Osher Lifelong Learning Institute Courses

Meet the OLLI at UM Instructors:

Ms. Simona Bai is a native of Italy who before coming to OLLI@UM  taught Grammar and Italian for Travelers at Ringling College - Osher Lifelong Learning Institute in Sarasota, FL. and at Suncoast Technical College - Adult and Community Enrichment, also in Sarasota, from 2016 - 2019.  Prior to that, Ms. Bai taught Italian in Modena, Italy. She has a Bachelor's Degree in Education from the University of Bologna in Italy. 

Ms. Margie Bauer is a botanical and scientific illustrator, a "zendoodler" and a teacher in watercolor, pen and mixed media.  She works out of her studios in Cashiers, NC and Coral Gables, FL.  She often studies her subjects by growing native plants at home that attrack native creatures.  She has taught her classes at the Fairchild Tropical Botanic Gardens, Viscaya, Just Your Height exhibition and The Knitting Garden.  

Dr. Batia Cohen Ph.D. in Mesoamerican Studies from the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México and a Bachelor's degree in Graphic Design from the Universidad Metropolitana in Mexico City. She was an adjunct professor at Florida International University and she has taught in Florida for the past 15 years. Ms. Cohen has published numerous articles in specialized Art and History magazines. She is currently a collaborator of a cultural magazine in Spanish online; LetraUrbana.com. She is the author of the historical novel Una Amapola Entre Cactus.

Ms. Anush Dawidjan retired in 2010 after a 35 year career with the US Government. She worked/lived overseas for the US Government in England, Germany, Niger, Japan, and Hong Kong. She has now traveled to ALL 193 UN member countries: her personal goal to visit EVERY country in the world.  Since 2011, she has been teaching classes at Springfield College, OLLI@UM and FIU OLLI.  Ms. Dawidjan is a snowbird who spends her summers in Springfield, MA and her winters in Miami, FL.

Mr. Robert Dawson is a BFA graduate of the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee.  He taught there, in the theatre department, for 4.5 years.   He was the founder and director of The Ring of Steel, a 35 member troupe of theatrical stage fighters and choreographers who conducted workshops, classes, and performances in a 6-state area for over 10 years.  For 8.5 years, he was the historian and marketing director of Turner Broadcasting's HMS Bounty, and appeared as Lt. Cmdr. William Bligh.  Prior to becoming an Osher Lecturer, Mr. Dawson was the lead science performer for the Miami Museum of Science, entertaining and educating over 600,000 guests over 16 years.  Today, Mr. Dawson devotes his time and energy to creating and performing characters in his "Triumph and Tragedy" series of over 100 historic biographies.

Ms. Jeannie DeQuine has taught English as an adjunct professor at the University of Miami, as well as other colleges and universities.  Ms. DeQuine has over 25 years of experience as a journalist for Time, Newsweek and People magazines.  She has two graduate degrees in writing from Columbia Graduate School of Journalism and Florida International University.

Mr. Alan Dietz, an active OLLI member, was an original Madison Avenue "Madman" as a Creative Director at some of the world's largest ad agencies headquartered in New York and Chicago. He was President and Creative Director at his own ad agency in Miami for many years. Alan has created high-profile ad campaigns for some of the world's premier clients. He graduated with a BA and MA in history at the University of Miami, where he taught American and world history as a graduate teaching assistant. This was followed by PhD work in history at Cal-Berkeley, which was interrupted by his acceptance of a job as an advertising copywriter at J. Walter Thompson in New York. He is presently writing a sci-fi novel dealing with quantum physics and relativity theory.

Ms. Susan Dow has taught adults for over 20 years. She is a retired director of adult education at Miami-Dade College and current adjunct lecturer at UM in Spanish and English as a Second Language.


Mr. Armando Droulers is an artist, art historian and educator. He studied at Bard College, Academia de Arte Federico Brandt, New World School of the Arts and the University of Florida. He lectures on art, culture and travel, teaches fine art and design and organizes cultural tours, as well as art and wine culinary events. As a Master Artist, he teaches art and is a guest lecturer onboard Celebrity Cruises ships. He has lived in Europe, Latin America, the Middle East and the United States and speaks fluent English, French and Spanish.

Mr. Mark Egdall is the award winning author of the popular science book Einstein Relatively Simple: Our Universe Revealed in Everyday Language.  A retired aerospace program manager, he has been teaching at other South Florida lifelong learning programs since 2006 and at OLLI @UM since 2010.

Dr. Judith Etzion, Ph.D. in Musicology, Columbia University, has enjoyed a distinguished career as a scholar, performer, and university professor in the USA, Israel, and Spain. She has also conducted courses in music appreciation for adult education programs for over 30 years. Dr. Etzion teaches various lifelong learning programs in South Florida.

Dr. Luis Carlos Fallon has a Doctorate of Law, Political and Social Sciences from the Universidad Nacional, Bogota, Colombia.  Dr. Fallon has taught at the National University in Colombia and was an associate professor at Tamkang University in China. He has written five books and has taught Spanish language and Literature.  He currently teaches a variety of Spanish language courses at the University of Miami, Intensive Language Institute. In 2018, he was honored with an award in Colombian Literature “FILCOL 2017” by the Hispanic Heritage Literature Organization in Miami, as a special recognition for his works as a writer, and poet, and for his dedication to teaching the Spanish language and Hispanic literature for over 40 years.

Ms. Grisell Gonzalez studied under Tai Chi Master, Tony Garcia, Certified Tai Chi for Health by Dr. Paul Lam - The Yang 24, Sun Tai Chi for Arthritis I/II, Sun/Chen Tai Chi for Energy, and Qi Gong.  

Dr. Eugene Greco graduated cum laude from Union College as a Humanities major, concentrating in music and art history. He holds an MME degree in Choral Music Education from Ithaca College and a second masters from State University of NY at Albany in Educational Administration. Additionally, Dr. Greco holds a PhD in Musicology from UM. He teaches at both Miami Dade College and UM.

Mr. Leslie Gross went to Harvard College and Law School. He clerked for an appellate judge, then taught Social Institutions at Miami Dade College for a year, while joining the Greenberg law firm. He also taught real estate investment at UM Law School in 1984.

Dr. Cynthia Halpern, is an active OLLI member. She has taught Ethics and Public Policy for the last 30 years, first at Princeton University and then at Swarthmore College, a top ranked liberal arts college outside of Philadelphia. She is an associate professor emeritus at Swarthmore College and a published author in Political Theory, and has taught five courses a year in Political Theory at Princeton and then at Swarthmore.

Ed Harper, PhD, is an active OLLI member who earned a BA with Honors from Principia College in Government and Foreign Affairs and a Ph.D. from the University of Virginia.  He has held many high level executive positions, including vice president of Emerson Electric, executive vice president of the Campbell Soup Company, president and CEO of the Association of American Railroads, and chief operating officer of American Security Group and was Chairman of the Government Affairs Council for the Financial Services Roundtable composed of the 100 largest financial institutions in the US. In the public sector, he is a former special assistant to President Nixon and a former Assistant to President Reagan as well as Deputy Director of the Office of Management and Budget.  Dr. Harper was on the faculty of the Political Science Department at Rutgers University where he lectured on American Government.

Mr. Richard Hauser, Esq. recently retired from The Boeing Copany, where he was vice president and assistant general counsel for Government Operations in Washington, D.C., and as Chairman, Board of Direetors, Thrivent Mutual Funds, Minneapolis, MN. Earlier, he served as president of the National Legal Center for the Public Interest and was a partner with the national law firm Baker Hostetler.  He has held numerous positions in government incuding Assistant United States Attorney (Miami) and Attorney Advisor, Office of the Deputey Attorney General,  US Department of Justice; General Counsel,  U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD);  Deputy Counsel to the President, the White House; and Chairman, Pennsylvania Avenue Development Corporation.  Mr. Hauser has a B.S. in Economics from the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania.  He received his law degree, cum laude, from the University of Miami, School of Law.  He has taught a series at OLLI at UM called “Law and Order” for the past three years.

Mr. Haim Karp has been an OLLI member for the past 10 years, after retiring from a Financial Services company.  During this time, he has been an active OLLI member, serving as Chairman of the Advisory Council and then as a member of the Council.  In addition, he has served as the Chairman of the Curriculum Committee; as the founder and coordinator of the Current Events Club; as an instructor of the Investments Class; and, as facilitator of the Great Decisions courses, and more.

Ms. Susan King is an OLLI member who enjoys leading and facilitating the Book Club.

Ms. Anita L. Klimek has been an artist all her life.  She is an illustrator, graphic artist, freelance artist, layout artist, art director and art teacher.  Ms, Klimek has worked in the art department of large companies.  She attended Miami-Dade Community College, International Fine Arts College and the University of Miami where she studied Design, Commercial Art, Graphic Design and Painting.  

Mr. Karl Koslowski received his degree in Industrial Design from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. As a member of the US and Foreign Commercial Service, Mr. Koslowski designed USA pavilions and supervised the installations of major USA exhibitions in international trade fairs and solo exhibitions in 30 countries throughout the world.  For the past 15 years, Mr. Koslowski has been teaching various courses in the Art of Digital Photography and Adobe post processing enhancement at OLLI@UM, Miami-Dade Community College and FIU.

Mr. Ron Kohn is an active OLLI member who enjoys facilitating the Shakespeare Reading Group.

Ms. Janet Krutchik is an active OLLI member who enjoys leading the “In the News” SIG. 

Dr. Nancy Lawther, who served on the faculties of Texas A&M University, the University of Georgia, and Barry University, holds a doctorate in French from Yale University. A long-time French instructor at OLLI, she shifted her focus several years ago to coincide with her passion for public education advocacy. She now frequently represents the Florida PTA in Tallahassee and is widely known to members of the Dade Legislative Delegation. In April 2018, she was elected to the position of President of Miami Dade County Council PTA/PTSA, the oldest and largest non-profit child advocacy membership organization in the County. Her term ends in June 2020.

Ms. Randy Letzler is a professional actress, dancer, choreographer and director.  She is a member of Actor's Equity and when not performing she taught improvisation, musical theatre and acting to students ranging in age from six to adult.  She has directed and choreographed shows for numerous universities and off broadway. 

Ms. Ronnie Londner has a BA in Political Science from Long Island University, an an M. Ed. in Community Psychology from the University of Miami.  She is a pscychological counselor who has worked in school and community settings with children and adults on drug, sexual and domestic abuse issues as well as bullying.  She is a child of Holocaust survivors and Nazi Germany refugees.  She has personal experience with former Nazis seeking forgiveness.

Ms. Alicia Menendez-King, an OLLI member,is a UM graduate with a double major in French and English and received an M.A. from UNC at Chapel Hill in French. She has held French teaching posts in Dallas, FIU, Rice, and Houston Community College. Ms. Menendez-King studied in France and lived in Bordeaux. She has a passion for languages and cultures.

Ms. Miriam Moussatche-Wechsler, LCSW, LMHC holds a Masters in Education Psychology, a Masters in Clinical Social Work, and Post Graduate studies from Argentina.  She is a licensed psychotherapist-coach in private practice lately focusing in working with men and women 50+. Ms. Moussatche-Wechsler is a frequent lecturer on the subjects of transitions, positive psychology, wellness, active aging, neuroscience, meaningful legacy, resilience and decluttering. Ms. Moussatche-Wechsler’s workshops and group-work have been transforming those interested in exploring the full potential of the middle and late life-stages.

Mr. Brian Murphy is a pianist, composer, clinician, instructor and arranger who has recorded and performed extensively in U.S., Canada, and around the world. Brian has collaborated with the great Tito Puente on a number of award-winning albums. He has conducted workshops on improvisation and has received grants. He has guided Honors Jazz Ensembles in the development of their music related skills: ear training, sight reading and interpretation, chord and inversion recognition, the importance of playing in tune and keeping steady time, how to listen and communicate within an ensemble, the conversational element of improvisation, and trading 2, 4 and 8 measure phrases.  He was in 2008 New World School of the Arts (Miami) Adjunct Professor for Advanced Jazz Ensemble.

Ms. Joan Nurse is a Corporate Trainer. She has 16 years of experience working in the Call Center Industry. She trained in various computer systems, such as AT&T and FedEx, domestically and internationally. In addition, she has a wide range of experience in Microsoft and Macintosh. 

Ms. Jiovannina (Nina) Ramos was born in Caracas, Venezuela, where she received her background and practice as a teacher in yoga and meditation from La Gran Fraternidad Universal Fundación. She graduated with a bachelor degree in humanities and art degree from the Escuela de Artes Visuales Cristobal Rojas, also in Caracas. Nina lived in Caracas until 1995 when she moved to Miami. In Miami, Nina is a life coach, medical assistant and licensed massage therapist.

Ms. Susan Rosenthal is a retired M-DCPS teacher.  She retired after 35 years of educating students in the M-DCPS system.  She has been a member of OLLI since 2013. Susan attained her Masters in Reading because she loves reading and likes to share this passion with others. Susan is also certified by the NCCAP (National Certification Council for Activity Professionals) as an Activity Consultant (ACC).   She enjoys leading and fascilitating the As the "Book" Pages Turn SIG. 

Dr. Michael Scheibach has a PhD in American studies, and is the author of four books on the Atomic Age.  He has 20 years of experience as an adjunct professor. 

Ms. Ellen Siegel has a BA in Elementary Education and an MA in Social Psychology.  She is passionate about the environment and has taught numerous courses through the National Park Service and has attended Climate Leadersip Engagement Organization training for speakers.  Before relocating to Northern Florida, Ms. Siegel was a lecturer on the Climate at UM. 

Harvey J. Sepler, J.D., Ph.D., received his J.D. from the University of Miami and is a seasoned appellate attorney having personally litigated over 1400 civil and criminal appeals spanning a 32-year career.  Among his many victories, he has obtained unanimous decisions in both the United States Supreme Court and the Florida Supreme Court. He is a Fellow in the American Academy of Appellate Lawyers – one of the country’s more prestigious organizations.  Mr. Sepler has served as an Adjunct Professor of Law for over 22 years, teaching most of the appellate courses at the University of Miami.

Dr. Daniel Vitaglione is a native of Marseille, France. He obtained a BA and Master’s degrees in English and Psychology from the University of Aix-Marseille and a Master’s degree in Comparative Philosophy from the University of Hawaii. He was awarded his PhD in English and Comparative Literature at St. Andrews in the UK. He is the author of several books including George Eliot and George Sand, L’Amerique des Utopies, The Literature of Provence, A Literary Guide to Provence, and a Dictionary of Idioms: French-American, American-French. He has taught French and Comparative Literature in various American universities as well as the Defense Language Institute in Monterey and the Alliance Française of San Francisco. He has also taught Philosophy at a French lycée and English literature in French universities of Strasbourg, Nice and Marseille. Daniel moved to Miami in 2013 and has been teaching philosophy at MDC, FIU, and most recently French and philosophy at UM-OLLI. Dr. Vitaglione has also taught cinema classes at the San Francisco Film Institute on the New Wave, and French female directors, Santa Clara University and the Alliance Française. He is finishing a book in English on French Philosophy and is currently working on another one in French on British Women Novelists.

Mr. Arthur Young has coached and refereed youth sports and officiated high school and small college football for 43 years, including being a member of the Miami Dolphins, University of Miami and Orange Bowl games chain crew.  Mr. Young officiated high school and college baseball including University of Miami and Olympic trials games.

Ms. Josie Zomerfeld is an active member who enjoys leading and facilitating technology classes. She attended Miami-Dade College and Barry University, obtaining a degree in Liberal Arts. She retired as a manager from AT&T and later worked as an Assistant to the Mayor of the City of Coral Gables. She is currently a translator for a Catholic group and a proud grand-mother of three beautiful children.