Choose Your Language: English 日本語 한국어 中文 Español Русский Рortuguês
Date: 09.1.2014
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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.

Hi!  My name's Lydia Brooks, and I've been teaching English for almost two years.  I love traveling.  I've been to 21 countries and can't wait to visit more!
I love teaching and I try to learn a little bit of language from my students at the same time.  I'm currently studying Spanish.  Es difícil para mí, pero estoy aprendiendo!
I can't wait to meet all of my new students!

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,

My name is George Hancock.  I grew up in a small town in North Carolina, about four hours south of Washington D.C.  I learned to surf and sail there and I still enjoy all kinds of outdoor activities.  However, in New York my primary hobby (or guilty pleasure) is eating great food!  While in college, I studied International Business and French language.  I like discussing travel, culture, and anything related to business or politics.  I received a CELTA certificate in 2008 and went to teach in Mexico shortly afterwards.  I have also taught English to Asian students online, using a virtual classroom.  Making each class period fun and/or interesting without sacrificing learning potential is my goal.


 Born and raised in New Jersey, I received my Bachelor in Education from William Paterson University. After teaching Language Arts at the middle school level for one year, I moved to Prague, Czech Republic where I taught ESL to adult business students. I really enjoyed the cultural exchange and the opportunity to immerse myself in a different country. In addition, I have traveled to different countries throughout Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia. It's amazing how much one can learn while living out on the road and visiting such interesting places! I look forward to experiencing this all over again by meeting students from all over the world right in New York City.


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. 


Brenda Tidwell

My name is Brenda Tidwell and I graduated from the Univeristy of Texas at El Paso with a major in Sociology and a minor in English. I love to travel and I have travelled to many interesting countries and maybe I have been to your native country. I like to sew, design, make jevwelry and visit museums.

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.



Ronald Michel

I was raised in New York for most of my childhood. I spent my secondary years in the rural southern state of Mississippi. To live two very different ideological regions gave me a very good sense of the diversity and dynamics of the USA. Upon graduating from Hunter College with a BA in Political Science and Sociology, I decided to venture out in the world to broaden my interest in cultures and governments. I decided China would be a great place to start. I loved its rich history and wonderful people so much, I stayed there longer than I had planned to teach the youth English and American Culture.



Steven Ewashchyshyn

Hello, one and all.  My name is Steven Ewashchyshyn. Originally born and raised in Recife and Corcovado in Brasil. I have a Bachelors in Communication Arts from St.John's University along with a Masters in Secondary Education/English Language Arts from CUNY Brooklyn College.  After teaching in the NYC public school system for over 16 years at the high school level, I have become a huge supporter of empowerment through education.  My main goals in the classroom are to empower students in their academic pursuits, make them 'think outside of the box' through unconventional teaching methods, have them develop confidence in their own abilities, and develop a deep respect for each other and their fellow students.  Teaching is my first passion. When not in a classroom setting, I enjoy spending quality time with my family and friends, as well as pursuing theater as the director of a drama troupe. 


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.