Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness - Mark Twain

Friday, February 7, 2014

Florence Instructors


Mary Beth Hartshorn, Diablo Valley College Psychology Instructor

Mary Beth grew up in a small agricultural town in Northern California.  She attended a community college in Sacramento and then went 30 minutes away to earn her undergraduate degree at UC Davis.  She had never been in a major art museum or cathedral, ridden municipal transportation or read a city map.  After graduation, at the age of 22, she was ready for an adventure, so with a college friend and a backpack, she set off for a summer in Europe.  To date, she views that 10 week adventure as one of the greatest growth experiences of her life, from which she developed a lifelong love for art and culture.  Mary Beth is excited to be witness to the transformation of her students as they experience a new culture, stretch their boundaries in an unfamiliar environment and broaden their awareness while living in her favorite European city, Florence.  At the end of that summer she vowed to return to Florence and has three times since, most recently with her husband and son in 2010.

The first college course Mary Beth developed and taught was Careers in Fashion Merchandising at Ohlone College in Fremont over 30 years ago while she was working full time as a buyer for Macy’s San Francisco.  Through this experience, she discovered her love for teaching at the community college level.

Mary Beth’s teaching career began at Diablo Valley College in 1999 after returning to school to earn her Master’s Degree in Counseling Psychology from John F. Kennedy University.  Her graduate work and Master’s thesis focused on women’s issues with an emphasis on trauma and recovery, particularly in regards to violence against women.  More recently she has become involved with an organization that serves homeless and trafficked women in San Francisco. 

Although she has taught a variety of psychology courses, she most enjoys teaching classes that explore a single topic in depth such as the Psychology of Women, Social Psychology and Psychology of Personality.  Her teaching style is very interactive; her goal is to bring the course content alive by applying it to student’s lives through personal examples.

Mary Beth has an unbridled passion for the field of psychology and Italy and is anxious to share her passion with her students by finding teaching moments in everyday Italian life.  She views life, travel and culture as a psychological study and will use this semester abroad experience to facilitate student’s learning and personal growth.


 Patrice Gibson, Ph.D. American River College Anthropology Instructor: 

This is my 23rd year teaching at American River College. I received my BA, MA, and Ph.D. from UCLA. I taught in the London Study Abroad Program in 2008 and have lived in Florence for a summer many years ago.  I have traveled more recently to Florence and am looking forward to teaching in Florence where I can incorporate many unique opportunities in the study of anthropology and archaeology in this city. My area of specialty within anthropology is primate behavior. I travel extensively to see primates and other species in the wild. In addition to travel, I enjoy cooking, hiking, playing the piano, and writing poetry.


Daniel Keller, College of San Mateo English Instructor, 

Daniel Keller has been a Professor of English composition and literature at College of San Mateo since 2001. He began his higher education at City College of San Francisco, where his professors passed on a passion for literature and a devotion to community college students. He later earned his BA in English from the Ohio State University and an MA in English from San Francisco State University, in a program focusing on the teaching of writing. He has been involved in a number of innovative learning community programs at CSM, including Voices of a Stranger, which focuses on connecting literature to the contemporary experiences of people throughout the world. He is excited about sharing this belief—that writing comes alive when we connect it to the cultures and lives of the people who produce it—with students in the Florence program.


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