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February 2023 Newsletter

The Inside Scoop
Welcome to The Inside Scoop, our electronic newsletter. Please enjoy this issue and share your feedback by email. We always look forward to hearing from you. This is the February 2023 edition of The Inside Scoop.
Spring Semester Updates
We are excited about the upcoming spring semester which offers our members 40 interesting courses, with 23 of those being brand new. There will be 19 in-person classes, 19 are virtual via Zoom, and two of the classes are hybrid offerings. Browse the catalog here. If you’d like an easy way to see all the courses by day, here’s the calendar view. All of our listings clearly state whether a class is virtual or in-person.
Each semester, Encore Learning brings you fascinating courses that peak your interest and expands your mind.
Love literature, reading and writing? Consider taking these courses:
Maybe you made some New Year’s resolutions to improve your mind, health or finances! Check out these courses that can help you:
We know there are lots of history buffs out there! Why not register for one of these interesting courses:
And for all you ‘techies’ (or techie wanna bees….):
Maybe you’ve always had an interest in the law or politics. These courses are sure to keep you engaged and thinking all semester:
The social sciences examine many aspects of human behavior, something we ALL could learn more about. We have some exciting offerings in this field:
Here are a few courses that may also peak your interest this semester:
Parks in the City: Parks are the common playground for urban areas and the defining feature of many cities. Arlington County has 184 parks and boasts that every resident of the county lives within a 10-minute walk of a public park. Instructor Peter Harnik, founder and retired director of the Center for City Park Excellence at the Trust for Public Land, will look at new ways cities are creating public parks. He will discuss the practical and political aspects of creating new parks and look specifically at possibilities for new parks in Arlington and the Washington metro area. The course will be offered in-person at noon for four Thursdays beginning March 9.
International Tax Policy: Don’t yawn! Surely you have wondered why many large U.S. companies have extremely high profits but pay so little in taxes. Andy Pike, professor emeritus at American University’s Law School, will explain this and other mysteries of the world of taxes. He will describe strategies employed by large corporations to dodge taxes and a proposal by the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development to prevent worldwide tax avoidance by multinationals operating in advanced economies. The class will be on Zoom Tuesdays at 2:00 PM, beginning March 14.
Immigrant Stories: Photographer Lloyd Wolf, who leads the Columbia Pike Documentary Project, has invited seven local immigrant leaders to attend class over four weeks in March to share stories about their experiences as first generation Americans. Speakers will include:
Janeth Valenzuela, a native of Bolivia and now an Arlington community activist particularly focused on improving school programs for immigrants and their children and in maintaining an affordable neighborhood environment
Aseel Elborno, Advocacy Campaign Specialist at Islamic Relief USA.
Pryalal Karmakar, founder and executive director of Prio Bangla, a Bangladesh heritage group.
Batshur Gootiiz, a native of Mongolia and a World Bank economist with expertise on trans-Pacific trade policies.
Anh Phan, part of the first wave of Vietnamese refugees to the United States. She is the community engagement manager for NOVA Parks after a decade on the staff of U.S. Sen. Mark Warner, D-VA.  
Dr. Tsehaye Teferra, founder and executive director of the Ethiopian Community Development Council.
Dulce Carrillo, a Mexican-American activist involved in a variety of community organizations and supervisor of public engagement for Arlington Public Schools.
The class will meet in person at GMU and begins March 7 at 2:00 PM.
The semester starts March 1 and registration is ongoing.
Important Reminders About
Spring Semester Classes
We’re looking forward to seeing you in class, either in-person or virtually, soon! You will receive a reminder email with more information two days before your class begins, but in the meantime, here are a few tips and reminders to help you prepare:
In-Person Course Locations: All class locations, including room numbers, can be found in the course description. All courses at GMU will be held in Van Metre Hall at the Mason Square Campus in Arlington. Paid parking is available in an attached garage accessed off of Kirkwood Boulevard. Parking for two hours is $9.00. There are nearby parking meters as well. Courses in Fairlington will be held at the Fairlington Community Center. Free parking is available in the adjacent lot. Paid and free street parking is also available.
Zoom Login Information for Virtual Courses:  All Zoom login information has been uploaded to your member account and can be found in your class media. You will use the same login information for all class sessions, so we recommend saving the login information to your desktop. For tips on using Zoom, see these resources
Class Media: You will be notified by staff when supplemental class materials are available to view in your member account. To access class media, log into your account on Member Account Manager, open the My Activities tab, navigate to the course, and select the View Media link. 
Inclement Weather and Other Policies: Please see this link for more information.
President’s Message
It’s time to set sail for the Spring 2023 semester! I’m delighted to share that on our first day of Course Registration, we had 1,000+ registrations by noon! Since then, the registrations continue and we’re up to over 1,100. Clearly, Encore Learning is providing courses that our members enjoy!
Why is this important? Because we are not only growing in memberships but we are growing in registrations! Our members are recruiting other members and are often taking multiple courses. In the Spring of 2022, we had 1,163 course enrollments. In the Fall of 2022, we had 1,056 course enrollments so we have already surpassed the enrollment numbers from last semester. Since our Spring 2023 enrollment is still underway, I predict we will have a banner semester.
This semester, we offer something for everyone, in person, virtual or hybrid! We have outstanding instructors and topics for you to enjoy. Meet us at the starting line. Our sail begins on March 1. 
Our Spring Course Preview was a fantastic success! If you missed it, you can watch all the course instructor clips at our YouTube channel.
If you’re thinking of becoming an Encore Learning member, we welcome you! It’s easy to join. Go to Can’t wait to have you as part of the crew!
Barbara Spangler, President
Membership, Class and Zoom Questions Answered
Here’s an opportunity to get all your membership, class and Zoom questions answered! Whether you feel totally intimidated by Zoom or feel like you’ve become somewhat of an expert, it’s always a great idea to keep learning!
Join us on Monday, February 27 from 12:00 Noon to 1:00 PM for a member hangout to learn all the ‘ins and outs’ of taking classes at Encore Learning. You’ll have a chance to test your Zoom connection and walk through basic Zoom features that will help you get the most out of your membership. This way, you’ll be ready for any virtual class you take! The Encore Learning Staff will be joined by Technology Committee Co-Chair Richard Rubin.
Click here for more information.
Special Event News
Take a look at our exciting upcoming events:
Need to Know, World War II and The Rise of American Intelligence: Monday, February 27 at 3:00 PM. Nicholas Reynolds is a WWII Historian, former CIA officer, and author of the New York Times Bestseller Writer, Sailor, Soldier, Spy. You can watch a brief YouTube clip about Nicholas Reynolds and his book here.
For more information, checkout the event page.
Calling all music lovers! We have two Special Events with the Arlington Philharmonic. First is the Philharmonic Preview on Thursday, March 2 at 1:00 PM where Maestro Wood will highlight the music being performed at the concert of March 5th. Click here for more information on the Philharmonic Preview.
Sunday, March 5 is the Arlington Philharmonic concert and reception at Washington-Liberty High School. The reception starts at 3:00 PM and the concert begins at 4:00 PM. Click here for more information.
Click the links to learn more and forward to friends. If you’d like to host a Special Event at your senior living community, email
Nominating Committee
Encore Learning’s Nominating Committee for next year’s Officers and Committee Chairs is up and running.
Expanding membership and engaging and coordinating volunteers are two important strategic areas for Encore Learning. If you have thoughts and ideas about our future, consider chairing the Membership Committee or the Volunteer Committee. 
The Membership Committee develops and executes recruitment strategies as well as plans and supports in-person events for members. The Volunteer Committee encourages members to volunteer their talents and time, and matches interested members with volunteer needs across the committees and activities of Encore Learning.
Committee chairs are members of the Board of Directors. Board member terms begin July 1 and are elected annually at our Annual Meeting in May. Committee chairs serve a one-year term.
Contact us at for more information! To get more involved in a committee, sign-up to volunteer here:  
Our Members Love Us!
We have more than 100 new members since July 1. We love to hear about why members join.
Thank you, Stuart Seidel, for your kind words of praise for Encore Learning and one of our esteemed instructors.
New members, stay tuned for information about an upcoming New Member Coffee.
Club News
Mindfulness Club
The Mindfulness Club meets by Zoom for guided meditation and discussion most Wednesdays from Noon to 1:00. If you wish to receive email notice of meetings with instructions, please contact the Encore Learning Office which will advise the Club Coordinator of your interest.
Travel Club
A few of the amazing photos from Judy Ballard’s trip to Botswana that she shared with us at our February 17 meeting.
The Travel Club’s next meeting will be on March 17 at 2:30 PM. Carol and Gerry Fuller will share their Road Scholar experiences in Sicily in 2021 and 2022. They will focus on Sicily as a crossroads of cultures through the ages, from the earliest inhabitants through the Greeks, Arabs, and Normans, even the Mafia.
If you would like to be placed on the email list for the Travel Club, then send an email to The Travel Club typically meets on the 3rd Friday each month at 2:30 PM on Zoom.
Cinema Club
The February Cinema Club saw the movie 80 For Brady, a comedy starring Lilly Tomlin, Sally Fields, Jane Fonda and Rita Moreno. Four best friends live life to the fullest when they embark on a wild trip to see their hero, Tom Brady, play in the 2017 Super Bowl. But in real life, it was a group of five dedicated friends who made up the “Over 80 for Brady” fan club that inspired the movie.
In March, the Cinema Club will meet on Friday, March 24. For more information, email or
Welcome To Our Newest Staff Member – Jourdain Henderson
We are thrilled to have Jourdain Henderson join our team as the new Virtual Class Administrator with Encore Learning. He brings a wealth of experience as an educator, instructional designer and has also worked in higher education administration at George Mason University.
Jourdain grew up in Decatur, Georgia and later attended the University of West Georgia where he obtained his bachelors and masters degrees, both in the field of education. He moved to the DMV in 2013, working in both the corporate world and in higher education.
Welcome, Jourdain!
Staff Corner
February we are full of love for our members. The Encore Learning staff excitedly watched the registrations roll in on February 6. To see the enrollments grow is so rewarding, we know the work of the Academic Programs and Publications Committee is paying off. The gratitude from members when they get into a class brings us joy! Being able to meet the Class Aides at training this week is also something we love. The volunteers make this all possible.
I am pleased to share that we have a new member of our staff team and we hope you will meet him at an upcoming class. Welcome to Jourdain Henderson! We all look forward to seeing you in class in March.
Lora Pollari-Welbes
Executive Director
Community Events
LLI/NOVA also offers many interesting events for those over 50. You may want to consider some of their upcoming free special events.
March 1
Arch! Arch! The March Forum speaker will be Arch Campbell, “The Accidental Critic.” For years, Arch was a fixture on channel 4’s WRC News. Expect a lot of laughing and entertaining tales!
All of LLI/NOVA’s forums begin at 10:00 and finish at 11:00 AM.
To register, go to the Future Forums column on LLI/NOVA’s homepage: LLI NOVA. Click on the Forum title to link to the registration page. IMPORTANT: Non-members must register for the March 1 forum before February 27 at 12:00 noon. The zoom link will be sent to registrants.
Welcome To Our New Members
During January 2023, we welcomed these new members and look forward to having them become active participants in Encore Learning. Please introduce yourself to them if you meet them in a class, club or event.
  • Ann Bolster
  • Ray Converse
  • Patricia Dueholm
  • Louis Goldblum
  • Oscar Goldfarb
  • Arezu Ingle
  • Kenneth Kimbrough
  • Becky Klein
  • Weber Lauh
  • L. Leiken
  • Jack Maskell
  • Karen Menichelli
  • Adele Neuberg
  • Carl Neuberg
  • Douglas Neumann
  • Sandra Sellers
  • Sara Walters
  • Walter Zaumseil
THANK YOU to Mary Converse, Steve Gell, Jody Goulden, Margie Hobart, Kerry Jones, Virginia Neumann, Ed Rader and Deb Spero for referring friends and family to Encore Learning. Thank you to the Membership Committee for their efforts to spread the word about Encore Learning. If you’d like to bring Encore Learning into your community (residential building or neighborhood) to share information about membership, let us know. Tell a friend about Encore Learning so you can see your name here!
Mason Alert Available
George Mason University’s emergency notification system, Mason Alert, is designed to notify students, employees, visitors, and neighbors of emergencies on campus and safety issues.
Sign-up to receive notifications by registering mobile phone numbers and email addresses through a community portal available at If you have any questions or concerns about the Mason Alert Emergency Notification System, please send an email to
For additional information about emergency preparedness at George Mason University, visit or call 703-993-8448, or email
Encore Learning is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Any donation is a charitable contribution deductible from income tax to the full extent permitted by law. Members, friends and organizations wishing to support Encore Learning may direct contributions to our General Fund to support our sustainability, to the Arthur W. Gosling Youth Scholarship Fund or the John T. Sprott Scholarship Fund. If you would like to discuss tax benefits of charitable giving and charitable remainder trusts, please view our Donate page or contact the office.
We hope you enjoyed this edition of The Inside Scoop. If you would like to submit an article or share some photos of members participating in Encore Learning activities, please email us at
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Lifelong Learning For Those Over 50
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