Choose Your Language: English 日本語 한국어 中文 Español Русский Рortuguês
Date: 11.24.2014
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Hello, my name is Dominic Swaby and I’m originally from New Jersey. I moved to Cincinnati in high school and went to Ohio State University for a bachelor’s in philosophy. Then I enjoyed almost two years in Korea where I learned a ton about a new culture and teaching English. After Korea I made my way to Los Angeles to do an M.A. in philosophy. Although I loved the beaches and weather I decided to return to the east coast after completing my master’s for another change of scenery. I hope my experiences will contribute to creating an interesting and fruitful environment for the students at Blue Data.

Hello everyone! My name is Cathy Skulnik. I'm from New York City and was born and raised in Chelsea. I graduated from Bennington College in 2011 with a degree in Philosophy and Psychology. After college, I worked in psychiatric research at Columbia Medical Center for two years. While there, I discovered a passion for multicultural psychology and decided to pursue a career in international aid. I hope to someday work abroad in counseling and health education. I love to travel and I try to visit new places as much as possible! My favorite cities so far are Barcelona, Istanbul, and Hanoi. When I'm not working, I volunteer at a harm reduction center and a breast cancer nonprofit. I also love to cook, read, and sing in my spare time.

Hello, my name is Edward Ryan, and I'm very happy to be an instructor at Bluedata. I was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. I received a B.A. in Psychology from Saint Francis College and an ESL teaching certificate from The New School in Greenwich Village. In addition, I've studied acting at The American Academy of Dramatic Arts and The Acting Studio in Manhattan. As an actor, I love exploring the varied meanings, nuances, and uses of words, so teaching and helping students grow in their ability to appreciate English and communicate confidently in their new language is a thrilling journey for me. I think being bilingual, or multilingual, is a marvelous accomplishment that enriches a person's life in so many significant ways. I greatly admire you for taking on the challenge of learning English, and I will do my best to help you succeed in achieving your educational goals.  
Thank you,


Alex Bortnichak

Hello! My name is Alex Bortnichak and I thoroughly enjoy teaching at Bluedata! My
favorite part about teaching, especially teaching ESL, is learning about the many vibrant
cultures and traditions of my students. Before teaching at Bluedata, I was a youth
counselor in Philadelphia, PA. It was during that time that I discovered my love for
teaching and its cathartic effect that continues to gratify me. Besides teaching, I work as
professional musician – I’m a drummer to be specific. I have had the privilege of touring
all over the world in several different bands. When I’m not teaching or playing the drums
I enjoy cooking, following politics and flying airplanes.

Philip Marshall

Hey people, how’s it going and what’s the news? I ask people these questions a lot. In part, because I’m
a graduate of San Francisco State University’s journalism program but also because I generally love to
talk about current events, near and far. In addition, I like to listen to Jazz music, play basketball and ride
my Nishiki like a mad man. I first got started teaching English in Bogota Colombia. While I was there I
learned a bit of Spanish and realized that I have as much to learn from my students about the world and
language as they have from me. I also learned how dynamic, colorful and truly fascinating the English
Language is. I look forward to discovering it further with my students at Bluedata.

Abe Darrow Burges

Hey Everyone, my name is Abraham Burgess. I was born in Columbia, SC and grew up in Atlanta, GA. I moved to NYC in 2006 to finish my undergraduate degree in Spanish Literature at Hunter College. I love teaching English because I understand how difficult it is to learn a new language as an adult - I had many great teachers in college who really challenged and encouraged me, and I hope to be that teacher to my students. In addition to studying language, I also love music, movies, photography and reading. 


David Soler

Hello, I have two Masters from Yale University and one Master from Columbia University. Also I have years of ESL teaching experience from Brooklyn Institute of Business Technology, ASA Institute College of Advanced Technology, Brooklyn Chinese-American Association and JBC Language School. My specialization is in East Asian languages and literature, I’m especially skilled at working with Asian immigrants. I also work part-time as interpreter for various governmental organizations.


 Eric Holland

Hi, I'm Eric Holland. I'm from Boston and have lived in Taiwan and Japan as well as Honolulu before moving to Brooklyn in 2007.  I graduated from Ithaca College in New York State with Bachelors in TV/Radio and have a Masters in Media Arts from Emerson College in Boston. I have a cat named Sabbath and my bald head is good luck!


Lisa Elias

Hi!  My name is Lisa Elias, and I am an international teacher who has been teaching English for several  years to businesspeople, students, and children.  I speak Spanish, French and Portuguese, and bits and pieces of other languages.  I hold a B.A.in Urban Affairs from HunterCollege, a Small Business Management Certificate from New YorkUniversity, and my interests includes travel, music and dance.  I have worked in public relations, media sales, and real estate.

bluedata teacher

Kendra Howard

Three years ago, after graduating from Temple University I studied in Rome, Italy and since then my life has never been the same. I traveled throughout Europe and South America and I enjoyed experiencing different cultures, but also I realized how hard it can be to live a place and not understand the language. New York City has been my home for most my life and I am always meeting people from around the globe. I have a strong desire to help them feel comfortable in this city by helping them to learn English and understand the cultural norms. I plan to use my background in communications and skills as a writer to prepare my students to communicate outside the classroom and I am excited to learn as much as I can from them.



Joseph Brandell

I began my undergraduate career at the University of Arizona, ultimately transferring to Eastern Michigan University, where I graduated with my B.A. in Cultural Anthropology, and a minor in Sociology. Upon graduation, I studied Spanish and traveled throughout Guatemala for several months. Living in a foreign country permitted me to gain insight into customs and cultures different from my own and also gave me an understanding of the challenge of not being fluent in the predominant language of a society. This latter experience has enabled me to empathize with my students’ struggles of speaking a foreign language in a foreign land, as I, too, have now had firsthand experience. In addition to teaching, I enjoy listening to music, exercising, writing, traveling, and exploring this great city of ours. I look forward to meeting you!

 Bluedata teacher

Marek Pena

I received my Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from The City University of New York, Hunter College. I am currently pursuing my Master’s Degree in TESOL at the City College of New York. I have taught ESL as a volunteer with Community Impact at Columbia University, LaGuardia Community College as well as the Jacob Riis Neighborhood Settlement House. Having lived in many different places, such as Poland, London-UK, Michigan-US and New York, has allowed me to immerse myself within different cultures as well as gain experience in dealing with all types of people. As a non-native speaker of English, I have personally experienced taking the TOEFL exam. This has provided me with different strategies and techniques that students need in order to succeed on the TOEFL exam.

Martha Buckner

Martha is a former television news reporter/anchor. She's worked at several stations including ABC stations in Virginia and Maryland. In New York Martha anchored the morning news at WBLS/WLIB radio. Martha lives in Manhattan with her two cats Louie and Prada. Her home was featured on the Oprah Winfrey Show.



Connie Winston

An actor by training, Connie holds an MFA in dramaturgy from the University of Iowa, an MA in performing arts from Emerson College and a BA in theatre (with a concentration in acting and directing) from SUNY/New Paltz. She enjoys teaching English as a Second Language, as it is way of helping people help themselves, and she strongly believes in the adage: Teach once; learn twice. Occasionally, Connie may be seen on re-runs of Law & Order and Conviction in her recurring role as Judge Shirley Taylor.


Catherine Picozzi

Born and raised in Staten Island, I received my Bachelor's Degree from CUNY College of Staten Island in English Literature in 2012. During university, I had the opportunity to study abroad three times (Ireland, Greece, and Spain) and travel throughout Europe. I made friends from all over the world and learn more than I ever imagined I could about so many cultures. Having lived firsthand in a country where I could neither speak nor read the language, I understand the difficulty of being far from home and completely submerged in a new world. That inspired me to become an ESL teacher so I could not only teach you, but you could teach me.


Zachary Bultman

Hi, my name is Zachary Bultman, and I’m thrilled to be working at Bluedata as an ESL instructor. This has proved to be the best job I’ve ever had, mainly because I’m passionate about teaching and helping students learn the English language. Originally from California, I consider myself fortunate to have lived in interesting and colorful places like San Francisco, San Diego, Norway and Cambodia. I graduated from San Diego State University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management. After graduation I moved to Cambodia, where I received my TESOL certification and taught English. My main interests include traveling, playing basketball, listening to music and enjoying this wonderful life. I’m very happy to be here in New York City, where each day only gets better!



After finishing her Master’s in Teaching ESL, Weijia has started her career as an ESL teacher. In the past, along with her graduate study, she volunteered teaching/tutoring adult English language learners. She is specialized in teaching listening and vocabulary. She likes to use up-to-date resources to supplement classroom teaching. She promotes critical thinking and problem-solving. She also studied Japanese and Spanish for a year in college. Besides language education, she has a background in music and art history. She considers language learning as a way to know more about oneself, other culture and the world.


Joseph Canaday

Joseph graduated from the University of Colorado at Boulder and holds a B.A. in American Studies. He has worked in the ESL industry since the year 2000 and has delivered ESL lessons in Tokyo, Shanghai, Daegu, and New York City. Mr Canaday received his ESL certification in New York and also has fond memories of living in Shanghai China from where he made the city his home for nearly 6 years. He believes a key element to teaching ESL in the classroom is to empower all his students to realize that they all can speak the English Language contrary to their most acute inhibitions. In his free time outside of the classroom, Joseph's enjoys creating digital music videos on his computer, in addition to mixing rare house mp3s on his computer.


Andrea Wilk

I’m a native New Yorker and love showing students some of my favorite New York places on field trips. New York is such a great place to learn English--there’s so much to do (and much of it free)! I’ve been teaching English as a Second Language for about four years, after a first career in publishing. I’ve always loved books and reading and enjoy introducing my students to some of my favorite American writers. I graduated from Vassar College and am now working on a master’s degree in Teaching English to Students of Other Languages.


Carter Jenniea

It's challenging writing about myself when I am the go-to person for the loved ones in my life. I feel a sense of accomplishment after doing something good for another person; I'm always happy to help (especially over brunch!) I graduated from Herbert H. Lehman College in the spring of 2012 with a B.A. in psychology. That summer, I had the task of being a mentor and assistant teacher for teenage students. No words can describe this experience but I will say this- those were the longest eight weeks of my short time here on this earth. However, they were the most rewarding. I loved every second that I spent with them and I look forward to every one that I can spend teaching you. See you around.


Claire Tran

Hi there! I’m Claire Tran, an English Teacher and Wedding Photographer in New York City. Originally from the beautiful Northwest city of Seattle, I studied Photography and Politics in the high desert of Arizona. For the past five years I’ve worked as a wedding and fashion photographer in Paris, France, and taught English in New York City in the winter seasons. My greatest joy in life is traveling, making friends and picking up new fabulous recipes from around the world. Prior to teaching in New York, I taught English in Paris, France, Chengdu, China and Seattle, Washington. I’m looking forward to chatting and making new international friends here at Bluedata!