guided explorations

A Guided Exploration provides an opportunity for a group of members to meet with an expert who serves as a guide in exploring a subject and/or activity. Such an event is facilitated by an OLLI member taking responsibility for the event. The guide may or may not be an OLLI member. The aim is for the group to learn from a  presentation or demonstration, followed by ample time to discuss the topic, practice a skill, construct a product, and/or have an experiential adventure (such as an activity in the natural world).

Upcoming Guided Explorations will be listed below as information on the events becomes available. Registration will be through the website. In order to achieve a group size suitable for full participation, the number of registrations will be limited to a predetermined number set for each event.

  • January 18 – Working and Living Overseas in Three Acts: Peace Corps, Humanitarian Non-Profits, and the U.S. Foreign Service
  • January 24 – Talk to Us: Ashland City Councilors Shaun Moran and Stefani Seffinger
  • January 31 – Key Concepts to Consider if you are thinking of buying an Electric Car
  • February 8 – "Have you checked your personality lately?”

See below for details and registration links.

  • Working and Living Overseas in Three Acts: Peace Corps, Humanitarian Non-Profits, and the U.S. Foreign Service: Have you ever wondered what a career Foreign Service Officer does while wandering around the globe? Sarah Wardwell has successfully spent a good part of her life in that career and has stories to share. While she may not be able to 'tell all', she will happily and engagingly enlighten us about how she spent her time while stationed in Indonesia and the Dominican Republic as well as here in the US.
    We are sure there are other members of our OLLI community who have held positions based in countries other than your place of citizenship. After hearing some of Sarah's stories we want to open up the conversation to hear from others of you with experiences, stories and lessons learned while living and working in other countries. For those who have not had such experiences, come ready to pepper Sarah and others with questions and observations.
    Guide: Sarah Wardwell is a career Foreign Service Officer.  She has served in diplomatic assignments overseas in the U.S. Mission to Indonesia and the U.S. Mission to the Dominican Republic.  Currently she is working remotely from Ashland on leadership development for the Bureau of Consular Affairs. This, along with raising two young children with her husband, who also works remotely from home for his forest conservation business based in Indonesia. Prior to joining the State Department, Sarah worked for Mercy Corps, a Portland-based international non-governmental organization (NGO). There she helped with rebuilding Haiti after the 2010 earthquake, created youth employment programs in Tajikistan, and managed emergency relief and long-term food security programs in West Africa.  She began her career as a middle school science teacher in Guinea through the Peace Corps.  Sarah holds a Bachelor's degree in biology from the University of Oregon and a Masters in Political Science from Portland State University.
    Facilitator: Elisabeth Zinser
    Date: Tuesday, January 18, 4:00 – 5:00 PM Pacific via Zoom
    RSVP here by January 17 at 3:30 PM Pacific
    Questions? Contact Elisabeth at
  • Talk to Us: Ashland City Councilors Shaun Moran and Stefani Seffinger: You are invited to engage in a one-hour dialogue with Ashland City Councilors Shaun Moran and Stefani Seffinger, facilitated by retired attorney John Ferris and retired school administrator Barry Vitcov.
    Facilitators: John Ferris and Barry Vitcov
    Date: Monday, January 24, 4:00 – 5:00 PM Pacific via Zoom
    RSVP here by January 24 at 1:00 PM Pacific
    Questions for Councilors Moran or Seffinger, or general questions? Contact John Ferris at

  • Key Concepts to Consider if you are thinking of buying an Electric Car: We’ll give you the essentials and then give you a chance to ask questions or start shopping. We want to make the learning curve for buying and driving an electric car easier.  In a relatively short amount of time, 90 minutes, we are going to give you the essentials. Using as many student situations in the class as possible, we’ll show you what the specific advantages, challenges, choices and prices are with electric cars and trucks.  Discover what you need to know when you consider driving an electric vehicle in a fun and interactive way.  This will be a 90 minute class demonstration/discussion followed by options to try out web search tools.
    Bruce Borgerson is a semi-retired technical writer and member of the Ashland Transportation Commission from late 2016 through mid-2021. He started publishing his Rogue Valley Green Car Guide in 2017, renamed the Rogue Valley Plug-in Guide for the fourth edition in 2021. He has leased a plug-in hybrid, owned a first-generation EV and now drives a 2021 Chevy Bolt.
    Jim Hartman is a recently retired Ashland High School science teacher and Media Specialist for the Southern Oregon Hybrid/Electric Vehicle Association (SOHEVA). Jim was on the Ad hoc Committee that developed Ashland’s Climate & Energy Action Plan in 2016-2017. At SOHEVA Jim has facilitated monthly meetings, helped develop their website and started a marketing program for the website using car signs. He owns a 2019 Leaf Plus and has been actively helping others transition to electric vehicles for over a year now.
    Facilitator: Priscilla Arnold
    Date: Monday, January 31, 1:00 – 4:00 PM Pacific via Zoom
    RSVP Here
    by January 27 at 3:30 PM Pacific

  • "Have you checked your personality lately?” Are you the same person you think you are? Are you the same "person" everyone else thinks you are? Like to try a few, very short personality "quizzes". Ok, this is really just for FUN! It's absolutely no real attempt to analyze you. And, you don't have to divulge the outcomes! During the session, we'll do 4 or 5 exercises such as the Sherwin Williams Color Preference, the CANOE test and a very short (10 questions!) exercise. You will receive advance links to a version of the Myers-Briggs and Enneagram Personality Tests which you are encouraged to complete PRIOR to the class. (NO charge!) We will explore these two in some depth. We’ll poll the class to see the range of personas indicated. Who knows what we might learn?
    Guide: Doug Stowell has been an OLLI Instructor at Furman University in Greenville, SC since 2015 and a national instructor since 2018.  His career includes - Dir. of Market Research for the Xerox Corp., U.S. Director for the U.K. firm National Opinion Polling, Ltd. In London, and Senior Consultant with Wirthlin Worldwide Polling in DC. He opened his own firm in 2008 and continues today conducting global consumer issues surveys.
    Facilitator: Molly Killefer
    Date: Wednesday, February 9, 11:00 AM – 12:30 PM Pacific via Zoom
    RSVP here by February 8 at 3:30 PM Pacific

The process for developing and proposing a Guided Exploration on a topic and/or activity of interest is quite straightforward.  For more information or to seek advice about setting up a Guided Exploration, please contact Molly Killefer ( or Kathleen Lamborn (, co-leads for the Guided Exploration program, or OLLI’s Volunteer Coordinator Pauline Black at or call 541-552-6975.


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