English from UCSB and a MA in Creative Writing from SSU. She has been an adjunct professor for three universities for the last seven years.

Robert Bryngelson holds degrees in art, natural science, and mechanical and petroleum engineering, followed by post-graduate political economy studies in Scotland. His international exposure to art brings a new, personal approach to the subject.

Steve Browning (Ambassador Ret.) served 34 years as a diplomat in the US Foreign Service. He was an instructor at the University of Southern California and has guest lectured on foreign policy and diplomacy at colleges and universities.             

Sue Clark is a literary specialist and an award winning ghostwriter. As a memoirist, she has helped numerous people write and publish their memoirs. She has taught writing and memoir classes for more than 20 years.

Curtis Covington has a BA in Political Science from California State University East Bay, with a primary interest in Film, History, Literature and Current Affairs. He is member of the AFI (American Film Institute) and has been teaching for the OLLI program since 2004.

Lincoln Curtis has a BA in Foreign Languages and Drama and an MA in German and Film Studies. He is a Fulbright Scholar, director, actor, and documentary filmmaker, and has taught at the community college level for more than 20 years.

William Dane graduated from the University of Arizona with a Bachelor’s in English and earned a Master’s in Professional Writing at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth.

Linda Derosier has a BA in History with a minor in Drama and Theatre Arts from the University of Minnesota. She is a member of the AFI (American Film Institute) and student of film. She has been teaching for the OLLI program since 2010.

Laina Dicker received a BA in Education and a Masters in Arts and Teaching from Simmons College in Boston, after which she taught special needs children. She has been an avid practitioner of fitness and health and has been teaching Tai Chi for OLLI for five years.

Rachel Dodge has an MA in English Literature from CSU Sacramento and a BA in English, Creative Writing and Public Relations from University of Southern California.

William Durbrow M.D. has a life-long fascination with musical prodigies. He has taken Music History and composition at graduate school level at the University of Nevada.

Lori Fee first became interested in Tai Chi in the late 1990s. At that time she was busy with her General Engineering construction corporation, but in 2010 she learned to teach, and has been teaching Tai Chi for the OLLI program at Sierra College ever since.

Carol Fegté is a retired elementary school classroom teacher. She has a bachelor’s degree in English and a master’s degree in Humanities from San Francisco State University, and worked for 29 years as a scientific and medical editor.

Jason File has a BA in European History and Religious Studies and an MA in Religious Studies, Ancient Mediterranean Religion from University of North Carolina. He is a full-time instructor in Humanities and Religious Studies at Sierra College.

Tom Fisher had a dual career in aerospace and archeology. Along with working with and designing for NASA astronauts, he has conducted archeological field research in China, Italy, and throughout Central America.

Donald Fraser has a BS from UCLA in Political Science and a Master’s degree in Public Policy and Administration from Cal State Long Beach. His academic background and lifelong interest in American History and Politics has led him to teach classes on the founding of the United States.

Joan Griffin earned a BA in Psychobiology from UCLA and an MA in Contemplative Education from Naropa University. Before starting a career in Education, Joan worked at IBM and was a small business owner. Joan was an English and history teacher for 25 years.

Joseph Guida studied with world renowned T'ai Chi Master Da Liu in New York City in the 1980s. Joseph moved to Northern California and began teaching T’ai Chi for good health, relaxation and peace of mind. 

Susan Horst has a MM degree from UNR in Choral Conducting and has worked as a music specialist, conductor and adjudicator for over 30 years.

Katherine Longshore graduated from Humboldt State University with a BA in Cross-Cultural Studies and Communications. She spent several years as a freelance travel writer, ten years writing fiction and has taught writing workshops.

Lorin Miller has a Master’s degree from California State University and a distinguished background as a solo performer and choral director. He has performed nationally and internationally in a variety of styles ranging from Bach to Broadway.

Steve Miller has a BM and MM from CSU Sacramento. He is a part-time faculty member at Sierra College.

Sifu Renee Neal has been teaching martial arts since 1988 and is a nine-time International Karate Champion. She has been teaching for OLLI at Sierra College since 2003. She has 19 years of yoga teaching experience.

Richard Neil has an MA in Geography from CSU Northridge and his BA in Geography, from Sonoma State University. He currently teaches Geography for Sierra College and the Los Rios Community College District.

Kent Penwarden is a retired electronic engineer and manager from Silicon Valley, one of whose avocations has been to maintain an interest in the long history of the Middle East.

Judie Rae has a BA in English and a MA in Professional Writing from University of Southern California. She has 25 years of teaching experience at universities and Community college, and is a freelance writer.

Janet Rankin received both her Bachelor’s Degree in Humanities and her Master’s Degree in History at Sac State. Janet has been teaching U.S. History and women’s history at Sierra College for more than four years. 

Winslow Rogers earned his Ph.D. from Harvard University in English and American Literature and was a full-time professor for ten years. He specialized in Victorian novelists like George Eliot, W. M. Thackeray and Henry James.

Ellen Sander has a BA and MA in French, a BA in Government, and an MA in International Affairs. She has taught for the UC Davis French Department and has been an OLLI instructor for six years.

Sam Schlafer has worked in the library field since 2001, working for both the DOD/Air Force and now at the Twelve Bridges library. He has taught classes for seniors, written about pop culture and is a member of the AFI.

Angela Sells has a PhD in Comparative Mythology and has taught courses in literature in Santa Barbara. She is now the Co-Chair of the Goddess Studies Unit for the American Academy of Religion Western Region and is completing her book on women’s autobiography.

Martine Shelley has been practicing Qigong since 2006 and became certified to teach Radiant Heart Qigong in 2013. Martine is Professor Emeritus at Sierra College and has a BS and an MS in Psychology.

Dan Shoemaker has a BA in Communications and Media Arts from Antioch College, an MA in Popular Culture from Bowling Green State University and a Ph.D. in American Studies from the University of New Mexico.

Michael Theodore has a BA in History from UCLA and has taught History and Art for Los Angeles Unified School District for 36 years.

Kathrin Wilson has a BA from UCLA in Dance and an MS in Physical Education from California State University Sacramento. She has danced professionally for 30 years.

Alex Yarmolyuk was born and lived in Soviet Ukraine for 25 years. He finished his BA in General Business at Nova Kakhovka, Ukraine, and served his mandatory two years in the Soviet military in Saint Petersburg. In 1996, he emigrated, with his wife, to the United States.

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