Category: Instructor Profile (page 3 of 5)

Summer Violin Workshop with Daniel Stepner

Each summer, Brandeis University welcomes talented violinists from around the country to participate in the Aston Magna at Brandeis University Summer Music Workshops. These talented musicians participate in a six-day intensive workshop focused on the solo violin works of Johann Sebastian Bach, but touches on other music and on general performance issues for violinists.

daniel stepner 2014 summer violin workshop boston
During this intensive, students are treated to private coaching, private practicing, complimentary communal group lunches, master classes, lecture demonstrations, a group visit to the Boston Museum of Fine Art’s Musical Instrument Collection, and admission to rehearsals of the Aston Magna professional concerts. The week concludes with a participants’ concert at week’s end.

The summer Unaccompanied Bach Workshop for violinists is under the direction of Mr. Daniel Stepner. Mr. Stepner is first violinist of the Lydian String Quartet, and is in residence at Brandeis University, where he is Professor of the Practice in the Brandeis Music Department. He also teaches at Harvard University, where he is a Preceptor in Music and team-teaches a course with Robert Levin. He is also Artistic Director of the Aston Magna Festival.
Participants from previous years have praised the program:

“The intensity of a coaching session every day and the follow-through/consistency which this allowed was a very special opportunity”
— Georgia L., violinist and musicologist

“It was a special treat to have intense one-on-one lessons with Prof. Stepner. I studied everything from the dynamics of voicing, the drama of harmonic phrasing, and chromatic fingerings especially helpful in solo Bach — to bowings and small technical points that can make a performance stylistically convincing. I highly recommend this course to anyone wishing to improve their understanding and performance of Bach’s solo music.”
— Lisa P., emerging professional violinist

The Unaccompanied Bach Workshop for violinists is open to students, serious amateurs or professionals. The program is currently accepting applications and audition recordings from violinists at:

Summer Instructor Profile: Jennifer Cleary

Jennifer Cleary brings creativity and a hands-on approach to Summer School teaching.

Last spring, Professor Jennifer Cleary spent a lot of time talking about social media. In a theater course on Ensemble Production, her students collaborated to produce an original performance piece called iShow. The production gave students the chance to reflect creatively on the way social media shapes their lives. Professor Cleary facilitated the production, helping students learn about ensemble production while asking real questions about their daily experiences.

This interplay between life and education, between the passions that move us, the questions that drive our everyday lives, and the learning we pursue in the classroom motivates all of Professor Cleary’s teaching. She recently developed a course in Creative Pedagogy for students in the Brandeis Education Department, exploring creativity in education to help budding educators imagine new possibilities in and out of the classroom. Her course, Playing for Change, pushes Brandeis theater students to find ways to use theater to drive social change and foster community-building in the real world. Students leave Professor Cleary’s classes better prepared to participate in a changing society.

A regular instructor for the Rabb Summer School, Professor Cleary draws on more than a dozen years of teaching experience at Brandeis. With a diverse background in performance, theater, experiential learning, and more, she offers Rabb Summer School students an exciting opportunity to explore public speaking almost every summer. Look for her course THA 15b: Public Speaking: The Art of Oral Communication when summer course lists arrive in the spring.

When we asked Professor Cleary about what makes teaching Rabb Summer School student special, she called it one of her “most enjoyable teaching experiences!” Some think of the summer session, she explained, as laid-back experience, where the “relaxing nature of shorts and flip flops makes learning watered down.” “In fact,” she said “it’s quite the opposite.”

tha15-2013-jenclearyProfessor Cleary with her adorable dog Zooey

Because the summer sessions are compressed, Professor Cleary’s students do a lot of work in their five-week course. “It can be hard when it comes to public speaking,” she explained, “because it’s something people can be enormously afraid of, and it can take time to overcome those fears.” But this intensive effort allows the classes to become “invested in the work and in each other” in a way that the regular semester schedule sometimes prevents. Above all, she explains, “It is the smaller class for me in summer, which I love, because the community we build is vital to the progress made in the work.”


Faculty Spotlight: Casey Golomski

casey.golomskiBrandeis University Summer School interviewed Casey Golomski, a lecturer in the Anthropology Department at Brandeis.  This summer, Casey will be teaching ANTH127a “Medicine, Body and Culture.” Registration is now open – click here to be directed to the enrollment page.


Brandeis University Summer School: How long have you been teaching at Brandeis? 

Casey Golomski: My home is in the Department of Anthropology. I am also Lecturer in Anthropology at UMASS Boston, and I formerly taught at Northeastern University. I matriculated to the Brandeis Anthropology PhD program in 2006 and successfully defended my dissertation this past March, so I will graduate this spring. Last spring I independently convened the course ANTH80a, “Anthropology of Religion.” I otherwise teach regularly “Introduction to Cultural Anthropology,” “Peoples and Cultures of Africa,” and “Watching Film, Seeing Culture.”

BUSS: What courses will you teach this summer? What can students expect?

CG: This summer I will teach ANTH127a, “Medicine, Body and Culture.” This course is a broad yet nuanced introduction to medical anthropology, engaging the social, economic and political dimensions of illness and healing across cultures. I’m very excited for the opportunity to convene this course. I consider myself a cultural anthropologist, but I am very involved in issues of bodies, aging and medicine. In the past, I’ve done work with traditional and Christian spiritual healers in southern Africa, as well as youth and shamanistic healing in the Hmong Diaspora in the US. My current research focuses effects of death and demographic shift from HIV/AIDS on life cycle rites in the the Kingdom of Swaziland. In the course, I’ll share some of these findings and works-in-progress.

To explain the syllabus a bit, we begin with historical precursors to the field, so how earlier scholars were writing about medicine, culture, society and power and consider how they laid certain intellectual foundations we still work with today. I designed a number of interesting case studies modules on: race and medicine the US; health, environment, and ecology, including how we are affected by wind; chronic illness; and even sleep and sleeplessness! This course attracts many students who are Biology, International Global Studies, or Health Science Society and Policy majors or are pre-med, and we are going to interrogate “biomedicine (our own system and understandings of health) and programs and initiatives of “global public health,” as well as learning how undergraduate students in Africa learn to become doctors in some resource deprived settings there. At the end of the course, we consider how to apply our culturally-nuanced findings in practice and public policy. We draw case studies from Anglo-, Hispanic- and Native North, Central and South America, Western Europe, Eastern and Southern Africa, East and South Asia and the Pacific.

BUSS: What is unique about summer courses – either for the students or faculty?

CG: I like the opportunities that summer school schedules provide. While the course is condensed to make up for a full semester’s content, I make sure to stagger the work expectations so students are able to better relish the material. While the readings are pretty equitable across the course schedule, some days will be more concentrated my own material and lectures. Other days use a “conversation circle” format where we each share individually- or group-assigned readings with each other. We will read scholarly and some popular writing which can be a much quicker read, like the best-seller “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.” I think summer is a good time to catch up on “leisure” reading, and this combination lets students see how books in the library and popular books can converse in interesting ways. We will watch a number of films as well.  Students will have three different options for a final project, including doing their own short ethnographic investigation which a summer course permits more time and freedom to take on.


Registration for ANTH127a and all summer course is now open.  Click here for more information, or to sign up!

Faculty Spotlight: Jason Pontrello

Jason K. Pontrello

Jason K. Pontrello, Associate Professor of Chemistry, will be teaching Organic Chemisty this summer at Brandeis.

Brandeis Summer School interviewed Jason Pontrello, Ph.D, an assistant professor in Chemistry at Brandeis University.  Jason has been teaching at Brandeis since the Fall of 2008 and will be teaching two courses this summer.  Check out the great interview below:


Brandeis University Summer School: How are your lab classes different than most?

Jason Pontrello: My lab courses focus on hypothesis development and interpretation of data rather than reproduction of expected or anticipated results from prior work. Half the lab experiments in the Fall semester incorporate the synthesis of a small molecule designed to inhibit the Tat protein/TAR-RNA interaction necessary for HIV replication. The experiments in the Spring semester incorporate the synthesis of metalloprotease inhibitors as well as compounds designed to affect protein aggregation in Huntington’s Disease. Students find, follow, and adapt procedures recently published in scientific literature, rather than relying on standardized textbook experiments. To carry out the reactions, students must learn how to use equipment that is commonly used in synthetic chemistry research labs. In addition, the Huntington’s Disease project represents a collaboration between introductory organic and biology teaching labs. The compounds organic chemistry students synthesize are tested in both in vitro and in vivo assays in the biology lab.

BUSS: What courses will you be teaching this summer?

JP: Organic Chemistry Lectures (Chemistry 25a/b) and Organic Chemistry Laboratories (Chemistry 29a/b)

BUSS: What do you think are the benefits of Brandeis Summer School for students?

JP: While the pace of a summer course is challenging to adapt to and required commitment to the enrolled course, the structure of the program and small size of the class (about 40 students) compared with the Fall/Spring semesters carry substantial benefits. Students are immersed in the subject of organic chemistry during 2 hour lecture, 4 days a week. This makes it possible to begin talking about a topic, and to finish during the same lecture or the next day. During the Fall/Spring semesters, with 3 lectures a week, topics often become fragmented and relevance can be lost as students are focusing on many other course requirements as well. I also noticed a strong group dynamic created among students in the summer classes. This same dynamic is experienced during Fall/Spring semesters, but it is more focused around the smaller recitations rather than the larger lecture course as a whole.

Brandeis Anthropologist Javier Urcid teaches 2 courses this summer

Photo of Anthropology Professor Javier UrcidBrandeis Associate Professor and Chair of the Brandeis Anthropology Dept., Javier Urcid, will be teaching two classes this summer.  Prof. Urcid will be teaching ANTH 5a: Human Origins and ANTH 116a: Human Osteology. In addition to his teaching responsibilities, Prof. Urcid studies the development of ancient complex societies in Mesoamerica: the origin and societal functions of early writing, political economy and settlement patterns, and the social and ideological dimensions of mortuary practices.

Recently, Prof. Urcid was the feature of a video on his work helping students understand ancient societies using Brandeis’ rich collection of artifacts.

Several Anthropology courses are being offered this summer:

ANTH 1a: Introduction to the Comparative Study of Human Societies with Ieva Jusionyte
Sage class number: 2109

ANTH 5a: Human Origins with Javier Urcid
Sage class number: 2070

ANTH 61b: Language in American Life with Laura Ann John
Sage class number: 2110

ANTH 105a: Myth and Ritual with Adam Gamwell
Sage class number: 2111

ANTH 116a: Human Osteology with Javier Urcid
Sage class number: 2072

ANTH 129b: Global, Transnational, and Diasporic Communities with Noah Tamarkin
Sage class number: 2073

ANTH 144a: The Anthropology of Gender with Anna Jaysane-Darr
Sage class number: 2112

To register for 2012 Brandeis Summer Classes, visit:

« Older posts Newer posts »

Protected by Akismet
Blog with WordPress

Welcome Guest | Login (Brandeis Members Only)