Guest Speakers from summers past

During summer camp, campers have the opportunity to hear distinguished and informative guest speakers discuss a topic about which they are passionate. After the presentation, campers discuss the issues in small groups and then debate a resolution based on the topic. Students leave the week of camp with a deep understanding of at least four important topics.



Appellate Court Judge Michael R. Sheldon was appointed a Judge of the Connecticut Appellate Court by Governor Dannel Malloy in November of 1991. Prior to his elevation, he served as a Judge of the Superior Court for over twenty years, regularly presiding over civil and criminal trials. Judge Sheldon is a long-time member of the Superior Court Rules Committee, the Code of Evidence Oversight Committee, and the Civil Jury Instructions Committee of the Judicial Branch. In addition, he served for five years as Co-chair of the Branch’s Judicial Education Committee, which prepares and presents annual educational programs for Connecticut’s Judges.Before he was appointed to the Bench, Judge Sheldon was a Professor of Law and the Director of the Criminal Trial and Appellate Clinics at the University of Connecticut School of Law. In that capacity, he ran an in-house training law firm for upperclass law students who wished to become trial and appellate lawyers. Judge Sheldon trained and supervised his students in the representation of indigent criminal defendants in trial, appellate, and post-conviction proceedings. Together with his students, he participated in the defense of several capital cases. Judge Sheldon is still an active adjunct member of the Law School Faculty, annually co-teaching a course in Law & Forensic Science with Dr. Albert B. Harper and Dr. Henry C. Lee.


Judge Sheldon was born and raised in Schenectady, New York, where he attended public schools before entering Princeton University in Princeton, New Jersey. At Princeton, he received an A.B. in Public & International Affairs and a Certificate of Proficiency in Russian Studies. After college, Judge Sheldon received his law degree at Yale Law School in New Haven, Connecticut. Judge Sheldon has maintained an active interest in Russia and a strong desire to improve Russian-American relations ever since his first trip to the USSR in 1969. Since then he has returned to Russia on several occasions and has played a central role in organizing and running an exchange program between his home town of Canton and the Kuntsevo District of Moscow. He has also represented the American Bar Association in its rule of law projects in and for the Republics of Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan. Currently, he serves as Vice-Chair of the Connecticut-Pskov Rule of Law Project, which conducts annual educational programs for Russian judges and lawyers as part of an exchange program between the courts of Connecticut and the Pskovskaya Oblast of the Russian Federation.

In 2008, Judge Sheldon was honored by the Connecticut Association of Schools as its annual Distinguished Friend of Education. In June of 2009, the Connecticut Bar Association presented him with its annual Henry J. Naruk Judiciary Award.

Judge Sheldon and his wife Diane have been happily married for over 40 years. They have four children. 



Dr. Ndibe is a Nigerian-American fiction writer,  journalist, political commentator, and poet—and the author most recently of the novel Foreign Gods, Inc., published in January, 2014 to great reviews in the New York Times, LA Times, Washington Post, Publishers Weekly, and Hartford Courant, to name a few. It was hailed by The Guardian as “a morality tale for our time.”  It has been praised by major writers.  Wole Soyinka, winner of the Nobel Prize in literature  stated: “We clearly have a fresh talent at work here. It is quite a while since I sensed creative promise on this level.”  Dr. Ndibe, a visiting professor at Brown University, has garnered recent acclaim for his article, “Nigeria: why are we sleeping easy when terrorists have kidnapped our children?,” which was carried by many major media outlets and proved crucial in bringing the Boko Haram abductions to international attention. He has since established himself as one of the leading journalistic authorities on both Boko Haram and the corrupt ineptitude of the Nigerian Government’s response. 

Dr. Ndibe spoke to the 2014 campers about religious fanaticism, Boko Haram, the corruption in the Nigerian government and how the United States should respond to situations such as the abduction of the Nigerian schoolgirls. We are excited to have him return to speak with our 2015 campers.


Hope Seeley is a judge on the Windham District Superior Court in Connecticut. She was nominated by Governor Dannel P. Malloy and confirmed by the Connecticut General Assembly on March 6, 2013. Her current term expires March 5, 2021. 


Hope C. Seeley practices in both the state and federal courts and has been involved in a broad variety of criminal and civil cases both on the trial and appellate levels including those of William Kennedy Smith and Skakel.  Ms. Seeley earned her B.A., magna cum laude, in 1986 from the University of Connecticut and a J.D. with honors in 1989.  Ms. Seeley served as president of the Connecticut Criminal Defense Lawyers Association and was appointed to serve as chair of the Criminal Practice Committee by the Chief Justice of the Connecticut Supreme Court.  She also served as co-chair of the CBA’s Trial Advocacy Institute and co-chair of the Federal Practice Section of the Hartford County Bar Association. She lectures frequently, including at the Connecticut Trial Lawyers Association’s yearly Criminal Litigation Seminar.

Ms. Seeley was the recipient of the first annual Maxwell Heiman Memorial Award presented by the Hartford County Bar Association to an attorney who exemplifies the high standards of service to the profession, ethics, scholarship and devotion to clients.  The University of Connecticut School of Law Alumni Association honored Ms. Seeley by awarding her with the "Distinguished Graduate Award" in 2006.

Since 2003, the publication Best Lawyers In America has recognized Ms. Seeley as one of the outstanding criminal defense lawyers in the State. Since 2006, Connecticut Magazine recognized her as one of the Top 25 Women Super Lawyers in the Connecticut.  She has been selected as one of the Top 50 Super Lawyers in Connecticut and one of the Top 100 Super Lawyers in New England.  Most recently, in 2011, she was inducted as a Fellow into the American College of Trial Lawyers.

She has been an adjunct instructor at the University of Connecticut School of Law for each year since graduation. She devotes several hours a week during the academic year to coach the mock trial teams for a local middle school and high school in a state-wide program sponsored by the CBA. She serves on the Boards of the Greater Hartford Legal Aid Foundation and Community Partners In Action. She is an active member of numerous bar organizations and is a Fellow of the Connecticut Bar Foundation. She also was appointed to the Connecticut Advisory Commission on Wrongful Convictions.



Sean Scanlon was elected to the Connecticut General Assembly on November 4, 2014 and is currently serving his first term.

The son of a police officer and small business owner, Sean learned the values of public service and hard work at a young age. After graduating from Guilford Public Schools and Boston College, he worked as a Victim Advocate in the Manhattan District Attorney's Office where he helped crime victims understand the criminal justice process and assisted them in the aftermath of traumatic experiences like assault, robbery, and domestic violence.


In 2009 Sean joined the staff of then-Congressman Chris Murphy and worked as a community liaison before serving as Field Director on the Congressman's successful re-election campaign in 2010 and his campaign for U.S. Senate in 2012. He is currently the Director of Community Affairs in Senator Murphy's Hartford office.

In the community, Sean has been involved in local education efforts. He worked as part of the teams behind the successful efforts to build a new high school and adopt full day kindergarten in Guilford. He serves on the Public Health, Transportation, and Environment committees and lives in Guilford.



Gregory M. Jones is the Managing Principal of Divestiture Partners/Corporate Development Group, a boutique mergers and acquisition and strategic advisory firm based in Hartford.   Mr. Jones began his investment career at JP Morgan and Lehman Brothers in New York where he was an investment banker for healthcare and industrial clients.  Mr. Jones is also a former executive at the Pratt & Whitney Division of United Technologies where he was responsible for business development for a number of Pratt’s business units and led the new ventures group at Pratt & Whitney establishing and commercializing new businesses. 

Mr. Jones is a Board Member of the Hartford Hospital; He founded the Take Charge of Your Health Initiative, a collaboration between Hartford Hospital and the Legacy Foundation of Hartford, delivering health services and screening to thedemographic group most effected and subjected chronic diseases such hypertension, diabetes, and cancer.  The program started as the Black Men’s Health Project and reaches out to the target audience via visits to barbershops, churches and community centers.  He is a Board member of The Travelers Championship, The PGA Golf Event and Founder and Chairman of the Legacy Foundation of Hartford, a Venture Philanthropy Foundation focused on addressing disparities in education and health.   He also the Founder and Chairman of The Skins and Pins Golf Club and The Skin in the Game Foundation, a Hartford based charitable foundation focused on making an impact by providing access and exposure for individuals to enhance their life. 

He founded the INROADS Golf Tournament which has been responsible for contributing over $750,000 to INROADS students in the form of scholarships since its inception in 2002.

He and his wife of 30 years, Lauren, reside in Avon, CT.  They are the proud parents of two adult daughters, both graduates of Spelman College:  Erin who resides in Atlanta, GA and is a Human Resource Manager for General Electric and Morgan who resides in New York City and is a marketing analyst with BlackRock Financial. 

Mr. Jones earned his MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania; a Master in Public Management from Carnegie Mellon University and B. S. from Morgan State University.



Katrina Kazda is Director of Programs at Sustainable America, working to expand the organization’s food and fuel programming regionally and nationally. Prior to joining Sustainable America, Katrina served as Managing Director at the Sustainable Business Network of Massachusetts, a Boston based non-profit with the mission to build economies that are local, green and fair. Earlier, she worked on a variety of international development initiatives including the development of the Asian University for Women, a new regional university for women based in Chittagong, Bangladesh—planned as a model of sustainable development in the region—and more recently, the Lighting a Billion Lives campaign- a rural solar lighting program led by The Energy and Resources Institute based in New Delhi, India. Katrina received her B.A. in Visual Anthropology from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and her M.A. in Sustainable International Development from Brandeis University.



While a student at UCONN, Meghan Forgione '09 landed an internship that was pivotal in shaping her career trajectory. Now an executive assistant for U.S. Senator Chris Murphy, she encourages current students to find their own professional opportunities as an alumni career volunteer.


New Canaan High School Social Studies teacher



Dr. Furlong is a member of the Faculty at the University of Bridgeport and a 1985 graduate of Bastyr University, the flagship of modern naturopathic medicine, he's a diplomate of the Institute for Functional Medicine, known for their cutting-edge approaches to non-drug treatments of disease. Dr Furlong has presented at numerous medical conferences across the U.S., in Brazil and Spain teaching about detoxification, laboratory evaluation for stress, autism, cross-cultural use of botanical medicines, and genetic testing to help design preventive health plans.


Deacon, author, radio host, and businessman, Arthur L. Miller is director of the Office for Black Catholic Ministries for the Archdiocese of Hartford. In addition to his assigned parishes, he is also the Catholic chaplain at Hartford’s Capital Community College.


Deacon Miller's mother, Helen, inspired and motivated all her children to achieve great things in education and community service. Following her example of establishing an extensive educational background, "Deacon Art" also served in Southeast Asia as a member of the US Army from 1966 to 1970.

At public forums, houses of worship, and schools and universities across the country, Deacon Miller addresses issues of social injustice. With firsthand knowledge he speaks to his audiences from the perspective of an African American who grew up on the South Side of Chicago in the 1940s and 1950s. Deacon Miller was 10 years old in 1955 when his schoolmate Emmett Till, age 14, was brutally murdered in Mississippi for allegedly whistling at a white woman—an incident that energized the nascent Civil Rights Movement.


Today, Deacon Miller addresses 21st-century examples of the same intolerance. He is the Hartford Archdiocese representative to the Connecticut Coalition to Save Darfur, a group formed specifically to influence state, national, and international officials and institutions to use their political clout to stop the conflict in Darfur, Sudan. Deacon Miller sees such racial divisiveness as an example of “human hatred that is the result of what happens when one group seeks power by dehumanization.” Echoing the thoughts of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., he believes that as part of the great human experience, no one can sit idly tolerant of the great injustices that happen anywhere in the world.

“If God were to give us an 11th commandment,” Deacon Miller proposes, “I believe it would read: Thou shall not be a bystander.”

Senator Chris Murphy

The Senator invited the Westfield Academy campers to attend a press conference with him on the importance of free speech.

Jeremy Kranowitz

During the summer of 2014 the Executive Director of Sustainable America spoke about the different types of energy that we us and the ramifications of our choices including the effect on the cost of food.



Dr. Etsey is the Director of Programs for the Hartford Consortium for Higher Education, as association of eleven institutions of higher learning. He administers the Career Beginnings program as well as the Graduate!t adult return to learning program. Both programs are geared toward college access for all. Prior to joining the non-profit sector, Martin worked as a high school teacher and administrator and as an adjunct college instructor. He hold a Ph.D. in Philosophy from Temple University.

Dr. Estey spoke at the 2013 summer camp about the ‘Responsibility to Protect’ (R2P), a very topical and controversial issue in international studies. R2P says that there is a responsibility for nations to intervene in the internal affairs of a nation under certain circumstances, i.e. genocide. On the other hand, the first article in the United Nations charter states that nation states have absolute authority over internal affairs. After hearing Dr. Estey’s talk, the campers debated whether, putting aside interventions that cite national security or clear and present danger,  there is a responsibility to protect.


Paul Chill is an Associate Dean at the University of CT School of Law.  Since joining the faculty of the UCONN School of Law in 1988, Professor Chill has supervised clinical programs focusing on child protection, civil rights, disability, and mental health law, and most recently mediation. He also regularly teaches a non-clinical course on legal ethics and has taught courses on torts, criminal law, and legal interviewing, counseling and negotiation.

From 2004-08, Professor Chill served as Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, the first alumnus of the Law School ever appointed to that position. Professor Chill has received broad recognition for his clinical teaching and advocacy on behalf of parents and families. The Connecticut Law Tribune named him one of "Ten Lawyers and Judges Who Made a Difference" in 1998 for his work as lead counsel in a lawsuit (Pamela B. v. Ment) that led to systemic reform of the state's juvenile court system. He is a past recipient of the Connecticut Law Review Award, given for  excellence in legal scholarship and service to the legal community. He was an original member of the Connecticut Commission on Child Protection and served on the commission during the entire period of its existence from 2006 to 2011. Professor Chill's published writings include a treatise on Connecticut child protection law and practice, an article on the procedural impact of emergency child removal, a mock trial published by the National Institute for Trial Advocacy (NITA) and several shorter publications.

Professor Chill gave a presentation to the campers in 2013 on the "Torture Memos" and the lawyers who wrote them.  The campers then debated the question:  "Should the government lawyers who wrote the legal opinions authorizing the use of waterboarding and other "harsh interrogation techniques against suspected al Qaeda detainees be disbarred? 


Dr. Doyle has a Ph.D. in history and worked for a decade as a college professor.  He currently runs a special diploma program in Global Studies at Watkinson, an independent, progressive, co-ed day school in Hartford.  Dr. Doyle writes editorials and essays on teaching, contemporary issues, and history. Recently, Dr. Doyle was published in Education Week, the American Educator, and the Hartford Courant.  Dr. Doyle’s course on the war on terrorism won an award in 2012 from the 9-11 Tribute Center in NYC.  

Dr. Doyle discussed topics from extraordinary rendition, to combat-related "collateral damage," to Abu Ghraib, drones, and the killing of Osama bin Laden to 2013 campers.  After the presentation, campers debated a resolution about the proper use of drones.