Summer 2018 Instructor Biographies

LeeAnn Bartonlini, PhD, is a licensed clinical psychologist who specializes in the treatment of mental disorders and helping individuals and couples with everyday challenges in living. She has been teaching at Dominican since 1985, joining the Psychology Department full-time in 1993. LeeAnn is involved in teaching a wide variety of undergraduate psychology courses, as well as courses in the Humanities and in the Women and Gender Studies program. She maintains a local private practice and is involved in diverse community work, including being a board member at the Center for Domestic Peace from 2003-2015. In 2013 she was inducted into the Marin Women's Hall of Fame. Dr. Bartolini earned two BA degrees at Dominican College of San Rafael in Psychology and Art History, and her MA and Ph.D. degrees at the California School of Psychology, Berkeley.

Allan Bernstein, MD, is currently Associate Professor of Medicine at UCSF and was previously Professor of Neurology at UC Davis. He worked simultaneously for Kaiser and UC for 34 years allowing him to have both a clinical practice and gain research experience. He is the author of more than fifty publications, covering the topics of dementia, migraine, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, pain management, nutrition and stroke. He is the Stroke Director for Healdsburg Hospital and Sonoma West Medical Center. He is Medical Director of North Bay Neuroscience Institute, a research center specializing in Alzheimer’s disease and other memory issues, based in Sebastopol. Dr. Bernstein completed undergraduate work at Harpur College in Binghamton NY, medical school at Upstate Medical Center in Syracuse NY, and training in Internal Medicine at Cedars-Sinai in Los Angeles and Neurology at Boston University.

Jean Bowler, MA, received her Masters degree from Dominican in 2000.  Her thesis on the Battle of Saipan (June 1944), reflected a life-long interest in military history.  A native of Marin County, she has taught several history classes with the OLLI program.  Jean is currently the Operations Director of Green Swan, Inc.

Mick Chantler, MA has been a student and instructor of early American studies for over forty years. He currently teaches at several Bay Area Lifelong Learning Programs, including Sonoma State University, Dominican University, U.C. Berkeley and U.C. Davis. Additionally, Mick teaches in the Road Scholars Program, and at many Senior Citizen Centers throughout the North Bay.  His primary interests include the Revolutionary and Civil War eras, but he also has lectured on Richard Nixon and John F. Kennedy. Mick is a member of several scholarly organizations, including the Society for Historians of the Early American Republic, the Lincoln Forum, and the Society for American Baseball Research. He has lived in Sonoma California for over fifty years.

Oak Dowling, JD is a retired attorney with 43 years of practice, including 31 years in San Rafael. He's a graduate of the University of Wisconsin – Madison Law School and a native of Chicago. He has lived in Marin County for over 40 years and for over 24 years he has been a part-time instructor of Law at College of Marin. In his Law classes, he has used courtroom drama to demonstrate legal principles. As an avocation, he has performed in theater in Marin and San Francisco over the last 15 years.


Larry Eilenberg, PhD, is an expert in contemporary American theatre and comedy. Larry was the Artistic Director of the renowned Magic Theatre in San Francisco from 1992 to 2003. He earned his Ph.D. at Yale University and is Professor of Theatre Arts at San Francisco State University. During his distinguished career he has also taught at Yale, Cornell, the University of Michigan, and the University of Denver.  As a popular lecturer on comedy, he has served as a commentator for National Public Radio’s “Morning Edition” and as a U.S. theatrical representative to Moscow.

Pete Elman has been a professional musician since 1963, working as a performer, composer, studio musician, recording artist and producer. He has performed and recorded with, Grammy-winning writer/producer Rick Nowels (Stevie Nicks, Madonna, Celine Dion), Tom Johnston (Doobie Brothers) and Stef Burns (Huey Lewis and the News). He has composed, arranged and produced music for national TV and radio and was the manager of Acorn Music, for whom he released three acclaimed albums.  Pete covered local sports for the Contra Costa Times from 2000-2011as a freelance sportswriter. He has taught school at several levels since 2002, and in 2013 published a children’s picture book, Seasons Rhymes in Time.

Veronica Fruiht, PhD, Dr. Fruiht’s research centers around the construct of hope as well as the mentoring relationships of young people. Her most recent project aims to understand and measure how people think about and experience hope in their everyday lives. Dr. Fruiht completed her BS in Psychology Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, then earned an MA and Ph.D. in Positive Developmental Psychology at Claremont Graduate University.

Chef Roger Gafner is committed to the pursuit of current culinary trends through participation and continuing education and networking with culinary institutions, colleagues, and professionals, and is a member of various culinary organizations. After culinary school, he started his career at Sheraton Hotels and staged at various Italian restaurants in the New York area. He has designed, built, developed and functioned as general contractor for three successful restaurants, functioned as a culinary instructor, and held every position in the restaurant business.

Afshin Gharib, PhD, Dr. Gharib's research interests include the cognitive and neural mechanisms of associative learning – focusing on the role of attention, timing, and response learning in operant conditioning - and age-related changes in learning and memory. He is particularly interested in the effectiveness of antioxidants in reversing age associated declines in cognition. His teaching interests include Introduction to Psychology, Physiological Psychology, and Statistics and Research Methods. He received his PhD from the University of California, Berkeley and his BA from Brown University.

Nikolaus Hohmann, PhD, was raised in both Europe and California, and so discovered the joys of exploring and mediating different cultures at an early age. He received a B.A. in Humanities from Stanford in 1978, and worked a few years in business (as auditor for Price Waterhouse in Los Angeles) before entering a doctoral program in history at UC Berkeley. A Fulbright scholar and Phi Beta Kappa, he received his PhD in History from the University of California at Berkeley in 1993 and has since served the Humanities department of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, where he teaches a broad array of history and philosophy classes, including lectures on the origins and the development of modern Islam. In 2005 Dr. Hohmann received the Excellence in Teaching Award from the Sarlo Foundation.

Bill J. O'Connor, JD, is a retired attorney and former Judge/Commissioner from San Francisco who was an active trial lawyer and mediator for 40 years in the Bay Area. He has taught at many educational levels, including, college and law school and has recently created a special course on reading the US Constitution which he has offered at senior centers and OLLI. He lives with his wife in Sonoma. His personal interests have included singing as a member of the Sonoma Valley Chorale and sailboat racing on SF Bay.

Carl Pilcher, PhD, was the Director of the NASA Astrobiology Institute (NAI), headquartered at the NASA Ames Research Center in Mountain View, California, until his retirement in January 2013. Prior to his 6+ years as NAI Director, he served for 18 years at NASA Headquarters in Washington, DC in numerous capacities, including Senior Scientist for Astrobiology and Science Director for Solar System Exploration. He began his career at the Institute for Astronomy of the University of Hawaii, studying planets and moons in the outer solar system. He has B.S. and Ph.D. degrees in chemistry from the Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn and MIT, respectively, and a Master of Public Affairs degree from the Woodrow Wilson School of Princeton University.

John F. Rothmann, MA is a politics/foreign policy consultant specializing in the US, the Middle East and the former Soviet Union. A talk show host on KGO–AM Newstalk radio, he is a frequent lecturer on American Politics and has been called “a scholar of modern Republicanism” while being acknowledged “for his unique insights, and in particular for rare and crucial materials.” Rothmann served as Director of the Nixon Collection at Whittier College from 1968 to 1970, as Chief of Staff to Senator Milton Marks, Field Representative to Senator Quentin Kopp, and in 1982 was one of the founders of the Raoul Wallenberg Jewish Democratic Club. Widely published and honored, Rothmann has spoken on more than 150 college/universities in the US, Canada and Israel and has been on the faculty of USF. Both his B.A. and his Masters in Arts in Teaching are from Whittier College. Prof. Rothmann is the co-author of Icon of Evil — Hitler’s Mufti and the Rise of Radical Islam.

Richie Unterberger is the author of nearly a dozen music history books, including volumes on the Who and the Velvet Underground, as well as a two-part history of 1960s folk-rock. His book The Unreleased Beatles: Music and Film won a 2007 Association for Recorded Sound Collections Award for Excellence in Historical Recorded Sound Research.  He is a graduate of University of Pennsylvania, and has taught courses on the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, 1960s folk-rock, the history of rock from 1955-1980, and San Francisco rock at the College of Marin and the Fromm Institute. He gives regular presentations on rock, soul, and folk history throughout the Bay Area. In 2014, he was one of seven recipients of grants to conduct research at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as part of its Gladys Krieble Delmas Visiting Scholar program.

Darren C. Zook, PhD has taught for 16 years at UC Berkeley, and has been recognized numerous times for his contributions to education on campus. He teaches courses on comparative politics, security studies, human rights, and conflict resolution, and has extensive field experience in nearly every part of the world, including two trips to North Korea. In 2012 he was a Fulbright Research Scholar based in Singapore, conducting research on cybersecurity threats in the Asia-Pacific region.