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Course Offerings

SPRING 2020 courses

  • Incarceration of Women During the Civil War
  • Mahjongg "Beginner"
  • Journey Along the Basha Kill
  • Investments - Which Ones Are Best for 2020
  • Qigong and Meditation
  • Nutrition for Optimal Health
  • Historians Look to the Future
  • Breaking Barriers: Women of the Supreme Court of the United States
  • The Spanish-American War and the Philippine Insurrection
  • Book Club
  • Color Pencil Drawing
  • Amazon Adventure
  • India Ink Painting on Rice Paper
  • Hiking
  • Mahjongg - Continuation
  • The Greek Gods, Part II: Male Gods
  • The Delaware Indians in the American Revolution
  • Films For Everyone
  • Aquasize


Welcome to Encore’s SPRING 2020 course offerings. These learning opportunities are scheduled within the college’s academic calendar; they are assigned to available areas after the credit classes have been scheduled. This schedule is completed at least two months before classes begin. So, as you consider what to register for, please note carefully the dates, times, and places for each offering. Then register for those offerings that fit within your own calendar and commitments. Neither Encore nor its instructors can make changes after that. The only exception would be a college-wide postponement, cancellation, or rescheduling i.e. snow day. CALL SUNY ORANGE's main number to verify if college is open (845) 344-6222 or check the college's website sunyorange.edu.

Encore's office phone number is (845) 341-4896.

Email:  encore@sunyorange.edu




3 sessions | 2:00 - 4:00pm | Monday

March 23, 30,  April 6

ROOM - Library 221

Women faced many dangers during the Civil War, not the least of which was the possibility of being sent to prison for their activities such as spying. 

Instructors: Yvonne Bigney

Yvonne was a Civil War re-enactor for 10 years.  She belonged to the 15th NY Volunteer Cavalry and the 124th NY Infantry, the "Orange Blossoms".  She has given talks at historical societies, libraries and schools.  Yvonne serves on the board of the Encore Steering Committee.




6 sessions | 1:00 - 3:30pm | Monday

March 30,  April 6, 13, 20, 27,  May 4

ROOM -Shepard Center/Alumni Room

Learn to play that popular game, Mahjongg, which you keep hearing about. The American version will be our focus. The class is for men and women who are beginners, but can also serve as a refresher course for those who have played before. Participants will need to purchase their own Mahjongg cards. Instructor will order these after 1st class. Approximate cost $8.00.


Instructors: Florette Soroka, Pat Blau

Florette has played Mahjong for over 35 years and has been teaching others to play for numerous years in Chester, at Middletown Mulberry House, Encore and at the Town of Wallkill Wildflower Community Center.  Florette and Pat are on the board of the Encore Steering Committee.




3 sessions | 1:00 - 3:00 pm | Tuesday

March 10, 24, 31

ROOM – see below

This course will be off campus at the Mamakating Environmental Center in Wurtsboro over three days with a different instructor each day. 

March 10: Elly Knieriemen’s presentation and commentary will cover her incredible photographs of the flora and fauna of the Basha Kill Wetlands. 

March 24: Karen Miller will give a photo presentation addressing the large numbers of bird species that live and breed in the Basha Kill including migrations.

March 31: Mike Medley, and outdoor educator, will give a guided tour along the the Basha Kill, highlighted by a spotting scope on nesting eagles. Participants should have good walking shoes and the ability to walk approximately 1 mile on level terrain. Binoculars optional.

NOTE: directions to the environmental center will be included with confirmation.



Eleanor Knieriemen is a social studies teacher and a digital photographer.

Karen Miller is now in her 10 th year of birding experiences by traveling to new areas to add species to her life list.

Michael Medley is an outdoor educator who possesses broad knowledge of the Basha Kill. He has led countless walks and kayak trips. Mike is a retired special education teacher at Orange Ulster BOCES.




4 sessions | 2:15 – 4:15pm | Tuesday

March 24, 31,  April 7, 14

ROOM – Library 221

Growing dividend paying stocks, exchange-traded funds (ETFS), Real Estate Investments (REITS), and other investments will be discussed. Learn from the instructor’s 45+ years’ experience and avoid his mistakes. Class members will determine what other topics are covered. Any questions may be asked!

Instructor: Robert Pollsen

Robert is a retired Certified Financial Planner professional. He has worked in NYC’s financial district for over 25 years: Standard & Poor’s, Merrill Lynch, Bank of America and more.




4 sessions | 12:00 - 1:30 pm | Tuesday

March 24, 31,  April 7, 14

ROOM - Phys Ed Dance Studio

Qigong (chi-kung) is a system of coordinated body postures and movements. Breathing and meditation used for the purpose of health and relaxation will be taught. Students need to wear loose fitting clothes.

NOTE: Students will be standing for a prolonged period. If they have any physical limitations, they may want to consult a physician to see if this activity is suited for them.


Instructor: Joe Petrosi

Joe started studying T’ai Chi over 25 years ago as an alternative to having back surgery. He has studied T’ai Chi with some world renowned masters and also teaches T’ai Chi Sword, Walking Stick, Staff and Spear. He is a Certified Qigong Instructor.  Joe is the president of Encore's Steering Committee.




4 sessions | 2:30 - 4:30pm | Tuesday

March 24,  April 7, 21,  May 5

ROOM – Harriman Hall 214

The nutrition course will comprise of four topics that will relate how diet (and some lifestyle choices) can affect a person’s health and can contribute to the development of chronic health conditions.

Bone and Joint Health: This class will discuss how lack of nutrients, or poor dietary choices can lead to arthritis, bone loss and the increased risk of fracture. Information will also be provided about what food and supplement choices are needed to ensure health joints and bones.

Digestion and Gut Health: This class will discuss how previous antibiotics and other medications can cause an unhealthy balance of gut bacteria leading to chronic health problems.

Heart Health: This class will include information on what foods will contribute to the development of heart disease and which nutrients can prevent or slow the progress of heart disease.

Mental Health: This class will discuss which nutrients are essential to mental health and memory. This class will also include information on what commonly prescribed medications for depression and anxiety can contribute to vitamin deficiencies.


Instructor: Susan Nichols, MS/RD/CDE/CDN

Susan currently works as the Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist for the Orange County Office for the Aging. Susan is credentialed as a certified diabetes educator (CDE) and a NYS Licensed Nutritionist. Instructor has worked in the field for 39 years and has taught nutrition and alternative medicine SUNY Orange and Marist College.




1 session | 2:00 – 4:00 pm | Tuesday, April 21

ROOM – Rowley Center 202

Come explore 21 st century challenges for engaged citizens. Enjoy “conversations” with preeminent historians and discover insights and lessons offered through their research and books.


Instructor: Tony Nappo

Tony is a retired 40 year career educator. While at Middletown High School he taught AP US History, International Politics, Soviet History and Futuristics. He also taught graduate courses for the New York Institute of Technology.




1 session | 2:00 - 4:00pm | Wednesday

March 4

ROOM – Rowley Center 202

This course will explore how the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) came to confirm a woman as a Justice on the SCOTUS. An exploration of Sandra Day O’Connor’s historical role as the First Woman on the high court and the significance of her confirmation. A discussion of three additional women including Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor, their viewpoints and how they changed the Court and serve as role models for women in law.


Instructor: Janine Sarbak

Janine is an attorney and Associate Professor of Criminal Justice. Prior to teaching she worked as an Assistant County Attorney for Orange County and an Assistant District Attorney for Nassau County. Janine was the recipient of the SUNY Orange’s President’s Award for Excellence in Teaching for 2019.




3 sessions | 1:00 - 3:00pm | Wednesday

March 25,  April 1, 8

ROOM – Rowley Center 010

As the European powers were expanding their empires, the United States tried to maintain her stance of neutrality and not engage in foreign conquest. With America starting to expand it found herself engaged in the Spanish-American War and the Philippine Insurrection (the Philippine-American War). This course will look at “American Imperialism” as well as our involvement in the Spanish-American War and the Philippine-American War.


Instructor: Heidi Amelia-Anne Weber, Ph.D

Dr. Heidi Amelia-Anne Weber is a Professor of History in the Department of Global Studies at SUNY Orange. She is actively involved in teaching classes in the Honors program as well as for Encore. Heidi was selected as the recipient of both the SUNY Orange Presidential Award for Excellence in Teaching as well as the Chancellor’s Award for Teaching Excellence.




2 sessions | 2:00 - 4:00 pm | Wednesday

March 25,  April 1

ROOM - Library 221

We will discuss Becoming by Michelle Obama on March 25. For the April 1 class, we will discuss Nickle Boys, by Colson Whitehead.
Students will be required to read each book prior to class.


Instructor: Marlena Lange

A long time Encore instructor, Marlena has also been a teacher of English at Chester High School, SUNY Orange, Harriman College and Mercy College. She has worked in many local prisons and is an active member of Friends of Thrall Library.




4 sessions | 1:30 - 3:00 pm | Wednesday

March 25,  April 1, 8, 15

ROOM - Harriman Hall 211B

Students will be introduced into the use of color pencils, Different techniques will be shown as well as discussion of color theory and its application with color pencils. Students should bring in pictures as studies to draw from.

NOTE: Students will need to purchase the following color pencils (try online @ Dick Blicksor Jerry’s Artarama). A set of a minimum of 24 pencils ex: Soho pencil set of 24 $15.99 or Raffine color pencils set of 24 $9.99. Paper (Statmore Bristol 300 series 9x12 $4.79), Eraser ACURIT 4 in 1 $1.19, Color pencil sharpener Kum, long point $4.29. Ruler– 12 inch.
Total investment about $40.00.


Instructor: Joe Petrosi

Joe is an accomplished artist. His works hang in many private homes and businesses, both here and abroad. In 2012 he was voted the Best Ink and Pencil Artist in the Hudson Valley. His work has been exhibited in both multi-artist and one man shows in the tri-state area.




1 session | 2:00 – 4:00 pm | Wednesday, March 25

ROOM – Rowley Center 202

A power point presentation of Instructor’s many trips to Amazon; including birds, nature and culture.


Instructor: William Fiero

William is an avid traveler, focusing on nature and photography. He has also been an Encore instructor for a number of years showing beautiful photography of his world travels.



3 sessions | 2:00 – 4:00 pm | Wednesday

April 1, 8, 15

ROOM – Devitt Center 20

Helen works with India ink and brushes to create washes with water. She’ll teach you the different strokes and positioning of how to hold the brush. The student will need to purchase rice paper, India ink and a brush. Info will be sent with confirmation.


Instructor: Helen Yeoshin Hwang

Helen has had three solo exhibitions in Seoul, Korea. Her website is www.hyeoshin.com where you can view her paintings which implement traditional India ink design with a modern twist, applied on rice paper. Helen would love to have you try your hand at this traditional art!




2 sessions | 2:00– 4:00 pm | Wednesday

April 15, 22

Please note: Students must be able to walk for 2+ hours on sometimes rocky terrains.

Session 1 April 15 – Appalachian Trail moderate hike –For the first adventure, we will meet at College parking lot by 1:10 pm if carpooling. If driving one’s self, take Rte 17 A east from Warwick: right past Bellvale Creamery look for a parking lot surrounded by big rocks on the right hand side of the road (not the parking area with the hot dog stand, but the one right past that).

Session 2 April 22 – Minnewaska State Park off of route 44/55. Easy to moderate hike. Either car pool as previous week’s directions or meet at the upper parking lot at Minnewaska off rts 44/55. The park is free to seniors during the week: only a driver’s license needed. We will hike the Millbrook Mt. Carriage Road to Patterson’s Pellet.

Please include your cell number in case of rain.

Wear sturdy shoes or sturdy sneakers or hiking boots – if you have them. Bring water and sunscreen. Rain cancels this course. If you have any questions about the day’s hike, you can call the instructor at (845) 665-9200.




3 sessions | 1:00 – 3:30 | Wednesday

April 15, 22, 29

ROOM – Shepard Center Alumni Room

This course is the next step after beginner and a continuation of the Fall 2019. This course can also serve as a refresher course for those who have played before. Participants will need to purchase their own Mahjongg cards. Instructor will order these after 1 st class. Approximate cost $9.00


Instructors: Florette Soroka, Pat Blau

Florette has played Mahjongg for over 35 years and has been teaching others to play for numerous years in Chester, Middletown Mulberry House, Encore and at the Town of Wallkill Wildflower Community Center. Florette and Pat serve on Encore’s Steering Committee.




4 sessions | 2:00 – 3:30 pm | Thursday

March 5, 12, 19, 26

ROOM – Library 221

This course will consider the character of Greek Gods (male) and will examine the nature of Zeus, Apollo, Poseidon, Dionysus.


Instructor: Dr. Demosthenes Kontos

Professor Kontos is a historian who has a Ph.D from the University of Cincinnati. He has taught European history at the University of South Dakota, University of Cincinnati and is retired from SUNY Orange, where he has taught for fifty years.



1 session | 2:00 – 4:00 pm | Thursday, April 2

ROOM – Rowley Center 202

Course will cover the “Treaty of Pittsburgh”, the first treaty between the U.S. Government and an Indian Nation (The Delawares). Also the worst massacre of the frontier wars: “The Ganadenhuten Affair”, which saw the slaughter of 97 Christian Delawares, mostly women and children by the American Militia.


Instructor: Frank Salvati

Frank is a resident of Orange County and passionate student of the Indian Wars, particularly in North Eastern America. He has been a popular speaker about the French and Indian War, the American Revolution, the War of 1812 and others.




5 sessions | 2:00 – 4:00 pm | Friday

March 27, April 3, 17, 24, May 1

ROOM – Harriman Hall 111

Students will view 5 films which will be both entertaining and informative. A brief history of each film will be presented before showings; discussions will follow. These are the tentative films.

Overlooked and Underrated Films from the 1970’s

  • Fat City (1972) – March 27
  • The Long Goodbye (1973) – April 3
  • Smile (1975) – April 17
  • The Late Show (1977) - April 24
  • Girlfriends (1978) – May 1

Program is subject to change.


Instructor: Matt Pfisterer

Matthew Pfisterer has served as the Director at Middletown Thrall Library since 2011. Matt earned a Master’s Degree in Information Science from SUNY Albany, worked as a public Librarian, and gained experience as a director of public libraries in Ulster and Dutchess counties.



3 sessions | 11:00 am – 1:00 pm | Friday

April 17, 24,  May 1

ROOM – Phys Ed Pool


An introductory class of the movements & equipment of water fitness. For swimmers and non-swimmers who are comfortable in the shallow end. Bring your own lock for lockers in locker room where shower facilities are available. Also you may want to bring a plastic water bottle.

All students meet on pool deck (if pool is locked, then meet at door) No street shoes allowed on pool deck. Please note: It would be helpful if the participant’s doctor knew about this exercise.

Requirements: Students must have the ability to enter and exit the pool. The ability to move around the shallow end of the pool independently.


Instructor: Anne Condon

Anne has been a popular, certified and accomplished Aquasize instructor for many years.