Irene Abad, M.S. (Nova Southeastern University)
University Graduate School (UGS) at FIU. In this role, she compiles the Graduate Faculty and Dissertation Advisor Status application processes, provides administrative support for the Doctoral Student Annual Evaluation and Mentoring Plan, and serves as a liaison with student service providers for the Professional Development Program. Irene obtained a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from FIU and a Master of Science in Mental Health Counseling from Nova Southeastern University (NSU). Aside from teaching The Introduction to Honors and Leadership Seminar, she has been teaching the First Year Experience course for FIU’s incoming freshman students. Prior to coming to FIU, Irene worked for 12 years in the School of Continuing Education and Professional Development at Miami Dade College (MDC). In 2014, she returned to MDC as an Adjunct Faculty for the Social Sciences Department and has been teaching the First Year Experience Seminar, The Individual in Society, and Introduction to Psychology.
Samah T. Abukhodeir, J.D. (Florida International University)
Ms. Abukhodeir obtained a Bachelor of Science Degree in Psychology with a Minor in Arabic and Child Development from Florida State University. Ms. Abukhodeir obtained her Juris Doctor from Florida International University College of Law. While in law school, Ms. Abukhodeir was a judicial intern for the Honorable Marisa Tinkler Mendez, Circuit Court Judge in the Criminal Division of the Eleventh Judicial Circuit, and the Honorable Maria M. Korvick, Circuit Court Judge in the Probate Division of the Eleventh Judicial Circuit. After law school, Ms. Abukhodeir returned to the 11th Judicial Circuit Court of Florida as a staff attorney/case manager for the Honorable Maria M. Korvick, the Administrative Probate Judge. Ms. Abukhodeir practices in the areas of Estates, Trusts, Guardianships, Estate Planning, Elder Law, and Family Law. Ms. Abukhodeir is fluent in English and Arabic.
Matthew Acevedo, Ph.D. (Florida International University)
Matt Acevedo is the Director of Learning Innovation and Faculty Engagement at the University of Miami, where he leads a team of instructional designers who partner with faculty to enhance their teaching through meaningful, student-centered pedagogies and technologies across instructional modalities. Matt is also a Faculty Fellow in the Honors College at FIU, where he teaches two seminar courses: Critical Issues in Education and Urban Inequality and HBO’s The Wire.
Matt holds a Ph.D. in Higher Education from Florida International University, where his dissertation research explored how faculty members navigate and maneuver quality assurance audits for distance learning courses. Matt also holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Film, a Master of Arts in Instructional Design and Technology, and a Graduate Certificate in Instructional Design for Simulations, all from the University of Central Florida.
Prior to working at the University of Miami, Matt has also had roles as an instructional design manager, instructional designer, educational technology consultant, and classroom teacher. Matt’s professional interests and research areas include educational development, instructional design and technology, qualitative research and scholarship of teaching and learning, neoliberalism in higher education, and critical pedagogy.
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 Digital Fairytale, merging social movements, disruptive technologies, and business trends with a dash of neuropsychology. He is also the instructor for the hybrid course Power of Play, in which students examine the importance of play throughout their lifetimes 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, Religion and Violence, Religion in America, and Philosophy of Religion. Since 2008 I have taught on the most important philosophical thinkers from Kant to Heidegger, Foucault, and Derrida. In 2005 I began teaching “Knowledge and Human Conduct & Values” in the Honors College . In 2014 I was promoted to Senior Instructor and was also asked to direct the Muslim World Studies Initiative at FIU. Formerly an academic administrator in Boston, Massachusetts, since coming to FIU I have dedicated myself to my passions, teaching, research and writing. 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; and 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, where my parents were officers in the Salvation Army, and came to the States in 1966. 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 is an attorney admitted to practice in Florida. She earned a Bachelor of Business Administration and Juris Doctor from the University of Miami and has years of combined business, legal and higher education experience. She joined FIU in 2012 and teaches at the College of Business and Honors College. Her expertise is in business law and professional development and her research interests include employment law, international education, business ethics and corporate social responsibility. She is a member of the Academy of Legal Studies in Business, NAFSA Association of International Educators and the Global Leadership League.
Regina C. Bailey, M.F.A., (Pratt Institute)
Regina Bailey is a Senior Fellow in the Honors College, where she has taught since 1991. As Senior Project Manager at FIU ARTS, she works collaboratively across the university, and specifically with the FIU Arts Task Force, to expand opportunities for student success, increase funded research and creative opportunities, and establish ways to elevate the arts. Her interests include how involvement in the arts on campus campuses can improve student creativity, innovation and learning. She teaches the First Year Seminar. She holds a B.A. in Fine Arts from Barry University and an M.F.A. 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, His 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 many 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 inaugural poet Richard Blanco produced a collaborative project, “Place of Mind.” He has taught courses at all levels in the Honors College, including the famous Aesthetics & Values seminar that results in the annual A&V Art Exhibition, and introduced the “Reacting to the Past” pedagogy to the first-year course. He also directs the France, Spain, 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 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.
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 this role, Jason is responsible for the recruitment, training and retention of student and physician partners to serve the South Florida community, and oversees key growth initiatives for the organization in the sustainability, dducation 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.”
Jason Calloway, M.M. (The University of Southern California)
Cellist Jason Calloway has performed to acclaim throughout North America, the Caribbean, Europe, and the Middle East as soloist and chamber musician. He has appeared at festivals including Lucerne, Spoleto USA, Darmstadt, Klangspuren (Austria), Acanthes (France), Perpignan, Valencia, Citta’ della Pieve (Italy), Jerash (Jordan), Casals (Puerto Rico), Blossom, Brevard, Great Lakes, Kingston, Rockport, Sedona, Sarasota, Music Academy of the West, the New York String Seminar, and Encore. Currently cellist of the Amernet String Quartet, Artists-in-Residence at Florida International University in Miami, Mr. Calloway was previously a member of the Naumburg award-winning Biava Quartet, formerly in residence at the Juilliard School.
He has collaborated in chamber music with members of the Cleveland, Curtis, Juilliard, and Miami quartets and with principal players of most of the world’s leading orchestras, as well as with artists including Shmuel Ashkenasi, Roberto Diaz, Gary Hoffman, Ida Kavafian, Kim Kashkashian, Ricardo Morales, and the Penderecki and Tokyo quartets. Mr. Calloway gave his Carnegie Hall recital debut under the auspices of Artists International and has also been heard in New York at Alice Tully Hall, Steinway Hall, the Museum of Modern Art, the Kosciuszko Foundation, the 92nd Street Y, and the Polish Consulate; in Los Angeles at Disney Hall, the Bing Theatre, the Skirball Center and Pepperdine University; in Washington, D.C. at the Kennedy Center and at Strathmore; in Philadelphia at the Academy of Music, the Ethical Society, and the Kimmel Center; and live on NPR, WFMT (Chicago), KMZT (Los Angeles), WQXR (NYC), WFLN (Philadelphia), and on RAI television (Italy).
A devoted advocate of new music, Mr. Calloway has performed with leading ensembles around the world as well as alongside members of Ensemble Modern and the Arditti and JACK quartets, and with the New Juilliard Ensemble both in New York and abroad, in addition to frequent appearances in Philadelphia with Bowerbird, Soundfield, and Network for New Music. Among the hundreds of premieres he has presented are solo and ensemble works of Berio, Knussen, Lachenmann, and Pintscher, and he has collaborated intensively with some of today’s most important composers including Birtwistle, Carter, Davidovsky, Dusapin, Henze, Hosokawa, Husa, Franke, Rihm, and Yannay. As a dedicated supporter of young composers, he has for several seasons presented a series of concerts of solo cello works newly composed for him, most recently at Harvard and Temple universities, and at Spoleto USA gave the public premiere of Yanov-Yanovsky’s Hearing Solutions for cello and ensemble, in addition to recent appearances at Bowdoin College, the College of Charleston, Princeton University, and the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee.
Mr. Calloway prizes his work with Pierre Boulez and the Ensemble InterContemporain, both at the Lucerne Festival and at the Zug (Switzerland) Kunsthaus in Schoenberg’s Pierrot Lunaire and Serenade as part of a major Kandinsky/Gerstl exhibit, in addition to his collaborations with the violinist Gilles Apap and with tap dancer Savion Glover. He is also artistic director of Shir Ami (www.shiramimusic.com), an ensemble dedicated to the preservation and performance of Jewish art music suppressed by the Nazis and Soviets, and with which he appears frequently across the US and in the ensemble’s varied performances in Austria and Hungary; and In Flux, an ensemble committed to performing vocal chamber music by the leading composers of today and the recent past. A native of Philadelphia, Jason Calloway is a graduate of the Juilliard School and the University of Southern California. His teachers have included Ronald Leonard, Orlando Cole, Rohan de Saram, Lynn Harrell, Fred Sherry, Robert Cafaro, Joel Sachs, Felix Galimir, Luis Biava, and Seymour Lipkin. Mr. Calloway is grateful for the assistance of the Maestro Foundation.
Amilcar A. Castellano-Sanchez, M.D. (Universidad de Zulia, Venezuela)
Amilcar Castellano-Sanchez has been Associate Professor in the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine in the Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine (HWCOM) since its inception. . Dr. Castellano-Sanchez trained in Anatomic & Clinical Pathology at Mount Sinai Medical Center, Miami Beach and served 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.
Michael C. Christie,Ph. D . (Rutgers University)
Dr. Christie is a Senior lecturer in Biomedical Engineering at Florida International University. He previously provided technical consultation in medical device product development and served as the principal scientist for Millennium Scientific Inc . He has worked in medical device product development and design for over a decade at various stages of development from concept to market launch in the field of vascular and stent grafts for Millennium Scientific Inc and cardiovascular products for Johnson and Johnson Inc., During his technical and managerial career he has acted as a technical liaison to international companies, doctors, and management teams. Dr. Christie has superb training and vast experience in Materials Science and Engineering and is an expert in biomaterials. Dr. Christie holds a Ph.D. in Materials Science from Rutgers University as well as a Masters in Mechanics & Materials Science, and B.S. in Mechanical Engineering.
Dr. Christie currently teaches several courses in Biomedical Engineering. He is a Fellow of the Honors College at Florida International University, and co-teaches the first year seminar on epistemology. He is engaged in undergraduate research, and mentors multiple senior design projects every year.He has presented, published his research academic in the areas of orthopedics biomechanics, and cardiovascular mechanics. He serves as a reviewer for the principal journal of the Biomedical Engineering Society, and as book reviewer for multiple scholarly publications. He is a member of the Society for Biomaterials and participates in local organizations that promote the Biomedical Engineering field.Dr. Christie is fully engaged with his department, the university and the community. His record of service span many years and is well documented.
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.
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. Dineh art’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.
Alina Dominguez, M.I.B. (Florida International University)
Alina Dominguez is a Sr. Academic Advisor and Project Lead at Florida International University’s College of Arts, Sciences & Education. In her five years as an Academic Advisor, Alina has managed advising caseloads of over 600 students, coordinates the new student newsletter for CASE majors, participates in presentations during orientation sessions, assisted in the redesign and update of the CASE advising site and takes part in committees including: the Transition Committee within CASE, UE’s PDAC, and the 2017 Orientation Presentation redesign project. Alina is also thrilled to be a member of the 2017-2018 cohort in the inaugural Presidential Leadership Program. Ms. Dominguez received both her Bachelor of Science in Biological Sciences and her Masters of International Business at Florida International University. Aside from being a Sr. Academic Advisor and Project Lead, Alina has had combined experience of over ten years at the University, working multiple departments in various capacities.
Cynthia Dottin, M. A. (University of South Florida)
Cynthia E. Dottin is the Coordinator of Library Education Programs. Born and reared in Barbados, West Indies, Cynthia began her professional career in Barbados as Biology Mistress at her Alma Mata, Alexandra School. Later, an interest in broadcasting and a love of writing lead her to join the programming staff of Rediffusion London which, at the time, was primarily a rebroadcast service for BBC Radio and an arm of Granada Television. She later came to librarianship from the field of History where her emphasis of study was the Middle Ages through 1603. She received her Master of Arts in Library Science from the University of South Florida. Currently, as Coordinator of Library Education Programs, and as a Reference and Instruction librarian, her major areas of interest and involvement are Bibliographic Instruction, Information Literacy and critical inquiry. Her greatest concern is students’ ability to transfer what they learn in one setting to that of others; and more specifically, their ability to understand that the research process has significance for the transfer of learning. She has utilized Problem-Based Learning as a vehicle to improve this ability with some small success, and continues to seek ways of enhancing this vehicle for greater gains. Cynthia is also Liaison to FIU’s Department of History and the Honors College, and has taught the First Year Experience, Introduction to the Honor College and Honors Leadership courses.
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.
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.
Brenezza Garcia, Ed.D. (Florida International University)
Dr. Brenezza “Breny” DaParre Garcia is the Associate Vice President of Institutional Relations for Florida International University (FIU). In this role, she leads select institutional and presidential initiatives pertaining to key university donors and prospects, community partners, academic organizations, and student initiatives. This includes the management and coordination of the president’s involvement with external organizations such as the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce, the National Academies, Urban Serving Universities, National Action Council of Minorities in Engineering, Florida Board of Governors, among others. She also represents the Office of the President on student-centered matters such as to Homecoming, Freshman Convocation, Greek life, as well as projects like Founders Park, FIUinDC, and Student Health Services. Lastly, she manages all constituent relations on behalf of the president, serves as the Executive Director for the president’s Executive Committee, and is also the Program Director for FIU’s Presidential Leadership Program.
Prior to this role, Dr. Garcia served as the Deputy Chief of Staff for the Office of the President for five years. Her responsibilities included overseeing the day-to-day operations of the office, strategic development of President Mark B. Rosenberg’s annual schedule, coordination of all special events for the president, and management of all constituent issues. She also served as the Human Resources Liaison for her division, assisted Dr. Rosenberg manage all action items for his boards (internal and external), and served as one of the university’s protocol officers. In her role, she served on the Presidential Transition Committee in 2009 and on the Football Bowl Committee as the travel coordinator for FIU Football’s bowl appearances in 2010 and 2011. From 2010-2013, Dr. Garcia also served as Chair to the University-Wide Homecoming Task Force. Her leadership culminated with the task force winning FIU’s 2013 Presidential Excellence Award.
Working in the Office of the President since 2004, Dr. Garcia also served under FIU’s fourth President, Dr. Modesto A. Maidique. Her past positions under his term included Executive Assistant to the President, Office Manager, Executive Area Budget Manager, and Program Assistant. Her experience within university administration has provided Dr. Garcia a unique perspective to the complexities and challenges higher education faces.
Believing that “a woman who serves is a woman who leads,” Dr. Garcia is highly involved within the community. She holds active memberships with NASPA, Omicron Delta Kappa, Phi Kappa Phi, Delta Epsilon Iota, Golden Key, Order of the Torch and Order of Omega. At FIU, she is currently a NASPA Undergraduate Fellows Program (NUFP) mentor and recently completed a 2-year term as member of the Young Alumni Council and as an advisor to Order of the Torch. An active alumna member of her sorority, Phi Sigma Sigma, Dr. Garcia is currently serving a second-term as a Director on their international governing board.
Her greatest honor, though, comes from her service on the Board of Directors for Janelle’s Wishing Well Foundation – an organization formed in memory of a dear friend, Janelle Bertot, who (along with another friend, Tony Perez) lost her life due to carbon monoxide poisoning. Each year the Board works closely with FIU and Phi Sigma Sigma to host awareness and fundraising events in the community.
An Honors College alumna, Dr. Garcia earned a B.A. in Political Science from FIU in 2005. She also earned an M.S. in Higher Education with a specialty in leadership management in 2007, and an Ed.D. in Higher Education with a research concentration in crisis leadership in 2015. She is resides in Miami Lakes, FL with her husband, Charlie.
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.
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.
Phillip Lloyd Hamilton, M.S. (Florida International University)
A native South Floridian, Phillip has committed his energies to empowering students to realize their potential through higher education. He takes great pride in building networks which allow organizations to leverage their human capital to reinforce their impact on the communities they serve. As Director of Outreach & Program Development in FIU’s Office of Student Access & Success, Phillip fosters relationships with local organizations who support the college matriculation of students from under-represented and special populations. Additionally, he develops new and existing programs to support the retention of first time in college students and academic enrichment for pre-collegiate students. This includes his service on the organizing committee of Graduate Miami-Dade! – a local college access network focused on increasing educational credential attainment among Miami-Dade County residents. Prior to this role, Phillip served in administrative capacities throughout FIU, including Human Resources, Students Affairs, and the Office of the President.
Phillip is an engaged member of the collegiate fraternity and sorority community, having served in multiple volunteer roles at the national, regional, and local levels. He is a member of NASPA Student Affairs Professionals in Higher Education, the Association of Fraternity/Sorority Advisors, and the Black Professionals Network. His passions are also rooted in various philanthropic efforts, many of which include advocacy for the abilities of Americans with various intellectual, developmental, and physical disabilities. Phillip is a former officer of the City of Doral’s Special Needs Advisory Board and currently serves on the Board of Directors for Charlotte-based non-profit The Ability Experience, the national philanthropy of Pi Kappa Phi Fraternity.
A devoted Panther, Phillip earned his Bachelor of Public Administration and Master of Science in Higher Education Administration degrees from FIU. He is a member and current advisor to Order of the Torch, FIU’s leadership honorary, and was also a founding member of the FIU Young Alumni Council, on which he served for four years. Committed to the development of the Broward, Miami-Dade, greater Florida communities that cultivated him, Phillip is an engaged member of Leadership Florida (Connect Institute Class VII) and currently serves as the organization’s statewide recruitment co-chair.
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.
Hazel Hooker, M.P.H. (Florida International University)
Hazel Hooker is the Program Director of First Year Programs at Florida International University. In her 13-year career in higher education, she has helped students find their passion as an academic advising professional and helped them engage and transition to college via the many programs offered through her office. In 2015, she received the Significant Impact on Advising Community Award and First Year Programs was recently recognized with the Advising Most Valuable Partner Award.
She is an Honors College alumna who earned a Bachelor of Science in Biology, Bachelor of Arts in Chemistry, and Master of Public Health from Florida International University and is currently pursuing a PhD in Higher Education. Her research interests include exploratory (undecided) students, academic advising, and first year transition. She has presented at national conferences on these topics.
Melissa Howard, Ph.D., MPH, MCHES
Dr. Melissa Howard is a Master Certified Health Education Specialist (MCHES) with a background in community health education. She joined FIU’s Robert Stempel College of Public Health and Social Work in 2009 and teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in health behavior theory, community-based intervention design, health communication and social research methods. Her research and practice interests center on substance abuse prevention for adolescents and young adults. Dr. Howard serves as a co-investigator on a Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) funded project that aims to reduce health risks among young adults in Miami-Dade County, with a specific focus on FIU students. She also assists Dr. Consuelo Beck-Sagué in coordinating a Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) funded project in 2016, which established the MPH concentration in Maternal and Child Health at FIU. As co-chair of the FIU Alcohol and Other Drug (AOD) Task Force, Dr. Howard plays an active role in shaping FIU policy and programs to ensure a healthy environment with respect to health behaviors, including substance use. In her free time, Dr. Howard enjoys volunteering as a Special Olympics Health Communities clinical director, managing health education for populations with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Masako Kubota, M.A.
Masako Kubota (M.A., Asian Studies) is an adjunct instructor of Asian Studies and Modern Languages, teaching Japanese Culture and language. A former advertising executive and founder of non-profit organizations. Masako is highly regarded for her student-centered teaching and pedagogy. Beyond the classroom, she is committed to participating in campus activities that enrich the university experience, such as Japan Immersion Day and the Florida Statewide Japanese Speech and Skit Contest at FIU. In November 2017, she invited seven Ainu artists from Akan Kotan and performed a special event at FIU, exchanging programs between Ainu and Seminole people.
April Lewis. M.S.Ed. (University of Miami)
April Lewis is Program Director in the Department of Academic and Career Success. She has lived in Miami her entire life and earned both her undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Miami: A Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and a Master’s degree in Education. Upon graduation, April worked at UM in the Office of Student Employment and the School of Education. She took a brief break from Higher Education and taught first grade for two years at Kelsey Pharr Elementary. April enjoyed working with children but missed the college atmosphere and the college students. She began advising at FIU in 2007 and has worked with a diverse population of students from a variety of disciplines. She has a passion for helping students find a major that aligns with their interests, skills and values that will ultimately lead them to future academic and career success.
Joseph Lichter, Ph.D. (Emory University)
Dr. Joseph Lichter is a senior instructor in the Chemistry & Biochemistry department and the Director of the Office of Pre-Health Advising. He is a native Floridian who earned degrees from Florida State University (B.S. Biochemistry) and Emory University (Ph.D. Chemistry) before joining FIU. Joseph was one of the co-PIs on a $1 million grant from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) which helped to develop what is now the FIU STEM Transformation Institute. He has published and reviews for the Journal of Chemical Education and served on several university-wide science education groups including the APLU’s Science and Mathematics Teacher Imperative, the discipline based education research group (DBER), and the gateway to completion initiative for chemistry. Since the Fall of 2011, Joseph has taught in the Honors College regularly including a popular course entitled “the Tao of Sports” where he uses sports as springboard for multidisciplinary studies ranging from STEM focused (physics, chemistry, biology, engineering) to more social, political and even religious elements. On the weekends, he changes roles from Dr. Lichter to USAT certified Coach Joey where he coaches the FIU triathlon club. As an ultra-triathlete himself he is one of only ~200 athletes in the world to have ever complete a deca-iron distance triathlon (24 mile swim/1,120 mile bike/262 mile run). He brings his passion for being able to achieve the impossible with him to the office of pre-health and the honors college to help the students learn and achieve the careers that best fit them.
Anthoni Llau, Ph.D. (Florida International University)
Dr. Anthoni Llau is an Adjunct Instructor at the Honors College, and a Research Scientist with FIU’s Global Health Consortium (GHC). Dr. Llau analyzes data and prepares presentations and manuscripts for projects related to the GHC. He also functions as an editorial board member for the GHC’s bi-monthly newsletter. At FIU he earned a Bachelor of Science in Nutrition, Masters of Public Health, and PhD in Public Health specializing in Epidemiology and Biostatistics and is a Worlds Ahead Graduate. His research interests include infectious diseases, motor vehicle crashes, and disease surveillance. As a graduate student at the Robert Stempel College of Public Health and Social Work, his research focused on the impact of red light cameras on motor vehicle crashes and related injuries. He has published several journal articles and presented in national conferences. Dr. Llau previously served as an epidemiologist at the Florida Department of Health where he conducted epidemiologic investigations of reportable diseases/conditions and outbreaks occurring in Miami-Dade County, collected and analyzed injury data to facilitate the design and evaluation of injury prevention interventions, and performed syndromic surveillance activities to detect persons affected with possible reportable diseases and/or conditions in Miami-Dade County. He was also an integral part of the 2009 influenza H1N1 and 2016 Zika virus disease responses.
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.
Niurca Márquez, M.F.A. (Jacksonville University)
Niurca Márquez is an artist/researcher with a wide range, as a creator and performer in film, site-specific work and staged performance. Her work has been commissioned by and presented on various curatorial platforms in Europe and the US. She is a Guild Certified Feldenkrais Teacher and integrates the principles of the Feldenkrais Method as well as other somatic approaches to her artistic and research practice. Marquez is the recipient of numerous awards for both her artistic creation and her research including: Dance Miami Choreographer’s Award (2015 and 2017), Gillman Fellowship in Choreography for Graduate Studies (2015-2017), two Ford Foundation Travel Grant for Research in Cuba granted through the Cuban Research Institute and the Latin American and Caribbean Center at Florida International University (1998 and 1999).
Her essay on the development of “Flamenco Empirico” in Spain and its implications for the form, was recently published by MacFarllan Press in Flamenco on the Global Stage: Historical, Critical and Theoretical Perspectives, edited by K. Meira Goldberg, Ninotchka D. Bennahum and Michelle Heffner Hayes. Her current research includes an examination of the use of collage (and it’s affiliated approaches) as a methodology for composition when working in hybrid forms to explore how we can evidence the process in performance on various platforms, as well as, transculturation, hybridity and mestisaje as they pertain to expressions of identity and the moving body.
Michelle Denise Mason, J.D. (Rutgers University)
Senior Associate Dean Mason joined FIU Law as founding Associate Dean for Admissions and Student Services in 2001. Prior to joining the FIU Law, Mason worked at Phillips Exeter Academy, Seton Hall Law School and Vermont Law.
In 2010, Mason was appointed Director for the FIU Law Center for Professionalism and Ethics. In the 2014, Mason changed administrative roles and was appointed as Senior Associate Dean for Clinical Education, Experiential Learning and Engagement.
Mason teaches in the FIU Steven J. Green School of International & Public Affairs and the FIU Honors College. In 2016, the Department of Humanities, Health and Society at the Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine provided Mason with a secondary appointment as Faculty Administrator.
Civic engagement is a common thread in Mason’s work. As principal investigator, she secured a national grant and directed the Council on Legal Education Opportunity Summer Institute. In 2013, Mason founded the Math and Civics Summer Institute, which provided instruction for 3rd, 4th and 5th graders from the Liberty City.
Mason has served on numerous local and national committees. Recently, Mason was appointed to the 11th Judicial Circuit Professionalism and Civility Committee and asked by the National Black Law Student Association to serve as a member of its Education Task Force.
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.
Kiesha Moodie, M.Ed. (Lamar University)
Kiesha Moodie is currently the Director of Social Innovation for StartUP FIU. Before joining FIU, Kiesha was the Managing Director, Alumni and Community Engagement for Teach For America (TFA), a national non-profit working to eliminate educational inequality in America, in Miami-Dade Florida. In her role as Managing Director, Alumni and Community Engagement, Kiesha lead a team charged with supporting a critical mass of over 500 TFA alumni residing in South Florida make a meaningful contribution to the ecosystem around them.
Kiesha has pioneered community engagement initiatives to promote the value of education, economic development, and equity while fostering partnerships with universities, school districts, foundations, and entrepreneurial community. Her work has helped to create jobs and connections that support a young and growing economy. She has also been a leader in the field in expanding access to opportunities and educational tools for 21st-century readiness students and families.
Kiesha Moodie earned her B.A. in Business Administration from Florida State University, and her M.Ed. in Educational Leadership at Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas. She also studied at the Achievement Gap Institute at Harvard University. Kiesha is a published author on topics related to education, design thinking, and community engagement. She was also most recently featured in NewsOne’s educational documentary, “Saving Tomorrow, Today,” which highlighted urban educational solutions from leaders across the country.
Lergia Olivio, M.A. (Florida International University)
Lergia Olivo is an Instructional Design Manager at FIU Online, managing a team of instructional designers and collaborating with online and hybrid FIU faculty. Together, the team works to design, revise and enhance high-quality, engaging courses that meet rigorous quality standards and ensure the educational success of FIU’s diverse population of student learners. Lergia has been a part of the FIU Online team since December 2011, but a Golden Panther since 2006, holding a Bachelor of Arts in English, and a Master of Arts in Linguistics. She is currently pursuing a PhD in Curriculum and Instruction from FIU’s School of Education and Human Development.
Lergia was born and raised in Miami, FL. She attended John G. DuPuis Elementary, Palm Springs Middle, and Hialeah-Miami Lakes Senior High, where she was Editor-in-Chief of the school’s Trojan Times newspaper and Band Captain in the school’s award-winning marching, jazz and symphonic bands. She plays flute, acoustic bass guitar, and piano. Lergia graduated third in the 2004 senior class.
Prior to beginning her employment with FIU Online, Lergia worked for Miami-Dade Police Department, where she was directly responsible for creating and deploying computer-based training to more than 5,000 police and civilian departmental employees. She also has experience working for the game presentation departments at Hard Rock Stadium, BB&T Center and Marlins Park, producing exciting graphics and animations for use on their in-house entertainment video boards.
Outside of work, Lergia spends time reading–novels of every genre, nonfiction, and even textbooks–there’s always something new to learn. Lergia also enjoys watching college and professionals sports with her husband and son.
A. Antonio Pedrero, LL.M., J.D. (Georgetown University)
Mr. Pedrero is a seasoned professional in the business world and in law, with a substantial mix of
academia and real world professional experience. He holds a Master of Laws (LL. M.) in International
Business and Economic law and a Certificate in WTO Studies, in addition to a Juris Doctor from
Georgetown University. His research interests include normative jurisprudence, the rule of law, and
comparative law and economics. He has taught subjects of law and business/economics to
undergraduate, graduate, and professional audiences both in the U.S. and abroad (Barcelona and
Stockholm). He is also a graduate Fellow of the Georgetown Institute of International Economic Law.
Antonio is a licensed attorney in the Commonwealth of Virginia and serves as Executive Legal Director
for a nonprofit legal services and education organization targeting middle income constituents who
cannot otherwise afford legal fees in immigration, taxation, and other legal issues. Additionally, he
currently serves as Co-Vice Chair of Diversity for the ABA Section of International Trade Committee, and
in the Latin American, Taxation, and European Law Committees, and is past Chair of the Federal Bar
Association’s Washington Chapter – International Banking Committee.
Previously, Antonio has served in an executive capacity in Northern Europe at E*Trade Financial, as CFO
and Associate General Manager for Southeastern Europe and Latin America for the world’s largest
circulation newspaper, and as Vice President for Finance and Planning at the world’s premier satellite
broadcaster. He speaks five languages fluently and has lived and worked on three continents.
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.
Andrew Pompa, J.D. (University of Pennsylvania Law School)
Andrew Pompa is the Director of Entrepreneurship at StartUP FIU, where he leads all teams and programs that support entrepreneurship, with an emphasis on student and social entrepreneurship. Previously, he worked at Akerman LLP, a top 100 U.S. law firm, where he launched and led two innovation initiatives after a successful legal practice focused on high-profile and complex joint ventures. Seeking more social impact and contribution, he transitioned to lead an initiative, AkermanIN based at The LAB Miami and then CIC, designed to rethink how law firms connect with and support startups and social entrepreneurs.
Andrew is active in the Miami community, working closely with change-makers and impact ventures across a range of issues and industry sectors. Currently, he serves as a board member of Radical Partners, Nu Deco Ensemble, the Nyah Project, and Transit Alliance Miami, and was a member of the inaugural Wynwood Design Review Committee. He was selected to join a cohort of ten Miami leaders to attend Harvard Business School’s Young American Leaders Program 2017, selected and sponsored by the Knight Foundation and the Miami Foundation. Andrew earned his Juris Doctor degree from the University of Pennsylvania Law School and his bachelor’s degree in political science from Emory University.
Angela T. Puentes-Leon , J.D. ( University of Miami)
Angie Puentes-Leon has extensive experience litigating individual and mass tort
matters in state and federal courts in Florida and throughout the United States. She
represents domestic and foreign clients in products liability litigation and complex
commercial litigation. Her practice focuses on defending clients in personal injury and
wrongful death actions that involve products and consumer goods related to industries
that include automotive, aviation, pharmaceutical and medical device, and food. Her
experience includes presenting opening statements and conducting direct and cross
examinations in multiple jury trials.Ms. Puentes-Leon is the food, beverage, dietary supplement, and personal care products industry group co-leader.
- Provided legal issues and trial support in state court case in Florida on behalf of a
global chemical company in defense of asbestos person injury action which resulted
in a verdict in favor of the company. (August 2015)
- Provided legal issues and trial support in state court case in Florida on behalf of a
global chemical company in defense of asbestos personal injury action ultimately
resolved through settlement during trial (February 2013)
- Green v. Dang, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida. Represented
plaintiff in a 42 U.S.C. § 1983 action against several police officers for injuries
sustained during an arrest. (2010)
Sharan Ramaswamy,Ph.D. (University of Iowa)
Sharan Ramaswamy completed his PhD in 2003 at the University of Iowa in Biomedical Engineering. As an NIH-post-doctoral fellow, Dr. Ramaswamy engaged in research at the interface of cartilage tissue engineering and magnetic resonance imaging microscopy. In early 2007, Dr. Ramaswamy started work as a Research Faculty in the Department of Bioengineering at the University of Pittsburgh, in the area of heart valve tissue engineering. In December 2009, joined the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Florida International University, Miami, FL as an Assistant Professor. Dr. Ramaswamy’s research interests lie primarily in the area of cell and engineered tissue mechanics with application in cardiovascular regenerative medicine. His laboratory, the “Tissue Engineered Mechanics, Imaging and Materials laboratory (TEMIM LAB)”, conducts both experimental and computational investigations in this area. Currently his major research goals are to integrate the various areas of his training into the differential mechano-regulation of cells towards the cardiovascular phenotype as well as the synthesis of viable engineered cardiovascular tissues, particularly, heart valves. These include: (1) tissue engineered heart valve replacement for critical congenital mitral and aortic valve disease, (2) valve repair using engineered heart valve tissues and (3) bioreactor development to create engineered cardiovascular tissue model systems to facilitate therapeutic discovery. Concurrently Dr. Ramaswamy is also working towards: (4) the elucidation of mechanobiological cellular and molecular mechanisms that are involved in the etiology of valve diseases (e.g. stenosis, calcification). Dr. Ramaswamy is a Fellow of the American Heart Association and its Council on Basic Cardiovascular Sciences. As of April 2017: Dr. Ramaswamy’s work was published in over 50 journals, book chapters and conference proceedings and he had over a 100 presentations at scientific conferences. He mentored over 30 graduate/undergraduate students at FIU in a one-to-one format (e.g. as major professor). His research was supported by the AHA and NSF.
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.
Rachel Ritchie, Ph.D. (Florida International University)
Dr. Rachel Ritchie is the Director of Undergraduate Studies and an Instructor with the Department of Psychology. She received her BA in Psychology, her MS in Counseling Psychology, and her PhD in Life-Span Developmental Science from FIU. Her research interests include identity development, positive psychology, online and hybrid teaching and learning, learning assistants, student engagement, and active learning. She was the 2017 recipient of the FIU Gateway Award for Excellence in Teaching and has been recognized by FIU’s College of Arts, Sciences, and Education for her innovative hybrid and flipped teaching methods. Dr. Ritchie has also served as a faculty fellow for the Center for Advancement of Teaching and an instructor for the STEM Transformation Institute. She is actively involved in training Learning Assistants from all disciplines and launched the LA program in Psychology in 2015.
Harry Roberge, a Vietnam War veteran working as an interpreter and translator for the Army during the war, has been living and working in SE Asia for 13 years. He has traveled extensively through Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, the Philippines and Indonesia. He is currently directing an NGO sponsoring the education of underprivileged Cambodian children. He has spent the last 7 years introducing people to SE Asian history and culture by acting as a guide for small groups wishing to get an inside view of the uniqueness of each country, its people, culture, and the role these countries have played in the geopolitical history of the United States, the Soviet Union and China. As the facilitator for the Honors Vietnam-Cambodia Study Abroad Program, he has introduced FIU students to the region’s beauty, cultural aspects and history through lectures, movies, literature and music. He has also supervised the service project of the program, through which students teach English to future Cambodian teachers at the teacher training college in Siem Reap, Cambodia.
José Rodriguez, Ph.D. (Florida International University)
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. In 2018, he received his Ph.D. in industrial-organizational psychology from FIU. Dr. Rodriguez served as the assistant dean of the Honors College from 2008 to 2016 and has over 15 years of experience in higher education administration and instruction. In 2016, he joined the faculty of the Honors College to teach full time. Dr. Rodriguez’s academic and research interests intersect a number of different disciplines (psychology, sociology, anthropology, political science, history, literature, philosophy, art). In addition to teaching for the Honors College, Dr. Rodriguez has taught intercultural communication, public speaking, business communication, and study abroad courses for the Department of Communication. 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.
Luis J Rodriguez, J.D. (Florida International University)
Luis J Rodriguez is a past graduate of Florida International University’s Honors College, and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English, and a Juris Doctor degree from FIU’s College of Law. After starting his professional career at FIU in 2005, he has held various positions with the Student Athlete Academic Center (SAAC), The Office of Federal Relations, The Office of Financial Aid, and currently, OneStop Enrollment Management & Services.
Mr. Rodriguez currently serves as the Assistant Director for OneStop, and in this role he oversees the daily operations of the department and supervises full-time and part-time staff. OneStop provides customer service for the areas of Admissions, Registration and Financial Aid, and currently has an average of 1000 interactions per day. In addition, Mr. Rodriguez has been instrumental in the implementation of various University initiatives like MyCourseScheduler, Delegated Access, the Salesforce Implementation for EMS and the Service Excellence Program.
Cinthya Rojas, M.S. (Florida International University)
Venezuelan born, Miami raised. My family moved to Miami when I was 10 years old. I attended Ludlam Elementary, Arvida Middle School, and Coral Reef Senior High School. I began my college journey at Miami Dade College, earning an Associate of Arts degree in Sociology. I transferred to the University of Florida in 2004 to finish my Bachelor of Arts in Sociology in December 2006.
I moved back home and immediately realized the importance of continuing my education. I wanted to learn more about what I was passionate about: Training and Development. While working at my family business, I enrolled at the University of Miami to pursue a professional certification in Human Resources Management.
My employment at Florida International University began in October 2007. I started my career in the university with the Division of Human Resources, Payroll & Employee Records; there I acquired a great deal of knowledge and experience about the FIU community. I quickly realized I wanted to further my education and was admitted to the Human Resources Development and Adult Education program. I graduated with my Master of Science degree in 2010. A month before graduating, I was hired by FIU Online as an Instructional Designer.
My educational background in Human Resources Development and Adult Education has given me additional knowledge with regards to various adult learning theories and effective instructional design processes needed to succeed in higher education.
Working at the university made me realize the impact professors have on students. I applied to be an adjunct instructor for First Year Experience upon graduating, and began teaching during the Summer of 2010. I recently joined the Honors College to continue pursuing my passion for teaching and building lasting relationships with my students.
Nanett A. Rojas, M.S. (Florida International University)
Nanett Rojas is an Affiliate Instructor and Manager of Admissions Operations in the Office of Admissions, 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. Currently she is pursuing the doctorate 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.
Gustavo Roque, M.S (Florida International University )
Gus Roque is the Educational Technology Manager at FIU Online, Florida International University’s centralized distance education unit. He has been working in the field of distance learning in higher education since 2008. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Management of Information Systems from the College of Business Administration and a Master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction from the College of Education, both from Florida International University. He has been a member of multiple professional distance education organizations. He has also spoken at different professional conferences such as Blackboard World, International Conference on College Teaching and Learning and the FIU Online conference. As an instructional designer, he has designed courses for multiple colleges and disciplines. He previously served on the senior instructional design group which was responsible for setting the best practices and standards for fully online courses at Florida International University. His current role at FIU Online allows him to discover, research and vet educational technologies for fully online and blended courses. Gus Roque lives in Miami, Florida.
Ralph Rosado, Ph.D. (University of Pennsylvania)
Ralph Rosado is President of Rosado and Associates, an urban planning and economic development strategy firm based in Miami; a Senior Fellow at the FIU Metropolitan Center, and an instructor in graduate and professional programs at the University of Miami and Florida International University. Ralph holds a PhD in City Planning from the University of Pennsylvania, with a focus on Neighborhood Revitalization, Economic Development, and Affordable Housing; a joint Master’s degree in Public Policy and Urban Planning from Princeton University; and a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Florida International University’s Honors College.
Past professional experience includes serving as a senior government official for three cities, Executive Director of the South Florida Community Development Coalition, and, prior to that, serving as an Urban Design and Neighborhood Revitalization consultant to over a dozen municipalities in Miami-Dade. While in graduate school, at the invitation of President George W. Bush, Ralph served as a White House Graduate Intern with the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Honors include leading or serving as part of teams that have earned three statewide awards from the American Planning Association’s Florida chapter, being named a Miami Leader (one of Miami’s Top Nonprofit Executives), by the Miami Foundation, 2012, and a Top Latino Leader of Miami, by Latino Leaders Magazine, 2013. The Affordable Housing program he co-designed and co-teaches recently won an award for Best Program in the area of Housing & Affordability in Miami-Dade.
Ralph also is involved with local transportation initiatives. He and County Commissioner Xavier Suarez won a 2015 Public Space Challenge Award for Top Them Off!, their initiative to ensure that bus stops have covered shelters to protect passengers from harsh sun and rain; he recently co-hosted 100 Great Ideas for Transit & Mobility, an online platform allowing Miami-Dade residents to put forth their best ideas for improving travel options in the community; and he serves on the boards of Friends of the Underline and Friends of Plan Z, two initiatives to improve walking/bicycling/transit conditions in key local corridors (US1 and Rickenbacker Causeway).
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.
Henry Rueda, MSc A.A.D. (Columbia University)
Henry Rueda, MSc A.A.D., graduated from Universidad Central de Venezuela in Caracas, and Columbia University in New York City. He has taught at Universidad Jose Maria Vargas; Universidad Central de Venezuela and Universidad Simon Bolivar in Venezuela. His professional practice includes working for Jesus Tenreiro in Caracas, Venezuela and Wiel Arets in Maastricht, Holland. His private practice has been widely published in printed and digital publications and has received awards and recognitions internationally. He has been invited to lecture and as juror at academic institutions in South America and the US. His current professional practice and research focuses on integration of Art and Architecture in institutional buildings, Art in Public Spaces and single-family residences in different cities in Venezuela and in Miami. In 2014, his VL House was nominated for the Emerging Architects Mies Crown Hall Prize of the Americas, organized by the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago. He now lives and works in Miami where he is committed to education at FIU, and involved in community organizations, serves in The Underline: Design Advisory Committee, and continues with his non-profit organization Fundacion Espacio in Caracas, where they promote architectural critical thinking, design discourse, art in public spaces and social justice.
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.
Fang Shu, M.S. (Florida International University)
Mr. Fang Shu is an Instructor at FIU Chaplin School of Hospitality and Tourism Management, where he teaches Intro to Hospitality and Tourism Management and Accounting for the Hospitality Industry. As a previous China Programs Manager at the Chaplin School, he assisted in curriculum and program development, oversaw all initiatives that take place in China with insight on cultural knowledge, and managed the university’s relations with other academic entities within the China region.
Fang serves as the Vice Chair of the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce (GMCC) Asia Committee, and also serves on the Steering Committee of the City of North Miami Chinatown Cultural Arts & Innovation District. In addition, he was selected in the second cohort of FIU Presidential Leadership Program and the first cohort of FIU Provost’s Hybrid Pilot Program.
A native of China, Fang is fluent in both Mandarin and English. Most importantly, he possesses native appreciation of Asian culture, and has a comprehensive global awareness and understanding of international high education processes and practices.
Fang enjoys working with students. His classrooms are always full of interactions and fun.
Melissa Silveira, M.S. (Florida International University)
Melissa Silveira is a Manager of Academic Support Services for FIU’s College of Business Undergraduate Advising department. She is an Associate Fellow 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 has teaching experience in the following courses: SLS1501- First Year Experience course for incoming freshman students, MAR4354- Marketing Yourself in Today’s Competitive Workforce for upper division students and the Introduction to Honors and Leadership Seminar IDH1931 course for FIU’s Honors College. She has also presented at national conferences. 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.
James M.Sutton, Ph.D. (Yale University)
Professor James Sutton has been a faculty member with the FIU English department since 1994; he received his Ph.D. from Yale University in 1995, taking his degree in Renaissance Studies. At FIU, he regularly teaches courses on Shakespeare, other English Renaissance dramatists and poets, and various aspects of early modern England and Europe. Beyond literature, he is interested in architecture and design, and political and cultural history, as informed by contemporary theory. Sutton served as chairperson of the Enlgish department from 2008-2016; in the last year of his tenure, he led a University wide effort to bring a copy of Shakespeare’s First Folio (printed in London n 1623) to FIU for a month-long exhibit (February 2016). He was on leave from the university in 2016-2017; from February – July 2017, he resided in Ljubljana Slovenia, teaching literature courses at both the University of Ljubljana and the University of Maribor. His current research project involves an inquiry into the relevance and aspect of Shakespearean performance, education and exhibition in contemporary Miami.
Tiffani Tallon, M.S. (Florida International University)
Tiffani Tallon is the Assistant Director of the Invitational Scholars program in FIU’s Office of Student Access and Success. She has over 14 years of higher education experience. In her current role she assists over 100 scholars through a holistic approach providing mentorship and guidance throughout their academic journey at FIU. Tiffani is a strong advocate for first generation students and served on a panel to discuss First Gen-First Year: Advising, Engagement, & Mentoring during the 2019 Focus on First Generation Conference.
She is a proud two-time alumna of FIU, holding a Bachelor of Business Administration with a concentration in Management and a Master of Science in Higher Education Administration. Her two favorite seasons are FIU football season and commencement season. Most Saturdays during the Fall semester you will find her at the alumni tailgate and cheering on the FIU Panthers football team. For the past three years she serves as a Commencement Ambassador Coordinator, volunteering her time to enjoy the proud moment of seeing her scholars walk across the commencement stage. She is an honorary member of the Golden Key International Honour Society and advises the Disciples on Campus student organization. In the past she has participated in Panther Camp and Alternative Breaks as a faculty advisor.
Nicolas Terradas, M.A. (Torcuato Di Tella University)
Nicolás received a Lic. in International Relations from UNICEN in 2007, and a MA in International Studies from Torcuato Di Tella University in 2011 (both in Argentina). He started the Ph.D. program at FIU in August of 2011 with a Fulbright Scholarship, and will be graduating in the Fall of 2018. His research interests are largely multidisciplinary, exploring connections between IR Theory, Security Studies and Political Anthropology around specific issues like anarchy, order, and war. He is also interested in the study of the historic role of the Western Hemisphere in the formulation of U.S. Grand Strategy, and U.S. foreign policy more generally. His doctoral dissertation studies the so-called “long peace” in South America, making extensive use of historical and archival research in more than eighteen different archives located in eight South American countries. During his time at FIU, Nicolás has taught four different courses in the Department of Politics and International Relations—including INR 4603: Theories of International Relations; INR 3243: International Relations of Latin America; and other courses on National Security, Strategy and International Security.
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 Senior 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 at least 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. In 2016, he presented at the 2016 Florida Statewide Symposium on Engagement in Undergraduate Research. In 2017, he presented at the Honors Education at Research Universities Conference on Engaging Student Groups in a Fully-Online Course. He is the director of the Conference for Undergraduate Research at FIU. Currently, he oversees the Advanced Research and Creativity in Honors Program.
Christina Vilaboa-Abel, Esq. (Florida International University)
Christina Vilaboa-Abel is partner and co-founder of CAVA Law, LLC. Her practice encompasses the areas of debt litigation and negotiation, real estate litigation and transactions, bankruptcy, and creditor rights representation. Christina is admitted to practice in Florida, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida and the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations and History, with a focus on National Security Studies from Florida International University. Ms. Vilaboa-Abel thereafter earned her Juris Doctor from Florida International University College of Law. Ms. Vilaboa-Abel is actively involved with the South Florida community, earning recognition from the Southern District of Florida for her pro bono contributions to debtors in need of legal assistance.
Melissa Ward-Peterson, PhD, MPH (Florida International University)
Melissa Ward-Peterson is a Postdoctoral Associate in the Department of Epidemiology, where she manages the Research Infrastructure Core for FIU’s Research Center in Minority Institutions (FIU-RCMI). A proud FIU double-alumna and graduate of the Honors College, she earned her BA in English in 2008 and her PhD in Public Health/Epidemiology in 2017. She has worked at FIU since 2013; her prior positions include Research Analyst in the Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine (HWCOM) Department of Medical and Population Health Sciences Research, as well as Research and Operations Manager for HWCOM’s Tano Medical Simulation Center.
Before working for FIU, Melissa completed her MPH in Global Health Policy at George Washington University (GW) in 2010. From 2011-2013, Melissa worked in the Department of Health Policy at GW coordinating monitoring and evaluation for the Medical Education Partnership Initiative, a $130 million international health program in 12 African countries administered by the Department of State, HRSA, and NIH. In 2010, she completed a GW Global Health Service Fellowship in the Public Health Information and GIS Unit at the World Health Organization in Geneva, Switzerland. In several other research positions at GW, she provided support for projects funded by the World Bank and UNAIDS as well as multiple global health and data analysis courses.
She has published several peer-reviewed public health and educational research papers and is actively involved in service activities. She currently volunteers as a trainer for the Voter Participation Project, a non-profit which aims to improve political discourse and remove barriers to voting. From 2015-2018, she co-chaired HWCOM’s Empower to Lead Committee, which sought to create innovative leadership development sessions and forums for dialogue between HWCOM staff and faculty. Between 2009 and 2013, Melissa volunteered in the Executive Office of the President in The White House, where she analyzed health reform and foreign policy correspondence written to the President.
Pioneer Winter, M.P.H. (Florida International University), M.F.A. (Jacksonville University/White Oak)
Pioneer Winter is a Miami-based choreographer, and director of the Pioneer Winter Collective – invested in physical theatre, contemporary dance, interdisciplinary collaboration, and transmedia. His Collective provides a platform for risk-taking, progressive, and experimental projects by democratizing performance through unexpected bodies, unexpected places, and unexpected social change. Winter also directs/produces several programs, including Leaders of Equality through Arts and Performance (LEAP), for LGBTQ-identifying teens and their allies that focuses on using the arts for activism and social change; and the Grass Stains fellowship, a site-specific performance initiative that mentors and commissions artists interested in creating site-based and public art work in Miami.
A Horatio Alger Scholar, he is an alumnus of the Florida International University Honors College, and holds a Masters in Public Health and Epidemiology. Winter also completed 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. He is a Dance Miami Choreographic Program recipient (2014-2015; 2017-2018), Diversity and Inclusion Awardee (FL Division of Cultural Affairs and Citizens for FL Arts, Inc.), and Miami Goes Elsewhere Fellowship recipient (2016), and is a fellow and faculty member in the FIU Honors College Department since 2014. Pioneer Winter has been festival director of ScreenDance Miami Festival since 2016, and he was recently awarded a commission and residency for the inaugural season of the MDC Live Arts Lab Alliance (2017-2019). Pioneer Winter has presented his work nationally on stages, in museums and galleries, and in public spaces. His films works have been screened internationally, including the United States, Canada, Spain, Germany, and the United Kingdom.
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.