Faculty Biographies

Amernet String QuartetMaikel Alendy, M.B.A.Daniel Alvarez, M.A., M.T.S.Michelle Alvarez Romero, J.D.Regina C. Bailey, M.F.A.John Bailly, M.F.A.Jill Baker, Ph. D.David A. Becker, Ph.D.Mayra Beers, Ph. D.Jason Bell, M.B.A.Malik Benjamin, M.Arch.Hector Cadavid, M.A.Amilcar Castellano-Sanchez, M.D.Helen Cornely, EdD., PT.Kristen A. Corpion, J.D.Veronica Diaz, M.S.Laura Dinehart, Ph. D.Leonard Elbaum, Ed.D.Juan Carlos Espinosa, Ph. D.Sian Evans, Ph. D.H. Scott Fingerhut, J.D.Aldo Fonseca, M.S.Brian Fonseca, M.I.B.Alfredo Garcia, M.T.S.Ruben Garrote, M.A.Bernard S. Gerstman, Ph. D.Adam D. Gorelick, M.A.Devon L. Graham, Ph. D.Robert H. Hacker, M.B.A.Elizabeth Hanly, M.A.Melissa Hernandez, M.S.Cecile Houry, Ph. D.Joseph Lichter, Ph.D.Brenda Luna, Ph. D.Peter A. Machonis, Ph. D.Modesto Maidique, Ph. D.Pete E.C. Markowitz, Ph. D.Janet McDaniel, M.T.S.Anthony McGoron, Ph. D.Randy Pestana, M.A.Mary Lou Pfeiffer, L.L.M., M.A.Umer Rahman, M.A.Jorge Riera Diaz, Ph.D.Anthony Rionda, M.P.A.Catherine Rodriguez, M.P.A.Jose Rodriguez, Ph. D.Nanett Rojas, M.S.Barbra Roller, Ph. D.Camilo Rosales, M. Arch. IIHortensia E. Sampedro, M.B.A.Ricky Sant, M.B.A.Gretchen Scharnagl, M.F.A.Rebekah Schulze, Ed.D.Patsy Self, Ph. D.John Tsalikis, Ph. D.Allen Varela, M.S.Phong Tony Vu, M.B.A.Pioneer Winter, M.P.H.Michael Yawney, M.F.A.

Amernet String Quartet

The Amernet String Quartet has garnered recognition as one of today’s exceptional string quartets and are Ensemble-in-Residence at Florida International University in Miami. Their sound has been called “complex” but with an “old world flavor.” Strad Magazinedescribed the Amernet as “…a group of exceptional technical ability.”The Amernet is joined this season by second violinist Tomas Cotik and forges ahead with a newly formed sound with the release of a new CD called Dissenting Voices on New Focus Recordings featuring rarely-heard works by Sofia Gubaidulina, Shostakovich, and Mieczysław Weinberg, one of the most important recent re-discoveries and considered by many the third of the great Soviet composers, alongside Prokofiev and Shostakovich. The Amernet’s performance schedule has taken the quartet across the Americas and to Asia, Europe, and the Middle East. They have collaborated with many of today’s most prominent artists and ensembles including the Tokyo and Ying quartets as well as Shmuel Ashkenasi, Robert deMaine, Roberto Diaz, Gary Hoffman, Ida Kavafian, Anthony McGill, Sherrill Milnes and Michael Tree. Internationally, the quartet has appeared at major festivals around the world, including Cervantino, San Miguel de Allende, Aviv (Israel), and Colima (Mexico), while in Germany a critic commented that their playing was “fascinating, with flawless intonation, extraordinary beauty of sound, virtuosic brilliance and homogeneity of ensemble.” Nürnberger Nachrichten. The Amernet’s U.S. engagements have included the Kennedy Center, the Tilles Center, Caramoor, the Great Lakes Festival, Newport, Friends of Chamber Music in Arizona and Friends of Chamber Music in Syracuse, LPR in New York City, Chamber Music Society of Louisville, Music on the Edge in Pittsburgh, the University of Maine – Collins Center, and Market Square Concerts. The Amernet has also appeared as quartet soloist with the Cincinnati Symphony and Alan Gilbert. Earlier in their career, the Amernet won the gold medal at the Tokyo International Music Competition before being named first prize winners of the prestigious Banff International String Quartet Competition.

MIsha Vitenson
Franz Felkl
Michael Klotz
Jason Calloway

Maikel Alendy, M.B.A. (Florida International University)

Maikel Alendy is currently a Lead Instructional Designer with FIU Online. Maikel has extremely diverse professional and academic experiences with degrees from the University of Florida and Florida International University in the fields of neuroscience, cultural anthropology, healthcare, and business.  His main research interests and publications are in health, retirement, biomedicine, cardiovascular molecular biology, and aging.  He teaches the fully online course IDH3034/3035: Digital Fairytale merging social movements, disruptive technologies, and business trends with a dash of neuropsychology.   He is also the instructor for the hybrid course IDH3034/3035: Power of Play, where students examine the importance of play throughout their lifetime and partner with Sweetwater Elementary to design games for k-5 students. Maikel currently serves as the online experience consultant for FIU’s Honors College.

Daniel Alvarez, M.A., M.T.S. (Harvard University)

Since 1999, I have been a member of the Religious Studies Department at Florida International University in Miami, Florida, where I teach World Religions, Protestantism, and Religion and Violence, Religion in America, and Topics in the Philosophy of Religion,  From 2008 to the present I have devoted year-long courses to the most important philosophical thinkers from Kant to Heidegger, Foucault, and Derrida. In 2005 I began teaching in the Honors College my course on Knowledge and Human Conduct & Values.  In 2014 I was promoted to Senior Instructor and was also asked by Dr. John Stack, Dean of the School of International and Public Affairs, to direct the Muslim World Studies Initiative at FIU.  The goal of the initiative is to establish a Center for Muslim World Studies at the university in the not too distant future.  Formerly an academic administrator in Boston, Massachusetts, since coming to FIU I  have dedicated myself to my first passion, teaching, research and writing.  In 1998 I  published “On the Possibility of an Evangelical Theology” in Theology Today, and in 2005 “Rupp in Perspective:  An Examination of Two Topics in Beyond Existentialism & Zen” appeared in Philosophy East & West.  In 2013 “A Critique of Pannenberg’s Scientific Theology” was published in Theology & Science, and in early 2014 I  published “A Brief History of Western Rationality,” as chapter 2 of One Planet, Many Possibilities (Routledge), co-edited by my colleague, Whitney Bauman.  To date, my published work has been concerned, in one way or another, with articulating a model of interfaith dialogue based on philosophical insights derived from a model-theoretic approach to problems in the philosophy of language and science.  Directly related to my research and published work are the questions of truth, rationality, the boundary between philosophy, religion, ethics, and the humanities (art and literature in particular), topics that I directly address in my Honors Seminar.  I was born in Cuba, 1953 and came to the States in 1966. My parents were officers in the Salvation Army in Cuba.   I earned a B.A. in History from Stetson University; and a Master of Theological Studies (M.T.S.) and Master of Arts (M.A.) from Harvard University.

Michelle Alvarez Romero, J.D. (University of Miami)

Michelle Alvarez Romero joined FIU in 2012, she is the current Assistant Director & Lecturer, College of Business.  She serves as the international liaison for the Career Management Services department, manages graduate programming and teaches a course titled, Marketing Yourself in Today’s Competitive Job Market.  She earned a Bachelor of Business Administration and Juris Doctor from the University of Miami, has over (15) years of business and legal experience and is admitted to practice law in the State of Florida.  She previously taught the Lower Division Honors Introduction & Leadership Seminar and currently teaches the Upper Division Honors Seminar – The Role of Law in Business:  An Entrepreneur’s Guide.

Regina C. Bailey, M.F.A., (Pratt Institute)

Regina Bailey is a Senior Fellow Honors College and a Senior Project Manager at FIU ARTS. She joined the Honors College in 1991. As Senior Project Manager of FIU Arts, she works collaboratively across the university, and specifically with the FIU Arts Task Force, developing a plan for the ARTS.  Looking to expanding opportunities for student success; increasing funded research and creative opportunities and establishing ways to elevate the arts. Her interested include how involvement in the arts on campus campuses can improve student creativity, innovation and learning.  She teaches the First Year Seminar. She holds BA in Fine Arts from Barry University and MFA from Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, NY.

John Bailly, M.F.A. (Yale University)

John Bailly received his Master of Fine Arts in painting and printmaking from Yale University in 1993. An accomplished artist, Bailly’s work explores the random nature of information and the manner in which we process it. Utilizing juxtapositions of diverse data and multiple historical references, Bailly’s work intends for us to reflect on the manner in which we conceptualize our realities. His work has been exhibited at the University of Maine Museum of Art, Museum of Contemporary Art Jacksonville, John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Texas State University, and several other institutions in the US. He was awarded the 2006 South Florida Cultural Consortium Fellowship for Visual and Media Artists and a 2006 State of Florida Individual Artist Grant. In 2007, Bailly and critically acclaimed poet Richard Blanco produced a collaborative project, Place of Mind. He founded and directs Aesthetics & Values, an upper division course in The Honors College at FIU. Bailly also teaches the Second Year Seminar, Inhabiting Other Lives, and directs the France and Italy Study Abroad programs.


Jill Baker, Ph.D. (Brown University)

Jill Baker earned her Ph.D. from the Center for Old World Archaeology and Art at Brown University, a Master of Arts in Old Testament studies, with a concentration in archaeology, from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, and a Bachelor of Arts from Gordon College. Since 1990 Jill has traveled extensively in Israel, Jordan, and Egypt and has held staff positions with several archaeological excavations, including The Leon Levy Expedition to Ashkelon, Gesher Excavations, and Tel Zahara Excavations. She has held several fellowships at the W. F. Albright Institute of Archaeological Research, in Jerusalem. Jill is currently involved with the Tel Miqne Publication Project; quantifying ceramic typologies and using statistical analysis to characterize activity zones within the settlement. Jill’s primary area of interest is Bronze Age Canaan and specifically mortuary practices, which reflect numerous socio-cultural aspects of the Bronze Age peoples and the interconnection of ancient people-groups. Most recently, Jill has broadened her horizons by rediscovering and excavating a Revolutionary War Period blockhouse in Greensboro, Vermont. To support the blockhouse project and other archaeological excavation and research further afield, Jill has established a non-profit organization, Archaeological Horizons, Inc.

David A. Becker, Ph.D. (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)

David A. Becker  completed his undergraduate studies in chemistry at the University of Rochester, he obtained his Ph.D. in organic chemistry at Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1988. At MIT, he actively participated in musical pursuits and was the bassist in the MIT Festival Jazz Ensemble under the direction of trumpeter Herb Pomeroy. After two years as a post-doctoral research associate under the supervision of Columbia University Professor of Chemistry Gilbert Stork, he assumed the position of Assistant Professor of Chemistry at Virginia Tech in 1990. In 1993, he moved to the Department of Chemistry at Florida International University in Miami, Florida where he stayed, with the exception of time during 1996 as a visiting professor within the Department of Chemistry at MIT. His research in the chemistry of azulenes and azulenyl nitrones has resulted in certain highly publicized papers, patents, licensed technologies, and grants from the NIH. Dr. Becker was inducted as a full member into the MIT chapter of the Society of the Sigma Xi, and was elected an Honorary Member of the FIU chapters of the Golden Key Society and Phi Kappa Phi. Becker teaches an upper division course titled “Heady Harmonocosms.

Mayra Beers, Ph.D. (Florida International University)

Dr. Beers is Director of Strategy and James L. Knight Research Fellow for the Center for Leadership at Florida International University (FIU). She holds MA and Ph.D. degrees from FIU and her work has been recognized with the James R. Scobie Memorial Award, the Jay I. Kislak Foundation Prize, and a Mellon Foundation Fellowship, among others. Dr. Beers has participated in leadership development programs at institutions such as Harvard Business School, Wharton, Columbia, the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business, and the Center for Creative Leadership. She holds graduate certificates in Latin American and Caribbean Studies and in African New World Studies. A founding member of the Center for Leadership, Dr. Beers has been instrumental in the development and implementation of numerous executive leadership development programs and workshops including the Senior Executive Leadership Program, The Women Leaders Program, The High Potential Leader and the Principals Leadership Development Program, where she now serves as Program Chair. Most recently, she worked on the development of the Physician Leaders Program in collaboration with the Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine at FIU. She developed and was primary facilitator for the Center’s first leadership development program offered in a foreign country in Spanish, presented to Wal-Mart executives in Puerto Rico.  In collaboration with Dr. Joyce Elam, at the time Executive Dean of the College of Business, Dr. Beers worked on the “Florida’s Woman-Led Businesses Study,” (2006-2011), a five year report on the challenges and successes of women who lead major organizations in Florida. Dr. Beers’ work has been published in Cuban Studies, and she is a contributing author to The Fragmented University (Jossie-Bass).Dr. Beers is an active lifelong volunteer for numerous causes and especially for education-related activities. She was born in Havana, Cuba and currently resides in Miami. She and her husband Randy have two sons.

Jason Bell, M.B.A. (University of Florida)

Jason is the Director of Graduate Medical Education for Baptist Health South Florida, the largest healthcare organization in the region. In addition, he oversees the Physician Relations and Business Development initiatives at West Kendall Baptist Hospital- a new Gold LEED-certified facility, and the academic medical center for Baptist Health South Florida. In his role,Jason is responsible for the recruitment, training and retention of student and physician partners to serve the South Florida community as well as key growth initiatives for the organization in the Sustainability, Education and Innovation sectors.Jason‘s academic background includes degrees in Anthropology and Integrative Biology. He is passionate about Sustainability and Corporate Social Responsibility, and is the inaugural chair of the Florida Hospital Association Sustainability Collaborative. Jason teaches the Honors Seminar – Developing Human-Centric Skills for Healthcare.

Malik Benjamin, M.Arch. (University of Miami)

Malik Benjamin earned his BArch from Cornell University and a double MArch – Computing & Design and Urban Design – from the University of Miami.  He is a former Knight Foundation Scholar and a current Miami Foundation Fellow.  He is an Instructor and the Director of Program Innovation at the Florida International University CARTA School of Architecture, where he primarily researches “innovation in teaching” through tangible, intangible and defunct networks. The primary goal of this designation is to positively evolve the greater Miami area through the establishment of private public partnerships and interdisciplinary hybrid value chains in academia, research and practice. His current work includes three distinctly different projects.  He is working as a steward of a $300K grant from JP Morgan Chase to build an aquaponics laboratory and education program at Miami Northwestern High School in partnership with Florida International University to promote STEM professions – science, technology, engineering and math – and help revitalize the distressed neighborhoods around the high school.  He has designed and coded a virtual gallery of the Patricia & Phillip Frost Art Museum similar to Google Streetview (http://virtual.frostartmuseum.org/) which is set to launch early summer 2012.  Lastly, he is in the midst of an ongoing project to evolve the College of Communication, Architecture + The Arts digital capabilities and curriculum through the acquisition and proliferation of digital fabrication technologies, high resolution imaging equipment, real-time digital collaboration technologies, and mobile technologies. He is also the consultant in residence for the American Welding Society, the largest industrial standards organization in the US dedicated to advancing the science, technology, and application of welding and allied joining and cutting processes, as they advance their online university and expand into nanotechnology fabrication research.  A product of New York City, Malik has lived in South Florida for more than a decade and is proud to call South Florida home. In addition to his professional work, Malik also contributes by serving on several boards and committees for a collection of art groups including the Miami Dade County and City of North Miami Beach Art in Public Places, Overtown Music Project, Dance Now Miami, Noble Scholars Academy and FIU Faculty Senate Technology Committee.

Hector Cadavid, M.A. (Florida International University)

Hector Cadavid received his BS in Political Science and International Affairs from Florida State University (2002), and a Master of Arts in Latin American and Caribbean Studies from Florida International University, along with a certificate in National Security Studies (2007). His research interests include national security issues and regional politics in South America, particularly the Andean region. As his major research paper, Mr. Cadavid wrote an analysis of “Colombia’s Peace Process and Transitional Justice Project for National Reconciliation.” Following the completion of his graduate work, he joined The Gordon Institute as the National Security Studies Program’s Outreach Coordinator in May of 2007. Currently, he serves as the Institute’s Assistant Director and serves as the Institute’s liaison with the South Florida community, particularly Miami-Dade County Schools and the U.S. Southern Command. Hector also serves as an adjunct professor in the Department of Politics and International Relations at FIU and teaches classes on Latin America Politics.

Amilcar A. Castellano-Sanchez, M.D. (Universidad de Zulia, Venezuela)

Associate Professor in Pathology. Amilcar Castellano-Sanchez joined the Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine (HWCOM) since its inception with the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine. Dr. Castellano-Sanchez is a foreign graduate who trained in Anatomic & Clinical Pathology at Mount Sinai Medical Center, Miami Beach, Florida and went on for two additional post-doctoral fellowships in Neuropathology at Emory University in Atlanta and Hematopathology at Barnes-Jewish Hospital / University of Saint Louis; since his return to south Florida, he has been the Coordinator for Teaching and Research at the Department of Pathology in Mount Sinai.  Currently he teaches to the Pathology residents at Mount Sinai Medical Center and during the first three years of medical school here at FIU. He was honored by HWCOM’s first class to receive the Teacher of the Year Award and as Co-Director also received the Best Pre-Clinical Course Award from the same class. Beginning Fall 2016, he will be teaching a Global Learning rated course titled: “History of Medicine through Art” for the Honors College. His research interest includes neoplastic hematologic and non-hematologic diseases, brain tumors and particularly lymphomas in brain tissue. In addition, Dr. Castellano-Sanchez is a volunteer Docent at the Patricia and Phillip Frost Art Museum at FIU and is passionate about anything that combines goodness, enrichment, personal growth / community growth and community engagement. He enjoys teaching and hopes to convey and exchange ideas with his students.

Dr. Helen Cornely, EdD., PT. (Florida International University)

Associate Dean – Nicole Wertheim College of Nursing and Health Sciences

Dr. Cornely is the Associate Dean Administrative Affairs in the Nicole Wertheim College of Nursing & Health Sciences. Prior to her promotion, she was Chair and Associate Professor for the Department of Physical Therapy. She is an Honors Fellow in the FIU Honors College. Dr. Cornely has worked in home health care for over 15 years in Dade and Broward Counties, and served as Director of Rehabilitation Services for Home Health Care of North Broward. Dr. Cornely received her BS in Physical Therapy from the University of Pennsylvania, and also holds a Master’s degree in psychology from Nova University, where the focus of her studies was Gerontology. She received her doctoral degree in Adult Education at Florida International University. With the exception of undergraduate courses, Dr. Cornely teaches at the request of the Honors College, she has taught courses within the Doctor of Physical Therapy curriculum. In addition to working on numerous other grants during her career, she has authored over 40 articles on health and wellness and balance and fall prevention in the elderly.

Kristen A. Corpion, J.D. (University of California at Berkeley)

Kristen A. Corpion is an associate in the law firm of Ver Ploeg & Lumpkin, P.A. She began her legal career as an associate at Greenberg Traurig, LLP. Kristen earned her J.D. from the University of California, Berkeley (Boalt Hall) School of Law, where she was a member of the Moot Court Board, the Berkeley Business Law Journal, and the Berkeley Technology and Law Journal. Kristen earned her B.A., with honors, from the University of South Florida, summa cum laude, with a dual major in Anthropology and Political Science.  Kristen volunteers her time to serve clients pro bono, and is actively involved in the Miami community. She serves as a Director of Dade County Bar Association, Young Lawyers Section and the South Beach Chamber Ensemble. Kristen Chairs Legal Services of Greater Miami’s Young Profession Committee and Co-chairs the Legal Eagle Closing Argument Competition. Kristen has been appointed by the Florida Bar to serve on the Florida Bar’s Professional Ethics Committee. Kristen is admitted to practice in Florida.

Veronica Diaz, M.S. (Florida International University)

Veronica Diaz is an Affiliate Instructor at the Honors College. She is an Academic Advisor for the College of Arts, Sciences & Education and the former Satisfactory Academic Progress Coordinator for the Financial Aid Office at Florida International University. She has collaborated with FIU’s Office of Retention and Graduation Success to increase awareness among the advising community regarding the impact of financial aid on student retention. Prior to working at FIU, she taught American History and World Cultures in Galveston, TX (2005-2009) where she was recognized as one of Galveston’s top fifty teachers. She then moved to Virginia where she taught American History and AP Psychology from 2009 to 2012 in the city of Newport News. She earned her Bachelor's degree in Social Studies Education (2004) and a Master's degree in Higher Education Administration (2014) from FIU. She is currently pursuing her Ph.D. in Global and Sociocultural Studies with a concentration in Sociocultural Anthropology. Diaz teaches Introduction to Honors and First Year Experience.

Laura Dinehart, Ph.D. (University of Miami)

Dr. Laura Dinehart joined the FIU faculty as a Visiting Assistant Professor in 2006, and was hired as an Assistant Professor in 2008. As a graduate student at the University of Miami, her research focused on early intervention practices and developmental outcome of children prenatally exposed to cocaine from birth to three years of age. More recently Dr. Dinehart’s interests lie in the contextual variables that influence the school readiness and early academic outcome of children from high-risk environments, including children in the child welfare system. She has published numerous journal articles and presented several at national conferences.

Leonard Elbaum, Ed.D., PT. (Florida International University)

Associate Professor, Physical Therapy, Nicole Wertheim College of Nursing and Health Sciences

Dr. Elbaum’s teaching and research are focused on biomechanics, and new technologies that might help child with developmental disabilities learn to walk, including exoskeletal robotics and virtual reality gaming.  He holds an Ed.D. in Education from Florida International University, a Bachelor of Science from Marquette University, and two Master of Music Degrees from the University of Miami.  He has been a Research Fellow and Visiting Scientist at the Newman Laboratory for Biomechanics and Human Rehabilitation at MIT. Leonard is also a professional guitarist with a repertoire that includes a wide variety of classical and popular styles.  In recent years, he has been active as a studio musician, working many of Miami’s most prominent producers of reggae, reggaeton, bachata, and electronic dance music.

Juan Carlos Espinosa, Ph.D. (University of Miami)

Juan Carlos Espinosa is a political scientist with degrees from the University of Miami and Florida State University. His main research interests include the arts and political expression, culture and collective identity, and Cuban political culture. Dr. Espinosa has taught Honors College courses at every level, most recently leading the restructuring of the First Year curriculum. As Associate Dean, he oversees the Advanced Research and Creativity in Honors program, curriculum, external affairs, communications (including the Honors College website and Summa cum Laude, the Honors College magazine) and the Honors Arts initiative, a collaboration with CARTA and community cultural organizations. He also serves on a number of university-wide committees including the Council on Mentored Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities, the university-wide Scholarship Committee and FIU Humanities Center Working Group. Espinosa was inducted into the Order of the Torch in 2010. He is the Associate Dean and Fellow of the Honors College.

Sian Evans, Ph.D. (University College of Wales-Aberystwyth)

Instructor, Biological Sciences

Dr. Sian Evans is currently the Managing Director of the DuMond Conservatory for Primates and Tropical Forests, a non-profit organization that not only advocates for owl monkeys and their rainforest habitat, but also provides an integrated youth program where science, primate research, public education and biodiversity advocacy are developed and promoted. Evans earned a B.Sc. Honors in zoology from Bedford College at the University of London in 1975, followed by a Master’s in biological anthropology from the University of Durham in 1976 and a Ph.D. in zoology from the University College of Wales, Aberystwth, in 1979. Her research focuses not only on energetics and communication among owl monkeys, but also on primate natural history and social behavior, and comparative cognition of great apes being able to identify what makes us human. Dr. Evans teaches in the first year Honors course, Origins of Ideas and Ideas of Origins.

H. Scott Fingerhut, J.D. (Emory University)

Assistant Director, Trial  Advocacy Program, FIU College of Law.

 H. Scott Fingerhut is a three-time Professor of the Year and honored six-times by the graduating class as Commencement Hooder at FIU College of Law, and in the courtroom, rated AV Preeminent by Martindale-Hubbell and consistently ranked among the top criminal defense lawyers in South Florida – including The Best Lawyers in America.  Fingerhut came to FIU 16 years ago from the Litigation Skills Program at the University of Miami School of Law to teach constitutional criminal procedure, criminal law theory, and judicial process and policy making in the School of Policy and Management undergraduate and Master’s degree criminal justice program.  For the past decade, Fingerhut has served as Assistant Director of the Trial Advocacy Program at FIU College of Law, where he teaches Trial Advocacy, Civil and Criminal Pretrial Practice, Criminal Procedure Investigation and Adjudication, Criminal Law, and the Criminal and Civil Law Externship.  Fingerhut earned his Bachelor of Arts in American Government and Music at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, and his Juris Doctor at Emory Law in Atlanta, where he was a student-instructor in the Research, Writing, and Advocacy Program, a member of  Moot Court Special Teams, and, though not widely celebrated, hosted the Law Follies.  Before entering private practice, he proudly served as a prosecutor in Janet Reno’s Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office.  A frequent lecturer and writer on liberty and justice matters, Fingerhut currently chairs The Florida Bar Criminal Procedure Rules Committee and is a member of the Student Education and Admissions to the Bar Committee, both by appointment of the President of the Bar.  He is past chair of the Bar’s Criminal Law Section, past chair of the Dade County Bar Criminal Court Committee, past president of the Miami Chapter of the Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, and a past member ofThe Florida Bar Journal and Florida Bar News Editorial Board, the Bar’s Committee to Study the Decline in Jury Trials, and by appointment of the Chief Justice of the Florida Supreme Court, the Criminal Court Steering Committee’s Workgroup on Post-Conviction Relief, and, the Florida Innocence Commission.  Fingerhut has been a Fellow with the Honors College since 2006 and teaches the Upper Division Honors Seminar –Observing Ourselves:  On Bartlet and Baseball, Billy Joel and Bruce, B-Rabbit, Balboa, The Beatles, Soup Questions, Justice, the Business of Liberty, and The Present Moment:  A Primer for Life After Honors. 

Aldo Fonseca, M.S. (Florida International University)

Aldo J. Fonseca earned his Bachelor’s degree in International Relations from Florida International University in 2007, along with a Certificate in National Security Studies, and a Certificate in Latin American Caribbean Studies. He earned his MS in Global Enterprise Management from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 2010. After completing his graduate degree he returned to FIU and served as the International Admissions Officer for the Office of Undergraduate Admissions from 2010-2015. During that time he strategically developed recruitment markets throughout Latin America, India and China by helping students achieve their goal of attending FIU. He was a presenter for the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC) in Miami, Florida in 2012 and 2013 discussing topics in international education. He joined The Gordon Institute in Fall 2015 as their Outreach Coordinator.

Brian Fonseca, M.I.B. (Florida International University)

Adjunct Professor I Director of Operations of FIU Applied Research Center (ARC).

Brian Fonseca is the Director of Operations at Florida International University’s Applied Research Center (ARC) and has been an adjunct professor at FIU’s since 2010. Mr. Fonseca joined ARC after serving as the Senior Research Manager for Socio-Cultural Analysis (SCA) at United States Southern Command. Mr. Fonseca has authored numerous classified and open sourced publications on a wide range of defense and security-related topics, and has conducted field research throughout Latin America and the Caribbean. Mr. Fonseca holds a Master’s Degree in International Business and a Bachelor’s degree in International Relations from Florida International University in Miami, Florida, he is currently working towards his Ph.D. at the University of Miami. He has attended Sichuan University in China and National Defense University in Washington D.C. From 1997 to 2004, he served in the United States Marine Corps and facilitated the training of foreign military forces in both hostile theaters and during peace time operations.

Alfredo Garcia, M.T.S. (Harvard University)

Alfredo Garcia is a Miami native who is currently completing his Ph.D studies in the Department of Sociology at Princeton University. He holds degrees from Duke University and Harvad Divinity School, where he studied and researched the religions of the Americas. Alfredo Garcia’s current works focuses on questions at the intersection of economic sociology, sociology of culture, and sociology of religion. His recent publications address questions about those who identify as having no religious preference, known as the “nones” in the academic literature, and on joining theories of economic sociology with those in the sociology of religion. His My dissertation work combines all my interests in markets, culture, and religion to study how the global art market shapes small neighborhoods.  Garcia is currently back in Miami working on a long term (2-year) ethnography of the neighborhood of Wynwood, the former Puerto Rican barrio of the city that has exploded into an international destination for the arts.

Ruben Garrote, M.A. (Florida International University)


Rubén Garrote is an Honors College alumnus and a graduate of FIU’s Religious Studies Department. He has taught for the Religious Studies Department for the past eight years, receiving several awards for teaching and academic excellence. Mr. Garrote’s research interests are varied, ranging from early Christian heresies and North and West European religions, to the Western esoteric traditions, new religious movements, and utopianism. Mr. Garrote teaches in the First Year Seminar, Origin of Ideas & the Idea of Origins, and in the Second Year Seminar, Inhabiting Other Lives.

Bernard S. Gerstman, Ph.D. (Princeton University)

Professor of Physics

Bernard S. Gerstman has a Ph.D. in Physics from Princeton University. His main research interests are in theoretical and computational biophysics. He runs two different research groups in the Physics Department. One group investigates the non-linear dynamics of entropy versus enthalpy that underlies the ability of proteins to fold to their biologically functional native state. The other group investigates the effects of laser energy on biological tissue with a specific emphasis on the visual system. Professor Gerstman is Chairman of the Department of Physics and Executive Editor of the American Institute of Physics journal AIP Advances. He has published scores of papers in peer-reviewed journals and been invited to lecture about his research at institutions and conferences world-wide. He has published chapters in several research-oriented books, and published the book, “The Physics of Cancer”. Professor Gerstman has served as Chair of the University’s Institutional Review Board that determines if research projects treat their human subjects in an ethical manner and as Chair of the Faculty Research Council. He has taught a wide range of physics courses and taught courses on ethical behavior in scientific research, He has received numerous research and teaching awards. He has taught different levels of the Honors College and greatly enjoys the interactions with the students and his fellow instructors. He teaches in the First Year Seminar, Origin of Ideas & the Idea of Origins.

Adam D. Gorelick, M.A. (Florida International University)

Adjunct Professor and Fellow of the Honors College.

Adam Gorelick received his B.A. in Religious Studies from Webster University in St. Louis, MO, where his studies focused on Religion and Science as well as Comparative Mysticism. His M.A. in Religious Studies from Florida International University (FIU) followed a track in Religion, Culture and the Arts, concluding with a thesis about myth theory entitled, The Enchanter’s Spell: J.R.R. Tolkien’s Mythopoetic Response to Modernism.  Adam has worked for several years in higher education and student affairs at the University of Miami, Nova Southeastern University, and FIU. His roles have included academic advisor, student success coach, and student programs coordinator. Currently, he is the faculty mentor for the HEARTS Writing Club, and his teaching load includes a section of the first-year Honors Seminar, Honors Introduction and Leadership, an upper division Seminar on J.R.R. Tolkien, and an online course called Myth and Ritual in Film. He presented a co-authored paper about student success at the National Symposium on Student Retention, Consortium for Retention Student Data Exchange. Also, individually he has presented papers about religion and literature, including “Bombadil and the Bodhi Tree: The Case for a Buddhist Influence on Tolkien’s Literature” for the Southeastern Commission for the Study of Religion. Adam’s hobbies include piano, poetry, painting, Jewish education, and basketball.

Devon L. Graham, Ph.D. (University of Miami)

Adjunct Instructor

Adjunct Instructor, Honors College. Devon L. Graham co-teaches the Everglades and Amazon courses offered through The Honors College. He is also President of Project Amazonas, Inc., a Peruvian-American non-profit that focuses on humanitarian, educational, research and conservation work in the Peruvian Amazon, and which operates four field stations in the Amazon. Dr. Graham’s background is in tropical ecology with particular interests in botany, ornithology, fisheries and sustainability – he has been working in the Peruvian Amazon since 1994. In addition to his biological interests, Dr. Graham has been working with the Peruvian Ministry of Health and with the University of Mississippi School of Medicine and Rivers of the World  to develop boat-based clinic visits to remote Amazon communities which otherwise do not have access to modern health care – a current project is the building of a steel-hull medical ship for the Amazon. At the same time, he is working with local communities. Dr. Graham is currently on sabbatical. 

Robert H. Hacker, M.B.A. (Columbia University)

Adjunct Faculty. Areas of interest: entrepreneurship, creativity and complexity science.

Bob joined FIU in 2004 and teaches social entrepreneurship in the Honors College and graduate level entrepreneurship in the Engineering College. He also teaches social entrepreneurship at MIT Sloan and the University of Miami and is on the national faculty for the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program. His industry experience includes serving as the CFO of One Laptop per Child, an international education project that started at MIT. He also built a billion dollar public company in Indonesia in seven years and provided strategy consulting to Fortune 500 Japanese companies for ten years. Today he provides consulting services to middle market companies in North and South America through GH Growth Advisors in Miami. He serves as the Director of StartUP FIU, the University’s incubator that serves students, faculty, alumni and the community to explore and develop scalable ventures in social and traditional entrepreneurship. He has written two books, presented a TEDx talk and blogged at Sophisticated Finance since 2007.

Elizabeth Hanly, M.A. (Columbia University)

Writer/editor/educator with expertise in Latin America and the Caribbean, human rights, religion and the arts.  Hanly has brought home stories from war zones and refugee camps, from gold mines and Peronist Party headquarters, from art studios and rooftops in Havana.  Her work has appeared in dozens of newspapers and national magazines, including The New York Times, London’s The Guardian, The Washington Post, The Village Voice, The Miami Herald, The Nation, Vogue, Elle, and Art in America. Hanly has designed cultural, educational and human rights programs then written and received grants for those programs from W.F. Kellogg Foundation, the Ford Foundation and the National Council of Churches, among others. She has written and edited for UNICEF and has served as Associate Editor at Scholastic Books. She thinks Umberto Eco was very right when he said, “To survive you must tell stories.” The winner of FIU’s “Excellence in Teaching,” award, Hanly teaches both an upper level Honors course on “Creative Non-Fiction” and one on “Film from the Third World”  as well as the First Year Seminar, Origins of Ideas and Ideas of Origins.

Melissa Hernandez, M.S. (Florida International University)

Melissa Hernandez is a Manager of Academic Support Services for FIU’s College of Business Advising department. She is an Associate Instructor with the Honors College. Melissa graduated with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree and a Master’s of Science in Higher Education Administration from Florida International University. During her master’s program she completed an internship with the Office of First Year Programs at FIU and the Career Center at Bowling Green State University in Ohio. Melissa currently teaches the SLS1501- First Year Experience course for incoming freshman students, MAR4354- Marketing Yourself in Today’s Competitive Workforce for upper division students, in addition to the Introduction to Honors and Leadership Seminar IDH1931 course for FIU’s Honors College. She comes to FIU from Florida Atlantic University and Broward College where she was a Coordinator of Academic Support Services for FAU’s Charles E. Schmidt College of Science and a Student Success Specialist for Broward College’s South Campus.

Cecile Houry, Ph.D. (University of Miami)

Dr. Cecile Houry is the Assistant Dean for External Affairs for the Robert Stempel College of Public Health & Social Work and an Honors College Faculty Fellow. Houry was previously the Assistant Vice President for Engagement at FIU. Prior to joining the Office of Engagement, Houry was the Director of Student Programs and a faculty member in the Honors College. There, Houry was in charge of community partnerships, study abroad programs, career services, special events, and student organizations. She also developed and is still teaching an upper-division community service-research seminar. Houry came to the Honors College in June 2009, after spending two years teaching social studies classes at the Belen Jesuit Preparatory School. Born and raised in France, Houry earned a Bachelor and Master of Arts in English from the University of Orleans in France, a Master of Arts in History and a Doctor of Philosophy in History from the University of Miami. Her main interests include sport history and gender studies. Houry participated in several leadership programs, including the Educational Leadership Enhancement Program, designed by FIU to prepare eight promising employees for higher administrative and executive positions; the FIU Women On The Move Leadership Program; Leadership Miami, organized by the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce; and Connect Florida, organized by Leadership Florida. Houry received the FIU Community Award (2011), the HYPE Go Getter Award from the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce (2012), and the Community Engagement Educator of the Year from Campus Compact Florida (2012). Houry is a member of the Board of Directors of the Aqua Foundation for Women and the Global Ties Miami.

Joseph Lichter, Ph.D. (Emory University)

Joseph Lichter is an Instructor and Organic/Analytical Lab Coordinator. He has taught a variety of chemistry courses (including general, analytical, and organic chemistry) and coordinated many chemistry labs during his time at FIU. He is also responsible for initiating FIU’s Chemistry Learning Assistance Program, in which talented undergraduates facilitate problem-based learning in large classes and laboratories. He previously taught and conducted research in the Chemistry department at Emory University and served as a National Science Foundation Teaching Fellow, co-teaching AP physics and chemistry courses. He teaches in the First Year Seminar, Origin of Ideas & the Idea of Origins.

Brenda Luna, Ph.D. (Florida International University)

Dr. Brenda Luna is an Affiliate Instructor at the Honors College, and an Academic Advisor for the College of Arts, Sciences & Education.  She is an FIU Honors College Alumni. At FIU she earned a Bachelor of Science in Biology, Masters of Public Health, and PhD in Public Health. Her research interests include childhood epilepsy, lead poisoning, and HIV/AIDS. As a graduate student at the Robert Stempel College of Public Health and Social Work, her research focused on mitochondrial mutations and oxidative damage in resected tissues from pediatric patients with brain tumors or cortical malformations. She has published journal articles and presented in national conferences. At the Florida Department of Health’s Bureau of Public Health Laboratories (FLDOH-BPHL), she performed clinical testing for the Southern Region of Florida and trained personnel for the Hepatitis and HIV sections. In addition, she performed HIV testing for the CDC’s National HIV Behavioral Surveillance.

Peter A. Machonis, Ph.D. (Pennsylvania State University)

Professor of French/Linguistics, Modern Languages and Director of French Program and author of two books on the history and evolution of the French language, Professor Machonis is currently focusing on the diversity of socio-linguistic situations where French is spoken outside of France. During a recent sabbatical, he worked with linguists in Paris building Lexicon-Grammar databases of English idiomatic expressions and phrasal verbs for Natural Language Processing. And in June 2015, he researched bilingual Etruscan-Latin funerary inscriptions as a scholar on the Etruscans NEH Institute in Switzerland and Italy. At FIU, he teaches courses in French language, phonetics, history of the language, and historical linguistics. In the Honors College, Professor Machonis co-teaches their inter-disciplinary course on the Florida Everglades, where students learn about this unique ecosystem on location. He frequently uses innovative experiential learning strategies in his classes and is the editor of the NCHC monograph on City as Text, Shatter the Glassy Stare.

Modesto Maidique, Ph.D. (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) 

Dr. Modesto “Mitch” Maidique served as the President of FIU for 23 years. During his tenure, he founded the Schools of Engineering, Law, and Medicine, and added a Division IA football team. Prior to FIU, he held academic appointments at the MIT, Harvard, and Stanford, and co-authored Energy Future, a New York Times bestseller on energy. He has been the CEO of two high-technology companies including Analog Devices Semiconductor, now Analog Devices, a Fortune 500 company. Dr. Maidique currently serves as the Alvah H. Chapman Jr. Eminent Scholar Chair in Leadership at the FIU College of Business where he founded the Center for Leadership. His research is focused on best practices in leadership. Dr. Maidique holds a PhD from MIT, and completed the Program for Leadership Development program at the Harvard Business School. Dr.Maidique teaches the Upper Division Honors Seminar – Lessons in Life and Leadership.

Pete E.C. Markowitz, Ph. D.

Pete E.C. Markowitz joined FIU in 1995. He carries out nuclear and particle physics experiments at the Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility, in Virginia and the European Center for Nuclear and Particle Physics (CERN) in Geneva, Switzerland. His research interests focus on the source of gravity, extra dimensions, black holes, quark structure of nuclei, dark matter, dark energy and the electro production of quarks and anti-quarks (or matter and anti-matter). He conducted a series of experiments measuring strange quark effects in atomic nuclei are mapping out the behavior of these elusive and unstable particles. The experiments use high energy accelerators to bombard various target materials and then to measure the subsequent particles which are produced. During his time at FIU he has taught Nuclear Physics, Intermediate Classical Mechanics, Modern Physics Laboratory, and the introductory physics sequences, as well as a FIG and the Freshman Experience course. Markowitz teaches the Second Year Seminar, Inhabiting Other Lives.

Janet McDaniel, M.A. (Harvard University)

Janet McDaniel holds a Bachelor of Arts in Music and Theology from Valparaiso University, a Masters of Theological Studies from Harvard Divinity School and a Master of Arts in Near Eastern studies from the University of Michigan.  Previous teaching positions include Broward Community College, University of North Carolina – Charlotte and the Religious Studies Department at FIU.  Professor McDaniel’s interests and research are in gender, religion, and culture using the arts as a primary means of analysis. Her personal interests are in disability awareness and advocacy.  She has a gubernatorial appointment to the Family Care Council of Florida, Area 11 which advocates for individuals with disabilities and their families.  Additionally, she is a Member of Miami Dade County Public School’s Superintendent’s District Advisory Panel for Students with Disabilities and Co-Chairs the Inclusion and Education Sub-Committee.  Past ventures include Parent Advocate with Making School Work, PL, a private law firm dedicated to helping families with special education and writer for the column “Navigating Special Education” for Unique Me Magazine.  Janet McDaniel teaches the Lower Division Seminar, Origins of Ideas and Idea of Origins, at the Honors College.  Professor McDaniel is also the Faculty Sponsor for the Honors College A Cappella group, HEARTbeats.

Anthony McGoron, Ph.D. (Louisiana Tech University)

Anthony McGoron is a Professor of Biomedical Engineering. He was elected as an AIMBE Fellow in 2015. Dr. McGoron was the Interim Department Chair from 2007-2010, elected National President of the Alpha Eta Mu Beta (AEMB) Biomedical Engineering Honor Society in 2010 and won the Outstanding Faculty Advisor to the AEMB in 2010. He founded the AEMB chapter at FIU in 2007 and the Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES) student chapter in 2002 and served as the faculty advisor from 2002 to 2007. He is the department’s Undergraduate Program Director and was responsible for guiding the program through ABET accreditation. He received the American Heart Initial Investigator Award in 2001. He has mentored over 50 undergraduate in research students at FIU. He has over 190 journal articles, book chapters and proceeding papers and has received funding from the NIH, NSF, AHA, Fl-DOH, and DOD as well as numerous companies. The primary focus of his research is drug delivery and molecular imaging, primarily for cancer, and specifically the development of multimodal drugs that simultaneously image and provide therapy.

Randy Pestana, M.S. (Florida International University)

Randy Pestana serves as a Policy Analyst at FIU’s Jack D. Gordon Institute for Public Policy, where he is tasked with coordinating the Academic-Defense partnership with U.S. Southern Command. Mr. Pestana specializes in International Relations with major focuses on U.S. Foreign Policy and Security Studies. The majority of his work has been linked to Governance and Security in Latin America and the Caribbean, with a particular focus on transnational organized crime, terrorism, rule of law, and gangs. Mr. Pestana has numerous publications on U.S. foreign policy, military-to-military engagement, drug trafficking, organized crime, and terrorism and has assisted in countless publications for both academic and defense purposes related to U.S. foreign policy and national security. Mr. Pestana has expansive presentation experience in both academic and defense settings including presentations for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Southern Command, and the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency, and at major conferences throughout the country. Mr. Pestana also serves as an Adjunct Professor for FIU’s Steven J. Green School of International and Public Affairs where he teaches Politics of Central America, and for FIU’s Honors College where he teaches Research Methods and Honors Introduction and Leadership Seminar.

Prior to joining the Gordon Institute, Mr. Pestana served as a Policy Analyst at FIU’s Applied Research Center and as a Research Assistant for FIU’s Kimberly Green Latin American and Caribbean Center where he worked on projects for U.S. Department of Defense and U.S. Department of State. He served as both an intern and coordinator for U.S. Department of State’s Diplomacy Lab project where he focused on Prison Violence in Latin America and the Caribbean, and Judicial Reform in Latin America and the Caribbean. Prior to joining FIU, Mr. Pestana attended the Platoon Leader’s Course in Quantico, Virginia for the United States Marine Corps where he received a favorable evaluation and top five ranking by his peers as a Candidate Platoon Sgt., and served as a recruiting assistant for the USMC in Miami, Florida where he helped train recruits prior to their departure to basic training. Mr. Pestana holds a M.A. in Latin American and Caribbean Studies with a Graduate Certificate in National Security Studies from FIU. He is currently pursuing his Ph.D. in International Relations at FIU.

Mary Lou Pfeiffer, L.L.M. ( St. Thomas University)

Mary Lou is a Senior Instructor in the Honors College and Adjunct Professor at the Religious Studies Department. She holds advanced degrees in Intercultural Human Rights Law, LL.M., Master’s Degree, MA, in Religious Studies with undergraduate degrees in Biology and Religious Studies. She attended the UN Sub-commission on Human Rights for Indigenous Working Peoples in Geneva and owns an art glass studio. She studied architectural glass in Germany with top European glass artists. Her allied health career included the organization of several breast care centers in Miami-Dade County with certification in breast biopsies and mammography. Her main areas of research are human rights law, indigenous sacred sites, earth and biomedical ethics and studies in breast cancer. She has completed a manuscript on the Miami Circle and is involved in two current projects: her uncle’s original “V” mail letters from World War II and a novel about her experience as the wife of a US Navy pilot during the Vietnam era. She is a past member of FIU’s Advisory Board of Arts and Sciences, past President of the Women’s Studies Board of Advisors at FIU and is the recipient of the FIU Alumni Torch Award, the Bronze Torch Society and two Outstanding Service awards from the Religious Studies Department. She is the mother of two sons: one a Miami-Dade County paramedic/firefighter and the other a chef and café owner in Hawaii. She has five grandchildren, two dogs, two cats and an Umbrella cockatoo. Her home is a certified wildlife habitat. In Honors she teaches upper division seminars, fully online, “The Seven Deadly Sins,” “Human Right: Global Perspectives” and “Biomedical Ethics.” Her specialty areas in Religious Studies include American Indigenous Cultures (Native American Studies) and “Healers and Mediums.”

Umer Rahman, M.A. (Florida International University)

Umer Rahman is the Faculty Administrator and a Fellow of the Honors College. He is currently the Coordinator of External Relations and Honors Housing. He holds Bachelors of Arts (Phi Beta Kappa – Summa Cum Laude) in International Relations and Geography and Masters of Arts in Asian Studies from Florida International University. His field of study include Modern South Asian history and historiography; subaltern studies, postcolonial theory and transcultural studies. His primary research emphasis is on South Asia as a region which includes the modern states of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.  Rahman currently teaches Lower Division Honors Seminar – “Ideas of Origin and Origin of Ideas.”

Jorge Riera Diaz, Ph.D. (University of Havana)

Dr. Jorge Riera obtained a B.S. in Physics at the University of Havana in 1988. During 1995-1998, he was selected as “Junior Associate” of the International Centre for Theoretical Physics, Trieste (Italy), where he completed the required credits for a master degree in biophysics. In 1999, he received the Ph.D. degree in Physics from the University of Havana with a dissertation entitled, “Brain Electric Tomography: the Solution of EEG/MEG Forward and Inverse Problems based on a New Approach.” Part of his Ph.D. thesis was completed at the Pitie-Salpetriere Hospital in Paris. Dr. Riera’s first postdoctoral term was in the RIKEN Brain Science Institute (Japan), where he developed mathematical methods to study deep brain sources from magnetoencephalography (MEG) single trials. His second postdoctoral term was in Tohoku University (Japan), where he worked on the elucidation of the physiological foundations of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and near infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) data. In 2004, he was appointed as associate professor in Tohoku University. Dr. Riera’s main scientific interest is to develop method for the integration of neuroimaging multimodalities based on modeling mesoscopic phenomena in the cerebral cortex.

Anthony Rionda, M.P.A. (Florida International University)

Anthony A. Rionda is a Miami native and a graduate of Florida International University’s Honors College, and holds Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science, and a Masters of Public Administration Degree from the Green School of International and Public Affairs. As a student at FIU he served as President of the Student Government Association and a member of the University’s Board of Trustees. He is actively engaged in the community, and serves as a member of the HistoryMiami Flagler Street Society, LeadershipMiami, Frost Science Museum Young Patrons, and the FIU Alumni Association. He previously served as the FIU Alumni Association’s Asst. Director for Chapters and Young Alumni, and currently serves as Chief of Staff at the FIU College of Law, and is teaching two courses in the Honors College.

Catherine Rodriguez, M.P.A. (Columbia University)

Catherine Rodriguez is the Diplomat in Residence (DIR) at Florida International University and Miami Dade College. She covers the Florida educational district that spans from Daytona Beach to Key West as well as Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands. As the DIR, she engages with University and High School students on raising awareness about careers opportunities in the Foreign Service and Civil Service with the U.S. Department of State. Catherine has served multiple tours of duty in South Asia including assignments in Pakistan and India. She also served as the Regional Director of the Office of Foreign Mission where she was responsible for liaison and administrative support for the 3000 foreign diplomats stationed in nine states and two territories in the Southeastern United States. Catherine was a Colin Powell Fellow and a recipient of the prestigious Una Chapman Cox sabbatical where she obtained a Masters in Environmental Science and Policy from Columbia University.

Catherine attended Florida International University where she earned her Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration, a Masters degree in Business Administration and a Masters in Accounting. She is a certified public accountant who began her professional career with the United States Agency of International Development where she served as an auditor for the Inspector General’s Office. In that capacity, she served tours of duty in Washington DC, Costa Rica and El Salvador.

Jose Rodriguez, Ph.D. (ADB, University of Miami)

Jose Rodriguez received his Bachelor of Science in Communication (double major psychology and communication theory) and his Master of Science in Education (with an emphasis in higher education/enrollment management) from the University of Miami. Prof Rodriguez served as the assistant dean of the Honors College from September 2008 to July 2016.  He has over 15 years of experience in higher education administration and instruction.  As of July 2016, he will be teaching full-time for the Honors College, while maintaining some additional administrative duties.  Prof Rodriguez’s doctorate is in industrial-organizational psychology; however, his academic and research interests intersect a number of different disciplines (sociology, anthropology, political science, history, literature, philosophy, art).  In addition to teaching courses for the Honors College, Prof Rodriguez has taught intercultural communication, public speaking, business communication, and study abroad courses for the Department of Communication Arts.  His research agenda is varied: stress and health in the workplace, indicators of success among college students, identity and adjustment of immigrant population, among other interests.

Nanett Rojas, M.S. (Florida International University)

Nanett Rojas is an Affiliate Instructor and Manager of Admissions Operations in the Office of Graduate and International and Recruitment Services, Nanett Rojas received her Bachelor of Arts in English and her Master of Science in Higher Education Administration from FIU and holds certificates in Women’s and Museum Studies. Nanett has worked at the university since 1993 and has taught various courses including: Freshman Composition, Literary Analysis, and Approaches to Literature. She teaches the Introduction to Honors and Leadership seminar. For the past few years, she has been actively serving on the university’s Student Conduct and Conflict committee as well as on the LGBTQA Campus and Events subcommittee. In addition, she is part of the local arrangements committee for the Southern Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers (SACRAO) 2017 annual conference to be held in St. Pete Beach, FL. Currently she is pursuing the Ed. D. in Higher Education.

Barbra Roller, Ph.D. (University of Pennsylvania)

Dr. Barbra Roller is the Assistant Dean for Student Affairs of the FIU Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine. Dr. Roller grew up in Manhattan, attended the Bronx High School of Science and graduated from Barnard College, Columbia University, with a bachelor’s degree in Biology. She subsequently earned her Ph. D. in Biology from the University of Pennsylvania, where her research in cell physiology concentrated on membrane transport mechanisms and changes in virally infected cells. She continued her research and teaching while completing post-doctoral fellowships in the Department of Microbiology at the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine as well as in the Department of Human Genetics at Yale University School of Medicine. Dr. Roller has been at FIU since 1994, as a faculty member in the Department of Biological Sciences, as the Director of the Pre-Health Professions Advising Center in the College of Arts and Sciences and as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Cellular Biology and Pharmacology of the Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine. She has won several FIU Faculty Senate awards for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching and Excellence in Undergraduate Advising, and is an active member of many University and College committees, as well as in the Group on Student Affairs of the AAMC.

Camilo Rosales, M.Arch. II. (Harvard University)

Camilo Rosales is an associate professor of Architecture at Florida International University. Mr. Rosales received a Master of Architecture II in Building Design from Harvard University, and a Master and a Bachelor of Architecture with Honors from the University of Texas at Austin where he was a Senior College Scholar. Mr. Rosales is a registered architect in the states of New York and Florida. As a practicing professional he has received design and education awards from the American Institute of Architects and his personal work has been published in professional journals and periodicals worldwide. In 2000, he was elected Fellow of the International Institute for Advanced Studies (IIAS Germany) for work related to sustainable development. He also received an Outstanding Scholarly Contribution Award from the same institution. In 2011, Mr. Rosales was invited to participate at the Oxford Round Table on Climate Change. Mr. Rosales has published over 30 scholarly and professional papers many of which are related to environmental issues. He previously worked in New York for I.M. Pei and Partners. He participated in the winning entry for the Redevelopment of Madison Square Garden with SOM and Frank O. Gehry and Associates. He also worked with HOK and Arquitectonica. Mr. Rosales was Director of the Architecture Program at FIU and he was also coordinator of the Graduate Program of Architecture in 2002. He has taught a variety of courses in design, theory, history, technology and the environment. Prof. Rosales participated in the design development of the 2011 FIU Solar Decathlon House which was exhibited in Washington DC. He has participated in ten research grants and contracts related to developments in architecture and environmental issues that total over $1,200,000.00. Mr. Rosales is currently implementing a project to reduce energy in 400 municipal buildings in Chile, Brazil and Trinidad and Tobago.

Hortensia E. Sampedro, M.B.A. (New York University)

Hortensia E. Sampedro is the Marketing Partner for GH Growth Advisors, a consulting partnership specializing in practical growth strategies for middle market companies with complex problems. She combines her experience in international banking, non-profits, and marketing and communications to assist her clients.Hortensia worked with the Chase Manhattan Bank, NY, then the third largest banking institution in the world. She rose through the ranks from one of the first four women in the prestigious CT Program in 1972 to Division executive. Hortensia was involved in key developments in the ‘70s and ‘80s including OPEC and CVP – Venezuela, global country risk assessment, sovereign and private sector debt renegotiations (including Mexico and Venezuela), the Brady Plan, internal email development, client systems platforms for multinational corporations and other technological applications. She has served over 32 years as Member of the Board, Treasurer and then as President of the CINTAS Foundation, a unique non-profit organization established in 1963, known as the “quiet Nobel Prize” for Cuban Arts and the Humanities, the only organization of its kind. Most recently, Hortensia was the Chief Marketing and Communications Officer for Morrison, Brown, Argiz & Farra, LLC (MBAF), a leading independent accounting and advisory firm, ranked Top 40 in the US, where she was involved in development of creative internet communications and website initiatives. Hortensia attended the Harvard Business School’s First Program in Government, Economics and International Business in 1980. She uses HBS cases and methodology in her class at the Honors College on Strategy, Marketing and Tactics – Growing Smartly. Her business experience is rich in the practical applications of these three disciplines and their inter-relationships in achieving growth.Hortensia earned an MBA in Finance from New York University ’83 and a BBA in Economics and Latin American Studies from the University of Miami ’73.Hortensia is president of the CINTAS Foundation (NY), past president of US Sailing Foundation (RI), and has served on the boards of Carrollton School of the Sacred Heart, Center for Inter-American Relations (NY), Lowe Art Gallery, Florida Philharmonic Orchestra, USCG Auxiliary, Flotilla 67, and the Key Biscayne Yacht Club (Commodore, 58th Watch).

Ricky Sant, M.B.A. (Florida International University)

Ricky is an IT Manager for Admissions Systems & Data Support, a department of Enrollment Management & Services. In this role, he works with all IT related matters in the admissions process. Ricky has a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Business from FIU. Ricky has been teaching First Year Experience (SLS 1501) for 7 years and has been an Affiliate Instructor with the Honors College since 2014 teaching Intro to Honors. Before returning to FIU for his M.B.A., he was a computer programmer for 2 1/2 years.

Gretchen Scharnagl, M.F.A. (Florida International University)

Gretchen Scharnagl is a senior instructor in the Honors College and The College of Communication, Architecture and the Arts.  Scharnagl is interested in the importance of creativity in all disciplines.  Her work includes environmental art and action, social commentary, ephemeral art and specimen logic.  She blurs the definition of author, media and what can be art through media that ranges from the common pencil, to found object, to dead animals, and the edible.  Scharnagl teaches the upper level seminars, Animals that are not Animal/Humans that are not Human and FEAST.

Rebekah Schulze, Ed.D., (Boston University)

Rebekah came to FIU in January of 2014 after having served as the Assistant Dean for Student Academic Support Services at Becker College in Worcester, MA. Prior to that, she worked at Worcester Polytechnic Institute in the Office of Academic Advising, the Student Development and Counseling Center, and as an adjunct faculty member. She has served in a variety of roles in Student Affairs including the Dean of Students Office, Residence Life, Judicial Affairs and Orientation. She holds a doctorate from Boston University in Educational Leadership and Development, an MA in Administration, Leadership and Technology from New York University, and a BA in Spanish and Government from Colby College.

Patsy Self, Ph.D. (University of Virginia)

Dr. Patsy Allene Self is a member of the faculty in the Department of Teaching and Learning in the College of Education. She earned her Ph.D. from the University of Virginia in Charlottesville and later earned three certificates with one in Reading and Learning from the Oxford Round Table in Oxford, England and the other in ESL from Florida International University. Dr. Self is now certified in teaching problem solving (Habits of Mind) which originated from research conducted at Harvard University. Dr. Self’s research mainly focuses on advanced college students’ talent in critical thinking, becoming a strong learner and embracing diversity. This is evident in her peer review publications: Re-framing Subject – Area Reading for Secondary Students Using Habits of Mind (2012); Promoting Academics in a First Year Course through Excellence in Writing (2009); Promoting Academics in a First year Course through Excellence in Critical Reading (2008); and Guidelines and Sample Lesson Plans to Enhance Culturally Responsive Teaching (2007). Currently, she is developing a college level reading and learning textbook for Pearson Prentice Hall. Aside from the requirements for her Honors College IDH 1931 course, Dr. Self gives a three session lecture/activity on How to Give a Presentation.

John Tsalikis, Ph.D. (University of Mississippi)

John Tsalikis is the BMI professor of Marketing at Florida International University. He received a Ph.D. from the University of Mississippi in 1988. He specializes in Marketing Research and has developed the e-course in both Marketing Research and Marketing Management. He taught in the executive education programs for Motorola, US Army, and Cordis (a Johnson & Johnson company), and for the international programs in Bolivia, Mexico, Jamaica, Dominican Republic, and England. Dr. Tsalikis received the TIP award for excellence in teaching. Based on journal citations, John rates number two in the world in the field of business ethics. He also developed the Business Ethics Index (BEI) which measures consumer ethical sentiments in over 18 countries encompassing almost 4 billion people. He has thirty one refereed journal publications and was the first to use conjoint analysis in ethical research. He has published the book “Marketing Research: An Applied Approach.” Dr. Tsalikis served in the editorial board of theJournal of Business Ethics and is currently developing a special issue for the same journal. John received an award for Outstanding Senior Faculty Researcher and is an external expert in the Hellenic Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education. John Tsalikis worked in the sales department for VW and John Deere and developed his own outdoor advertising business. He also performed several market research projects for Office Depot, SAMY cosmetics, the Bank of Mississippi, The Miami Youth Fair, and the Miami Film Festival. Dr. Tsalikis was a member of the Greek national basketball team.

Allen Varela, M.S. (Florida International University)

Allen Varela is the Coordinator of Academic Support Services of the Honors College. He received his Master of Science in Higher Education Administration, Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, and Minor in Criminal Justice from Florida International University. Allen Varela has five years’ experience as a substitute teacher with the School Board of Broward County and City of Pembroke Pines. He came to FIU Honors College in 2013. In 2014, he directed the Fourth Annual Florida Undergraduate Research Conference, which had over 1000 in attendance including recruiters from across the nation. In 2015, he directed the Florida Collegiate Honors Council Conference at Miami Airport Marriott Hotel as well as present at the 2015 Honors Education at Research Universities Conference on Organizing a Multi-Disciplinary Research Conference. He is the director of the FIU Undergraduate Research Conference. He is the lead instructor for Intro to Honors, IDH 1931, as well as manager of the Advanced Research and Creativity in Honors Program. Represents the Honors College in research events and the FIU McNair Committee.

Phong “Tony” Vu, M.B.A.,  (University of Florida)

Phong “Tony” Vu joined FIU in 2008 with 20 years of finance, banking and treasury experience. As the University Treasurer, Mr. Vu is responsible for the management of the university’s $300 million operating funds investment portfolio and $200 million in outstanding debt. Mr. Vu received his BSBA in Finance and MBA in Finance/Competitive Strategy from the University of Florida. In 2010, Mr. Vu was recognized by Brickell Magazine in its “2010 Top 20 Professionals Under 40” cover story. Most recently, he completed The High Potential Leader Program with FIU’s Center for Leadership and also serves as a lecturer for the College of Business and at the Honors College of the university.

Pioneer Winter, M.P.H. (Florida International University)

Pioneer Winter is a Miami-native choreographer, director, and filmmaker. He is also co-director of RIFT Blackbox and the curator of transmedia performances for FilmGate Interactive Media Conference. Winter directs Project LEAP (Living Equality through Arts and Performance), a free program for LGBTQ teens that focuses on using the arts for activism and social change. As a queer artist, he uses social and cultural narratives to anchor his work. A Horatio Alger Scholar, he is an alumnus of the Florida International University Honors College, and holds a Masters in Public Health, focusing on epidemiology, biostatistics, and health promotion/disease prevention. Pioneer Winter is currently pursuing a Master of Fine Arts in Choreography from Jacksonville University/White Oak as the first artist to be named a Dennis R. Washington Achievement Scholar. Winter is on the vision committee for the building of the Pembroke Pines Performing Arts and Civic Center (NEA funded), as well as serving as a grants panelist for Miami-Dade Cultural Affairs Community Grants. He was recently awarded the 2014-2015 Miami Choreographic Fellowship. Pioneer Winter has presented work throughout the United States, Caribbean, and Europe. Continued professional development has included intensive choreographic and transmedia labs with The FIELD, MDC Live Arts, Creative Capital, and the Sundance Institute’s New Frontier program. He has been in residency at Broward College, Cannonball Miami/LegalArt, Miami Dade College, Miami Theater Center’s SandBox, and Nova Southeastern University. Support for his new site-specific project Grass Stains has included the John and James L. Knight Foundation / Knight Arts Challenge and Florida Department of State Division of Cultural Affairs. Other Pioneer Winter projects have received support from The Miami Foundation, Miami-Dade Cultural Affairs, Creative Capital Professional Development Program, City of Miami Beach Arts Council, Puffin Foundation, Pérez Art Museum Miami (formerly Miami Art Museum), Miami Theater Center, Miami Light Project, and Tigertail Productions.

Michael Yawney, M.F.A. (Columbia University)

Michael Yawney is a Miami-Based playwright/director. He received an MFA from Columbia University and a BFA from the Experimental Theatre Wing of New York University. As a director, locally he has worked with Miami Light Project, Orchestra Miami, and Nova University. Nationally his work has been seen at L.A.’s Disney Concert Hall, Austin’s Vortex Rep, the Pittsburgh Performance Art Festival, and many New York venues including HERE and The Brick. His play 1,000 Homosexuals debuted in 2008 at the Arsht Center for the Performing Arts. He was a resident playwright in Miami-Dade County’s Playwrights Development Program and New York Stage and Film/Vassar Powerhouse. Mr. Yawney’s writing has appeared in Theatre Week, Propaganda, OFF as well as the book, Michael Chekhov: Critical Issues, Reflections, Dreams.