Meet Our Outstanding Instructors
Peter Bolland, M.A., is the chair of the humanities department at Southwestern College, and a professor of philosophy and humanities. He is also a columnist for the San Diego Troubadour and Unity Magazine. An award-winning singer-songwriter and poet, as well as a popular speaker and spiritual teacher, Bolland leads meditation workshops at his monthly satsang (PeterBolland.com).
Lecture: Socrates, Plato, and the Allegory of the Cave
Lecture: Plato and Aristotle
Denny Braun, Ph.D., began his career at the Census Bureau in Washington, D.C. as a demographer/statistician. After joining the professoriate at Minnesota State University, Mankato, he taught courses on population dynamics, power and inequality, marriage and family, public opinion, political sociology, research methods, and social statistics for 33 years before retiring. His area of expertise within sociology and economics is social stratification and the study of income inequality, culminating in his seminal book, The Rich Get Richer: The Rise of Income Inequality in the United States and the World.
Book Club: Jungle of Stone: The True Story of Two Men, Their Extraordinary Journey, and the Discovery of the Lost Civilization of the Maya by William Carlsen
Richard Carrico, M.A. grew up in San Diego, served in the U. S. Army, holds three degrees, and has been a professor at local community colleges and a lecturer at SDSU for more than 20 years. As a public speaker and active member of the professional archaeological/historical community, he believes his role is to engage the public and “take the message” to the community.
Course: PreContact (Prehistoric) Rock Art Paintings of San Diego County
Alejandro Castañeda, M.A. is a consultant, corporate trainer, and keynote speaker for more than 30 years. Castañeda holds a master’s degree in communications from Universitá Internationale dell’Arte and Universitá Statale di Firenze, both in Florence, Italy. He teaches marketing and communications at Coahuila Mexico State University in Torreon, and is a visiting professor for extended learning programs at California State University-San Marcos, the University of Texas at Austin, and Universidad Anahuac of Cancún in Cancún, México.
Lecture: Cross Cultural Communications
Kathi Diamant is an adjunct professor at San Diego State University, where she has taught writing and critique classes for OLLI at SDSU since 2008. The author of the San Diego Books Awards’ Geisel Award “Best of the Best” in 2004 for her internationally acclaimed biography, Kafka’s Last Love, she has written hundreds of feature articles for newsletters, newspapers, and magazines, as well as essays for several books, including Ariel Ford’s Soul Mates and Iain Sinclair’s London: City of Disappearances. She has been part of a writing group, Writing Women, since 1988, and has professional experience as co-writer, ghost writer, editor, and writing coach.
Special Event: OLLI at SDSU Speakers’ Bureau Volunteer Training
Special Event: Conversations Worth Having: The Surprising Science of Happiness
Patricia Dintrone holds a Ph.D. in ancient history from the University of Virginia and is a sought-after lecturer on ancient history topics. She is retired from the history department at SDSU where she taught courses in ancient history and civilization.
Course: The Rise and Fall of Ancient Athens
Oliva M. Espín, Ph.D., is professor emerita of Women’s Studies at SDSU. She holds her doctorate in counseling psychology and Latin American studies from the University of Florida. She was a post-doctoral fellow at Harvard University; a professor of psychology at the California School of Professional Psychology of Alliant International University; a Fulbright-distinguished chair in gender studies, University of Klagenfurt, Austria; and author of several academic books and many articles. She was a pioneer in the practice and theory of therapy with women from different cultural backgrounds, particularly immigrant/refugee women.
Lecture: The Perplexing Connections Between Women’s Sexuality and Migration
David Flietner, M.S., has taught at the high school and community college levels. A botanist by training, he has made Shakespeare’s history plays, their source materials, authorship, and critical commentary his study over the past two years.
Workshop: Shakespeare’s and History’s: Richard II
Dave Good is an award-winning journalist. He writes about American life for the San Diego Reader, LA Weekly, Orange County Weekly, San Diego Magazine and more. He lives in La Mesa, California, and is currently at work on his second book, an unsolved crime about a woman, a midnight swim, and a shark.
Course: Five for Noir: The Crime Novel Under the Magnifying Glass
Sarah Heras is a native of Spain, and holds a master’s degree in Spanish from San Diego State University, and teaches Spanish at Southwestern College and San Diego Mesa College. She has been traveling and living in Mexico for the last 13 years, and notes that the Mexican history she was taught in Spain is very different from the one she learned during her travels.
Lecture: Mexican Civilizations
Nicole Holbrook holds a degree in exercise sports science from Oregon State University. After getting her degree, Holbrook worked as a personal trainer at the Downtown Athletic Club in Eugene, where she found her love for swimming, cycling, and running. Her participation in triathlons influenced her move to San Diego, where she met several people by chance who encouraged her to try Hawaiian outrigger canoeing. Holbrook immediately fell in love with the sport and its rich history, culture, and spirit of aloha and ohana.
Workshop: Hawaiian Outrigger Canoeing
Irene Lara, Ph.D. Since earning a B.A. in American studies (Stanford) and Ph.D. in ethnic studies with an emphasis on women, gender, and sexuality (UC Berkeley), Dr. Irene Lara has served as a professor in the Department of Women’s Studies at SDSU. She grew up in Chula Vista and is thrilled to be back in the “borderlands” teaching courses. Her scholarship focuses on holistic health and healing, decolonizing sexuality and spirituality, and women of color healer-activists. Lara recently co-edited: Fleshing the Spirit: Spirituality and Activism in Chicana, Latina, and Indigenous Women’s Lives and Women in Culture: An Intersectional Anthology of Gender and Women’s Studies.
Lecture: Fleshing the Spirit: Spirituality and Activism in Chicana, Latina, and Indigenous Women’s Lives
Philip P. Lindsley is a widely recognized elder and disability law attorney. His practice focuses on Medi-Cal and public benefits planning, special needs planning, asset protection, probate and trust administration, and conservatorships and their alternatives. He is a Certified Elder Law Attorney (CELA), accredited by the State Bar of California and the American Bar Association; a State Bar of California-certified legal specialist in estate planning, trust and probate law; and an accredited Veterans Administration attorney. He is rated AV “Preeminent” by Martindale-Hubble peer review.
Special Event: Important Updates: Long-term Medi-Cal Planning and Asset Preservation
Peter Maxwell worked at UC San Diego for 35 years, primarily in management, while pursuing his graduate studies at SDSU and doing documentary work. Since 2010 he has been an adjunct faculty at Southwestern College in Chula Vista where he has taught over 40 courses in the School of Arts, Communication and Social Sciences; and has been the instructor for Cinema as a Form of Expression and Communication, a full-semester course similar in content to the one he is teaching at OLLI at SDSU.
Workshop: Evolution of the Western Film Genre During the Hollywood Studio Era: Movies by John Ford and Budd Boetticher
Susan McBeth is an SDSU alum with a degree in business administration and a master’s in comparative literature, as well as the founder and owner of AdventuresByTheBook.com.
Watch OLLI Edventures Instructor - Susan McBeth on YouTube
Edventure: Walking Among Birds
Edventure: The Culture and Cuisine of Pakistan
Marc Milstein, Ph.D. specializes in presenting the leading scientific research on human health, productivity, and happiness in a way that entertains, educates and empowers his audience to live better. His lecture topics range from sleep, memory, learning, and emotions, to how our DNA and trillions of cells work in concert with our environment to determine our health. He earned both his Ph.D. in biological chemistry and his B.S. 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.
Lecture: How to Get the Best Night’s Sleep Based on Brain Science
Alan Mindell’s novels, The Closer and The B Team were both Amazon #1 best-selling paperbacks in recently released sports fiction. He conducts numerous creative writing workshops, in which his students enjoy his supportive, yet firm style. Active in sports throughout his life, Mindell has won numerous gold medals as a sprinter in local track and field meets.
Lecture: Start Writing That Novel
Lecture: The Ins and Outs of Horse Racing
Leslie Oster has been a college, high school, and adult-education teacher for more than 30 years. She taught several film courses at two New Yorkarea lifelong learning programs for six years before moving to San Diego. She holds an M.A. in English from The City College (NYC) and has been specially trained to teach film as a discipline.
Workshop: Rebels and Their Dysfunctional Families
John Putman, Ph.D., is an associate professor of history at SDSU and historian of the modern American West (late 19th and 20th centuries). His book, Class and Gender Politics in Progressive- Era Seattle, explores class and gender politics in the urban Northwest. He is also interested in the cultural history of the 20th-century U.S. — in particular, science fiction film in the Cold War era, Star Trek, and politically-oriented music from the 1960s and ’70s.
Lecture: World War I and American Society
Glenn C. Smith, J.D., LL.M., is a professor at California Western School of Law. He writes about a variety of legal issues, both for scholarly journals and publications aimed at non-legal audiences. He teaches a Supreme Court simulation class at CWSL, in which students learn about the Court by playing roles as current justices and advocates. He is a regular commentator in print and electronic media regarding the Court and its cases.
Course: What Makes Supreme Court Decisions ‘Landmark’?
Listen to OLLI Instructor - Glenn C. Smith’s Constitutional Context Podcast
Rosanna West-Walker, Ph.D. is a folklorist and adjunct English professor at Southwestern College and Mesa College. She has a B.A. in history and an M.A. in folklore from Utah State University, and a Ph.D. in British and American literature from the University of Oregon. She has taught folklore, writing, and literature for over 20 years, mainly at the University of Oregon and Lane Community College in Eugene.
Lecture: The Power of Folklore
Matthew Wion holds a Ph. D. from Marquette and an M.A. from SDSU. Born, raised and originally educated in San Diego, Wion earned his Ph.D. in philosophy from Marquette in 2011. During his graduate studies, he taught philosophy courses at Marquette, Mount Mary College, and Bryant and Stratton College (all in Milwaukee). After graduation, he was an adjunct at the College of Lake County, Harper College, McHenry County College, and Oakton in Northern Illinois. In March 2015, he and his wife Erica and two sons moved back to San Diego where he has been teaching at Southwestern College.
Course: What is God?