AIFS Partnership Programs: Faculty-Led Study Abroad Programs

Northern California Study Abroad Consortium

Northern California Study Abroad Consortium
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Florence, Italy

Spring 2019

Faculty Bios

Santa Rosa Junior College: Danielle King

Danielle King has been teaching at Santa Rosa JC since 2003.  She completed her undergraduate degree in Ecology, Behavior, and Evolution at UC San Diego and holds a Master's Degree in Wildlife from Humboldt State University, where her research focused on roosting ecology of bats in old-growth redwood forest.  During her 15 years at SRJC she has taught Human Anatomy; Zoology, Genetics, and Evolution for Biology Majors; Human Biology; General Biology; and Natural History of the Pepperwood Preserve.  Her favorite teaching assignments have been teaching Ecology as well as Tropical Biodiversity and Conservation in Costa Rica for the Summer Study Abroad Program. 

In addition to Costa Rica, Danielle has traveled to Australia, Fiji, France, Spain, Italy, Czech Republic, Austria, Germany, Switzerland, England, Scotland, Mexico, Argentina, Uruguay, and Panama.  She is eagerly preparing for a new adventure in Spring 2019: bringing her family along as she teaches biology in Florence!


Los Rios Community College District: Holly Piscopo

Holly Piscopo has been teaching history full time at Sacramento City College since 2006. She began her studies in history at San Diego State University where she spent one semester in a Study Abroad program at Cambridge University (U.K.). She continued her education at the University of California, Santa Cruz where she received her Master's Degree in history. During her graduate work, Holly's two teaching fields were modern US history and modern world history, both of which focused on comparative approaches to omnipresent historical themes such as race, gender, social movements, and cultural identities. 

Holly believes that being away from one's home country has a way of opening one's mind to new ways of thinking and modes of being… not to mention new people, new foods, new styles… and the list goes on. As a former Study Abroad student, Holly knows how transformative the experience can be. Holly's other experiences abroad include working with multiple colleges in Mexico to develop a "virtual study abroad program" for students in California and Mexico; extensive travels in Europe; and a focused study trip to China. There is an Italian saying: "La vita è un viaggio. Chi viaggia vive due volte." (Life is a voyage. Those who travel live twice.) In the presence of heavy-hitting Italian icons like Michelangelo's David and gelato, Holly is looking forward to the opportunity to guide students in their semester-long viaggio in Florence.


Contra Costa Community College District: Jessica Barksdale

Jessica Barksdale has been teaching at Diablo Valley College since 1989. She completed her undergraduate degree in English and sociology at California State University, Stanislaus and holds a Master’s Degree in English Literature from San Francisco State University and a Master’s of Fine Arts in creative writing from Pacific Lutheran University. She is the author of fourteen novels as well as many essays, short stories, and poems. She brings her love of writing into all her writing classes, adding creative work into her favorite classes, World Mythology, Creative Writing, and composition.

Jessica has traveled all over the world, many of these adventures with her elderly mother. Together, they have gone to Ireland, Sicily, Paris, Provence, Africa, Canada, and Scotland. She has done house exchanges in France, Canada, and the UK with her family, giving her children the opportunity for longer visits in another country. She and her husband have traveled throughout the United States as well, and she spends a great deal of time on airplanes on her journeys to writing conferences and book events. She believes that travel offers opportunities like no other, and paired with a focused study in Florence will provide a truly once-in-a-lifetime experience.


San Mateo Community College District: Rebecca Alex

Rebecca Alex holds a B.A. in English Literature from Colby College, an M.F.A. in Studio Art from John F. Kennedy University and six years of study at the National Academy School of Fine Arts and the Art Students League, both in NYC.  She is a practicing artist specializing in archaic painting techniques such as encaustic, fresco, egg tempera and traditional oils, most of which she will teach in Florence.  Rebecca has taught for the Study Abroad program in London (2005) and Florence (2007) and looks forward to introducing students to the incredible art practices of the leading Renaissance artists who made Florence their home, as well as arranging for student trips to other leading art centers in Italy such as Venice and Rome.  Rebecca will also teach Drawing I and II, where students will have the life-time experience of learning linear perspective where is was invented, drawing in museums full of the old masters and sketching in the streets, gardens and along the Arno river of Florence.