Board of Directors

Executive Committee

President's picture
Term until Oct 2016


amanda-haste's picture
Term until Oct 2016


Mae08ben02x's picture
Term until Oct 2016

Treasurer's picture
Term until Oct 2016

Communications Officer

kseddon's picture
Term until Oct 2016

Membership Officer

Term until Oct 2016

Board Members

clareqiao's picture
Term until Oct 2016
Nhi Lieu's picture
Term until Oct 2016
ewall's picture
Term until
Issy_Platt's picture
Term until Oct 2016
howardbarth's picture
Term until Oct 2016
Gary Shapiro's picture
Term until Oct 2016
ndemagalhaes's picture
Term until Oct 2016
sshapiro's picture
Term until Oct 2016
sbreitzer's picture
Term until Nov 2016

Board Biographies

Howard Barth (Board member)

Howard G. Barth retired from the DuPont Company as senior research associate, where he was involved with SEC, HPLC, and polymer characterization. He was appointed associate editor of the Journal of Applied Polymer Science, and also book series editor of Springer's Laboratory Manuals in Polymer Science. He was founding editor and editor-in-chief of the International Journal of Polymer Analysis and Characterization, and was chair for many years of the International Symposium on Polymer Analysis and Characterization. He works as a consultant in chromatography, analytical chemistry and technical editing and writing. Dr. Barth founded his own consultancy in 2010, from his home: Analytical Chemistry Consultants, Ltd. Lived at this address since 1986.

Mona Berman (President)

Mona Berman is an artist, art dealer, curator, educator, and consultant specializing in both contemporary art and material culture. Her primary interests are ethnographic jewelry and textiles of Asia. Mona received her B.F.A. from the University of Illinois and her M.F.A. from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Tufts University. Mona received an artist grant from the CT Commission on the Arts. Her work has been published internationally and widely exhibited. As art dealer, Mona's clients include major Fortune 500 corporations, national museums, architects, designers, and private collectors. She has provided curatorial services for Yale Art Gallery, Wesleyan University's Mansfield Freeman Center for East Asian Arts, the Connecticut Commission on the Arts, and for major corporations such as General Electric and The Travelers where she was Gallery Director. Mona helped draft Connecticut’s first Arts Advocacy Legislation (VARA), has been a reviewer for the US Dept of Higher Education Jacob K. Javits Fellowship Competition, and a juror for Connecticut’s Per Cent for Arts Program. She currently sits on New Haven's Cultural Affairs Commission. She also served on panels that help third world artists create economically viable, well designed, indigenous products and spent five years on the Board of Directors of a Khmer NGO women’s development center in Cambodia. In addition to her membership in NCIS, Mona is a member of the American Council for Southern Asian Art, College Art Association, and the Textile Society of America. She has taught at Hampshire College, Fairfield University, and other CT institutions.

Susan Breitzer (Board member)

Susan Roth Breitzer completed her Ph.D. from the University of Iowa, and is currently revising her dissertation, “Jewish Labor's Second City: The Formation of a Jewish Working Class in Chicago, 1886-1928,” and working on a book proposal. She has published essays in History Compass, the Indiana Magazine of History, and Race/Ethnicity: Multidisciplinary Global Contexts. She has presented papers at the Organization of American Historians, the American Historical Association, and the Labor and Working-Class History Association. She has recently served on the Board of Directors of the National Coalition of Independent Scholars, for which she organized the organizations first affiliated society panel. She has taught United States and world history at Fayetteville State University, and is currently teaching Western Civilization and United States History for the Fort Bragg Extension Campus of Campbell University.

Nzola De Magalhaes (Board member)

Dr. Nzola De Magalhães is a Biomedical Scientist and Engineer by training. She received her bachelor degrees in Biological Sciences, Chemistry and Women Studies, and her M.S. and Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering at the University of California, Irvine. Dr. De Magalhães is a multicultural and multidisciplinary scholar fluent in French, Portuguese and Spanish with working knowledge of Chinese and Japanese. Prior to joining NCIS, she has worked professionally as a Raw Material Chemist, as an Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering, and as a Research Fellow with background and expertise in Cancer Biology and Therapeutics, Biomedical Imaging and Computational Biology. In her spare time, Dr. De Magalhães volunteers as a judge, abstract reviewer and speaker at national STEM conferences, and she serves as a mentor at organizations dedicated to enhance the retention and success of women and minority students in STEM fields. Dr. De Magalhães is currently focusing on publishing more scientific manuscripts about tumor behavior.

Isabelle Flemming (Board member)

Isabelle Flemming, BA, MA, MLS, is a retired Reference Librarian/Computer Specialist .  Prior to holding this position she was the Business Reference Librarian at Mount Prospect Public Library in Mount Prospect, Illinois.  She received her MLS from the University of Illinois and MA in history, majoring in History of Science, with a minor in Early Modern Europe, from the University of Florida. She obtained her BA in Psychology from Northeastern Illinois University in Chicago. 

Amanda Haste (Vice President)

Amanda Haste is an Anglo-American musicologist and translator: she holds teaching and performance diplomas from two London conservatoires and a PhD for her ethnomusicological research into contemporary monastic music; her current interdisciplinary research interests include identity projection through music, authenticity of the musical product, and the intersections between music and spirituality. Dr Haste co-edited (with Professor James Block, DePaul University) Constructing Identity in an Age of Globalization (Paris: Ars Identitatis, 2015) and her interdisciplinary research has been published in Religion, Media & Digital Culture; Culture & Religion; Music & Arts in Action; and in The Paradox of Authenticity in a Globalized World, ed. Cobb (2014). She is also an active peer reviewer, lecturer and keynote speaker in France and Great Britain. As a translator Dr Haste specialises in academic texts: her assignments have included Peppercorn’s Villa-Lobos, the Music: An Analysis of his Style (1991), English Convents in Exile 1600–1800, ed. Bowden (2012-13), a book on biodiversity (2014), and numerous journal articles. She has also served on the committees of Sidmouth Arts Festival, East Devon Arts Association, Royal School of Church Music and Accueil des villes françaises and is a founder member of an equal-opportunities bilingual Rotary Club in France.

Nhi Lieu (Board member)

Nhi T. Lieu is author of The American Dream in Vietnamese (University of Minnesota Press, 2011). Her other works have been published in journals such as Frontiers: A Journal of Women Studies, Journal of Asian American Studies, and Spaces and Flows: An International Journal of Urban and ExtraUrban Studies. She is currently lives in Austin, Texas and is a full-time parent to two children. As an independent scholar, she is working on two research projects: one book currently under contract with the University of Illinois Press which explores how the strategies of consumption in private and personal choices in fashion and beauty reconstitute Asian American cultural and racial identities; and another examining gender and visual culture in Asian American weddings and bridal photography. She has taught courses in U.S. history, Asian American studies, immigration, popular and consumer culture, comparative beauty, and transnationalism. I am grateful that an organization such as NCIS exists for scholars working outside academic institutions. In the past few years, we have garnered some momentum and I hope to expand this network with what we have in place. With the existing resources and energy, I believe we can continue to provide support, dialogue, and engagement to individuals seeking to further their research and scholarship. I wish to serve as a Board member to further these goals and to collectively work with others to strengthen membership and fortify the organization.

Clare Jiyan Qiao (Board member)

Clare Jiyan Qiao is an currently intern at the NYC-based National Committee on U.S. - China Relations. She holds a doctoral degree in economics from China and a master’s degree in history from Harvard University. From 2009-2012, she had been an independent scholar in China, until she embarked on a new career track coming to the U.S. Her scholarly work covers the economy of the People’s Republic of China, academic translation and the intellectual history of China.

Klara Seddon (Communications Officer)

Klara Seddon is an art historian and food studies scholar specializing in East Asian material culture and foodways. In 2009 Klara co-founded the Institute of Cultural Research, NY, a scholarly research organization providing research services in the humanities. Klara is the ICR’s Research Director, specializing in projects relating to visual and performing arts. She received her Master’s degree from the Bard Graduate Center for Studies in the Decorative Arts, Design History, and Material Culture in New York City, where she focused on Ming dynasty tea culture in private scholars’ retreats and public teahouses. Her research interests are in the areas of material/visual culture, women’s studies, performance culture, and food studies. Klara is the author of the blog, the five o’clock teaspoon, featuring analysis of contemporary and historical foodways. Her current research on women’s media arts in Japan and Korea examines the intersections between art and craft production and women’s traditional labor roles in digital communities on the Internet. She is currently the NCIS Communications Officer and has served on the NCIS Board of Directors since 2010.

Gary Shapiro (Board member)

Gary Shapiro earned his A.B. in Classics at Harvard University and his J.D. at Columbia. He is a former contributing editor for the quarterly journal, The American Scholar. Shapiro wrote a column for The Forward (the national Jewish newspaper) and The New York Sun. He has since written for The Wall Street Journal and The Villager. He is a licensed tour guide in New York City. Research interests include the history of anthropology and the history of New York City.

Shelby Shapiro (Board member)

San Francisco-born, I grew up on Guam. Returning after earning my BA in Anthropology, I worked for 19 years in a law office writing trial memoranda and appeal briefs, doing land title examinations, pursuing photography part-time, while hosting a Jazz & Blues program on various AM and FM stations for 9 years. Self-taught in Yiddish, I went back to school when I came to the Washington metro area, earning an MA and PhD in American Studies studying the Yiddish press and acculturation of women immigrants. I am presently toiling to turn the dissertation into a book. I am the Associate Editor for Connecticut Public Records, Vol. XXI; a copy editor for the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, Inc.; and a Yiddish-to-English translator. I served as editor for the newsletter and later the small magazine of Yiddish of Greater Washington for more than a decade, continue to serve on its Board, as well as that of Operation Understanding-DC.

David Sonenschein (Membership Officer)

Early Member of NCIS, has served as NCIS Board Secretary, Book Review Editor, and adjunct member of the Board as Database Manager. Academically trained and with field experience in anthropology, sociology, and psychology, Sonenschein fled the academia and has been writing and publishing as an Independent Scholar since 1973. His areas of research are human sexualities and American popular culture.

Edward Wall (Board member)

I graduated in 1963 from the University of Minnesota (Minneapolis) with a B.S. in Mathematics (with minors in the physical and biological sciences). Subsequently, working as an applied mathematician and attending graduate school at the University of Maryland (College Park), I received a M.A. in Mathematics in 1968. Returning to academics I received a Sloan Foundation Grant from the University of Chicago in 1969 and spent a number of years as a graduate student in Mathematical Biology. For various reasons I began to question a possible future career in academics and moved in the 70s to Wisconsin where, while self employed as a system analyst, I would, in 1989, receive a B.S. in secondary mathematics education at the University of Wisconsin (Stevens Point) with certification in Learning Disabilities. I taught in both Wisconsin and Colorado and in the 90s returned to graduate school at the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor). I received a Ph. D. in Secondary Mathematics Education in 2003 and in the same year became faculty in Childhood Education (which I preferred for various reasons over Secondary Education) at the City College of New York. I was tenured in 2008 and I retired from City College in 2014.

Janet Wasserman (Secretary)

JANET I. WASSERMAN is the founder and executive director of the Schubert Society of the USA (2003) and has been a member since 1999 of the Schubert Institute-United Kingdom (SIUK). She is a published independent scholar in the fields of music history (with an emphasis on Franz Schubert), music iconography, art history, and biography. She is a graduate of City College of City University of New York (CUNY) with BA and MA degrees in Modern History; she reached candidacy for a Ph.D. in Modern German History (ABD) at the CUNY Graduate Center; and has a J.D. degree from CUNY Law School. She has over forty years of administrative and executive experience in the nonprofit sector, government and academia. She has been a member since 2001 of the National Coalition of Independent Scholars and was elected Vice President for 2005-2006, then served as interim President until she was elected President in 2008, serving one term. She was appointed Secretary in 2013 to fill the unexpired term of the former Secretary. Her publications are available at the NCIS website member pages where they are cited in full in her CV and at her personal site “An Independent Scholar’s Voice” (

Mary E Zimmer (Treasurer)

Mary Zimmer is a unique blend of academic scholar, high-level university administrator, and accomplished entrepreneurial leader. She has published and taught in her fields of 17th century British poetry and prose, medieval thought and literature, and early modern science. She has held executive administrative positions at Rice University, where she received her PhD. In 2007, after almost twenty years in academia, she took the helm of a family business with a nearly four decade history. In her time there, she has doubled the size of the business and diversified its operations into different markets.