Meet Our Faculty


Sheetal Shah, Ph.D.

Interim Head of Global Citizenship Program

Bio: Sheetal (Agarwal) Shah has been a Consulting Psychologist and Counselor in practice since 1999. She specializes in the field of counseling for chronic illnesses viz. epilepsy and HIV/AIDS.  She was responsible for designing, setting up, and managing a help line for telephonic counseling in India (the 1st of its kind in Asia for Population Services International, Washington), specializing in issues related to HIV/ AIDS and sexuality. She has also been affiliated with various academic institutions for training and supervising counselors at the post graduate level.  Having completed her M.A. (Psy.) in U.K. (University of Sussex) and M.Phil. and Ph.D. in India (S.N.D.T. University) she is well sensitized towards the cultural issues that influence the clientcounselor dynamics. 

She is currently Interim Head of Global Citizenship Program and Head of Department of Behavioral & Social Sciences at Webster, and is working on a research project for Webster Leiden Campus called the BIJLMER PROJECT. The project’s main objective is to address the psychosocial needs of trafficked women and men in the Netherlands.


Sara Lusini, Ph.D.


Bio: Dr. Sara Lusini holds a B.A. and an M.A. in Linguistics from Ca’ Foscari University in Venice (Italy), and a Ph.D. in Linguistics from Leiden University. Her research interests include syntactic theory, linguistic typology, experimental phonetics, sociolinguistics, dialects and cultural identity, and the relationship between language, culture, and communication. 


Jelle de Boer, Ph.D.


 Jelle de Boer is a lecturer at Delft University of Technology. He has studied geology, economics (M.A.), and philosophy (Ph.D.). His research in recent years has focused on questions concerning human cooperation and well-being. He is editor-in-chief of Algemeen Nederlands Tijdschrift voor Wijsbegeerte, a Dutch journal of philosophy. He has published in journals such as Economics and Philosophy, Biology and Philosophy, and Philosophical Psychology. He co-edited the book Well-Being in Contemporary Society, Springer, 2014.


Allison Kirk, Ph.D.

Academic Writing, Theoretical and Historical Linguistics

Dr. Allison Kirk is a Canadian historical linguist, language editor, and  teacher She obtained her Ph.D. in theoretical linguistics from Leiden University in 2012, where she focused on word order and information structure in the Koine Greek of the New Testament. She completed her M.A. at Concordia University, Montreal, with the dissertation, A syntactic account of split DPs in Herodotus, and her B.A. in Linguistics and classical languages (with honors) at the University of Alberta.

In addition to teaching WRIT 1010 and co-ordinating the Writing Center at Webster, Dr. Kirk teaches in the Department of Languages, Literature and Communication (English) at Utrecht University. Her research interests are the structure of relative clauses (and other subordinate clauses) and the origins of syntactic embedding.


Vanessa Lann, M.A.

Music Composition

Vanessa Lann studied Musicology, Piano Performance, and Composition at Harvard University, in addition to Physics and Film Theory.  She later received her Master's Degree in Music Composition from the Royal Conservatory of The Hague. She is an internationally-recognized, prize-winning composer, and many of her works are known for the complex mathematical principles which govern their structures.

Her music has been performed in concert halls throughout the world, including Lincoln Center (New York) and The Concertgebouw (Amsterdam).  She has been commissioned to create works for such distinguished ensembles as the Radio Chamber Orchestra of The Netherlands and the Orchestra De Volharding, as well as for soloists including Tomoko Mukaiyama, Guy Livingston, Ivo Janssen, Harry Sparnaay, Annelie de Man, and Eleonore Pameijer. She was the subject of a Dutch television documentary in 1997, which focused on her music and on the compact disc recording of her work for the large ensemble, Dancing to an Orange Drummer. Six other CDs feature Lann's music, which are published by Donemus, Amsterdam. 


Carlos Roos, M.A.


Carlos Roos is a scholar in the fields of art theory and communication studies, as well as a practicing artist with international experience in studio and stage projects. He holds a B.A. in Art from Universidad Central de  Venezuela  (VE)  and  an  M.A.  in  Philosophy  of  Art  from  Leiden  University  (NL). His current  doctoral research (Leiden University and UGent) revolves around critical theory, metaphysics, and aesthetics. Roos is the editorial assistant of Empedocles: European Journal for the Philosophy of Communication, and a member  of  the  following  scholarly  associations:  European  Communication  Research  and  Education Association (ECREA), European Network for Cinema and Media Studies (NECS). 


Marijn van't Veer, Ph.D.

Phonology and Dutch

After studying Spanish at the University of Amsterdam for one year, the instructor continued his Bachelor's degree in Linguistics, for which he received his MA in 2008 and his PhD in 2015, both from Leiden University. He has taught at Leiden University and the University of Amsterdam. In addition, he works as a private language instructor, as a museum instructor and as a photographer.


Jill E. Adler, J.D.

International Law, Grant Writing, & Fundraising

The instructor studied law and received a Juris Doctorate from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. She is the director of the East-West Parliamentary Practice Project (EWPPP), an NGO based in the Netherlands which develops and implements capacity building programs for parliaments and civil society organizations in emerging democracies. She also serves as Vice-Chair of the Board of the Netherlands-American Commission for Education Exchange (Fulbright Center), and is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Albanian-American Development Foundation (AADF).


Christine Fitzgerald, M.A.

Developmental Psychology, Stress Management

Christine Fitzgerald is one of the co-founders of Vivace: Professional Development, an organization specializing in management training, seminars, workshops, and coaching. Before moving to Holland in 1985, she worked in marketing research & strategic long-term planning, project management, and corporate training for Chemical Bank (now Chase) in New York City. A magna cum laude graduate of Pace University, she received her M.A. in developmental psychology from Columbia University.


Humberto Sanchez, Ph.D.

Biologist Dr. Humberto Sánchez was educated in Madrid (Universidad Autónoma, Ph.D. Molecular Biology and Biochemistry: 2001) with research and teaching experience at universities in Spain, Japan, and the Netherlands. He is currently developing his research activities at the Technical University of Delft, where he studies the individual 'behavior' of molecules that maintain genetic information. He has published more than 20 research articles, as well as several book chapters, on different aspects of the genetics, biochemistry, and cell biology of DNA metabolism.


Taco Hidde Bakker, M.A.

Art writing and translation

 Taco Hidde Bakker is a writer, translator and researcher based in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. In 2007, he completed a Master's degree in Photographic Studies at Leiden University with a thesis on the crossroads of photography theory and visual anthropology. Subsequently, he worked as researcher and writer on the large-scale documentary project, 'The Last Days of Shishmaref,' with Paradox and photographer Dana Lixenberg. His writings about art and photography have been widely published in magazines, including Camera Austria International, Foam Magazine, EXTRA, British Journal of Photography, and The PhotoBook Review, and also in catalogues and artist's books.

His first volume of essays, 'The Photograph That Took the Place of a Mountain', is forthcoming from Fw:Books in 2018.


Paul Anstiss, B.A.

Media Ethics

 Paul Anstiss has worked as a broadcast news journalist for more than 25 years. He was a television reporter and news reader for the BBC (Breakfast News, BBC News Channel, and BBC World Television) and for the ITV commercial network in the United Kingdom. Paul also worked for five years as a senior producer, reporter and presenter for Radio Netherlands Worldwide. During the course of his career, Paul has travelled extensively on assignments throughout the world and covered a wide range of stories including the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, G7 summits, conflicts in Somalia and Bosnia, and climate change in Antarctica.

Today, in addition to his work as a lecturer in journalism, media literacy and media ethics, Paul writes for companies such as Shell, AEGON, and Amsterdam Marketing. He coaches politicians and company executives in Europe, Africa and the Middle East on their media and presentation strategies.


Marije L. Balt, M.A.


Marije Balt has an M.A. in International Relations from the University of Amsterdam. She is a former senior diplomat of the Netherlands government. She will take students through the world of defense, diplomacy and development from an insider's point of view. As an expert on peace building, she currently advises organizations and companies working in (post) conflict countries and frequently travels to countries like Somalia, Mali, and Libya. In her capacity as a trainer, she works at the CIMIC center of excellence with NATO Higher Command.


Tina Bastajian, M.A.

Media & Film

Tina Bastajian is a film/new media artist, researcher, and curator, born in Los Angeles and raised as a filmmaker in San Francisco. Intrinsic to her single-channel and installation work within experimental and diasporan film are themes of the identity, erasure, dislocation, the archive, and translation. Bastajian has exhibited internationally in festivals, galleries, museums, and symposia, including: San Francisco International Film Festival; IDFA; CinemaEast NYC; Micronomics Festival, Brussels; Smart Project Space, Amsterdam; Pompidou Centre, Paris; the Museum of Flying, Los Angeles, Hrant Dink Memorial Symposium-Sabanci University, Istanbul and De Filmhuis, Den Haag. In Spring 2013, she was invited as a guest lecturer to Concordia University Center for Oral History and Digital Storytelling to present her interactive documentary, Coffee Deposits: Topologies of Chance.

Additionally Bastajian has taught at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie and has been a visiting faculty member at the Dutch Art Institute, and as well as a guest lecturer at the University of Amsterdam, The Autonomy Summer School, Arnhem, UCLA-University of California, and the Vrije Universiteit.

She obtained her Master's from the University of Amsterdam (Preservation and Presentation of the Moving Image) and completed her Bachelor's degree in Film studies/Production at San Francisco State University.



Natalie Dixon, Ph.D. candidate

Digital Media

Natalie Dixon is a media thinker and researcher. She is the co-founder of Affect Lab, an Amsterdam-based research studio that examines people's relationships with technology. Dixon's research focuses on the use of mobile phones within marginalized and vulnerable communities.

Hailing from a journalism and publishing background Dixon has worked for a decade as a writer, editor and publisher for international publications and clients including ELLE, National Geographic Traveller, Marie Claire, Mail&Guardian, TimeOut, SL, HYPE, seventeen and Real Simple. Dixon is in the final stage of completing her doctorate at the Media and Communications department, Goldsmiths College. Her thesis examines people's attachment to their mobile phone using narrative, sensory and affective methods. Dixon's latest publication is titled 'Stranger-ness and Belonging in a Neighbourhood WhatsApp Group' (2018) in Open Cultural Studies.


Nives Rumenjak, Ph.D.

Coordinator for International Relations graduate program

Specialization: History

 Bio: Nives Rumenjak obtained her Ph.D. in History from the University of Zagreb. She is a senior IR Lecturer and Head of the IR Department at Webster Leiden Campus. Since 2008, she holds an appointment as a Visiting Scholar at the University of Pittsburgh, where she closely cooperates with Center for Russian and East European Studies. Previously, Dr. Rumenjak held a research position at the Croatian Institute of History in Zagreb for eleven years, where she published her most comprehensive book, "The Political and Social Elite of Serbs in Croatia at the End of the 19 Century: The Rise and Decline of the Serbian Club." Her most recent article, titled "Freedom of expression in multicultural societies: Political cartooning in Europe in the modern and postmodern eras," is published in "Empedocles: European Journal for the Philosophy of Communication" (EJPC 10.2)

Dr. Rumenjak's areas of expertise include Central and Southeast European studies, sociohistorical prosopography of elite groups, nationalism, borderland identities, freedom of expression and political cartooning in the modern era. Her original approach to modern nationalization combines prosopographical and autobiographical methods in research of individual national identities, as well as a visual interpretation of primary sources from popular culture.

Dr. Rumenjak's examinations in the modern history of Europe have been regularly presented at the European Social Science History Conference, and Convention of Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies. In addition to her scholarly activity, Dr. Rumenjak has taught a variety of graduate and undergraduate courses at the University of Zagreb, Amsterdam University College, the Community College of Beaver County, PA, and Webster University Leiden, including History of Central and Southeast Europe in the 19 century, Western Civilization, The Vietnam War, The World System Since 1500, Introduction to International Relations, Introduction to Comparative Politics, Research Methods, Popular Culture, Freedom of Expression, Imperialism Past and Present, Global Civil Society, Gender and Social Movements, Modern History of Racism, and International Political Economy.



Daria Tuminas, M.A.


Daria Tuminas is a curator and a freelance researcher and photographer. In 2011, Tuminas graduated from Leiden University's MA program Film and Photographic Studies, with a thesis questioning narrative in photography. From 2012-2014, she co-organized the yearly program, 'Dutch Photography Experience,' which included a series of educational events in St. Petersburg as well as an exhibition on the Dutch photobooks 'Undercover' at the Museum of Contemporary art. The show got a silver prize at the European Design Award.

In 2014 Daria continued with her next photobook project, 'Reading a Photobook,' which took place at the Gallery of Printing in St. Petersburg and consisted of an exhibition, an educational program, and a competition on photobook review writing. Tuminas's photography project 'Ivan and the Moon' received a number of awards (1st prize, Surrau Photo Win; 1st prize, Lucie Foundation; 1st prize, Viewbook Photostory Competition, etc.) and was exhibited worldwide (Festival Photoquai, Paris; FotoFest, Houston; Getty Images Gallery, London; Screenings of Festival Voies Off Arles; Fotofestiwal, Łódź; Brakke Grond, Amsterdam, etc.).

Daria worked at Johan Deumens Gallery (Amsterdam) for three years until February 2017, and is currently the Head of Unseen Book Market and Dummy Award at Unseen Amsterdam. Daria also occasionally writes about photography for several media.



Piotr Perczynski, Ph.D

Political Theory

Piotr Perczynski obtained his M.A. and Ph.D. in International Relations and Political Science from Warsaw University and was awarded scholarships at Oxford University, Leiden University and University of Amsterdam. He was a postdoctoral researcher on political theory at Leiden University (1998-2001) and Senior Lecturer at the European Institute of Public Administration (2006-2009). He has also served as a Head of Political Cabinet of the Deputy Prime Minister of Poland, as a National Coordinator for Performance Budget (statutory authority) and as a Vice-Ambassador for Poland to the Netherlands (2012-2016).

Currently he is a lecturer on political theory, international relations and political philosophy and is doing research on the work of Baldassare Castiglione..


Jonathan Talbott, B.A.

Jonathan Talbott is a communications advisor with a specialty in spoken communication and a background in the performing arts. "I started out in business with a plan to help presenters eliminate 'Death by PowerPoint', but it's gotten a little out of hand. The presenting work led to coaching TEDx talks. I've now assisted in the creation of more than 200 of those. Before I knew it I was helping people and organizations with giving pitches, preparing for panel discussions, focusing their small talk at events, planning negotiation communication, and practicing interviews. I spend a fair amount of time talking about goals, strategy and planning, particularly with regard to emotional connection with audiences. I also work with lots of startups on market validation, which really means asking good questions and carefully listening to the answers." Jonathan Talbott is a regular guest lecturer on communications skills at the Delft University of Technology, Utrecht University and Erasmus University.


Marjon van Opijnen, M.B.A.

Business Ethics

Over the past 15 years, Ms. an Opijnen's main focus has been on social sustainability and justice in the Netherlands, Europe, Africa, and Asia. In the different positions she has held, she has operated on operational and strategic levels within organizations and in relation with external stakeholders. Where applicable, she also touches upon the more systemic change that projects or problems require.

The main fields in which she initiated and carried out projects are: sustainable supply chain management, human rights, sustainable business development, strategy & policy development, leadership and economic & business transition to a new economy, and sustainable society.

Furthermore, Ms. Van Opijnen has been teaching Responsible Business at the Nyenrode New Business School since 2008. She holds a Master of Science in Business Administration and a Master of Arts in Applied Ethics. She successfully fulfilled the basic auditors training for SAI and followed several trainings in the area of systemic work and leadership.


Mitzi Waltz, Ph.D.

Dr. Mitzi Waltz has a professional and academic background in media and cultural studies, with a specialization in Autism Studies.After completing her BA in Journalism at San Francisco State University, she worked as an editor for MacWEEK magazine and later, as a freelance journalist and author.

She completed her PhD in Media and Cultural Studies at the University of Sunderland, with a focus on Disability Studies. At Sunderland, she taught Journalism and Media and Cultural Studies from 2002-2007, and founded the university's successful MA Magazine Journalism program. In 2007 she started managing the campus-based Autism Studies program at the University of Birmingham. She also contributed to several key research projects (e.g., the Autism Education Trust report on the state of autism education in England, and the Inclusion Development Programmes for autism released by the UK Department of Children, Schools and Families in 2009).

From 2012, she headed the MA Autism Studies program at Sheffield Hallam University. Since returning to the Netherlands in 2013, she has worked as an adjunct lecturer with Sheffield Hallam's distance learning program, as a Senior Researcher at the Hogeschool van Rotterdam and Disability Studies in Nederland, and as a freelance journalist.


Alexandra Arshanskaya, M.S.

Alexandra Arshanskaya is a visual thinker, visual artist, performer, visual design professional, and teacher with a background in science and finance. Her professional practice includes painting, drawing, performance, digital art, photography, videography, graphic design, illustrations, and interdisciplinary projects. Besides lecturing in the Media Department at Webster University Leiden, Alexandra gives drawing and painting lessons and offers workshops in various visual techniques. Also, she maintains visualizations and visual coaching during conferences, seminars and business meetings.

Alexandra Arshanskaya obtained a B.A. from the Royal Academy of Art (The Hague, The Netherlands) in 2012 and then went on to study exact sciences at the St-Petersburg State University, Russia, completing her M.S. degree in Mathematical Economics. Since 2006, she has been exhibiting, performing and collaborating on different visual projects in London (UK), Berlin (Germany), St-Petersburg (Russia) and throughout the Netherlands.

More information about Alexandra's projects can be found at:;


Business Spanish

After studying English Studies at the University of Zaragoza (Spain), Carmen Ripa moved to Germany to study Translation Studies at the University of Mainz. She currently works as a Spanish lecturer at several Dutch universities and as a private language instructor. She is very aware of the importance of affective learning in the classroom, and so is always looking for the person behind the student.


Jacinta Noonan, B.Sc.

Jacinta Noonan is a dynamic trainer, coach and speaker with over 25 years of experience in the field of learning and development. Her passion is to help individuals learn skills so they achieve their full potential in their chosen career. Jacinta combines her expertise in psychology, coaching and training in unique ways to design training programs geared towards measurable results and participant engagement.

Aside from her work as an ESL lecturer, Jacinta also runs a successful coaching practice and is a corporate trainer. Originally from Australia, Jacinta has lived in the Netherlands, the UK, America and Singapore. During her career she has taught in over 25 different countries. She is passionate about people, performance, success and personal enrichment.


Dara Colwell, M.A.

ESL and writing/journalism

A professional writer for 18+ years, Dara Colwell earned her Master's degree from UC Berkeley's Graduate School of Journalism. She worked for several years as a reporter at Metro San Jose, then became a freelance writer, writing about the environment, politics, culture, and the arts. (Publications include: Village Voice, Time Out, SF Weekly, High Times, Amsterdam Weekly, and She currently teaches professional writing and storytelling techniques at the University of Groningen, working with Media Studies students.

Her first career was teaching ESL (in the UK, US and Czech Republic). She continues to give private language instruction, coaching professionals on how to improve their fluency - particularly in writing. As an instructor with nearly 30 years' experience, she believes learning is most effective when it's also fun.


Bob Zevering, M.A.

Dutch and intercultural communication

Bob studied Dutch at the Free University in Amsterdam where he received his MA in Arts (Dutch language and culture). He continued his studies at the Free University with a MA in Education.

With his company, Learn the Language, he has provided and arranged language and culture courses for middle and higher management at companies since 1999.
He also set up several combined language and culture programs for talented refugees /'statushouders'.

Next to his regular company courses, he also coaches cast members of big musicals like Billy Elliot, The Lion King, Anastasia and Tina Turner. He helps the (international) performers with their language skills and makes sure that the rhythm, pronunciation and intonation of their lines are how they should be.