Instructor Bios - Coastal Carolina University
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Instructor and Club Leader Profiles

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*Indicates that some teaching services, in addition to Taste of OLLI presentations, are donated to the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Coastal Carolina University.


Janis Adam image*Janis Adams has been the leader of the Classic Book Club in Litchfield for the last several semesters.




LisaApra imageLisa Aprea, MBA, is a teacher with more than 25 years of experience. She has taught a variety of topics ranging from business to the arts. Her current focus at OLLI is classes in animal care and line dancing.




Shami image*Samih Baalbaki was born and raised in Lebanon and studied (in Arabic and French) Lebanese and French constitutional and civil laws. He spent the last 17 years of his career in the Middle East before retiring (back to the U.S.) in 2012. Baalbaki began teaching at OLLI@CCU in September 2012. For OLLI, he conducts programs covering Islam and the political situation in the Middle East. He also leads Middle East current events discussion groups and a world events club. He is a member of the OLLI Advisory Board, a runner, and a grandfather. He sends emails to his students to make sure they know what is happening and readers get to see a bit of his humor such as “Quick Announcement (Can’t do without them!)”

Desma Barker is the daughter of Kelli Barker, assistant director of Academic and Community Outreach. She teaches English to children in Istanbul, Turkey.

 Alston Beckman recently moved to Pawleys Island from upstate South Carolina. 

*Verna Berry is a mother, grandmother, sister, and cousin. She is a transplant to South Carolina, having decided she could not stand another Ohio winter. She resides in Georgetown, but has also lived in Maryland as well as on the Mexico/Arizona border. Berry enjoys learning, reading, eating out, and making new friends. Berry also enjoys a good joke and she loves to laugh.


Brian Blankenship imageBryan Blankenship (VanDoren), as a full-time magician for more than 25 years (now semi-retired), performed around 400 shows per year mostly at restaurants, schools, churches, and resorts. The performances range from strolling magic to stage and illusion shows. Performing primarily in South Carolina, this seasoned performer entertained at children’s, family, and corporate events; however, he has performed and lectured in France, Spain, Hong Kong, and China. VanDoren continues to entertain audiences of all ages with his unique style of magic.



Priscellie boisvert imagePriscille Boisvert teaches knitting through OLLI@CCU and has taught classes for many semesters.




Claudia Bornholdt is the dean of the Edwards College of Humanities and Fine Arts at Coastal Carolina University.

Debi Boyle is a natural health practitioner with 20 years of experience. Her passion for natural health and wellness evolved from difficult personal health challenges. Her intention is to help people learn how to achieve optimal health naturally so they can become empowered to live a more balanced, fulfilling life.

Taber Brown inage*Taber Brown is recognized as a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ (CFP®), which demonstrates his ability to provide the highest degree of financial planning that defines the practice as a profession. He is also an Accredited Estate Planner (AEP®) which values estate planning individuals who meet stringent requirements including knowledge, reputation, and character. Brown, his wife Dr. Alexis Brown, and their two daughters, Leighton and Callait, reside in Murrells Inlet, S.C.



Kenneth Burroughs image*Keith Burroughs is an avid bridge player and has led the Gilles Bridge Society since 2018.




*Ron Byrd spent college summers as a congressional intern in Washington, D.C., where he was privileged to attend the historic Watergate hearings. After majoring in history and political science in college, he went on to law school and began a successful career as litigator and corporate lawyer. His interest in reading and studying history and political science has been lifelong, particularly presidential biographies.

Barbra Cardinal image

Claire Calhoun

*Barbara Cardinal is a licensed independent social worker (LISW) and a certified hypnotherapist with more than 25 years of experience helping people heal and move through a variety of issues and challenging times in both their personal and professional lives. She earned a Master of Social Work degree from the University at Albany - State University of New York and is a certified hypnotherapist through the American Institute of Hypnotherapy. Her career includes a private practice, several years of college counseling, administration, and leadership as well as teaching and workshop facilitation.


Thomas Castillo Faculty Profile Pic (760x760) March 2018Thomas Castillo is an assistant professor of history who specializes in 20th century U.S. history, with a research focus in inequality, class, ideology, African-American, and immigration studies. His recent courses have engaged the memory of the Vietnam War in late 20th century America. Many of the classes he teaches explores the contours of American class struggle, identity, and memory.



*Judy Chamberlain is an instructor for the AARP Driver Safety program.

Tom Cook imageTom Cooke teaches classes in organic gardening, how to attract pollinators to your garden, and honeybee keeping. He is also an OLLI student.




Russ D' imageRuss D’Arienzo is known as “Mr. D.” to his students at Conway High School where he was a social studies teacher for 31 years. D’Arienzo is passionate about bringing social studies alive for people of all ages. He served approximately five years on active duty and another 20 years of naval reserve duty. D’Arienzo was qualified as a surface warfare officer, aka a ship driver. He earned a master’s degree in education from the University of South Carolina.



Zea Mae imageDonna Davis/Zada Mae is a weaver with 30 years of experience and an OLLI instructor. She teaches in Horry, Georgetown, and Charleston counties as well as many locations in North Carolina. In the past 10 years, she has created more than 2,300 pine needle art pieces. Davis owned a successful gallery at the nationally known Rain Barrel Artisan Village in the Florida Keys and was an instructor in Texas, Florida, Alabama, and Mississippi.




Loretta Deluca image*Loretta DeLuca is an OLLI student who has taken tai chi courses the last several years. She is paying it forward by teaching courses this year.




Sarah Diaz image*Sarah Diaz is an associate professor in the recreation and sport management department at CCU. Her teaching and research areas include nature-based recreation management, environmental education, and ecotourism.




Jaclyn Digeorgio image*Jaclyn DiGiorgio says “when you meet me, you may have to remind me to speak slower or talk less with my hands.” She has to remember that the South isn’t used to her just yet; she was born and raised in Philadelphia, then South Jersey. She has an amazing husband, Michael, who is the rock that keeps her upright when she stumbles, the laugher to stem her flow of tears, and is her heart. She feels she would not be where she is today, if not for him. They have two beautiful children who show her how to be the tough mommy she never thought she could be, while she sometimes has to try and hold back a smile for whatever silly thing they are trying to get past her. Then again, she is the non-typical “irate pirate”; if she could be anything besides what she is, she would be sailing the high seas as a brigand.


Kay Dobis image

Kay Dobis is a nutritionist in Myrtle Beach who specializes in helping people with chronic diseases heal themselves through the power of food and lifestyle changes. Dobis earned an M.S. in nutrition and integrative health from Maryland University of Integrative Health and is board-certified as a certified nutrition specialist (CNS). Dobis’ son is a CCU summer camp alumnus, and her mom is a current OLLI member, so CCU programs are a family affair.



Susan Duke, a native of New York and local gallery owner, studied under various national artists and won numerous awards while participating in many judged and juried exhibitions. She is a transparent watercolorist so her paintings include soft flowing works, strong color realism, or bold, bright abstracts. An instructor more than 32 years, she teaches all levels of students, sharing her joy of “dancing on paper.”

*Ralph Edwards is an instructor for the AARP Driver Safety program.

Ellen Elliott immage*Ellen Elliott is a graduate of Cornell University and the State University of New York at Albany. She worked for 38 years as executive director of a community education organization, and, after retirement, was a partner in a consulting firm which specialized in organization development for nonprofit agencies, including strategic planning, board training, and organization assessment. As a volunteer, she served on several community boards and is a member of the National 4-H Hall of Fame.



Simmone Es imageSimone Esquibel is a professional mosaic artist who has been creating mosaics since 2004. Her mosaic projects include fine art, home décor, and signage. She particularly enjoys teaching others to mosaic, creating a safe environment to learn new skills, explore one’s creativity, and take in the mindful meditative experience inherent for so many with the mosaicking process.



Alice Estates imageAlice McInvaill Estes is a juried and award-winning artist and art instructor; she has taught drawing, painting, batik, sculpture, and needlework during the past 30 years in South Carolina. She has taught children and adults at local recreation centers, churches, schools, and colleges. Estes helped paint the exterior wall murals at two Myrtle Beach recreation centers. A native of Myrtle Beach, she has served as past president, vice president, and secretary of the Waccamaw Arts and Crafts Guild, and has belonged to Seacoast Artist Guild, leading art demos and workshops for both groups.


Kathleen Fair image*Kathleen Fair earned a master’s degree in medieval English history from Brown University and went on to teach history and geography to middle school students for 41 years. She is passionate about almost all aspects of history and misses the “act of teaching,” but doesn’t miss correcting tests or chaperoning dances. She appreciates working with those who love learning and has enjoyed working with OLLI students for many reasons including it gives her an excuse to explore new subjects.



Marsha Fister image*Marsha Fister is an enthusiastic reader who has been a resident of Murrells Inlet for the last 12 years and a member of OLLI since 2015. She is originally from Charlotte, N.C., and retired from UPS in 2003. She has enjoyed being a member of the Contemporary Book Club and volunteered to be the club leader.




Joseph Fitsanakis image*Joseph Fitsanakis is an associate professor in the intelligence and national security studies program at CCU. He specializes in the study of international espionage. His work has been translated into several languages and referenced in media outlets including the Washington Post, BBC, ABC, NPR, and Newsweek. Before joining Coastal in 2015, Fitsanakis built the security and intelligence studies program at King University, where he also directed the King Institute for Security and Intelligence Studies.




*Jerry Frontiero grew up a small New England town where many of its inhabitants were of either Italian, Irish, or Portuguese descent. He initially learned the Italian language from his parents. He has traveled worldwide to all continents and has visited nearly all 198 countries. He frequently travels to Italy. Frontiero served in the U.S. Navy and earned an undergraduate and two graduate degrees, a Master of Arts and a Master of Science. He has taken formal Italian classes, including classes offered by OLLI, and continues his advanced level studies in Italian.

Larry Gates imageLarry Gates, a retired psychology professor, earned a Ph.D. from George Peabody College of Vanderbilt University. He did additional study at Colgate Rochester Divinity School.




Fred G imageFred Gerardi has been a baseball umpire for more than 40 years including college and pro ranks. He umpired six College World Series and was as high as AAA in the pros. Gerardi worked more than 30 years in radio throughout the Midwest and far west as a program director and host of a jazz and big band show. He has been a member of OLLI for 12 years.





*Noreen Gordon has been an OLLI student for several years and loves the colored pencil medium. Gordon is a member of the Colored Pencil Society of America, and president of S.C. chapter No. 124.

John Gore imageJohn Gore has been a Conway tai chi practitioner since 2011. He is proficient in both the Taoist tai chi long form and the Yang style 10 and 24 forms. He is a caring and compassionate tai chi chaun and qigong practitioner with the ability to design classes for the development of mind and body experiences. Gore studied the styles of several masters including Frédèrique Herel and Moy Lin Shin, founder of the Taoist Tai Chi Society. Presently, Gore teaches at several places, including Fit-4-Everyone Recreation Center (an OLLI partner).


Leslie Graves image

*Leslie Graves retired as a mechanical engineer (she helped build cars) and moved to the area from Tennessee permanently 10 years ago. Graves has taken multiple classes through OLLI including colored pencil painting, drawing basics, and photography. Graves likes most nuts, but not hazelnuts.




*Susan Granger moved to this area from Saratoga County, N.Y., where she managed a New York state program that assisted veterans with readjustment issues. In addition, she worked for 15 years as an adjunct faculty member at a college in New York, teaching courses in health and human services. Granger is a retired military member, having served more than 29 years as a Navy senior chief hospital corpsman. She is delighted to meet new people at OLLI. Granger wears many hats for OLLI and elsewhere.

*Luz Greene holds an advertising and social communication degree; she brings extensive experience in leading and training large and diverse workforces. She speaks English and Spanish fluently and is an advocate for the Spanish-speaking community. Her teaching experiences include graduate-level courses, exclusive seminars, and professional workshops for adults and children. She loves to travel and dance; this led to her becoming a Zumba instructor. In addition to being passionate about Spanish history, education and tradition, Greene enjoys talking about Spanish culture and language. She was the 2004 Horry County literacy tutor of the year.

*Sandy Hargis has been playing mahjongg for nearly a decade. Before she retired, Hargis taught elementary school and provided classes for the real estate companies where she worked.

Cathy Hatch is a marketing, communications, education, and publishing professional who has lived in Myrtle Beach for 15 years. She earned a graduate degree in communications and marketing.

John Henry is a 1976 graduate of West Point. He served six years active duty in Korea, Germany, and CONUS. After he left the military, he was a computer scientist and cyber warfare specialist for 30 years. Henry taught undergraduate math and computer science courses at junior college and graduate business administration courses at Phoenix University. He earned a master’s degree in history and the new media from George Mason University in 2012.

HTC Chefs imageHGTC chefs at the International Culinary Institute at HGTC are not only award-winning, but are some of the best-trained chefs around (think Culinary Institute of America, French Pastry School [Chicago], Institute Paul Bocuse, and Johnson & Wales University). They work hard to make sure every student enjoys the kitchen experience when attending a class.





Walter Hill is the director of Horry County Museum in Conway, South Carolina.

Rhonda Hoffman earned a bachelor’s degree in education from Belmont Abbey College in Belmont, N.C. She lives on a small farm in Loris, S.C. She is a proud mother and grandmother. She teaches part time in the adult basic skills program at Southeastern Community College in Whiteville, N.C. One of her passions is world religions.

*Gregory Homer is a South Carolina certified AARP driver safety volunteer instructor.

Terry humphrey imageTerry Lynn Humphrey is a wife, mother to three grown children, grandma to six grandchildren, and great-grandma to one great-granddaughter. Humphrey has worked with countless individuals and families since 1996, coming alongside, helping them become masters of their relationships. She is a marriage and family therapist for the last 20 years and certified mentor coach for the past 14 years.



Ellen Jampole

Keith Jacobs was born in Fayetteville, N.C., and moved to Myrtle Beach in 1994 to work as a photojournalist at The Sun News. Transitioning to commercial photography 10 years later, Jacobs has shot for many newspapers and magazines in the U.S., including The New York Times and FHM Magazine.

*Ellen Jampole hails from North Carolina but has lived in several states, England, France, and Australia. Her hobbies include reading, dancing, gardening, bird and people watching, and enjoying eclectic sights/sounds/smells. Jampole likes roller coasters but she hates Ferris wheels, thanks to a friend’s boyfriend when they were in the eighth grade.


 *Jean Johnston-Smith is the author of “The Misadventures of Pinky.” She earned a B.A. in English and an M.S. in education. She taught high school English in New York City as well as teaching GED classes, ESL to recent immigrants, and women's studies in a prison. She also worked in publishing and editing. Currently working on her second novel, she believes that all creative writing forces are birthed and channeled through memoir.

Lloyd Kaplan earned his master’s degree at Brown University and is a professor emeritus from the Community College of Rhode Island and is in the CCRI Hall of Fame. As a professional musician, he has been the leader of “The Aristocats” for 27 years, is the co-author of “Who’s Who in Rhode Island Jazz: 1925-1988,” and is the co-author of “20th Century Music: An Introduction.”

Paula Kenion is a yoga meditation teacher along the Grand Strand for last 12 years. She earned an M.S. in psychology with a specialty in stress management and is an outreach teacher in the tradition of Kriya Yoga. Kenion enjoys sharing easy meditation skills for personal and spiritual growth.

Donald Kirkpatrick is the research associate in paleontology at the Horry County Museum.

Maury Knight, born in Missouri, has a B.S. and M.S. from the University of Wisconsin. She went to law school in D.C. and N.J.; practiced law in N.J.; and moved to South Carolina in 2016.

Sharon Knost is from the northern Virginia area and moved to South Carolina in 2008 after retiring from a career with the federal government. In 2009, she enrolled in an OLLI@CCU stained glass class and has been passionate about this creative art ever since. She enjoys passing this enthusiasm for stained glass to others.

Clancy Knowles has undergraduate degrees in physics and mathematics; his graduate work was in computer science. Knowles designed and developed large-scale software systems. At the age of 24, he was the principle in designing a new early-warning system for NORAD. He developed other systems including the Military Airlift Command’s global command and control system. While based in London, he helped clients throughout the world including Scotland Yard and the national police force of New Zealand.

*Patti Kussman is a retired French teacher whose career spanned 30 years. She is a true Francophile, having studied and traveled extensively in France. She is excited about sharing her knowledge and love of the French language and culture with OLLI students. She has recently become an avid (but not necessarily good) golfer.

*Anita Lampley is a native South Carolinian. Her past employment is in retail management. She is self-employed as a seamstress, specializing in wedding gown alterations, and has been an avid gardener all her life, leading garden clubs for many years. Lampley is a member of the Atlantic Camellia Club, puts on annual shows, and loves to teach others her passion for gardening. She and her husband enjoy giving tours of their one-acre garden in Murrells Inlet and share plants that they have propagated in their greenhouse with others.

*Linda Lane is a senior lecturer and her teaching areas include leisure and wellness, recreation, and sport leadership.

Nancy Launi served as a nurse by profession. Now, she follows her passion and helps people organize, preserve, and enjoy their digital photos. She teaches classes in the area to help people organize their print and digital photos as well as create traditional and digital photo books.

Alan Levy is an expert in health, fitness, and performance athletics. He is an accomplished educator and passionate chiropractor. He has given more than 250 lectures on the importance of the brain-body connection as it relates to health, well-being, and vitality. In 2006, Dr. Levy graduated from Logan College of Chiropractic in St. Louis, Mo., as a doctor of chiropractic. He and his wife, Dr. Elaine, promptly returned to Myrtle Beach and founded Sea One Family Chiropractic where they have served hundreds of families just like yours for more than 13 years.

Lori Lohse is a New England native who moved to England before relocating to South Carolina. She has a degree in psychology, but worked in the tech industry for many years. Her hobbies include knitting, crocheting, sewing, photography, writing, reading, and paper crafts. Lohse has been scrapbooking, stamping, and card-making for 20 years.

Maryann Loucks is an RYT 200. RYT stands for registered yoga teacher and RYT 200 is one of the designations offered by Yoga Alliance, one of yoga’s leading professional agencies. Loucks has been practicing more than a decade. She has spent the last 25 years as a teacher and professional developer in upstate New York and recently relocated to South Carolina. Loucks creates a safe space for people to deal with the stresses in their lives so they can focus on their physical, mental, and emotional health to work toward achieving their personal goals.

Kristen Lutjen earned a B.Ed. in elementary education, an M.A. in transpersonal psychology, and a graduate certificate in transformative leadership. Her two decades of experience as a K-12 educator underscore the value of the integral roles of creativity and mindfulness for holistic and joyful living.

*Debbie Lynd is spending a more leisurely time as a personal and professional leadership coach after more than 35 years in the corporate world. With a passion for learning and teaching as well as positive psychology, mindfulness and meditation, Lynd continues to learn and grow, while paying it forward, helping others become happier and healthier human beings.

Barbara McCormick has made sweetgrass baskets for more than fifty years. Raised in Mount Pleasant, S.C., McCormick learned how to weave sweetgrass baskets from her grandmother and was taught how to shape and style by her grandaunt. She took on sweetgrass basket weaving as one of her favorite activities. McCormick has since carried on this tradition and has shared her talent with others including her family.

*Anita McKay began writing in third grade, creating overwrought stories sounding suspiciously like sci-fi and mystery movies she had seen. After retiring as a marketing director, she developed her writing through workshops, college courses, and critique groups. Her poetry and creative nonfiction have appeared in numerous publications. She holds a master’s degree in anthropology with a concentration in linguistics. Along with writing, her passions include travel and gardening. She appreciates good meals with good friends. In addition, she has a wonderful sense of humor and a deliciously bent streak. She is planning on “killing off” some of the characters in her novel. McKay will not identify yet who the characters are or why they are, as we say in the South, “in need of killin’.”

Helene Miale is a former college business law and marketing adjunct professor and corporate marketing executive. She earned a law degree from Seton Hall University, a master’s degree in communication from Stanford University, and a bachelor’s degree in journalism and economics from the University of Connecticut.

Craig Miller holds a doctorate in theology and classical/biblical languages, and has participated in projects across the spectrum of Judaic, Christian, and Islamic studies. He has instructed at all levels of academia, including more than 25 years in adult education in the fields of religion, literature, history, art, and linguistics with the goal of making unfamiliar material accessible to broad audiences. He is an elected member of Phi Alpha Theta, an international historical scholarship society, for original work on the Arab-Jewish riots in 1930s Palestine and on the use of Quranic Arabic in Arab nationalist/Islamic terrorist propaganda. He served for more than 30 years in the intelligence community as analyst, linguist, and policy adviser.

*Cathy Milliren is a retired principal from the New York School for the Deaf where she worked for more than three decades. She has taught American Sign Language at the high school and college levels for several years. Milliren enjoys going to Disney World as frequently as she can. Not only does she love the mouse (specifically Minnie), but also her two sons live in the area so she gets to visit with them.

*Jason Milliren has been using American Sign Language as a means of communication for the past 34 years He has been a teacher of the deaf and taught ASL at the high school level for several years. Milliren has also worked on interpretive sign language for the theater. He also enjoys going to Disney World frequently. Milliren wants to learn to ballroom dance and do the hokey pokey.

Suz Mole has made functional and sculptural one-of-a-kind vivid glass art exhibited and sold in art galleries and contemporary craft stores throughout the United States. She returned to her Southern roots in 2007, achieving her dream of working as a full-time professional artist. She now offers workshops in glass fusing, alcohol ink, and encaustic painting as well as mixed-media altered books.

Kofie Montgomery image*Kofie Montgomery is a retired teacher educator and coach. As a professor, she had the best of both worlds, teaching college students and young children. She is also a former coach for several sports, including women's field hockey. Montgomery is an advocate for equality and was involved in the Favia v. Indiana University of Pennsylvania, 812 F. Supp. 578 (W.D. Pa. 1993) case. She now volunteers as a guardian ad litem in Horry County. Montgomery has an easy laugh and is the proverbial iron fist in a velvet glove.

*Paul Moyer is a retired physician with a lifelong interest in mathematics, including an undergraduate degree in math. He has been living in Murrells Inlet for three years, and a wood turner for about 25 years. Moyer makes wooden bowls, cutting boards, screw drivers, ring holders, and other useful wooden products at his shop in Socastee. He sells these items at local craft fairs.

Newton Mullins imageNewton Mullins is a retired dentist who moved to the Myrtle Beach area a few months ago. He has had a lifelong passion for rock ‘n’ roll music and has studied it extensively. He has owned a DJ business for more than 40 years. Additionally, he taught courses about rock music for six years in the summer at his undergraduate alma mater, the University of Virginia’s College at Wise.

Debbie Mundie is a retired pharmacist who relocated to Myrtle Beach in 2009 from Hanover, Va. In retirement, Mundie’s priority was to become physically fit and active while exploring creative endeavors like yoga, dance, music, and photography. Upon completion of the Nia white belt training, Mundie began teaching Nia dance in 2015. She subsequently completed Nia Moving to Heal (M2H) training and apprenticeship to become a certified Nia M2H teacher. Moving to Heal classes provide a gentle, restorative experience that turns movement into a therapeutic self-healing experience for students with a range of challenges that include general mobility problems, injuries, and short- or long-term illnesses. Mundie feels that this model of teaching Nia combined with her knowledge and experience in health care allows her to deliver “movement as medicine” as a complement to traditional health care.

John Navin imageMatthew Murphy

*John Navin is an active member of CCU’s Department of History since 1999. He teaches courses on the colonial, revolutionary, early republic, and antebellum periods. He has published numerous articles about interracial violence in early America and is author of “The Grim Years: Settling South Carolina, 1670-1720,” from the USC press.

*Mark R. Nugent is the division chief and fire marshal for Midway Fire Rescue. Nugent manages the many facets of the Division of Fire and Life Safety, including the plans review process, the fire inspection program, fire investigations, the fire and life safety education program, and the smoke alarm initiative for the department. Prior to joining Midway Fire Rescue, Nugent had a 40-year career in the fire service; working 35 years for Chesterfield, Va., fire and EMS, serving four years as the chief of emergency services for Middlesex County, Va., and serving one year as the public information/public education officer for Horry County (S.C.) fire rescue. Nugent holds associate degrees in fire science, EMS management, a bachelor’s degree in organizational management and development, and a master’s degree in public administration. Chief Nugent is also the co-author of the fire service text, “The Community Fire Safety Guide.”

Jusy Ogden imageJudy Ogden has worked as a mediator for all sorts of disputes (parent-teen, divorce and parenting plans, inter-family, and neighbor issues) for more than 20 years. She would like to share what she has learned about how to increase communication and understanding in important relationships. Ogden enjoys reading, University of Michigan sports, walking the beach with her dog, and she likes the social aspects that OLLI has provided her.

Carol Osborne

Anna Oldfield, an associate professor in the Department of English, has beenresearching musical folklore and epic singing genres in the Caucasus and Central Asia since 2003. Her first book, based on two years of research in Azerbaijan, addressed the role of women epic singers in cultural, social and historical contexts.

*Carol Osborne loves to have fun and play games; she is extremely competitive. Osborne also is very fond of her cats and dog. After graduating from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a master’s degree in the art of teaching (English education), she taught high school in Virginia Beach for 12 years before pursuing a second master’s degree and a doctorate in English from the University of Virginia. In 1998, she accepted a position in the English department of Murray State University, and soon became director of humanities. In 2002, she joined the faculty of Coastal Carolina University and has since taught English and English education courses, served as the associate dean of the Edwards College of Humanities and Fine Arts, and is now the director of Department of Academic and Community Outreach. In addition, she serves as a volunteer excursion driver. In her spare time, she travels, gardens, visits thrift stores, and hangs out with friends and family.

Brandon Palmer image*Brandon Palmer is a professor in the history department at CCU and has been teaching courses on world history and Asian history since 2007.



Tripthi Pillai image*Tripthi Pillai is an associate professor of English at CCU. A specialist in Renaissance drama, critical theory, cultural studies, and cinema, Pillai’s published articles and book chapters are on Shakespeare and other Renaissance authors, as well as topics in cultural studies and films. Born in New Delhi, she was educated in India, the UK, and the U.S. An avid traveler and lover of diverse cultures, Pillai is coordinator of the Arts and Humanities Global Experience program.

*Ed Piotrowski is ABC 15’s chief meteorologist. He earned a degree in meteorology from North Carolina State University. In his 22 years in South Carolina, Piotrowski has been named Best Weathercaster in the State twice by the South Carolina Associated Press, Best of the Beach 13 years in a row, and was nominated for the National Hurricane Center’s Media Award for outstanding efforts to educate and inform the public about hurricanes and hurricane preparedness.

Bob Poirier image*Robert G. (Bob) Poirier earned a bachelor’s degree in European history from Norwich University and a master’s degree from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. A decorated officer of the Vietnam War, he completed advanced intelligence courses and was designated a foreign area officer for Western Europe. His distinguished career in the CIA’s National Photographic Interpretation Center brought awards for the discovery and publication of the 1944-45 Auschwitz aerial photographs. As an author and teacher of military history, Soviet military analysis, and Civil War battles, he leads battlefield tours for the Civil War Education Association.

*Olumide Popoola is a London-based Nigerian-German writer. Her publications include essays; poetry; the novella “this is not about sadness” (Unrast, 2010); the play text “Also by Mail” (edition assemblage, 2013); the short story collection “breach,” co-authored with Annie Holmes (Peirene Press, 2016); as well as recordings in collaboration with musicians. In 2004, she won the May Ayim Award, the first international black German literary award, in the lyric category for her work “Undercurrents.” Olumide earned a Ph.D. in creative writing and has lectured in creative writing at various universities. In 2018, Olumide curated Berlin’s inaugural international African bookfest, Writing in Migration, which saw more than 35 authors come to the city. She created and is leading the creative writing and mentoring scheme “The Future is Back” for emerging LGBTQ+ writers, which is funded by the Arts Council England. Olumide presents internationally as author, speaker, and facilitator. Her critically acclaimed novel “When We Speak of Nothing” was published by Cassava Republic Press in 2017 in the UK and Nigeria, and in April 2018 in the U.S. It will be published in Danish by Rebel with a Cause. Olumide is currently writer in residence 2019-2020 at Greenwich University, where she will be working on her new novel.

Ron Revere image

Sherri Restauri has extensive background in the teaching and learning environment, in both the private and corporate sectors as well as in higher education. She has taught a full range of educational technology tools to faculty, staff and students across the spectrum of ages and experience levels. Her current research focuses on improving learning for students across the developmental spectrum, and on increasing student engagement.           

Ron Revere is a 37-year veteran teacher of astronomy and physics who has taught for seven years with OLLI-Litchfield. He serves as a teaching associate at CCU for two lab sections of Astronomy 101 for non-science majors. He has also served as a solar system ambassador for NASA/JPL. Please join Revere in his quest to increase people’s knowledge of and appreciation for astronomy in the Lowcountry.

Edie Reynolds is new to teaching for OLLI and joins her mother, Gail, in teaching students how to research their family history.

Gail Reynolds is a retired teacher from Rochester, N.Y. She has been researching her family history for more than 25 years. She co-founded the Grand Strand Genealogy Club and is a past president and treasurer of that organization. She has been teaching genealogy courses for lifelong learning since 2000. She also consults with individuals on their family history research and speaks on the topic of family history at local service organizations.

*Dick Richards is a retired math teacher.

*Sheila Rudesill is a former employee of a garment department within a major department store. She can tell you a great deal of information about how clothes are made and how to tell good clothing. She holds a nidan (second degree) black belt in the Goju Ryu style of karate and is passionate about tai chi as well. Rudesill proudly cohabits a home with a bossy cat and semi-bossy dog.

*Marla Sage is the dance coach and mascot coordinator for Coastal Carolina University. She owned Marla's School of Dance in Surfside Beach, S.C., for 31 years and resides in Surfside Beach with her husband David. They have two grown children who also live in the area, as well as one grandson.

*Kholoud Sawaf is a theater creator and director who was born and raised in Damascus, Syria. She has worked and trained in theatre and television in Syria, Lebanon, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, and the United States. She earned an MFA in directing from the University of Arkansas. Most recently, she directed “Vietgone” and “10,000 Balconies,” an original work by Sawaf loosely based on Romeo and Juliet and set in contemporary Damascus, Syria—both at TheatreSquared. Sawaf is a recipient of the Classical Directing Fellowship from the Drama League in New York where she collaborated with Tina Packer at Shakespeare and Company, and with numerous other artists at Hudson Valley Shakespeare. At the Manhattan Theatre Club (as a Jonathan Alper Directing Fellow) and at Oregon Shakespeare Festival (as part of the FAIR Program), she was the assistant director of “Vietgone,” under the direction of May Adrales. In tandem with TheatreSquared, the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art awarded a $250,000 three-year grant to Sawaf for her play “10,000 Balconies.” Her upcoming projects include directing “Much Ado about Nothing” at the Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival and collaborating on a new piece, “12 Million Footsteps,” with award-winning playwright/director Joe Calarco. She was invited to participate in an elite cadre of global artists as part of the National Directing Institute with Pangea World Theater and Art2Action and serves as an associate member of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society (SDC). Sawaf is a proud member and presenter at the Nhna Cultural Club in Damascus, Syria, which provides an artistic, educational, and cultural exchange between Syrian artists. Sawaf was featured on NPR’s weekend edition in August 2019:

*Melanie Scott is an expert in Taoist tai chi after studying it for the past 10 years. She has organized an OLLI group so that students have the opportunity to practice tai chi with the motivation and encouragement of a group setting.

Linda Shultz is a passionate yogi after discovering that yoga helped manage her many medical issues. She wanted to share yoga with everyone so 12 years ago, Shultz started teaching yoga. The joy she feels watching her students improve is all the motivation she needs to continue. Shultz added Zumba Gold as a fun and easy way for people of all ages to get a great cardio fitness workout that would be easy on the joints.

*Peter Sivillo is a former employee of the U.S. space program after 34 years of experience (1963-1997). He worked on the design of the simulator systems for use in the Apollo trainer programs. His projects included the command and lunar modules simulators. Sivillo’s positions included engineering section head of the command module simulator, program manager of the lunar module simulator, and program manager of the space shuttle simulator after delivery to NASA.

*Barnie Slice is a teacher within the OLLI program at CCU for the last decade and has had huge classes that he loves to teach. He is a self-taught artist who began before the age of YouTube lessons. During a career of more than 40 years, he has taught approximately 14,000 students.

Becky Steele is an artist and writer who has been creating fine art and journals since the 1990s. Although she paints with all media, she really likes acrylics and multi-media abstracts as they allow the unknown to come forth and be seen and are usually full of surprises. Steele’s workshops are fun and upbeat. She enjoys working with others and encourages each student to be present with their process and let the creative flow.

*Stanley and Terri Stephens are a father/daughter team. They have more than 30 years combined experience in the health insurance field; the emphasis of their senior insurance agency is Medicare health insurance and Medicare Part D RX plans. Stanley is a proud grandpapa; Terri is a talented singer.

Jef Sturm is a graduate of the Cleveland Institute of Art, where he earned a degree in graphic design and fine art. He has spent most of his life teaching, exhibiting, drawing, and painting. He demonstrates, exhibits, and sells his work at venues in Georgetown, Pawleys Island, and Myrtle Beach. Working from altered and revised photographic compositions, Sturm’s approach to painting is to “capture the quality of light as it exists in a solitary moment.”

Holley Tankersley imageKris Szepanski

*Holley Tankersley, a political scientist with research and teaching expertise in public policy and political institutions, is the interim provost for strategy and development. Prior to this appointment, Tankersley served as the associate dean of the Edwards College of Humanities and Fine Arts and the chair of the Department of Politics at CCU. During her four-year tenure as chair, she promoted and managed growth of the department as it doubled in size; led faculty in deepening and expanding their commitment to high-impact learning practices; and founded the Edgar Dyer Institute for Leadership and Public Policy, an endowed teaching and research center focused on solving the policy problems of the community and the region.

Bill and Rosemary Tierney are active in karate and other martial arts as well as being the former U.S.B.C. Amateur Latin Champion and Rising Star Finalists. They belong to the North American Dancesport Teachers Association and are UKA certified in Latin and Standard. They are very active in the ballroom dancing scene here in the Grand Strand.

Amanda Todd, a teaching associate in Anthropology and Geography, is a human-environmental geographer specializing in the geographies of belief systems and spiritual landscapes. She focuses on integrating historical and contemporary human perceptions and experiences with nature and the experiential hallmarks of our multi-cultural world. Her previous academic research highlighted modern spiritual landscapes within the Southern Appalachian Mountains of Georgia, Tennessee, North Carolina and Kentucky.With a focus on place perception and geographies of belief systems, her research today explores spiritual practices and experiences connected to prominent geologic features and various landscapes around the world. Her supporting studies outside of academia include a myriad of indigenous wisdom-keepers, elders, teachers, healers, and shamans including: Cherokee, Hawaiian, Q’ero, Aymara, Buryat and European neo-shamans. Dr. Todd also travels frequently to Hawai’i to further her skills and knowledge of Hawaiian Hula Sacred Dance in exploring the intersection of movement (Hawaiian Hula) with geography, history, spirituality, and the environment.

*John Tracy is a musician, photographer, educator, and mentor. He trained in academia and with West African musicians. He believes the essence of the arts, music, and dance is awareness and a profound joyous dance of the spirit. His job in retirement is to share whatever can transform lives, bring new experiences to people, and to bring celebration into the world.

*Brenda Tringali is a professional organizer and the owner of At Your Fingertips Organizing. She provides workplace, residential, and life organizing services. Tringali is a member of the National Association of Productivity and Organizing (NAPO) professionals and has earned their Workplace Productivity and Residential Organizing certificates. She is also chair of the national NAPOCares Committee that highlights the social responsibility efforts of NAPO members sharing their time, treasures, and talents with their communities.

*Daphne Trent is a certified health coach from the Sears Wellness Institute. Trent teaches health classes and holds health seminars in the area. Her passion is to help everyone live a healthier lifestyle with vibrant health through diet, exercise, and fundamentals on health.

Jan Truszkowski is a certified makeup artist with a special interest in skincare and makeup for mature skin. After a long career in public service and health care, she is finally pursuing her “first love” for beauty with the hopes of helping mature women to look and feel their best. There’s a massive amount of information on the internet about skincare and makeup which can be very confusing. Join Truszkowski as she “cuts to the chase” and helps you make sense of “proven benefits” versus hyped-up marketing techniques for skincare and makeup. She feel “you deserve it!”

Jo Ann Tufo is a professional historian, actor, and lecturer who has taught for OLLI for the past six years. She brings her characters to life in many different ways.

*Elizabeth (Liz) Tyler joined Merrill Lynch in 2013. She strives to build enduring relationships with individuals, families, and businesses by seeking to understand their needs and goals. In addition to wealth management planning, Tyler handles the group’s marketing and coordinates and plans group events. Tyler has earned her CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ certification. She earned a bachelor’s degree in finance from Coastal Carolina University’s Honors program. During her time at CCU, she was presented with the Outstanding Student Achievement in Finance Award. She currently serves on Coastal Carolina’s Accounting Advisory Board.

Don Ullman is a retired Army colonel and a graduate of West Point. He earned graduate (master’s level) degrees in German language and literature from Middlebury College and international relations from the University of Southern California. He was a German specialist for the Army teaching German at West Point, serving as a military attaché at the U.S. Embassy, and residing in Germany for 11 years. He served two tours of duty in Vietnam. He has taught lifelong learning history courses on the Grand Strand since 1996.

*Robert Unger, a financial adviser, helped his parents run a small family resort on the Lake of the Ozarks which instilled the meaning of hard work in him at a young age and helped him realize he wanted to run his own business when he grew up. He went to Westminster College in Missouri and after graduation, started with Edward Jones as a financial adviser. One of the primary reasons he is a financial adviser is his desire to help people. He met his wife through Edward Jones; they moved to Pawleys Island in 2017 and enjoy it so much they want to raise a family and eventually retire here.

Martha Van Loan holds degrees in art from Syracuse University and the University of Oregon. Her art has been in galleries and museums in the U.S. and overseas. She is still active but is semi-retired, now working part time as a designer and instructor.

Christine Vernon imageChristine Vernon is owner of and storyteller for Miss Chris’ Inlet Walking Tour in Murrells Inlet, an award winning tour- 2017 Finalist for Best Tour Guide/Company. Having moved from Philadelphia, Pa., in 2005, she has been studying the local history and legends of the South Strand. Vernon also is a full time artist and owner of The Studio at Inlet Cottage.

Linda McGinn Waterman is an award-winning author of more than 20 books. She is the host of the international radio program, “Your Refreshed Life” ( Her career highlights include being an adjunct professor for four universities in journalism, writing, and public speaking; director of communication for two universities; editor of two luxury lifestyle magazines; and a curriculum writer. She earned a master’s degree in journalism from the Washington, D.C., branch of Regent University’s School of Communications and the Arts.

Kathy Welde, a former math teacher and military spouse, has been creating stained glass works of art more than 35 years. She has been teaching this art form more than 20 years. Her classes have been a popular favorite since OLLI courses began in Pawleys Island.

Philip Whalen image*Philip Whalen is professor of history in the Thomas W. and Robin W. Edwards College of Humanities and Fine Arts at Coastal Carolina University. He is the author of five books, including the co-editing of “French Historians, 1900-2000” and “Place and Locality in Modern France.” Whalen has ongoing research and teaching interests in tourism, gastronomy, historical geography, and the memory of war in French history.

*Sue Ann Whittick is a former visual arts teacher in Pittsburgh public schools, and has retired to the Myrtle Beach area. She is a craftswoman who specializes in basketry, seashells, and miniatures; she has won awards for her work. She loves tea parties, the sea area, mermaids, traveling, exploring life, learning, and teaching for OLLI@CCU as well as summer kids’ camps through the Department of Academic and Community Outreach.

Clark Wilburn is a former history teacher in secondary schools in the Rochester, N.Y., area. He has also served as a tour director with Collette Vacations, where he led numerous tours of Great Britain and Ireland, as well as tours taking place within the United States and Canada. Wilburn is a graduate of Oberlin College (B.A.), Nazareth College (M.S.) and The Drama Studio.

Lisa Williams is a transplant from Pennsylvania and has lived in South Carolina for more than 22 years. She has worked at Coastal Carolina University in the Department of Academic and Community Outreach for more than a decade at all of the centers. When not at work, you can find her spending time with her husband on their mini-farm. There they have a herd of alpacas. She enjoys gardening, crafting, crocheting, and working with alpaca fiber which she has learned a great deal about and is still learning to do many things with.

Geoffrey Wilson holds a lifetime love of science, finance, and history. Wilson spent 13 years teaching secondary school science after earning a master’s degree in physics. He later earned a master’s degree in business administration in finance and worked in banking and finance for 30 years. His career paths included law in addition to the previously mentioned areas. He retired to Myrtle Beach in 2016. Growing up near Philadelphia, he and his family had an intense interest in the Civil War, especially the Battle of Gettysburg.

Gail Wright would like us to know that the sweetgrass basket tradition came to American from Sierra Leone, Africa, when the slaves were brought to South Carolina and Georgia. These baskets are made out of bulrush, sweetgrass, pine needles, and palms. They can be used for bread, as casserole dishes, pie plates, and jewelry boxes. The sweetgrass supply is scarce. Mount Pleasant, S.C., was one of the areas where the sweetgrass basket tradition originated in the United States. The Wright family has lived in this area for many years and weaving has been passed on for generations from mother to daughter. Wright has been weaving baskets for 49 years and passed the tradition on to her daughter and her grandson. Today, she enjoys showing others the traditions and give them a better history and understanding about sweetgrass baskets.