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About The Instructors

Bob Brooke, award-winning author and teacher and member of the prestigious American Society of Journalists and Authors, has published over 4,000 articles and 15 books on many subjects, including ships wrecks off the Outer Banks, antiques restoration, and travel. He specializes in writing about antiques and history and publishes The Antiques Almanac, an online antiques magazine, which combines both of his specialties ( He also holds a Master of Arts degree in painting and did post-graduate work at New York University and the International School of Photography in New York and Venice, Italy.


Lauren Davenport is a Philadelphia based playwright, proud member of the Dramatists Guild, and theatre freelance artist. Lauren received her MA in Theatre from Villanova University and her undergraduate degree in Drama, English, and Creative Writing from Washington College. She has had plays read and produced in Philadelphia PA, Chicago IL, San Diego CA, and Chestertown MD. Additionally, she wrote and performed an original one woman solo production with Beacon Theatre Productions about the 1816 Geneva genesis of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.


Dennis J. Dool, BS, MA graduated from West Chester University and taught history, government and world cultures in the Lower Merion School District for 40 years. He retired from teaching in 2012. He received the 2010 Voices of Inspiration Award from the Montgomery County Intermediate Unit for his commitment to excellence in education. During his tenure, Mr. Dool served as a mentor to countless new teachers. He was also the girls' varsity basketball coach for 17 years at LM High School and the athletic director at Bala Cynwyd Middle School.


Polly Rose Edelstein has been living and working in the Philadelphia region for the past eight years. She works as a freelance theater director, teaching artist, and administrator and is the Artistic Director of the Philadelphia Women's Theatre Festival. Polly received her BFA in Theatre Arts from Stephens College for Women in Columbia, MO. She is also a graduate of the Masters of Arts in Theatre with a Certificate in Nonprofit Management program at Villanova University where she worked as a graduate assistant for two years. Other organizations Polly has worked with include: Columbia Gorge Repertory Theatre, Simpatico Theatre, InterAct Theatre Company, Steel River Playhouse, Theatre Horizon, the Darlington Arts Center, East Coast Recording, International Ballet Classique, Old Academy Players, The Pub Theater and Crack the Glass Theatre Company.


Joseph J. Hylan, Esquire is a graduate of St. Joseph’s University and The Villanova Law School. Mr. Hylan is retired from the full-time practice of law. A member of the bar since 1976, he was the Chief Public Defender of Montgomery County and served as an Assistant District Attorney for six years. He has briefed and argued 22 cases in the Supreme Court, the author of four prize-winning short stories and many articles on local legal history. Joseph is a PIAA and American Legion Baseball Umpire. Married to his wife, Gigi, he has a married son (Andrew and Katie), and a grandson named Teddy.


John Heffner is Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at Lebanon Valley College, where he taught for more than thirty years. He was chair of the Department of Religion and Philosophy and offered a range of courses that included American Philosophy. He received his Ph.D. in philosophy from Boston University. He has participated in the Rosemont College Forum since 2013. He is also an Episcopal priest and the father of two adult children. He lives in Rosemont.


Sharon Latchaw Hirsh, PhD ’70 is the president of Rosemont College. She earned her undergraduate degree in history of art and studio art from Rosemont in 1970, and her master of arts degree and PhD in history of art from the University of Pittsburg in 1971 and 1974. Dr. Hirsh is the author of several books and numerous other publications about art history of the late 19th Century Western Europe.


Jason Love has taught several courses on baseball’s history as an adjunct instructor at Camden County College in New Jersey. He is a graduate of West Chester University of Pennsylvania and Rowan University where he studied history. He is also the author of Baseball Sites Every Fan Should Visit in Philadelphia and New Jersey. He currently works for Rutgers University-Camden.


Helen McDevitt-Smith, MS, MA, Rosemont ’63 graduated from Rosemont College with a BA in chemistry. Since then, she has pursued graduate studies in theology, pastoral counseling, and chemistry. She has taught courses in humanities and church history on the college and high school levels as well as in adult education and retreat/ministry programs.


Brishen Miller, MA is a local Philadelphia writer and theatre professional. Originally from Michigan, he received his BA in Theatre at Wayne State University in Detroit. After that he was instrumental in forming several theatre companies, poetry collectives, and literary magazines as well as being an active musician/producer in the Southern Michigan scene. He relocated to the Philadelphia area where he received his MA in theatre at Villanova University. Brishen is also a traveler and has driven cross country numerous times; there are only a handful of US states he hasn’t visited. He believes that fiction, literature, and theatre create the language and structure unites us all.


Thérѐse Casadesus Rawson, PhD received her doctorate in French language and literature from the University of Pennsylvania in 1977. She has taught French, humanities, and French diction and French vocal repertoire to singers at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia for many years. Besides teaching and performing, Thérѐse Casadesus Rawson is also active as a lecturer in a variety of topics pertaining to French culture, music, literature, painting, and culinary arts. She was awarded the Palmes Académiques in recognition of her teaching activities, and in 2001, she was nominated to the rank of Chevalier des Arts et Lettres on account of her efforts on behalf of Franco-American cultural affairs.


Ruth N. Sandberg, PhD is the Leonard and Ethel Landau Professor of Rabbinics at Gratz College, and is the Director of the MA in Interfaith Leadership and the Graduate Certificate in Jewish-Christian Studies. She is a member of the Board of Directors of the Institute for Jewish-Catholic Relations at St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, and served as the co-President of the Cheltenham Area Multifaith Council from 2015-2018. Before coming to Gratz, Dr. Sandberg served for five years as an Assistant Rabbi and Director of Education at Reform Congregation Keneseth Israel in Elkins Park, Pennsylvania. Dr. Sandberg received her BA in Classical Greek and History of Religion from Bryn Mawr College; Rabbinical Ordination from the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College; and a Ph.D. in Post-Biblical Hebrew Literature, specializing in Rabbinics, from the University of Pennsylvania.


Paul G. Tierney, MSE has an undergraduate degree in physics from Yale University and an engineering degree from the University of Pennsylvania. After retiring from Aerospace Information Technology at GE and Lockheed Martin, Paul began a sixteen-year career as a teacher of high school physics and astronomy at The Shipley School. Paul is an amateur astronomer who loves sharing his wonder at the splendor of the night sky.


Daniella Vinitski Mooney, PhD is an artist/scholar with an emphasis in experimental and classical theatre, as well as new play development. She is a trained actress through the NYU Tisch School of the Arts and the Royal Academy of London, as well as Villanova University’s Master’s program, where she was honored as Acting Scholar. She is a contributor in the new best-selling Routledge anthology, Physical Dramaturgy, and has taught and presented at The University of Colorado at Boulder, The University of the Virgin Islands, UPenn, CUNY, and Temple University. She is also an award-winning director for her multi-media production, Carnivals and Snowstorms.


Anne Weisbord, president of Career Services Unlimited, has a solid background in training, coaching and public speaking. For over 20 years she has conducted programs on professional development and leadership for all levels of employees in national and multi-national corporations. Her workshops are extremely interactive and are tailored to meet the needs of her clients. She frequently serves as a private coach to help business leaders improve their presentations and communication skills. She has helped managers and staff with issues around time management, organization, and communication to help them meet their strategic goals.   She taught in the Communication Program in the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and in the Wharton Executive MBA Program. Clients include manufacturing companies, international technology corporations, not for profit associations, major accounting firms, national law firms, pharmaceutical and insurance companies, health care agencies and call centers. She holds a M.Ed. degree from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, PA and a BA from Ithaca College in NY. In her community, Anne volunteers as an instructor in and English as a Second Language (ESL) program.