AIFS Partnership Programs: Faculty-Led Study Abroad Programs

Northern California Study Abroad Consortium

Northern California Study Abroad Consortium
not your school?

Florence, Italy

Spring 2024

Faculty Bios

Kirsten Swinstrom
Santa Rosa Junior College

Kirsten Swinstrom fell in love with studying biology as a student at Santa Rosa Junior College. She later obtained her undergraduate degree in Biology at UC Santa Cruz followed by a Master's Degree in Marine Science and then a PhD in Biology from UC Berkeley. Her research interests include animal behavior, evolution, and conservation biology.

Kirsten now teaches biology and zoology at Santa Rosa Junior College. Kirsten’s travels have taken her throughout the US, to Europe, Canada, Mexico and French Polynesia. In 2019 she taught study abroad in Barcelona, Spain. It was such an incredible experience for her and her students that she wanted to do it again as soon as possible! She is very excited to explore the Mediterranean environment with you in Florence!

Nancy Olsen
Los Rios Community College District

The first time I traveled outside of the US, I was giddy with experiencing so much that was new and–simultaneously–terrified of making an idiot of myself in a foreign place.  If I’d had someone to guide my transition, how much easier and less anxious I would have been!

Since that time, I’ve visited over 20 countries and loved every minute of it (well, mostly…things happen that are unplanned but always end up as great stories and funny memories!).

That’s why I am so VERY excited to live in Florence alongside you and your classmates and to experience this delightful city through your eyes as well as to calm your fears and help smooth out any rough edges that come from living in a new country.

I can’t wait to show you how enriching it can be to take on a new view on life, and to see the US and your place within it from the outside. Travel is one of the most sensory of learning experiences, and leaving your home country is an unforgettable way of discovering the world.

I hope you’ll join me and many other northern Californian students in this great adventure.

Jessica Marshall
San Mateo County Community College District

Jessica Marshall is a Professor of Anthropology at Cañada College and has taught for 19 years. With a passion for taking students abroad, she has taught Anthropology in Egypt, Italy, and Australia. Her research interests are in contemporary objects made to keep traditions alive. She holds a BA in Anthropology, a BA in Photography, and a BA in Journalism from California State University Sacramento, and an MA in Visual Anthropology from the University of Kent in England. She completed her PhD coursework in Interdisciplinary Studies at the Australian National University in Canberra. Before teaching, Jessica worked as an archaeologist and lived and traveled extensively around the globe. Twenty-seven years ago, she was a community college student in the same AIFS program in Florence that she will now be teaching in.

John Corbally
Contra Costa Community College District

Prof. Corbally moved to the US alone the week he turned 18, having left high school at 15 in working class England. After laboring on construction sites for five years, he spent a decade as a sales and marketing manager, coordinating international logistics for international supply chains. Wishing to teach following the events of 9/11, he completed a B.A., M.A. and Ph.D. in history within 9 years. He now spends most of his time teaching, while also writing or working to improve his pedagogy, or as they say, andragogy. :-) His professional focus is on helping less-privileged students get to college, finish their bachelors, to relish in the life of a mindful, educated adult, and thrive thereafter. 

Prof. Corbally recently authored/co-authored a three-volume World History series for Bloomsbury Academic Press (from 1490-1750, 1750-1914, and 1914-present). He plays soccer, piano and guitar, getting injured periodically in all three. He has a daughter in college and a son at home and loves going to concerts with both.