The Inside Scoop - For Members Only
Dear Encore Learning Member, 

Welcome to The Inside Scoop, our electronic newsletter for members only. Please enjoy this issue, and share your feedback by email. We always look forward to hearing from you.
Women's History Month: A Look Back

In honor of International Women’s day on March 8 this year, Encore Learning Presents had award winning Professor Myriam Sarachik discuss her scientific accomplishments as well as the barriers that exist in science for women. She also discussed her family’s harrowing experience of narrowly escaping, on multiple occasions, the Nazi’s round up of Jews in Belgium and France. As a gifted child she was able to get good schooling first in Cuba and then in New York. These experiences as well as others have led her to self-describe her life as “One Hell of a Ride” You can learn more about her life and her accomplishments in her short autobiography.

Check out Dr. Sarachik's special event presentation, including a little science lesson, on our YouTube channel.

As we look forward to returning to in-person events, we fondly remember some of the tours, screenings, and speaker events Encore Learning has featured over recent years for Women's History Month.
Women's History Month 2020: Last In-Person Events
On March 9, 2020 we hosted a showing of “Raise Hell,” a documentary film about the life and work of Molly Ivins, a political journalist from Texas, best-selling author, and Bill of Rights warrior.

American political satirist Molly Ivins (Mary Tyler Ivins 1944-2007) wrote newspaper columns from a liberal point of view that mercilessly and humorously skewered politicians in both her home state of Texas and the federal government.

On March 13, 2020 members attended a docent led tour of this landmark exhibition at the Renwick Gallery. “Hearts of Our People” was the first major thematic show to explore the artistic achievements of Native women and establish their rightful place in the art world. It included 81 artworks, dating from antiquity to the present, made in a variety of media from textiles to beadwork to sculpture and photography. This visit to this overdue recognition of Native women art was our last in-person event before the pandemic.
Joan Hill (Muskogee Creek and Cherokee), Women’s Voices at the Council, 1990, acrylic on canvas, Gift of the artist on behalf of the Governor’s Commission on the Status of Women, 1990, Oklahoma State Art Collection, courtesy of the Oklahoma Arts Council. © Joan Hill. (Above)

Side Note: This exhibit debuted at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, this museum was also highlighted in a recent Encore Learning docent led tour.
Christi Belcourt (Michif), The Wisdom of the Universe, 2014, acrylic on canvas, Collection Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto; Purchased with funds donated by Greg Latremoille, 2014, 2014/6. © Christi Belcourt (Above)
Women's History Month 2019:
On March 25, 2019, we co-sponsored a special event featuring former Senate investigator and author Elise Bean with the Arlington Central Library. Her remarks covered how Congressional oversight investigations can be a powerful tool for uncovering facts, building bipartisan consensus, and fostering change. 

Missed the event? Check out Ms. Bean’s 2018 book, Financial Exposure: Carl Levin’s Senate Investigations into Finance and Tax Abuse, she donated a copy to Arlington Public Library so all have access. 
Women's History Month 2018:
On March 26, 2018 at Arlington Central Library, Bonnie Mangan, Vice President of the Society for Women in the Civil War and a docent at Arlington House and the Clara Barton Missing Soldiers Office gave us a look back at the many unsung heroines of the Civil War. Ms. Mangan shared fascinating stories of little-known women who played significant roles as early organizers of support for the troops, as nurses, soldiers, and even spies and spymasters.
Women's History Month 2017:
On March 2, 2017 while Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirrors was in residence at the Hirshhorn, a lucky 60 members got a docent-led tour. The exhibition was a celebration of the legendary Japanese artist’s 65-year career and provided members the incredible opportunity to discover six of Kusama’s dazzling mirror rooms at once, alongside whimsical installations, vibrant sculpture and colorful, large-scale paintings making their U.S. debut. Kudos to Vice President Steve Shapiro for securing this special tour for members.
Yayoi Kusama with recent works in Tokyo, 2016. Photo by Tomoaki Makino. Courtesy of the artist © Yayoi Kusama
Still Time to Register
Several courses have not begun yet, including our most popular Global Hot Spots. Our first class session features William Taylor.

Some of our notable presenters held a practice session (see picture at left).

View all upcoming courses available and register here.
Spring Semester Highlights

We've launched 24 courses, held 77 class sessions, 4 special events, and held as many as 9 class sessions in one single day, all led by our intrepid staff hosts. This is what they are saying about being in class.
From Executive Director
Lora Pollari-Welbes

Outstanding instructors and VCAs have increased their confidence and students have become more engaged. I appreciate the gratitude and feedback shared by members, reflecting how vital our classes, clubs and events are to your life during the pandemic.
From Administrator Patty Rowland

It has been great to meet and work with members serving as virtual class aides who I had not met before. I feel lucky to interact with such wonderful people!
From Academic Course Coordinator Donna Banks

We have a great group of VCAs. Nearly all who served last semester have returned and we have 9 new volunteers! Our instructors have clearly become more comfortable using Zoom, as more of them are using advanced Zoom tools such as breakout rooms and polls.
From Communications Specialist Vivian Gray
Even though I’ve only been attending classes a few days I can already see how engaged the students are and how much the instructors care about their students! I can’t wait to attend more classes throughout the semester!
From Staff Host Francesca Chilcote

I have been really blown away by the level of engagement and discussion the instructors are facilitating, and the VCAs have been coordinating. I’ve seen and heard from so many great Encore Learning students in class this Spring! 
Fall 2021 is in the Works!

Encore Learning’s Academic Programs Committee is working on the Fall 2021 lineup of courses. The committee is hoping to find more instructors for literature courses. If you would like to teach a lit course for the fall term or if you know someone you’d like to persuade to teach a literature course, please send your suggestions to APC via  
Club Update: Clubs are meeting!

Many of our clubs are meeting virtually at this time. These include: Breakfast, Cinema, Current Issues Discussion Group, Mindfulness, Nonfiction Book, Tech Hobbyist and Travel.
Travel Club sicily
Cinema Club Update: The Cinema Club continues to meet via Zoom monthly. On March 12 the club discussed An Artist's Wife and Minari. On April 15 at 10 AM to discuss Mank and One Night in Miami. Contact the office if you would like to be notified of the Cinema Club watch plans and discussions.

Travel Club Update: On March 26 Judy Ballard shared her venture to Sicily including history, diversity and beauty of the island.
To learn more about a particular club or to join or form a new club, contact staff at
Staff Corner
Welcome to Vivian Gray, Our New Communications Specialist
My name is Vivian Gray and I just graduated from Longwood University in 2020 with a Bachelor of Arts in communications with a concentration in digital media and a minor in sociology. I grew up in Alexandria and just moved to Arlington with my puppy Bella! I can’t wait to meet more of you in classes and learn alongside of you!

You might be seeing Vivian hosting a Spring Semester class! You can reach her at
Message from Lora Pollari-Welbes

Looking back at March 2020 reminds me of how we have changed over the year, we added staff capacity to host the virtual classes, we reached hundreds of more people through our events with more space in the virtual room, we trained over 100 instructors and class aides to host in Zoom, and we did this all from home. Our last in-person member event was a tour of the Renwick and our first virtual club was Breakfast. One of our best virtual events of the year was our first one featuring the historic accomplishments of the Virginia legislature. Our first course was Real Media Literacy offered on March 23. A significant benefit of virtual courses is being able to bring instructors/presenters from afar and it being much simpler to have multiple presenters at one class session or event. We also now have recordings of many of our special event presentations free for you to watch anytime at our YouTube channel.

We also updated our member account manager in January and the transition has not been easy. The update was required as the previous platform was no longer supported by our vendor. Encore Learning had assurances that functionality would meet our requirements and user testing performed satisfactorily. We have been pleased with the waitlist functionality we have implemented for both courses and member special events. After launching this update we experienced unexpected issues. Users have varied experiences based on their browsers and devices. Known issues include users unable to view class media on smartphones and tablets as well as class media for historical enrollments being unavailable. Please retrieve class media on a computer. If you are unable to retrieve class materials, we will email you materials upon request. We are maintaining a list of issues to resolve and expect improvements over the next few months.

If you have a friend who is not yet a member of Encore Learning, now is the time to join and sign-up for the Spring Semester.

~ Lora 
Lora Pollari-Welbes, Executive Director

Save the Dates:
  • Member Annual Meeting, Thursday, May 20 at 10:00 AM (watch for your electronic ballot on April 20)
  • Fall Course Preview, Thursday, August 26 at 10:00 AM (virtual)
Welcome New Members

In February 2021, the following new members joined Encore Learning. Please be sure to give these folks a warm welcome.

Mary Jo Christian
Kelly Ferris
Angela Hiebert
Stephen Learned
Penny Miller
Susan Osborn
Mauri Osheroff
Mary Penchoff
Lisa Schuster

THANK YOU to Irmgard Scherer, Lora Pollari-Welbes, Patrick Bogenberger, Gerald LaPorte and Paula Thiede and all of you who kindly refer friends.

Encore Learning would like to gather members who joined in 2021 for a virtual Class of 2021 hangout. If you are interested in participating, send us an email or give us call and reference New Member Hangout.
Remember that many of our virtual Encore Learning Presents events are recorded and may be found at our YouTube channel
We hope you enjoyed this edition of The Inside Scoop. If you would like to submit an article or share some photos of members participating in Encore Learning activities, please email us at

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