ISCA Faculty

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Aisha Shah-Thomas graduated from the University of East London (UEL) with a degree in English Literature. She began her career as a journalist at The Voice Newspaper. During her time there she was able to interview and meet many young aspiring artists including the author Vanessa Walters, who had just had her first book published. The buzz of the newsroom combined with the striving energies of the many talented young artists she interviewed inspired a desire to create a similar vitality into an earlier stage of the budding artists’ life: the school classroom. She gained her teaching credentials at the Institute of Education, University College London and thereafter, sought a career in teaching where she was able to have an outlet for her love of literature whilst instilling and developing students’ understanding of the world through a literary gaze.

During her teaching career, Aisha has worked alongside practitioners from the Shakespeare Globe Theatre, attending workshops and subsequently creating and delivering content for her students from Shakespeare’s tragedies in particular. Due to Aisha’s credentials and experience in Newspaper Journalism, she was promoted to Media Co-ordinator as well as teaching English Literature and Language to 11-18 year old students. She has also more recently experienced tutoring individual students, as well as adapting to remote teaching, modifying the curriculum and delivery of lessons accordingly. Aisha is currently studying a Masters in Psychology.

Aisha Shah-Thomas


Angie Smith

Angie Smith graduated magnum cum laude from Pepperdine University in Malibu, CA with a degree in Creative Writing and English Literature. Her interest in English literature brought her to London in 2004, where she studied an MA in Victorian Literature at Birkbeck College, University of London.

     For 15 years, Angie thrived in London, eventually becoming a dual citizen of America and the United Kingdom. During her studies, she worked for an independent children’s book publishing company as an administrative assistant, but then went on to lead a marketing department there, and in other publishing companies, including: Palgrave MacMillan. Angie eventually left publishing to re-train to become a secondary school English, Media and Drama teacher, earning her teaching credential from The Institute of Education, University College London.

     As a teacher, Angie works with students aged 16-19, delivering creative writing and English linguistic and literature curriculums. She also helps to secure her students highly competitive positions to study at: Oxbridge and other Russell Group universities. Angie founded the Haringey Sixth Form College’s creative blog and literary magazine, Haringey Unchained, through which she delivered a work-experienced-based enrichment. That legacy project has now led to the creation of a charity in London called CreativityUnleashed. Eventually, Angie was promoted to the Head of the Creative Arts departments, which included: English, Media, Art and ESOL.


     In her spare time, Angie tutors individual students alongside her work as a writing instructor at Russell Sage College in Troy, NY. She has also been commissioned to run summer drama and media studies workshops at Oxford University. She delivered lectures about Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein to hundreds of university students at The Royal Opera House in Central London, and has visited the Pepperdine and Lipscomb University study abroad programs as a guest speaker. Now, Angie is preparing for a PhD program in Education back in London with an aim to begin in 2022.

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Angelica Allen has worked at the intersection of education and politics for well over a decade, including as a scholar at Oxford and Berkeley, a political appointee in the White House, and a teacher at both the high school and collegiate level.

Angelica graduated summa cum laude from UC Berkeley with a degree in Peace & Conflict Studies and English Literature, studied International Affairs and Creative Writing at the University of Cambridge, and completed her MPhil in International Relations at the University of Oxford. Much of her academic research focuses on gender, power, and ethics in the modern era—incorporating international law, human rights norms, and strategies of warfare to evaluate the impact of identity-based violence in conflict zones around the world.

Beyond academia, Angelica has also worked as a freelance writer, served as a copy-editor and research assistant for international relations experts, fundraised in London with Women for Women International to help female survivors of war access educational and job opportunities, and consulted on an initiative surveying human rights abuses in Haitian IDP camps. She has designed and taught courses on politics, history, and literature at an independent high school in San Francisco; lectured, advised, and developed curriculum at UC Berkeley; led a classroom of thirty inmates at San Quentin State Prison; and even provided the occasional history lesson on U.S. foreign policy outside of the Oval Office. From 2014-2016, Angelica notably served as a political appointee in the Office of Political Strategy & Outreach in the West Wing of the White House, where she crafted presidential messaging, policy polling, focus groups, and political campaign strategy for President Barack Obama.

Angelica Allen

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Camilla Stanger

Camilla Stanger earned an undergraduate degree in 2004 in Philosophy and Literature at Warwick University, consistently ranked within the UK’s top 10 universities.  Alongside a 1st Class Honours degree, Camilla graduated with a newfound interest in teaching, having spent much of her final year of university volunteering in a local secondary school. She has since gone on to dedicate her career and her own learning to the transformative power of education, especially language, literature and the arts, in young people’s lives.

Within the first three years of graduating from her Bachelor’s degree, Camilla worked to gain teaching qualifications first in dance (from the Royal Academy of Dance in London), and next in secondary English and Media teaching (from Goldsmiths University).  She enjoyed a wide range of early teaching experiences, from teaching English to young scholars from Tunisia and Russia as part of the British Council accredited Twin Summer School in London, to choreographing musical theatre at International School summer camps in France and Hong Kong.

In 2008, Camilla settled upon a more permanent context for her work: teaching A Level English Literature and Language to brilliant and politically engaged young people in inner-London 6th form colleges.  She has enjoyed over ten years of this work, developing schemes such as university-style essay units in feminist and post-colonial literature, whole cohort academic writing workshops, and coaching academically ambitious students through university applications for Oxbridge and other high ranking UK universities. During this time, Camilla went on to gain two postgraduate degrees in Education, an MA and PhD respectively, both with Distinction, and both focusing on the power of the arts to facilitate social inclusion and tackle educational inequalities. Her work in this field won a British Educational Research Association award for best early-career research (2013), and went on to form the basis of WeMove Dance CIC, an award-winning community interest company that employs dance as a tool for youth empowerment and of which Camilla is Co-Director. She now also has a permanent role as Lecturer of Education at Goldsmiths University, lecturing in the field of sociology of education, and tutoring beginning English teachers. Camilla was recently appointed Partnership Teacher in English at the London Academy of Excellence, Tottenham, London.


Denis Samburskiy, PhD had his first job teaching English as a foreign language (EFL) in 2000 at a private language school: Exodus, where he taught speaking, listening, pronunciation and writing skills to learners between 6- to 80 years old. After graduating from Tomsk State University in 2004, the dean offered him a full-time instructor position teaching courses in grammar, speaking and writing skills. In 2007, he was awarded a Fulbright scholarship from the US Department of State, which brought him to Albany, NY, where he completed a master’s program in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) at the State University of New York at Albany.

In 2015, Denis earned a PhD in Curriculum and Instruction. As a doctoral student, he oversaw an evening ESL program for local immigrants and refugees in the Capital Region, managing recruitment, placement testing and supervision of all classes taught by the master’s students. During this time, he also served as an ESL Specialist at Skidmore College in Saratoga Spring, NY. In 2016, Denis began a full-time position at Syracuse University’s Department of Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics, where he currently teaches undergraduate and graduate students academic writing, speaking and pronunciation, and grammar skills. He is fluent in Russian, English and can speak some German.




Mark Efinger

Mark Efinger won a scholarship to Phillips Academy Andover where he trained as an actor and athlete. Upon graduation, he attended Middlebury College on an US Army R.O.T.C. scholarship, where he was a double Major in English and Theatre. In 1982. Mark began work for Pfizer Labs, selling pharmaceuticals. During this period, he was trained as an alumni interviewer by Middlebury College and conducted many interviews on behalf of his alma mater. Mark was a successful salesman and was soon promoted to management as the youngest Sales manager in the History of Pfizer Labs. He credits his ability to coach interpersonal presentations with the success of his sales team who moved from their 61st ranking of 61 districts, to number 4 in just four short years. 

Eventually, Mark decided to change careers and was awarded a fellowship to teach and study a Master of Fine Arts at the University of North Carolina- Greensboro. He was hired and named the Chair of Theatre and Dance at Phillips Academy. Here he taught theatre, public speaking, English and several other interdisciplinary courses. He also worked as a house counselor and coached the Varsity Wrestling team for 19 years. Andover also trained Mark to deliver prep school interviews, conducting three a week for his career at the school. He also reviewed admissions files and made recommendations to Admissions.

Mark Efinger has trained well over 1,000 students for college or prep school interviews, the great majority of which have been accepted to their first-choice institution, including Harvard, Columbia, Yale, Stanford, the US Naval Academy, and The US Army’s West Point. His secondary school students have attended many prestigious schools including Exeter, Andover, Deerfield, Choate, Lawrenceville, St Paul’s, and Milton. Meanwhile, he has been hired to provide interview training and public presentation training at many institutions, including International Educational Consultants’ semi-annual conferences and the graduate schools of both Harvard and Dartmouth.


Nate won a scholarship to Governor’s Academy and graduated with honors as a scholar, athlete, and musician.  He applied for and was granted a music merit scholarship to further his studies at Ohio Wesleyan University. At Ohio Wesleyan, he continued to study music, but he majored in voice, studying all of the technical and physiological components of the human vocal instrument.  He was also elected captain of the track team, and his physical training for track also contributed to his understanding of how the whole body contributes to breathing and supporting the voice. Nate then went on to complete his Master’s at Boston University. He is now certified to teach History and in Special Education.

      For the next ten years, Nate was a professional musician and singer in a band. He traveled the country performing on television, and stage, while also serving as the Master of Ceremonies for many events, including weddings, bar mitzvahs, and balls.  His years of studying the voice were now put to the test, as his voice became his livelihood.

      In 2014, Nate was hired as a vocal music teacher at the Landmark School in Beverly, MA, and began his Master’s degree training to support children with language-based learning disabilities. Once again, his training focused on the technicalities of language. He is now the Chair of the Performing Arts department and the Varsity Wrestling Coach. Nate has many years of experience coaching and teaching students to produce clear and understandable language.

Nate Efinger


Nicholas West

Dr. Nicholas West is the Co-Director of University Museums and Curator of the Picker Art Gallery at Colgate University, where he has worked since 2017. Prior to joining Colgate, Nick completed his doctoral degree in Archaeology at the University of Oxford. Nick also holds a Master of Studies degree with distinction in Classical Archaeology from the University of Oxford, a Master of Arts in Arts and Cultural Management from Claremont Graduate University, and graduated magna cum laude from the University of Southern California with a Bachelor of Arts in Classics and Art History.

At the Picker Art Gallery, Nick collaboratively sets the vision and strategic direction for the University Museums while overseeing the interpretation of the Picker Art Gallery’s collection as well as its research and exhibition programs. He works closely with undergraduate students, mentoring those interested in developing experience in art history and museum studies. Prior to relocating to central New York to join Colgate, Nick worked in several administrative and curatorial roles in the Los Angeles area, including the University of Southern California Fisher Museum of Art, where he managed the successful application for reaccreditation with the American Alliance of Museums, and the City of Lancaster Museum of Art and History, where he played a lead role in the planning and design of a new museums facility and developed a public art strategy for the city. At the J. Paul Getty Museum, where he was a curatorial assistant, Nick conducted research on the museum’s collection of antiquities, developed public tours of permanent collection galleries, and led educational workshops on teaching collection objects.

At Colgate, Nicholas teaches classes on museum curating and exhibitions. He has also taught intensive summer courses in classical civilizations and pop culture for Oxbridge Academic Programs high school students and has been a teaching assistant for Oxford undergraduate archaeology courses. Nicholas’s research interests include the history of collections, post-antique reception of Greek and Roman art, and the affective use of objects in museum contexts. He has taught classes on Greek and Roman art and museum exhibitions.


Tanner Efinger is the Founding Artistic Director of Breadcrumbs Productions Inc. and the co-owner of Wunderbar Syr LLC. He is a theatre artist, arts entrepreneur and communication specialist. He has worked professionally throughout the US and UK as a producer, director, educator, writer, and performer. Tanner uses the ISCA method of Interview Training and brings a host of other techniques for students to present themselves with confidence and poise.

After graduating from Phillips Academy Andover in 2002, Tanner moved to New York City and received BFA theatre performance training at Marymount Manhattan College. Over the next 15 years, Tanner would move to Los Angeles and the United Kingdom, developing a career as a creative consultant and educator with teaching credentials to include courses like Understanding Shakespeare with Oxbridge Academic Programs at Oxford University, Devised Theatre with LeMoyne College, and Communication for Medical Students with Buckingham Medical School. In this way, Tanner's teaching strategies draw from his experience consulting within the arts sector, public service, education and health care professions, to develop resilience through communication. His extensive experience working with young people helps students feel comfortable and stay motivated. Whether speaking Shakespeare to an audience or interviewing for high school, effective oral communication is at the heart of Tanner's training.

Tanner Efinger


Tom Magnarelli is a news reporter and producer for WRVO Public Radio (NPR) in Syracuse, NY. He reports extensively on politics and government, art and culture, health, education, business and technology in central New York. He has won a New York State Broadcasters Association award and five Syracuse Press Club awards for his news features, photography, video journalism and blog. A short documentary he made was accepted into the Catskill Mountains Film Festival. He continues to teach News Literacy and Public Speaking at Onondaga Community College.

Tom graduated with a master’s degree in Broadcast and Digital Journalism from the S. I. Newhouse School at Syracuse University in 2013. He completed a TV news internship in Washington D.C., covering Capitol Hill. He also has a bachelor’s degree in Studio Art from the State University of New York at Geneseo.

In his spare time, he works and performs for local theater companies, has a video editing business and enjoys painting. 

Tom Magnarelli