department menu

Meet Our Instructors


FAROUK AL-NASSER, PH.D., is the past President of the San Diego World Affairs Council. As the Executive Director for Iraqi Operations for a Fortune 500 Company, he was responsible for the execution of contracts with the U.S. government in the areas of Information Technology, Telecommunications and Global Service Management.

Manuel Arriaga

MANUEL ARRIAGA, PH.D., received an M.A. and Ph.D. in Philosophy. He is currently an assistant professor at Cal State San Marcos where he teaches Non-Western Philosophy, Philosophy of Religion, and Bioethics and Medical Ethics.


DOUGLAS R. BARKER, M.A., is a professional art historian, educator and metaphysical researcher. He is an enthusiastic researcher of megaliths and his particular expertise is in relating the history of art to the evolution of consciousness in the Western world.


NADINE ANN BOPP, MLA, has a B.A. in biology and ecology, an M.A. in parks and recreation and an M.L.A. in landscape architecture. She taught at Columbia College and The School of the Art Institute for nearly 20 years. She’s presented classes for Osher at CSULB and SDSU.

Osher_Alexandra Bunyak

ALEXANDRA BUNYAK, M.D., 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.


STEVEN CARLISLE, PH.D., is a cultural and psychological anthropologist who is very interested in the points where culture, religion, psychology, and philosophy meet. He received his doctorate in cultural anthropology from UCSD in 2003.  When he has the time to travel, he conducts research on Buddhism and daily life in Bangkok, Thailand.


DOMINIC COLANGELO’S career encompasses 44 years at all levels of the wine industry. He served as VP of Distinctive Wines, Ltd., and is former director of sales and marketing for San Pasqual Vineyards. He taught at UCSD for 12 years and has co-founded several events including the San Diego National Wine Competition.

Jeff Demsky

JEFFREY DEMSKY, PH.D., is a tenured professor of history at San Bernardino Valley College. His scholarship exists at the intersection of American cultural history and Holocaust memory. Jeff earned his doctorate from the University of Florida. The American University in Washington DC awarded his Master’s Degree. Dr. Demsky is active scholar who lectures globally and has published his research in academic presses across the US, UK, Canada, France, and Germany.


ERICA DURAN is a lecturer at CSUSM where she teaches first-year composition. She relishes any opportunity to teach for Osher, where she can explore and discuss her passion of 20th century American authors.


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.


BONNIE GLEASON, PPS, has had her work featured in magazines, galleries, gift shops and hotels. She has received recognition from the National Association for the Arts and is a member of the Carlsbad-Oceanside Art League Gallery.


PHILIP GOSCIENSKI, M.D., 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, he continues to teach medical students on a volunteer basis.


FRANCE-MARIE HAEGER, M.A., ATR-BC, 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.

Lisa Harris

LISA TERESI HARRIS, M.S., is a Registered Dietitian and certified Personal Trainer.  A former college professor, she provides strength training and nutrition coaching for Baby Boomers and older adults to help them live independent lives.


Bill Havlicek

WILLIAM HAVLICEK, PH.D., 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.


JIM HINTON’S professional music career spans over 40 years. He specializes in the traditional songs of Ireland, has directed two successful folk groups and served seven years as the contemporary choir director for Fletcher Hills Presbyterian Church.

Laura Johnston

LAURA JOHNSTON is a Jonestown Survivor and author of Jonestown Survivor: An Insider’s Look. She survived the deaths in Jonestown and Georgetown on November 18,1978. After overcoming great trauma, she now travels around the country speaking at universities, libraries, and conferences about her experience. She lives in San Diego, but works closely with the California Historical Society in San Francisco and is participating on the Advisory Committee for their Peoples Temple Collection. 

Ben Kamin

RABBI BEN KAMIN, D.D. 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, M.A., 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.

Steve Laslovich

STEVE LASLOVICH, PT, DPT, CPed, has been an adjunct professor at California State University, teaching courses in biomechanics, anatomy, orthotics and prosthetics, and advanced technology. He has also taught continuing education courses in foot biomechanics and manual therapy of the spine. Additionally, Dr. Laslovich continues his research involving plantar pressure measurements in the assessment of foot biomechanics in the diabetic and non-diabetic foot. He has been a partner in an outpatient physical therapy clinic for 20 years. His clinical practice has focused on biomechanics and outpatient orthopedic patients over the last 25 years.

Linda Lee

LINDA A. LEE, PH.D., is a professor of English and college learning specialist. She served as the OASIS Reading and Study Skills Coordinator at UCSD and is semi-retired from Miramar College where she’s taught English since 1989.  She is passionate about sharing how-to approaches for superior thinking and personal empowerment.


BRUNO LEONE, M.A., 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.


REUBEN MEKENYE, PH.D., is associate professor of history at CSUSM, specializing in the history of southern and modern Africa. He received an M.A. from the University of Wisconsin and earned his Ph.D. in African history from UCLA. He’s taught at Cal State San Marcos since 1996.

Osher_Paulino Mendoza

PAULINO MENDOZA, M.A., has been a Spanish professor at MiraCosta College and Palomar College since 2005. He grew up in a small village in Guerrero, Mexico and moved to California when he was ten. In 2004, he received a M.A. in Hispanic and Peninsular Literature and Linguistics from CSUSM.

David Miller

DAVID MILLER, PH.D., 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 serves as the assistant book review 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.

Marc Milstein

DR. MARC MILSTEIN specializes in taking the leading science research on human health, productivity, and happiness and presents it in a way that entertains, educates and empowers his audience to live better. He earned both his Ph.D. in Biological Chemistry and Bachelor of Science in Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology from UCLA. Dr. Milstein has conducted research on topics including genetics, cancer biology, neuroscience, and infectious disease and his work has been published in multiple scientific journals.  

Alan Mindell

ALAN MINDELL is a local author and former horse breeder. In 2013, he wrote The Closer, a baseball love story, and in 2015 wrote The B Team, a story about a one-eyed horse that winds up in the Kentucky Derby. Both novels became Amazon’s number one bestselling paperbacks in sports fiction. In his free time, Alan gives his lecture Life Begins After 70 to encourage retirees to follow their dreams and live their best lives.


BRANDON REYNOLDS received a B.A. and M.A. in literature and writing from CSUSM. His fields of study were horror fiction and American literature. He has taught at CSUSM for the past six years.


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.


DAVE ROBERTS, PH.D., 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.

L Roberts headshot

LAUREL BROWNING ROBERTS, holds her Bachelor of Fine Arts from San Diego State University and is a professional muralist and award winning Artist, exhibiting in numerous fina Art Shows and private collections. Laurel's art can be seen at the Off Track Gallery in Encinitas, the Carlsbade Oceanside Art League as well as the Oceanside Museum of Fine Art and Oceanside Artist Alliance group. She currently enjoys teaching art classes, holding Wine & Painting events as well as painting commissioned artworks and experiementing in her Art studio in Oceanside.

John Rose

JOHN ROSE, MBA, is a former faculty member at Benedictine University who specializes in government and politics. John also has over 30 years experience as a senior manager with the Government Accountability Office specializing in public policy evaluation. 

Barry Sackin

BARRY SACKIN is an award winning, nationally recognized expert in child nutrition with 37 years’ experience in the industry.  Barry has been a federal lobbyist advocating to Congress and the United States Department of Agriculture on behalf of children.  He is a frequent speaker at state and national conferences and has published dozens of articles and peer-reviewed journal papers.


AMANDA SCHAFFER, M.F.A., M.A., has worked as a commercial illustrator, fine artist, and art educator. Her interests include visual imagery associated with pilgrimage and the Camino de Santiago in Spain. In 2012 she completed graduate studies that focused on beeswax ex-votos left at shrines by pilgrims during the Middle Ages. She has walked on the Camino four times, either with her dad, Albert, or as a solo walker.

Christopher Sleeper

CHRISTOPHER SLEEPER, M.A., works at MiraCosta College as a history professor and faculty coordinator of the MiraCosta Honors Scholar Program.  He regularly teaches American, World and American Military History courses at the Oceanside campus.​

Andy Strathman

ANDY STRATHMAN, PH.D., received his Ph.D. in history from UCSD. He has been an adjunct professor of history at CSUSM and USD since 2005. He has also served as the book reviews editor for the Journal of San Diego History since 2007.

Bruce Thompson

BRUCE THOMPSON, PH.D., has been teaching philosophy and the history of ideas for more than thirty years. He has a Ph.D. from the University of Colorado and is a published author of two books and several articles. He’s taught Comparative Philosophy for Alliant University.

Gary Vargas

GARY VARGAS, M.A., has taught at Mt. San Jacinto College for the last 14 years, where he also serves as the chair of the history department. He specializes in U.S. History, World History, Western Civilization, and Latin American History.

Ben White

BEN WHITE, J.D., received a B.A. in communications from Washington State University, an M.S. in kinesiology from Indiana University, and a J.D. from Gonzaga University School of Law. Ben served as the associate director for judicial affairs at Loyola Marymount University for six years. He is currently the director of student conduct at UCSD and serves as the university’s senior student officer.