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EVENING AND WEEKEND PROGRAMS INSTRUCTOR BIOS

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Abdulrazzak Aldhobhani, holds a master's degree and certificate from (ACTFL), American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages, a “Superior” rating in Oral & Written Arabic. He taught Arabic/MSA at several universities and institutions in the Metropolitan Area such as: The American University in Washington, D.C, Graduate School-USA, Virginia Tech., and Middle East Institute. He also taught Arabic at ACE in Fairfax County Public Schools, in Virginia. Additionally, he worked for the National Foreign Language Center (NFLC) - University of Maryland, College Park.

Basil Bessonoff, Ph.D., Author. Professor Basil Bessonoff holds advanced degrees in applied Linguistics from the Universities of london and St. Petersburg. He is also a fellow of the Chartered Institute of linguists and the Academic Director of its examination center in Washington, D.C. Since 1994, Professor Bessonoff has taught courses at numerous universities and government agencies. He also acted as the Academic Advisor for the North American edition of the Russian Russian I textbook (2003) and coauthored and edited the U.S. edition of the Road to Russia textbook for beginners (2013). The first of his three-part series Read and Think Russian was published in 2018.

Birchard Allen III works for the Sourcing Department of the Global Supply Chain Division of Verizon Communications. Mr. Allen is responsible for the contracting and negotiation of agreements for federal, state, local, education and special district governments. Mr. Allen previously served with the federal and city government of Washington D.C. in similar roles. Mr Allen's teaching experience includes Graduate School USA since 2014, and Howard Community College since 2012. A former seasoned award winning writer and journalist with CNN & PBS's MPT, Mr. Allen received a B.A. from American University, and J.D. with Catholic University-Columbus School of Law.

Jillian Blake is an immigration attorney at Blake & Wilson Immigration Law, PLLC in Alexandria, Virginia where she specializes in family-based immigrant petitions, removal (deportation) defense and asylum. Jillian earned her law degree from the University of Michigan and also holds a master’s degree in international relations from Johns Hopkins University, School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS). She has taught immigration law at the Graduate School since 2015. Her articles on immigration and asylum law have appeared in The Hill, Jurist, Yale Journal of International Law Online, Michigan Law Review Online and the Georgetown Journal of Law and Modern Critical Race Perspectives, among others.

Rick Borchelt is director of communications and public affairs for science programs at the US Department of Energy. He is a science communicator natural history writer by training, and a popular field trip leader for programs of the Audubon Naturalists Society of the Central Atlantic States (ANS). An undergraduate botany major, his graduate work before moving into science journalism was lepidoptera evolution (including co-evolution with plant hosts) and classification. He is the author of the lepidoptera research and observation website LepLog (https://www.leplog.wordpress.com) and moderator of the naturalists' listserv MDLepsOdes on Google Groups.

Joel I. Cohen earned his doctorate degree in Plant and Soil Sciences, majoring in genetics, from the University of Massachusetts, after which he spent 25 years internationally working on agricultural research and food security for the developing world. He currently works for Montgomery Country Pubic Schools as a biology teacher. He has published 150 articles on crop production, conservation and biodiversity, totaling over 800 citations, and continues to work for various educational services as an instructor or director.

Octavia Conerly works for the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement of the Department of Interior and serves as a co-lead for the overall management of NEPA activities for the Office. Prior to the Department of Interior, she worked for the Environmental Protection Agency as an Environmental Scientist for 18 years. She has a Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics from the University of New Orleans and a Master of Science in Public Health from Tulane University in New Orleans. She has authored and co-authored several publications related to protection of the environment and public health.

Samer Elchahabi is an international development practitioner and has worked on several programs focusing on Governance, Stabilization, Democracy, and Human Rights, particularly in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.

Stanley Goldberg attended S.U.N.Y. at Buffalo and got a B.A. Degree in Psychology (minor in Mathematics). He then went to Hofstra University for a M.A. Degree in Mathematics and continued his education in mathematics at S.U.N.Y. at Binghamton. Professor Goldberg has taught mathematics at various institutions for many years and has been at the Graduate School since 2013.

Candacé Jackson creates operational policies for a local non-profit in addition to teaching legal studies. She earned her B.A. from Hampton University and her J.D. from the State University of New York at Buffalo Law School. Her career in higher education began in tutorial and resources centers before moving into the classrooms of Hampton University, Delaware State University, and The Graduate School USA.

For 38 years, Van Johnson served as a mathematical statistician for the National Agricultural Statistics Service, an agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. He was instrumental in designing and implementing major agricultural commodity and economic surveys. As a developer of data analysis applications, he received an Administrator’s Award for designing an application that analyzes multiple surveys using a single interface, enabling 50+ surveys to be analyzed without the need to develop an application for each survey. He has been a Graduate School USA instructor for 35 years.

Vera Jones works as a Professor for the Digital Media and Web Technology Program with University of Maryland University College and is responsible for the development of a board use of Web Development courses. Vera holds a Master of Science, University of Maryland University College. Successful in delivering course topics such as Microsoft Office Suite, Public Speaking, Art History and Web Development with ease as a Distinguished Toastmaster (DTM) Public Speaker and Past Division Director with Toastmasters International.

Darryl J. Lesesne, CFSA, CGFM, MS, serves as the Chief Auditor in the Executive Offices of the District of Columbia (DC) Courts. His principal duties consist of managing the Internal Audit unit to ensure financial integrity, compliance with regulations as well as operational effectiveness and efficiency pertaining to the DC Courts. Prior to joining the courts, Darryl served as the Chief Internal Audit Executive for a local financial institution, where he was essentially responsible for the design and implementation of the long-term strategy of the internal audit division.

Dr. Kelly Ma has a Doctor degree of Philosophy in Human Resources Development, focusing on cross-cultural training. She teaches at Huayuan Chinese Academy and works as an interpreter/translator for Asian American Language Services. She greatly enjoys her work in Chinese language and culture.

Liam McGranaghan Environmental Science Teacher at Loudoun Valley High School. He graduated with a BA in History from Virginia Tech and a MS in Biology from George Mason University. He is a recipient of the Presidential Innovative Award for Environmental Education (2015). He has been a volunteer USGS raptor bander for 35 years providing vital data on raptor migration in the eastern US. He is avid naturalist, outdoorsman and nature photographer he has also authored several articles on raptors and other wildlife. He published a bestselling falconry book entitled The Red-tailed Hawk, now in its 5th Edition (2015). He is also a member of the Loudoun Education Association, the Virginia Herpetological Association, the North American Falconry Association, the Virginia Falconers Association, and is an Honorary Member of Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy.

Catherine Stragar has been revealing the wonder and weirdness of insects to students for over a decade. She received her MS in Entomology from the University of Delaware in 2008 and has taught the Graduate School's Insect Life Field Studies course since 2014. Currently she works for the Maryland Department of Agriculture as a biocontrol entomologist.

Ronald L. Meeks retired from the National Science Foundation in 2007 as a senior survey statistician and served as program officer for the National Federal Funds for Research and Development Survey. During his 27-year career as a statistician with the federal government (Department of Commerce; Department of Health and Human Services; and National Science Foundation), Ron also taught mathematics and statistics courses in the evenings at Southeastern University (Washington, DC) before the university closed in 2009. Ron has taught mathematics at the Graduate School USA since 2011 and has been a tax return preparer for H&R Block since 2010. Ron’s academic background includes a B.A. in mathematics (Lincoln University, PA) and graduate study in mathematics and statistics (Catholic University of America, Washington, DC).

Carl S. Pavetto is an administrative (environmental) law attorney and has been an instructor at the Graduate School-USA for more than 28 years. He teaches a variety of Evening and Weekend Program courses in the paralegal and environmental studies programs. Mr. Pavetto has held senior executive level positions in Federal and State government and spent fifteen years in private law practice. Mr. Pavetto has a Bachelor of Science degree in engineering from the University of Pittsburgh, a Master of Science degree in environmental engineering from the George Washington University, a JD degree in law from the George Washington University, and a Master of Public Administration degree from the American University where he attended the Key Executive Program under the sponsorship of the US Department of the Interior. He has been an active member of the District of Columbia Bar for more than 33 years.

Justin H. Settles has worked as an economist for the U.S. Federal government since 2011. His focus is drafting regulatory impact analyses to quantify the effects of implementing government policies. He completed his BA in Economics at The University of Tennessee (Knoxville) and his MA in Economics at The University of Mississippi.

Catherine Stragar has been revealing the wonder and weirdness of insects to students for over a decade. She received her MS in Entomology from the University of Delaware in 2008 and has taught the Graduate School's Insect Life Field Studies course since 2014. Currently she works for the Maryland Department of Agriculture as a biocontrol entomologist.

Carl Taylor serves as a Research Associate at the National Museum of Natural History in Washington, DC where he assists with mentoring students interested in the identification and evolutionary history of ferns and lycophytes. He was born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri where an uncle interested him in plants when he was a kid. Carl completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Missouri and a Ph.D. in botany from Southern Illinois University, Carbondale. For many years, Carl was employed at the Milwaukee Public Museum where he assisted with the development of exhibits, conducted botanical research, and served as Chair of the Botany Department. He has taught university courses in plant systematics, local flora, and ferns and lycophytes. Carl served as a Program Director at the National Science Foundation for five years before retiring.

Sally Valdes has a PhD in ecology from Cornell University. She spent nearly 25 years (is now retired) working as a biologist for the Federal government at various agencies, including the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service and the Environmental Protection Agency. She taught a class in Environmental Law at Northern Virginia Community College and from 2015 -2017 co-taught a class in Environmental Health at the Foundation for Advanced Education in the Sciences, which is associated with the National Institutes of Health.

Paula Wang is an adjunct in the School of Education at American University, supervising fellows in the Laboratory to the Classroom Program. She taught biology and environmental science at the secondary and college level for 30 years. As a Maryland Master Naturalist, she leads environmental and natural history programs. M.S. in Microbiology, Medical College of Virginia. M.S.S.E. in Science Education, Montana State University.