Instructor Bios

Your Group Exercise Instructors


Rosalind D’Eugenio is AFAA certified in cardio kickboxing, weight training/body sculpting and body shred. Rosalind likes to teach high-energy, fun classes. She focuses on technique so students at every level can enjoy her classes.  Rosalind also aims for the maximum calorie burn with class technique to help ensure that each student gets the most from their work out. In addition to her group instructor work, Rosalind is Director of Communications at the Yale Global Health Leadership Institute. 




James Seldner: "My goal is to provide each student the confidence, the experience, and the skills to play squash.  Squash is fun: it blends competitiveness, athleticism, and sportsman in a unique way that makes this individual racket sport a superior social experience and a fulfilling physical workout.  Having played, coached and instructed squash at Yale for 30 years, I can assure you it is a lifelong activity! My experience includes working as an Assistant Coach with Men’s and Women’s squash teams, and as a squash instructor in the Recreational Physical Education program.  I am a life-long member of the US Squash Association, a Certified Referee, and hold a Coaching Certification (Level 1) from the US Squash Association.  Look forward to meeting you on court."




Ann Cowlin, MA, CSM, CCE, teaches ballet and pre/post-natal fitness. She danced with several ballet and modern companies in the U.S., Europe, and on NBC television’s Today Show and Omnibus. Ann received her M.A. in Dance from UCLA and a postgraduate certificate in Sports Medicine from Phoenix General Hospital. She taught at UCLA and Arizona State University before coming to Yale. The author of Women's Fitness Program Development and chapters in various textbooks, she founded 'Dancing Thru Pregnancy,' is the expert consultant in Pre/Post-Natal Physical Training for the U.S. Army, and is an international presenter in dance medicine.








Danielle Casioppo, MS, RYT was introduced to Hatha yoga over 20 years ago and developed a steady practice through the years. Her passion for the ancient science of yoga drove her to become a certified Hatha-Tantra yoga teacher in the ParaYoga® lineage in 2011. She is also trained in Mindful Yoga Therapy through Embodyoga® and Mindful Resilience Yoga Therapy for Trauma Recovery through the Veteran’s Yoga Project ®. Danielle has traveled to India with her master teachers from the Himalayan Institute, Pandit Rajmani Tigunait, Rolf Sovik, Kathryn Templeton, and Rod Stryker, to study yoga and meditation. Since returning, she has expanded her study to include Ashtanga Yoga under the guidance of Suzanne Manafort and the lineage of Sri K. Pattabhi Jois. She regularly attends workshops, seminars and classes to enhance her knowledge, practice and teaching. Danielle is also Health Educator for Being Well at Yale, where she teaches stress management, meditation and relaxation programs.




Judy Phelps trained as a modern dancer before starting to study and teach Argentine Tango in 1992. She studied with a number of respected teachers both in New York and Buenos Aires including Pablo Pugliese and Noel Strazza, Fernanda Ghi and Guillermo Merlo, and Luciana Valle. She emphasizes clear communication between the leader and the follower to create elegant and smooth dancing on the dance floor that is both passionate and fun. She has taught Argentine Tango at the Yale Payne Whitney Gym since 1999.







Dianne Terrace, MS, CPT, CYI, teaches Pilates on the Ball. She is the clinical trainer for the United Methodist Homes and works with private clients with disabilities. Dianne holds multiple certifications through AFAA as well as a 500 hour yoga certification through Lotus Gardens Studio and Mat Level I APPI Pilates. Dianne taught Pilates and Yoga for 10 years at corporate gyms before coming to Yale. She received a CALA award for her balance and strength programs for seniors and is a clinical instructor for the Kinesiology and Physical Therapy students at Sacred heart University.




Craig Elkin has been practicing karate with the Japan Karate Association since 1979. He is a 5th degree black belt, a certified instructor, judge, and examiner. Shotokan karate is a traditional Japanese martial art stressing physical conditioning and character development. Craig has been the chief instructor of the Yale University Karate Club since 1996, as well as a self-defense instructor for Yale for many years, specializing in women's self-defense. Craig is a retired Police Sergeant, having served with the Middletown Ct Police Department for 27 years, and has served on the Department's SWAT team for 15 of those years.




Lianne Epstein works at the Yale Cancer Center and received a Master’s degree from the Yale School of Public Health in 2014.  A competitive tennis player since age 8, Lianne has always had an interest in wellness and physical activity.  She developed a passion for indoor cycling while attending college at Cornell University, as she was looking for a way to stay in shape during the winter months.  As a spin instructor, Lianne creates fast-paced classes that sync killer music with challenging intervals to inspire riders to push beyond their comfort zones.  Her classes feature loud music, lots of encouragement, and are always high energy!  Expect to leave Lianne’s class sweaty and with a big smile!




Andy Lipsner has been a certified Spin/Studio Cycle instructor since 1996. He has led many thousands of classes since and currently leads 21 classes a week. He is an avid Road & Mt cyclist and applies many of these techniques in his class format. He is also a ride leader for Marshall 100 mile ride and he coaches outdoor bike boot camps.









Katie Fletcher is a spin teacher at PWG. She is an undergraduate in the Environmental Studies major with a concentration in Public Health. Her long term career goals include pursuing a master’s degree in nutrition and dietetics. Katie grew up in San Diego, California where she developed her love for sports and exercise by hiking, running, and doing yoga with her friends and family.




Megan O’Connor is a 4th year Ph.D. candidate in Environmental Engineering at Duke University. She moved to Yale with her advisor in 2014 as a Visiting Assistant in Research and is finishing up her degree here until she graduates in 2017. She’s been spinning for 6 years and an instructor for 3, and loves every second of it! She’s very passionate about fitness in general and strives to create a fun, motivational spin class for all levels.




Laura Richling has a dual career as both a professional musician and a fitness professional.  A classically trained pianist and organist, she maintains an active schedule of teaching, performing, and adjudicating, as faculty at Neighborhood Music School in New Haven, and as a freelance artist.  She also is avidly interested in the connection between music and movement as it relates to health of mind and body.  Certified with the American Council on Exercise since her undergrad days, she has taught a wide variety of formats—from step to spinning, free weights to yoga, Zumba to dance exercise for children and for seniors.  She administers the Dancing with Parkinson’s program of Neighborhood Music School.  She is dedicated to helping people discover the thrill of good health through movement that is safe, effective, creative, and fun.







Matisse Madden received an MFA from the University of Utah in Ballet teaching and choreography. She has also studied the Vagonova teaching methodology with Mr. John White. Matisse discovered Pilates as a compliment to her training as a professional ballet dancer. She received her Pilates certification through the Physical Mind Institute. She finds great joy in the success of her beloved students and is thrilled to work with dancers and athletes, both professional and amateur alike. Matisse is currently dancing with the Connecticut Ballet. In addition to her performance responsibilities, she teaches Ballet and Pilates at Mount Holyoke College.







Erika Montanaro is currently a postdoctoral fellow at the School of Public Health. She started indoor cycling about two and a half years ago and just recently completed her instructor training (July 2015). She enjoys the mental and physical challenges indoor cycling has to offer as well as sharing the experience with her students!




Emma Shansky began practicing yoga as a means to cope with the stress of graduate school. She found the physical challenge of yoga to be a welcome distraction from long hours of studying and collecting data in the chemistry lab. Having been a dancer all her life, she discovered that this "distraction" was, in fact, a passion for movement that she had held her entire life. This discovery led her to quit school and chemistry altogether to begin performing and teaching dance again, as well as becoming a certified Pilates and Yoga instructor. She now has a new career teaching dance, Pilates, and Yoga and loves to find creative ways to blend these methods. She has not set foot in a laboratory since and has never been happier.




Hari Gopal Kaur has been studying and teaching Kundalini Yoga and Sat Nam Rasayan (Deep Relaxation in the True Identity, Healing Technique derived from Kundalini Yoga) since 1997 in New York and abroad. She is a certified K.R.I Level One and Level Two Kundalini Yoga Teacher and a Member of IKYTA. She was under the tutelage of Sat Jivan Kaur Khalsa and Sat Jivan Singh Khalsa of Kundalini Yoga East, New York for her Level One Training and for her Level Two under Karta Singh Khalsa, the Founder of the International Aquarian Academy Amrit Nam Sarovar in Le Martinet, France. Her commitment to practice and pass on the teachings in their authentic way as taught by Yogi Bhajan, is steadfast and sincere. It calls upon a tradition of discipline of a lifelong process of studying and excelling. She is trilingual, French, German, Italian and English and grew up in different cultural settings in Europe. She has been teaching Kundalini Yoga classes and workshops @ Yale University, New Haven, CT, at the UN in New York City and at the Teacher Training Program for “Yoga for the People”. She teaches weekly at Kundalini Yoga East in NYC as well as Corporate and Private Kundalini Yoga Classes.




Harrison Nguyen is a first-year student in the accelerated MBA/MPH dual degree program in Health Care Management.  Prior to Yale, Harrison went to college at Rice University, where he studied Cognitive Science and played linebacker for the Rice Owls Football Team, and subsequently attended medical school at Baylor College of Medicine.  Harrison has published widely on pathogenic mechanisms and therapeutics for skin disease and has worked as a pharmaceutical consultant for Novartis, as well as a strategy consultant for several hospitals internationally.  At Payne-Whitney Gym, Harrison teaches BodyRipperX, a weight-based cardio class that combines his personal experience as a football player and as a fitness enthusiast with his medical knowledge as a physician-in-training.  In his spare time, Harrison enjoys traveling, tasting new craft beers, and closely following Michigan-based sports teams.




Samantha Berenblum is an American Studies major, A Cappella singer, and Theta at Yale University who always incorporates into her hectic (and fun!) routine. Driven by positive energy, Samantha believes in the cathartic power of sweating and endorphins. Since playing competitive tennis and running cross-country in high school, spinning has become Samantha's go-to. She teaches a challenging and entertaining class driven by the beat of the music. Expect catchy tunes, dancing, and everything in between.




Rebecca Boswell is certified through Maddogg Spinning, Rebecca’s classes at Payne-Whitney focus on high intensity interval training. Becca is a lifelong athletics enthusiast, and has been teaching spinning since her move to the northeast from Miami, Florida. Rebecca earned a B.A. at Dartmouth in 2010 and is currently a Yale Ph.D student in Clinical Psychology, studying obesity, eating disorders, and regulation of craving.




Melissa Mandak graduated from Rutgers University with a B.A. in Broadcast Journalism, a minor in Exercise Science, and has been teaching Zumba at the Payne Whitney Gym since September 2009. She has been a certified Zumba Instructor since 2008 and a classically trained dancer in tap, jazz, and ballet since the age of 3. Melissa also holds her Personal Trainer certification with the American Council on Exercise and has experience teaching HIIT classes.  Outside of the gym, she enjoys spending time at the driving range working on her golf swing!







Efraim Silva was born on the 10th of August 1964, in Guaruja, Sao Paulo, Brazil, the third youngest among thirteen children. He started to practice Capoeira, an Afro-Brazilian martial art /dance form, at age 13, from one of his older brothers, and later under Mestre Trinidad and Mestre Humberto. At age 17 he became instructor. He also studied Brazilian folk dance and music (Maculele, Puxada de Rede and Samba de Roda), and was awarded state certification as a professional musician and rhythmist by the Federation of Capoeira in Sao Paulo. In 1985, after serving two years in the Brazilian Air Force, he started his own Capoeira group Raca em Movimento and opened his own academy in Braganca Paulista, Sao Paulo. He participated in all major Capoeira competitions in Brazil and became state champion of Sao Paulo, then in 1988 the national champion of Capoeira in group. He moved to the United States in 1989, went through extensive training with the Connecticut Commission on the Culture and Tourism on how to integrate arts into the school’s curriculum, and became Master Teaching Artist in 1993. He was awarded Master of Capoeira certificate by the Sao Paulo Federation of Capoeira in 1994. He is the artistic director of the Connecticut Capoeira Center and performs with his dance company, Ginga Brasileira, in theaters, schools, universities and festivals all over the United States.



Lyn H. Baumgartner is a certified yoga instructor trained in the Iyengar style of Hatha Yoga. Lyn received her certification after a yearlong intensive study at the Center for Yoga and Healing Arts in Amherst, Ma. As a teacher her intention is to create a class where each student is able to build a safe and satisfying practice regardless of ability or experience. Lyn challenges her students to explore possibilities and to bring passion and play into their lives through yoga. Lyn has been teaching at Payne Whitney Gym since 2005.




Amy Kennedy Valente has been practicing the art of Dance since she was able to walk. She was a Modern Dance Major at North Carolina School of the Arts, where she studied Graham and Cunningham technique. 
She also was fortunate to have studied at The New Haven Ballet, The Hartford Ballet, both Trinity and Connecticut Colleges and a myriad of other studios. She has performed with 2 Ct. based companies who toured throughout New England, and New York. She had the good fortune of having a Yoga Mentor who she has been able to study with as well for the last 6 years. 

Her teaching experience has included master classes at various colleges while on tour, quite a few private studios in Ct. She's also been teaching here at Yale for 13 years, guest teaching at Quinnipiac University as a Yoga Instructor as well as a Dance Instructor, Fairfield University, and she has also been teaching Yoga on the Beach in East Haven, Ct. through the summer months.

She has a Hatha Yoga Teacher Certification, as well as a Special Population Yoga Teacher Certification, and a Master Balletone Certification in Standing Flow, and Sole Synthesis.