David Williams, PhD

David Williams, Ph.D., is a professor of philosophy at Centre College and the director of  the Tahoe Semester. In this role, he works with his Centre College colleagues to design the overall Tahoe curriculum while teaching humanities courses and facilitating the plenary course. He also arranges the co-curricular experiences (and really enjoys participating in them).


By training, David is a historian of philosophy specializing in Classical Greek thought. His areas of special research are Aristotle’s philosophy of mathematics and his philosophy of biology.

He and his wife Michele have four adult children. In his spare time, David enjoys skiing, mountain biking, dirt biking, backpacking and spending time with his family.  

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The Team

Scott Valentine

Scott Valentine, Ed.D., is a professor of Earth Science for the Tahoe Semester. He is the lead faculty member of the Earth & Environmental Science Department at Lake Tahoe Community College and he teaches a variety of classes ranging from Oceanography to Geology and Meteorology. He's also spent time working as a professional raft guide and a U.S. Forest Service Hydrologist prior to his teaching profession.  


Scott lives in the Lake Tahoe area and spends his time biking, skiing, and chasing his two kids around the mountains.

Aron Tillema

Aron Tillema is a fifth year Ph.D. candidate in Religious Studies at the University of California, Davis focusing on Ancient Mediterranean Religions. Broadly, he is interested in the Hebrew Bible and language, but this interest manifests itself in a variety of theories, approaches, and fields that include semiotics and linguistic anthropology, parody and humor, and gender and sexuality. 


In his spare time, he enjoys reading, hiking, walking his dog, Pax, and spending time with his family. He was a student at Azusa Pacific University and studied abroad at the High Sierra program near Yosemite. He is looking forward to returning as an instructor for Tahoe Semester!

Michele Williams
Operations Manager

As Operations Manager for the Tahoe Semester, Michele handles program logistics and serves as liaison to Zephyr Point staff. She has a degree in Business Administration. (Bethel University, St. Paul, MN) and has coordinated a number of college programs, including study-away and study-abroad programs for international students studying in the U.S. Most recently, she managed business and administrative functions for a K-12 charter school. 


Michele is married to David (surprise!) and they have four adult children. In her spare time, she enjoys trail running, hiking (sometimes with David) and spending time with her family.

Kendel Jolley-Ruud
Community Life Coordinator

Kendel Jolley-Ruud is a Seattle native and came to Lake Tahoe to become a rock-climbing instructor while serving as a barista at the Zephyr Point Conference Center.


She studied theology as an undergraduate at Azusa Pacific University and will be attending law school at University of Cincinnati in the fall of 2022. Besides work, "Kenny" spends her days reading, hiking, running, and skiing. She loves spending time with the students and sharing the beauty of Lake Tahoe!   



Shelby Thompson
Community Life Coordinator

Shelby Thompson attended Azusa Pacific University and majored in Liberal Studies for Special Education. During her time at APU she participated in an outdoors focused study-away program that greatly inspired her passion for the Tahoe Semester.

Shelby enjoys biking, running, hiking, surfing, and snowboarding, but also loves a good day indoors, enjoying a book or a movie. Most of all she enjoys quality time with good people and enjoys the "community building" facilitated through the Tahoe Semester!