Amanda Haste's picture
A British independent scholar, I spent 30 years as a professional musician before gaining a PhD in musicology. I am now adjunct faculty at Aix-Marseille University, teaching courses in Translation (BA and MA levels) and English for Musicians and Musicologists; I am also a translator (FR-EN) specializing in academic texts, and transcribing/translating historical manuscript sources. An active independent scholar, invited lecturer and keynote speaker, I publish widely, and peer review for several journals. I joined NCIS in 2012, since when NCIS has been a major factor in allowing me to hold my head up as an independent scholar and, despite my adjunct post, I always use NCIS as my affiliation when submitting conference papers, journal articles and book chapters. I have been active in NCIS since joining the Board in 2014, becoming Vice-President and later Acting President in 2015, and elected President in November 2016. I also serve as Humanities Editor for our peer-reviewed OA journal The Independent Scholar, and as Grant Awards Chair.
Statement of candidacy:

As Acting President of NCIS since July 2015 and President since 2016, I am passionate about improving the lot of independent scholars through the opportunities for skills development, mentoring and networking offered by NCIS. Over the last three years I have therefore worked hard to ensure that everyone who volunteers their time for NCIS is listened to, their talents valued, and their input appreciated. I am convinced that, together, we can continue to build NCIS which, due to the serious increase in precarity in the academic job market worldwide, provides an ever more valuable service to independent scholars.

Thanks to an excellent team of Board Directors and Officers, the last three years have seen many developments at NCIS: we now have a vibrant online community through Twitter (500+ followers) and Facebook (over 600 followers in 64 countries) and NCIS membership has increased by 65%, with members worldwide. Our financial position is healthy, meaning we can offer more practical help for members through grant support, and are able to subsidise our next conference so that NCIS members can attend for a much-reduced fee. I am very proud of what our wonderful team of volunteers has achieved, and, if that is the wish of the members, would be proud to serve a second term as President, as we continue to take NCIS forward into the 2020s.    


Membership Officer

Yvonne Groseil's picture
Born, raised, and educated in New York City, I have lived on the Upper East Side since it was Yorkville. Neighborhood parochial school, Hunter College High School, Barnard College, The New School for Social Research (PhD, Anthropology) and Hunter College. My work experience includes such Manhattan icons as Alexanders, Gimbels, and Bloomingdales, as well as various not-for profit organizations and, most recently, teaching as an adjunct at Hunter and the New School after obtaining an MATESOL degree at Hunter. I have been active in tenant organizing and as a union member. Now I am reinventing myself once again, as I focus full time on research and writing as an independent scholar.
Statement of candidacy:

My membership in NCIS was important to my during the years I worked outside academia and dreamt of the life of scholarship.  NCIS became even more significant to me when I became an adjunct professor and discovered that adjuncts were not considered full members of the academic community.  During those years, it was my membership in NCIS that reminded me that I was indeed capable of serious research and writing in the subjects that interested me.  Now I have time to do my own work, and NCIS membership provides me with access to research materials as well as support in a community of independent scholars.
I have served as Membership Officer for the past two years.  I found this a very rewarding experieince, both for the contact with members and in the work with other Officers and Board members to support NCIS.  I enjoyed working with the Membership Committee to  review and evaluate the statements and credentials of potential members.  It is very encouraging to see our membership grow and to welcome independent scholars who are are happy to discover NCIS for access to scholarly publications, support and advice with their writing, and a community of independent scholars.  I have also been very involved, with other Board members,  in the exciting and challenging process of developing a new website that will improve our members services and outreach,  
I believe that this is an exciting time for NCIS, full of potential for growth in membership numbers and activities, and I would like to continue to be part of this process.


Bridget Sanchez's picture
A passionate mental health clinician and scholar looking to bring forth important contributions to the field of mental health regarding mental health practices with historically underrepresented populations, specifically related to Latino immigrant mental health issues. I have focused my publications and research on therapeutic interventions addressing depression, anxiety, acculturation family distancing, and sexual identity among Latino Immigrant population in the U.S.I bring with me 5 years of mental health experience working with historically vulnerable populations, 4 years of limited-lecturer experience teaching at Purdue University Northwest and also 5 years of scholarly experience. I have 4 publications published and have made it a habit to have at least one publication currently in process to make sure I am contributing to the field.
Statement of candidacy:

I am a passionate scholar looking to advocate for the needs of independent researchers and scholars. I believe in the power of individuals pursuing their research and writing interests without support or influence from major institutions. The work that independent scholars do is not an easy tasks as we have to set our path and rely on our desire, interests, and work ethic. I have known the path of being an independent scholar as I have been doing independent scholary work analzying different therapeautic approaches with marginalized populations and submitting manuscripts for publications. I understand the challenges and rewards that come with this lifestyle. I am incredibly proud to be a member of this coalition. This coalition has allowed me to feel a sense of community and empowerment to continue my independent work. I wish to give back to this great organization in the capacity of secretary. I believe I can bring my talents and perspective to board meetings and make sure I am providing my best work in this capacity. In this role I would like to be play an integral part of NCIS board meetings as I believe in this organization and would like to be able to contribute ideas, suggestions, and make sure I am documenting all of the board meetings as these conversations are essential and integral to the leadership and guidance of NCIS.


Philip Stover's picture
Phil Stover is a historian of religion and conflict, focusing on Mennonite, Mormon, and Mexican studies. An independent scholar, Phil’s forty year career included service as a senior administrator in higher education, K-12 public and private education, and a Fortune 500 company providing services to education. He retired from serving San Diego Unified School District as Interim Chief Financial Officer and Deputy Superintendent of Business Services and Sweetwater Union High School District as Interim Superintendent of Schools. He also served as an Associate Professor of Psychology, teaching courses in the integration of psychology and theology. Phil has served his denomination as a licensed and ordained minister and as headmaster of a Mennonite K-12 school. Phil was appointed a member of the Sarasota County Historical Commission. Retired, Phil now lives in Mata Ortiz Chihuahua where he researches, writes, and oversees the production of peach, apple, and pecan trees. He has served his Mata Ortiz community by serving as President of the local Rural Committee for Potable Water. His Buyer’s Guide for Mata Ortiz Pottery is consistently in Amazon’s top 100 best sellers in books about ceramics. Phil has written a 480 page history of the interaction of revolution and religion in the history of Mexico. Entitled, Religion and Revolution in Mexico’s North: Even Unto Death . . . Tengamos Fe, his book was awarded a prize in non-fiction by Writers Digest and has been adopted as a textbook at Arizona State University. Phil has published three other books and is finalizing one on the organizational behavior of American public school districts, and one entitled For Thy Kingdom, a historical and doctrinal case study based on the 1857 Mountain Meadows Massacre. Phil recently spoke at a symposium at Arizona State University’s Center for the Study of Religion and Conflict. He presented on “The Roman Catholic Church during the Mexican Revolution.” This June Phil will be presenting at the Mormon History Association’s Annual Conference in St. Louis, MO. His presentation is entitled “The 1912 Exodus from Mexico: A Huddle of Pros and Cons – Mormons Twice Dispossessed.” Phil has spoken to various civic and religious groups in Nuevo Casas Grandes regarding the religious history of our area. He has served as a guest lecturer on school finance and law at San Diego State University, Point Loma Nazarene University, and Bridgewater State University. Phil has submitted a chapter that is currently under review for an edited book entitled Gazing on Southern Gods: North Atlantic Views of Latin American Religion and Spirituality. Phil’s contribution is a chapter entitled, “The Hand of Good-Fellowship”: How Senior US Politician’s Religious Perspectives Influenced their Mexican Policies from 1873 – 1938.” Phil’s undergraduate degree is in history and Biblical studies. He holds masters degrees in psychology and education. He has additional advanced graduate study in theology, religion, education, and organizational behavior and development.
Statement of candidacy:

Phil has brought his skills and experience to the role of Treasurer since being appointed last year, and wishes to continue serving NCIS in this capacity. He is currently overseeing the budget for the 2019 conference, and has also successfully negotiated the transfer of all the NCIS accounts to a new, well-established bank which should serve us well in the future.


Edward Wall's picture
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.
Statement of candidacy:

While I am no longer officially associated with a particular academic institution, I have not, more generally, retired. I still write and consult and I see NCIS as supportive to such intellectually activity. Serving on the NCIS Board would hence be in my best interests and would simultaneously give me an opportunity to represent similar others.


Shelby Shapiro's picture
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 revising the manuscript based on the dissertation, for publication as a book. I am the Associate Editor for Connecticut Public Records, Vol. XXII; 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.
Statement of candidacy:

As General Editor, I hope to continue improving The Independent Scholar, encouraging more members to contribute papers while insuring that each issue meets the high standards we have set for this publication. Along with the others on the Editorial Board, we continue to implement procedures towards this end.


Joan Cunningham's picture
Joan Cunningham is a cancer epidemiologist, and member of NCIS since 2014. She has served since 2015 as a non-officer member of the Board of Directors of NCIS and STEM editor for the NCIS journal The Independent Scholar. Joan retired in 2013 from the Medical University of South Carolina where her research focused on breast cancer epidemiology, particularly racial disparities in etiologies and outcomes. Born in Canada, she grew up mostly in Toronto, with one very interesting year in Sri Lanka. Joan holds a B.Sc. (Honours, Biology) and M.Sc. (Biology) from the University of Guelph (Canada), and a PhD (Public Health) from the University of Texas School of Public Health (Houston). Before deciding to embark on a PhD, she worked at the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources (Toronto). Since retiring, she is continuing her scientific endeavors. These build on her previous work, including the use of massage therapy and natural products to ameliorate side effects of anti-cancer treatment. She reviews several manuscripts each year for scientific journals. Non-academic interests include reading historical and literary fiction; community and political volunteering; yoga and Zumba; participating in informal musical endeavors (viola). Concerns include climate change and population growth. Joan lives with her husband in San Antonio, TX.
Statement of candidacy:

An NCIS member since January 2014, I have served (first by invitation) as a non-officer member of the NCIS Board of Directors since May of 2015.  I have greatly enjoyed working with and getting to know the other Board members, and believe my efforts add substantively to the critical work of the Board, and thereby improved how NCIS serves it members.
Specifically, I have contributed the following to NCIS Board and Board-related activities:
· Continuing as Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Editor for The Independent Scholar (TIS; NCIS on-line journal). This includes finding suitable peer-reviewers for submitted manuscripts, and mentoring junior members towards publication of their work.
· Co-reviewer of applications for NCIS grants and other NCIS award opportunities (chaired a committee in 2017 and 2018),
· Serving on conference review committee for upcoming NCIS 2019 summer conference
· Assisted substantively with the design and launch of 2016 NCIS Member Benefits Survey, and then analyzed and reported the results
· Served on conference review committee for the NCIS 2015 Summer Conference
· Chaired two sessions of the NCIS 2015 Summer Conference (New Haven, CT), and provided a written summary of every presentation of the conference.
I would like to continue my service to the NCIS membership by remaining on the Board of Directors in a Non-Officer capacity.  This will include continuing as TIS STEM Editor, as co-reviewer of applications for NCIS grants and other awards, and contributing generally to the work of the Board and benefit of the NCIS membership. I enjoy every opportunity to continue using my research design and statistical analysis skills!
As a cancer epidemiologist, I believe I am well qualified for the functions described above.  Before retiring from academia in 2013, I served as a Senator at the Medical University of South Carolina for five years, and by this work came to better understand the professional challenges facing adjunct as well as junior faculty struggling to conduct research and advance their scholarly careers in the current academic tenure and financial environment. 
Since retiring I have continued scholarly work as an Independent Scholar. This includes research collaborations with faculty and non-academic colleagues, publishing in professional peer-reviewed journals, working on additional manuscripts for publication, and continue to peer-review manuscripts for professional journals.
I ask that you consider favorably my self-nomination for a Non-Officer position on the NCIS Board of Directors.


Barbara Williams Ellertson's picture
After a career in academic publishing and small business administration, I became an independent scholar and in 2013 launched the BASIRA Database Project, which operates at the boundary of book history and art history; we hope to track and explore the ways that art (primarily painting and sculpture) in western Europe explicates the changing roles of the book across the centuries--before and during the Renaissance. Our initial paper, "The Painted Page," was published in The Independent Scholar in December 2015; we were deeply honored when it was awarded the Eisenstein Prize in 2016. My formal academic work was in history and religion at Duke University, although only at the undergraduate level. As an outgrowth of BASIRA, I’ve developed and taught a course in European book culture for the continuing education program (OLLI) at Duke for two years. And I’ve audited graduate courses in art history technology, also at Duke. The National Coalition of Independent Scholars has opened doors that would otherwise be inaccessible to someone like myself with limited credentials.
Statement of candidacy:

As Affiliate Liaison, I've been honored to communicate with the officers and Board of NCIS over the past 2.5 years. The many messages exchanged with Affiliate members have given me a bird's eye view of some of the challenges faced by far-flung members of NCIS. My interest in serving as a Board member springs from (a) my sense of obligation for the many ways that NCIS has supported my own work, and (b) a hope that I could represent members who, like myself, lack formal academic credentials. In these times of immense academic and cultural challenges; I see an opportunity to serve on the NCIS Board as a way to participate in bridge-building and international cooperation. It would be an honor to serve.


Valerie Abrahamsen's picture
I completed masters and doctoral studies in New Testament and Early Christian Origins at Harvard Divinity School and have remained active in my fields for nearly four decades. I worked as an academic administrator, mainly as a registrar, at a number of colleges in Massachusetts and Vermont and reluctantly retired in late 2017 after my job was eliminated suddenly in 2013 and I was unsuccessful landing a new position. For three years, I conducted research on the survival of the soul after death and self-published my book, Paranormal, in 2015. In October 2015, I launched a website, WisdomWordsPPF, and have been posting evidence-based blogs once a week in three areas: my scholarly research on women in antiquity, New Testament, and early church history; social justice issues from a progressive, feminist perspective; and insights from Paranormal. I am now giving lectures and leading discussions, retreats and workshops at retirement communities, churches, colleges, libraries, conference centers and other venues, and I volunteer for Estey Organ Museum in Brattleboro, Vermont; the United Way of Windham County; and the Episcopal Church in Vermont.
Statement of candidacy:

It is my pleasure to agree to continue to serve on the Board of the National Coalition of Independent Scholars. I have greatly enjoyed working with the other Board members on a number of important initiatives, and I have made some contributions in the following areas:

  • Based on feedback from a member survey in November 2017, I conducted research on conference sites in the New England area, developing an Excel spreadsheet to collect my findings, communicating via email with a number of site coordinators, reporting back to the NCIS Board, and assisting Board members in making the final decision on the site.
  • I hope to be involved in the planning of the 30th Anniversary Conference in June 2019, since the site at the University of Massachusetts Amherst is only about an hour from my home.
  • I volunteered to serve on the Membership Committee to help vet applicants. Since April 2017, we have evaluated over 70 applicants’ CVs and statements. Communicating via email with the other two members of the Committee has been interesting, stimulating and rewarding.
  • To help answer some questions about grant cycles, I researched grants offered by several other non-profit scholarly organizations and reported my findings back to the Board.

I have been an NCIS member almost from its beginning, recruited by the late Dr. Luise Schottroff. It has been very valuable to me over the years to be able to designate myself as an “independent scholar” – in association with a professional organization – as I have earned my living through academic administration while continuing my research and writing in New Testament archaeology, women’s studies, and early church history. For several years, I was active in the Boston affiliate of NCIS; we met in each others’ homes on weekday evenings approximately once a month, we took turns presenting our research, and we gave each other helpful feedback. I was honored to present a paper at the 2015 Conference at Yale University, and my 2015 book, Paranormal: A New Testament Scholar Looks at the Afterlife, was reviewed in The Independent Scholar. TIS also republished an earlier article of mine, which had originally been published in the February 2012 issue. My book chapter, “Human and Divine: The Marys in Early Christian Tradition,” in A Feminist Companion to Mariology (ed. Amy-Jill Levine with Maria Mayo Robbins. London and New York: T & T Clark International, 2005), was the winner of the Eisenstein Prize in 2006.


Susan Lanzoni's picture
I am an historian of science and medicine, and teach at the Harvard Summer School on a yearly contract. I regularly attend conferences, and have received numerous grants over the years, including a Fulbright Grant, and a National Science Foundation Scholar’s Grant. I have published scholarly articles in the journals Critical Inquiry, Configurations, History of Psychiatry, Canadian Journal of the History of Medicine, among others, and edited and contributed articles to a special issue on Emotion and the Sciences for the journal Science in Context. I am presently completing my book manuscript, entitled “The Art and Science of Empathy: A Cultural History” on the history of empathy from aesthetics to neuroscience over the course of the twentieth century, under contract with Yale University Press.
Statement of candidacy:

I am running for the position of Board Member of NCIS in order to contribute in a small way to a much-needed and valuable institution for those of us working outside of the academy. I have been a member of the NCIS for a number of years now, and have benefited from their informative postings on grants and fellowship opportunities, and have also received financial support for research projects and for presenting papers at academic conferences.

I will participate in board meetings. More broadly, I hope to find ways to get independent scholars to interact in local research groups, and to encourage innovative multi-disciplinary projects and scholarship. I plan to host a Boston-area meet up of independent scholars to help create a larger independent scholar network in my area.  I believe that if there are financial and institutional challenges for those of us outside the tenure track, there are also possibilities for independent scholars to develop innovative research and writing projects that challenge and go beyond traditional disciplinary frameworks.


Dorothy Woodman's picture
I would like to be considered for a position on the Board. I have considerable board experiences with non-profits (NGO in international development, Camrose Women's Shelter [Brigantia Place], Camrose Food Bank, Temple Beth Ora). I have also served on academic committees (Undergraduate Program Committee, and the WRITE Program -- all in the Department of English and Film Studies at the University of Alberta). I briefly served on the General Faculties Council, University of Alberta. I have also been a contract instructor at a number of post-secondary institutions, from a polytechnic to small university colleges to a large research institution over the past 13 years. Thus, I have had diverse experience with the conditions in which instructors are situated. In spite of a heavy teaching load, I continue to research and take part in professional development (for example, I received a grant to attend a Narrative Medicine Workshop in the Faculty of Medicine at Columbia University). I am involved in two projects (as above) and am working with a professional photographer and academic to develop a project involving visual representations of breast prostheses. I am also pursuing other avenues of funding to enable to continuation of my research. I believe that it is critical for contract instructors and other independent scholars to create a community of mutual support in addition to (and not in place of) collaborative engagements within the larger academic community. However, our particular circumstances and needs are well served by organizations such as NCIS and I look forward to participating in this work and sharing it with others similarly situated in Canada.
Statement of candidacy:

At this point in time, I would like to be considered for a general non-officer member position.  Please see the information provided above.


Isabelle Flemming's picture
Isabelle Flemming, BA, MA, MLS, is currently a part-time Reference Librarian at Ela Area Public Library in Lake Zurich, Illinois, after having worked several years there as a full-time 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 at Champaign/Urbana, 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.  Isabelle has held committee positions in library associations, and other organizations. More recently, she has been presenting papers at Popular Culture/American Culture Association conferences.
Statement of candidacy:

I have worked with the NCIS Board over the past year. Its members are among the most insightful, hard working people with whom I have ever worked in an organization. More important, their care for the members of NCIS has led the Executive Committee and Board to add even more benefits and to improve communication among the members and the Board. NCIS represents all of those independent scholars who are outside of the formal academic umbrella. This is an extremely valuable organization, and I would like to see it thrive.

Contact us

National Coalition of Independent Scholars