Directors & Advisors


Co-Director Elizabeth Hollingsworth, a native of Concord MA, is a 2009 graduate of Princeton. After college, she was a Princeton-in- Asia fellow for two years at Can Tho University. After returning from Vietnam, she earned an MSc. degree from the London School of Economics in International History. She then moved to Phnom Penh, Cambodia, to work as the Career and Education Director at Hope for Justice Cambodia.  Elizabeth is currently the Grants Coordinator at Girls Educational and Mentoring Services (GEMS), a NYC-based non-profit that provides support services to girls and young women who have experienced commercial sexual exploitation and domestic trafficking.

Co-Director Samantha Thornley received a master’s degree in nonprofit management with a focus on global studies from Northeastern University. In 2008, she taught English at Can Tho University in Vietnam under the auspices of Teachers for Vietnam, and joined the board shortly thereafter. Samantha has a wanderlust that has brought her to twelve countries so far, including driving across America, twice! She currently works in nonprofit development and has had the pleasure of planning events and fundraising for renowned nonprofits such as Not for Sale, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, and Ronald McDonald House Charities. Samantha is based in Portland, Oregon.

Board of Directors

Board Chair  John V. H. Dippel is the Founder of Teachers for Vietnam.  An independent historian, he is a graduate of Princeton and holds advanced degrees from Trinity College, Dublin, and Columbia.  He has taught English literature and language classes in both the U.S. and abroad and has worked in the field of marketing communications for over 25 years. John’s most recent book Eighteen Hundred and Froze to Death: The Impact of America’s First Climate Crisis is available from –

Jan Barry served in the U.S. Army in Vietnam during the early 1960s. An author, poet and retired newspaper reporter, he teaches environmental writing at Ramapo College of New Jersey, where he earned a bachelor’s degree, and has also taught journalism at Rutgers University and New York University.

Doug Bolick lives and practices law in Newburyport, Massachusetts. In the early 1970s he served with the US Army in the central highlands of Vietnam and returned in 1996 with his wife Nancy to do community service work in the Mekong Delta with Global Volunteers, with which he has had a long association.

Jon Edelson graduated from Haverford College in 2004, earning his B.A. degree in history.  He was selected as a Princeton-in-Asia fellow and taught English during the academic year 2004-05 at Can Tho University, in Vietnam.  He has also taught in India, Indonesia, and Portland, Oregon, and worked on a public-health project in Kosovo.  Currently he is completing his medical education at the Perelman School of Medicine, in the University of Pennsylvania, with the intention of going on to a career in pediatrics and international public health.

James Lap is the director of the Evening and Summer Sessions Office at the New York City College of Technology. He also teaches computer science classes at this institution, as well as the Vietnamese language at both Columbia and NYU. He has earned computer science degrees from New York University and Columbia University. He serves on the boards of the Asian American Asian Research Institute and the Asian American Higher Education Council. A native of Vietnam, he came to the United States in 1975.

Tom Mulhern received a Ph.D. in clinical psychology from the University of Alabama and has served as a psychologist in a number of states and in various positions. He has taught at a number of colleges and worked as a clinician and administrator in a variety of settings. His international experiences include teaching at the college level in in Vietnam, St. Vincent and Malawi. Recently he has taught adult classes in cognitive psychology in Rockland County, New York.

Christine Rochelle graduated from Marist College in 2008 with a degree in Communications and a minor in Public Praxis. In 2009 she served as a teacher at Can Tho University under our auspices. Christine went on to receive a graduate certificate in Holistic Health from Georgian Court University, in large part due to her experiences in Vietnam. Christine is currently a Marketing Director in New Jersey and aids in the management many of TfV’s digital marketing efforts. She also serves as a survivor ambassador for the American Heart Association, another cause she is very passionate about.

Nancy Russell has taught at all levels, from elementary school through college. She has also been active in her local schools, in Orangetown, NY, having served as president of the PTA council and president of the school board. She holds degrees from Smith College and McGill University. She is now employed as a children’s librarian in Piermont, NY.

Marianne Tully has been a teacher and administrator in private and public schools from preschool through graduate school for 39 years, up until her recent retirement. She earned her Ed.D. from Teachers’ College, Columbia University, in the area of philosophy and education. She currently lives in the Hudson Valley and is engaged in landscape painting.

Advisory Board

Mark A. Ashwill is managing director and founder of Capstone Vietnam, a Hanoi-based human resource development company.  He also serves as an adviser to VietAbroader, a Vietnamese student-run, nonprofit organization with 23,000 members in Vietnam, the U.S. and elsewhere.  Previously, Dr. Ashwill  served  as country director of the Institute of International Education in Vietnam.  Before moving to Vietnam in 2005, he was director of the World Languages Institute, Fulbright Program adviser and an adjunct professor in the General Education Program at the State University of New York at Buffalo.    Dr. Ashwill is the author of Vietnam Today: A Guide to a Nation at a Crossroads (with Thai Ngoc Diep).

Robert Fenstermacher is president and chief executive officer of Cultural Vistas, a New-York-based not-for-profit organization committed to creating international employment opportunities for young professionals, students, educators, business persons, and government officials. He holds degrees from Haverford College and the Monterey Institute of International Studies.  He joined CDS in 1996 and was a Robert Bosch Foundation Fellow at the German Ministry of Education during 1999-2000.

A.T. Rafiqur Rahman received his Ph.D. from Duke and has been involved with international development and public management in both national and global organizations for over 40 years.  He retired from the United Nations Secretariat in 1996. During the last decade, he has spent most of his time volunteering for the United Way and Lions Club in Westchester County, New York, and is founding president of Volunteers Association for Bangladesh, an organization for helping the neediest in Bangladesh. Prof. Rahman has published several books and articles in his field and currently holds the position of adjunct professor at the City University of New York.