Faculty Directory2019-06-06T13:32:29+00:00

Aileen Izquierdo | Interim Chair, Instructor and Global Strategic Communications Graduate Director

AC2 325(BBC)

Aileen Izquierdo is an instructor and graduate director of the Global Strategic Communications master’s degree program for both the online and on-campus tracks at Florida International University.

Izquierdo is a communications professional with more than 20 years of strategic communications, branding and crisis communications experience, having held executive, management positions as vice president for communications at Broward College and Florida Atlantic University. Izquierdo was the first vice president for communications and marketing at both of these institutions. She also was the first Hispanic vice president in FAU’s history.

Izquierdo earned a Master of Science in Mass Communication from Florida International University and was named
a Heavy Hitter in Public Relations by the South Florida Business Journal. Additionally, her contributions to higher education were recognized in a recently published book, “Legacymakers: 100 Women of Distinction at Florida Atlantic University.”

Rokeshia Renné Ashley | Visiting Assistant Professor


Rokeshia Renné Ashley is a Miami native and mother to her daughter, Emery. Ashley’s research focuses on health communication in body image and modification, and maternal health. She examines how black women manage their appearance relative to reception of health information and negotiating modification in a racial and health context, while also exploring the interactions between patients and healthcare providers pre-, during, and post-natal to uncover culturally competent strategies to improve black women and babies maternal mortality.

To date, Ashley’s work has been published in Health Communication, Journal of Black Studies, and Communication, Culture & Critique. Her research has been publicly shared by U.S. News & World Report, the Chicago Tribune, Columbia Missourian (in print and online), Allure Magazine, Red Lake Nation News and more; collectively over 10 million readers across varying platforms. Ashley has presented numerous papers at academic conferences like the International Communication Association, National Association of African American Studies conferences and have accepted a university invitation to speak about her research in South Africa.


Margo Berman | Professor

ACII 325 (BBC)

Professional Activities

Margo Berman, professor in the Department of Communication, is a Kauffman Faculty Scholar at Florida International University.

After the 2006 release of Prof. Berman’s first book, Street-Smart Advertising (also available in Russian), she wrote two more advertising books: The Brains Behind Great Ad Campaigns (2009, co-authored with Robyn Blakeman) and The Copywriter’s Toolkit (2012). In 2010, a second edition of her first book was released. Presently, all of her books are available globally including Asia, Europe, South Africa, India, Canada and Australia.

Her fourth book, MetaMind Yoga (2013, written with Richard Israel), guided readers through exercises to reach inner peace.

Her two 6-CD award-winning webinar sets, Street-Smart Advertising and More Street-Smart Advertising (2008) won a national AWC Clarion Award for Educational Reference. She created Mental Peanut Butter® Training and developed three advertising CDs.

Prof. Berman latest work, tactikPAK™, is a digital library of learning that she invented and patented. This interactive series will be released as ebooks and accompanying apps. As mobile mentors, they are peppered with whimsical illustrations and short quizzes to make learning fun. The first tactikPAK™, Copywriting (app and ebook), will be released before the end of October and followed by:

• Advertising

• Creativity

• Design

• Presentation

• Promotion

• Public Relations

• Resume

• Writing

Prof. Berman’s collective research from books, webinars and CDs to ebooks and apps are independent as well as interrelated works.

Currently, she is writing her 14th book. This one will focus on advertising campaign strategies.

Joann Brown | University Instructor

PCA 373B (MMC)

Joann Brown has spent more than 20 years in academia, with the last eight as the chair of the former Communication Arts Department at Florida International University. Under her direction, the Department has grown exponentially. The Bachelor of Arts in Communication Arts was approved in 2010 and by 2013, the Department also had a fully-online degree program, developed by Ms. Brown. Today, the Department has a budget of over $2.3 million and the largest student enrollment in the College of Architecture + The Arts. She also serves as the Director of Assessment and Retention for the College of Architecture + The Arts and chairs the University Core Curriculum Oversight Committee for Florida International University(since 2008). In addition, she serves on numerous committees related to student success and teaching excellence.

Ms. Brown has an M.A. in Communication Studies from the University of Miami and a B.A. in American Studies and Sociology from Simmons College, in Boston. Her graduate research addressed the influence of physical attractiveness in the persuasion process, but she has spent most of her career focused on intercultural communication and diversity. She has authored/co-authored three textbooks: Intercultural Communication (2013), Speaking with Confidence (2013), and Speaking Intelligently (2004).

Ms. Brown is an experienced and much sought after public speaking and leadership coach. She has conducted many seminars at Florida International University and throughout the Greater Miami area on subjects ranging from overcoming speech anxiety to understanding cultural biases in communication.

Cynthia Carrico | Instructor


Cynthia Carrico holds a Master of Science in Education (MSE) and a Masters of Arts in Communication. She teaches Public Speaking, Interpersonal and Intercultural Communication, and Rhetoric. Prior to returning to school, Cynde worked with diverse groups, including many with differing abilities and challenges. She is an accomplished adult educator with six years of mentoring educators; ten years of adult learning/corporate training and management; a Catholic Forensics League Debate Judge, and a budding storyteller.

Cynde has an entrepreneurial spirit with the leadership skills of motivating, monitoring and managing student success. Driven to build students’ interests while encouraging higher order thinking, her retention rates are consistently high and absenteeism low. She addresses today’s diverse learning styles through a blended learning approach to teaching. Highly capable of building strong rapport, Cynde is considered personable and empathetic with a great sense of humor and the ability to bring out the best in her students.

She tends to focus on the solution, not the obstacle; a habit developed from a decade of tutoring students who are eager, yet have moments of reluctance, anxiety, and frustration. As we turn toward a more diverse population with increased expectations, it is critical for educators to provide real-world relevance and reattach the training wheels that brought them into education originally.

Davina Clarke | Instructor

GL 487

Davina Clarke has over 15 years of teaching experience covering a variety of Communication Courses, and is the course director for Business Communication at Florida International University. She earned her Doctor of Philosophy degree in Conflict Resolution from Nova Southeastern University, and holds two Master’s degrees: the first in Communication Studies from Florida Atlantic University, and the second in Business Administration from Nova Southeastern University. Dr. Clarke’s teaching interests include Advanced Business Communication, Nonverbal Communication, and Conflict Management. Dr. Clarke volunteers in her community as she coaches others in public speaking, and mediates conflicts.

Jessica Delgado | Instructor

VH212B (MMC)

Jessica Delgado is an Instructor in the Department of Communication at FIU. With more than 10 years experience in communication, she pursued a career in marketing and public relations within higher education and the arts and humanities fields. She has led media and branding campaigns; initiatives in audience development; overseen promotion for various art exhibitions and projects; and managed public relations for prominent community events. She has worked and taught at Miami Dade College and, most recently, served as the Director of Marketing, Communication, and Events at the UM Libraries. Ms. Delgado received a Bachelors in Liberal Arts and a Masters in Communication from FIU.

Currently, Ms. Delgado teaches various courses, which include Business and Professional Communication (COM 3110), Advanced Business Communication (COM 3150), and Advanced Public Speaking(SPC 3602). She has also taught Communication for Effective Leadership (SPC4445), Public Speaking for Engineers (SPC 2608), Conflict Management (COM 4462), Political Communication (COM 4510), and Rhetorical Communication (SPC 3230).

Nathalie Desrayaud | Assistant Professor

VH 221 (MMC)

Nathalie Desrayaud earned her B.A. in Communication and Psychology and M.A. in Communication from the University at Buffalo, in New York. She then went to Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana where she received her PhD in Organizational Communication. Professor Desrayaud’s research centers on perceptions and interpretations of conflict in both personal and professional relationships. Her interests also include issues of sex, gender, and culture. She recently published in the International Journal of Conflict Management (2013), and has presented at the National Communication Association for the last five years. The courses that she currently teaches at Florida International University include Organizational Communication, Organizational Change, and Intercultural Communication.

Maria Elena Echarri | Instructor

VH 208

Maria Elena Echarri brings nearly twenty years of experience in journalism and communication studies to classes at FIU. As a scholar-practitioner, with respect for interdisciplinary approaches, she emphasizes the relationship between cognitive processing and the contexts of human communication.

Ms. Echarri holds a master of science in communication studies from Minnesota State University, Mankato. With MNSU, she served as an online writing consultant for her graduate assistantship, and she developed her research and creative interests.

Research/Creative Interests

  • The intersection of cognition and communication, and its effects on health communication, intercultural communication, creativity, and media perception
  • Visual rhetorics of fashion, architecture, design, and media
  • Instructional communication
  • Writing and producing documentaries and videos

Echarri graduated from Emerson College with a bachelor of arts in broadcast journalism. She has been honored with journalism awards for her work as a reporter and anchor with ABC, CBS, and NBC stations in several regional television markets. Nationally, her reporting has aired on CNN, MSNBC, and the feed service, NBC News Channel. Additionally, Echarri has worked as a producer for ESPN International. In addition to a career in journalism, Maria Elena Echarri coaches individuals on proposal writing and she has been a producer of strategic communication videos and documentaries for health organizations.

Robert Jaross | Assistant Professor
305 348-1581

Robert Jaross has taught advertising and public relations courses at FIU for the past 18 years, while working in Student Affairs as director for Student Media. Jaross has taught all courses in the advertising track and currently focuses on teaching the capstone course. Prior to FIU, Jaross was a faculty member at Southern Illinois University where he taught advertising courses, including the capstone advertising course as well as serving as general manager to the Daily Egyptian daily student newspaper.
Earlier in his professional career Mr. Jaross worked for an advertising agency; a magazine, as advertising director; two newspapers, as advertising directors; and at a media corporation as president.
Jaross holds a master’s degree in journalism, with an advertising specialization from Southern Illinois University and bachelor’s degree in advertising from Southern Illinois University.

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Nicole Kashian | Assistant Professor

VH 207 (MMC)

Nicole Kashian is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication. Her research focuses on computer mediated communication in interpersonal relationships and organizational contexts. Nicole holds a Ph.D. in Communication from Michigan State University. She enjoys teaching courses in computer-mediated communication, interpersonal communication, and research methods, among others.

Lillian Lodge Kopenhaver

Lillian Lodge Kopenhaver | Professor and Dean Emeritus

AC2 251(BBC)

Dr. Lillian Lodge Kopenhaver is executive director of the Lillian Lodge Kopenhaver Center for the Advancement of Women in Communication and dean emeritus and professor of the SJMC. She was named the Outstanding Woman in Journalism and Mass Communication Education for 2009 by the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication. A nationally known expert and researcher on the First Amendment, the scholastic and collegiate press, and the role and status of women in communication, she is the author of more than 115 scholarly articles, monographs and books.

She is past president of AEJMC, College Media Advisers, the Student Press Law Center, and the Community College Journalism Association. She holds the Wells Memorial Key from the Society of Professional Journalists, only the second woman in the history of the organization to win that award at that time, the CMA Distinguished Service Award, the AEJMC Newspaper Division Distinguished Service Award, the AEJMC Outstanding Leadership Award, the FIU Alumni Association Outstanding Faculty Torch Award and the Distinguished Alumnus Award from Rowan University. In 2011 she was awarded FIU’s Distinguished University Service Medallion for her outstanding contributions to FIU, as well as her distinguished service to the profession and the community.

Kopenhaver joined FIU in 1973 and rose through the ranks to become dean of the School of Journalism and Mass Communication in 2003, a post she held for nearly nine years. Over the course of her tenure, Kopenhaver was instrumental in creating programs and opportunities for students, particularly women. In what has historically been an industry largely dominated by men, Kopenhaver was frequently one of the few women to hold leadership positions and be part of the decision-making process within the communications fields.


Nathan Kurland | Visiting Instructor

GL 486 (MMC)

Nathan Kurland offers over forty years of high-energy Communication & Public Speaking expertise to FIU. Mr. Kurland received his BA in History & Communication from Penn State University and an MA in Rhetoric & Public Address from Temple University. Mr. Kurland is passionately dedicated to the idea of mandatory public speaking instruction as a requirement for all, repeat, all university students, and is currently working on article entitled “Bring Back Show & Tell”. Mr. Kurland’s career is a virtual prism of communication diversity – he has taught public speaking at Temple University and the Free School of the University of Pennsylvania, as well as private sector corporate communication. Mr. Kurland has been a member of Actor’s Equity since 1969 and has performed in over fifty plays and musicals. In 2003-04 Mr. Kurland offered his services to the Miami Dade Election Department training poll workers. Presently, Mr. Kurland serves as Chair of the Miami Bayside Foundation, Board member of the Bayfront Park, as well as a Board member of the Miami Sports & Exihibition Authority. When he is not teaching, Mr. Kurland can often be seen at Miami City Hall during City Commission meetings.


Yu Liu | Associate Professor

ACII 325 (BBC)

Yu Liu is an associate professor in the Department of Communication. Her primary research focuses on computer-mediated communication and cross-cultural strategic communication. Specifically, she has investigated topics such as social media engagement, uses and effects of new media, consumer nationalism, and cross-cultural green consumption. She has published in a number of scholarly journals such as International Journal of Strategic Communication, Journal of Consumer Marketing, Health Communication, Computers in Human Behavior, Journalism, International Journal of Consumer Studies, and others. Dr. Liu received her Ph.D. in Communication from the University of Miami. Prior to pursuit of Ph.D., she worked as a reporter at a weekly news magazine in China.

María Inés Marino | Senior Instructor

AC2 328A

María Inés Marino earned an M.S. in Mass Communication from Florida International University and an M.A. in Educational Technology from Northwestern State University. She received her doctoral degree from University of Florida in Educational Technology.

Professor Marino has been teaching a wide range of face-to-face and online courses on Public Speaking (SPC 2608, SPC3602, SPC5066), Intercultural Communication (COM 3461), Business Communication (COM3110 and COM3150), Nonverbal Communication (COM3404), Gender & Communication (SPC3711), Interpersonal Communication (SPC3301), Communication Theory (SPC3210), Small Group Communication (SPC3425), Crisis Communication (COM3230), and Political Communication (COM4510), Artistic Expression (IDS3336) for the Department of Communication. Professor Marino is also in charge of the Communication Arts Internship Program (CAIP).

Before teaching for Communication Arts Department, Professor Marino worked as Educational Media/Communication Coordinator and Educational Consultant for FIU Educational Technology Services and FIU Online respectively, providing instructional design development and consultation to faculty developing online course materials, curriculum planning and assessment of these materials. She has also conducted several workshops and seminars on technology solutions in the area of online education.

Currently, her research interests include emerging technologies that unite the fields of online education design and communication, specifically online emerging group structures and culture, and online group identity and community building.


Elizabeth Marsh | Assistant Professor

AC2 130 (BBC)

Elizabeth Marsh, MFA, is an Assistant Professor of multimedia for the SCJ. She holds a master of fine arts degree from the University of Miami and an AB in English and American literature (Honors) from Brown University. Her previous position was as broadcast coordinator in the in-house production department at FIU, Broadcast Video Productions.

Hugo Ottolenghi | Visiting Instructor

AC2 323A (BBC)

Mr. Ottolenghi has taught public relations, mass communications and journalism classes at the undergraduate and graduate level at FIU as an adjunct for 12 years. He is certified in online and hybrid instruction. He has worked in public relations for nearly a decade, serving businesses and professionals, and consulting with public relations firms.

Early in his career, Ottolenghi was vice president of a national news company now known as bankrate.com. He managed reporting and research staff that produced four publications and provided news, analysis and data to more than 50 million consumers and 30 news organizations. Later, he directed reporters covering law, real estate, business and banking as a senior editor for the Daily Business Review, a South Florida daily newspaper owned by ALM, formerly American Lawyer Media.

Ottolenghi holds a master’s degree in journalism from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and bachelor’s degree from Swarthmore College.


David Park | Associate Professor


Dr. David J. Park is an Associate Professor in the Department of Communications. He received his Ph.D. in Mass Communication from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His research interests include critical political economy of communication, new media technologies, media and democracy, environmental sustainability, consumerism and international communication. His scholarship appears in numerous published journal articles, proceedings and book chapters including: the Journal of Communication Inquiry, Communication, Culture and Critique, American Journal of Media Psychology, The Political Economy of Communication, Information, Communication and Society, American Behavioral Scientist, International Marketing Review, Labor Studies Journal and the Journal of Social Media Studies. His book “Conglomerate Rock: The Music Industry’s Quest to Divide Music and Conquer Wallets,” republished in paperback by Lexington Books, a division of Rowman and Littlefield publishers, has been hailed as “the book we have all been waiting for: a definitive treatment of how the music industry is adapting to the digital world.” In addition to presenting his publications at national and international conferences, Dr. Park has also been invited to speak on a wide range of communications topics from economic globalization and music technology to the politics behind Hurricane Katrina media coverage. He also serves on the editorial/advisory boards for the Global Media Journal (Canadian Edition), Ambitos, International Journal of Communication (Revista Internacional de Comunicacion), the Public Relations Journal and the Journal of Social Media Studies.

Dr. Park has also received several teaching and research awards during his career, among them include a Howard Hughes Research Sabbatical Scholarship, an Honorary Fellowship at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication, and a Fulbright-Hays Scholarship to the Caribbean. In addition, he was also a Rotary Exchange Scholar to Europe and received a Tinker-Nave grant to research media and human rights groups in Argentina.

Prior to joining FIU’s SJMC, Dr. Park taught in New Orleans where he and his students were instrumental in the recovery and rebuilding of the city following Hurricane Katrina. His service-learning outreach work brought in over 5,000 volunteers from around the world and contributed 1.7 million dollars in grants, pro-bono volunteer labor and supplies to under-served communities in need. He was honored for his community engagement and teaching in 2009 with the Outstanding Faculty Contributions to Service-Learning Instruction in Higher Education Award from the Executive Committee of the Gulf-South Summit for Service-Learning and Civic Engagement in Higher Education.

His professional experience stems from his employment with the Chancellor’s office at the University of Wisconsin-Extension as a Public Relations and Communications Administrative Assistant. He has also worked on various media projects with musical groups, neighborhood associations and other non-profit organizations. He is a former and current member of several professional associations including: International Communication Association (ICA), Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC), International Association for Media and Communication Research (IAMCR), Union for Democratic Communication (UDC), Association for Consumer Research (ACR) and the European Association for Consumer Research (EACR). Proficient in French, Spanish and Wolof (Senegal), Dr. Park joined FIU in 2009 and teaches in the Undergraduate and Graduate Programs.

Raquel Perez | Instructor

GL 488 (MMC)

Dr. Raquel Perez is an instructor at Florida International University and conflict resolution consultant with more than a decade of professional experience in leadership development and organizational design. She holds a doctorate and master’s in Conflict Analysis and Resolution from Nova Southeastern University and earned a B.A. in Organizational Leadership and Communication from Trinity International University. In addition to her work in academia, Dr. Perez has led de-escalation trainings for law enforcement agencies and has collaborated on projects that focused on organizational conflict, change management, learning systems, grassroots movements, talent optimization, and global engagement. Her research interests are communication, conflict and critical thinking.

Mihaela Plugarasu | Visiting Instructor


Mihaela’s core values are education, contribution, and advancement of knowledge. Her personal vehicle of making a contribution to the world is communication; therefore, as she grows, expands and advances her consciousness, she feels compelled and inspired to share her lessons with students, peers, and the community at large with the goal of creating safe environments for continuous learning and development of human potential.

Ms. Plugarasu is a dynamic facilitator, moderator and presenter on empowering topics related to Personal Branding & The Power of Social Media, Communication and Leadership , Conscious Living , Conscious Parenting, Personal Development and Self Growth. She facilitated workshops and courses for college students in USA and Europe, not-for-profit organizations and women’s empowerment groups.

In her previous role as Director, Strategic Initiatives & Communications at FIU’s Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management, she was responsible for overseeing all communications and office operations including marketing, promotions, advertising, web and social media, public relations and analytics. In addition, Mihaela served as a member of the senior leadership team, providing direct support to the dean and the executive team by ensuring the implementation and management of key initiatives across the school related to the dean’s vision and mission. Under her leadership, the Chaplin School’s brand messaging and positioning improved significantly through successful accomplishment of massive projects such as E-merge Americas Technology Conference, international campus visits, industry conferences, media campaigns, new website launch, and institutional events. As a result of her strategic thinking abilities, Ms. Plugarasu was appointed to serve as one of only ten I-REAL commissioners, charged with making recommendations for FIU’s 2020 Strategic Plan. In 2016, she was selected to participate in FIU’s first cohort of the President’s Leadership Program, under the sponsorship of Dr. Mark B. Rosenberg.

Mihaela earned a Master of Science in Global Strategic Communications from Florida International University, and a Bachelor of Arts in Teaching from Iasi State University, Romania.

Heather Radi-Bermudez | Instructor

AC2 120A

Heather Bermudez began her career as a public relations practitioner in agency and corporate settings before moving to marketing and internal communications and on to her latest work in academia and non-profit organizations. Her research interests involve health communication and stigma communication in a digitized world. Her earlier work with non-profits led a grassroots movement to create public awareness for teen dating violence in Greater Miami which was recognized by Mayor Carlos Gimenez with a Mayoral Proclamation of “REAL Love Miami Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Week.” Bermudez is passionate about communications and is committed to providing students with hands-on, real-world experiences both in and out of the classroom bringing them closer to their fields and communities. She is a proud Golden Panther with two degrees from FIU – M.S. in Global Strategic Communications and B.S. in Mass Communication (Public Relations).

Rachel Rashé Reed | Instructor
VH 230

Rachel Rashé Reed earned her B.A. in Journalism and English and her M.A. in Organizational Communication from the University of Arkansas. She earned her Ph.D. in Organizational Communication from Texas A&M University. She has extensive experience working in Communication Centers and as a Public Speaking Course Director. Her teaching interests include public speaking, interpersonal communication, group communication, organizational communication, and negotiation.


Grizelle De Los Reyes | Instructor and Graduate Director

AC2 312 (BBC)

Grizelle De Los Reyes’ career can be summarized as one-part professional and one-part academic. Her 34+ years of professional experience in media, marketing research, advertising management, strategic planning and sales has made her a very effective educator and program administrator. She has been working at Florida International University (FIU) as an Instructor since 2007 and as Director of the elite Global Strategic Communications program – creative track, in partnership with world renowned Miami Ad School, since 2010. She holds a BA from the University of Puerto Rico and a MA from the University of Florida, with areas of concentration on advertising management and media.

De Los Reyes started her career in 1983 as a student intern working for the international advertising department for The Coca Company Company worldwide. In 1984, she was hired as a Broadcast Negotiator for global advertising agency, J Walter Thompson (JWT) Atlanta. Upon her departure from JWT in 1988, she held the title of Senior Broadcast Negotiator leading a team of media buyers and coordinating the regional broadcast negotiations for clients such as Burger King, Ford, Chevron, Twentieth Century Fox, Scott Paper, Baskin-Robbins, Orkin, Bellsouth and Warner Lambert. In 1988, she moved to Los Angeles to work in sales for top-radio station (KTNQ-KLVE) followed by television sales and marketing positions with KVEA-52 Los Angeles, KDTV-14 San Francisco, Univision Network and three (3) affiliates of emerging network Azteca America. In 1999, she was one of the first media executives to join digital pioneer Starmedia Networks as regional sales manager. De Los Reyes is a sought-after speaker and continues to work in a consulting capacity for select Fortune 1000 companies and their agencies such as Pepsico, Procter & Gamble, Quaker Oats, BankUnited, Bimbo Marinela, TurboTax, Vizcaya Museum and Gardens, and Jackson Health, to name a few.

She teaches specialized advertising courses such as Media Planning, Account Planning, Creative Strategy, Campaigns, Creative Concepts, Global Account Planning, Professional Project and Non-Verbal Communication. She has been instrumental in revamping the undergraduate management track and the graduate creative track, as well as developing and adding key courses in the GSC graduate management track program. Her main teaching focus is to conduct her courses with real clients and projects to provide students with real world experience, case studies and creative work for their portfolios. Her areas of professional expertise include qualitative and quantitative research, strategic planning, brand marketing and advertising, application of research to creative strategies, media planning/buying/selling of new and traditional media platforms, media metrics, promotion and guerrilla marketing, sales, media management, new-business development, presentation skills, event marketing, and non-verbal communications in business, among others.

She is an avid fitness enthusiast, runs half marathons, holds a black belt in judo and the proud mother of two young adult sons, Gabriel and Diego De Los Reyes.
Visit her podcast https://soundcloud.com/grizelletogopodcast, YouTube channel Grizelle De Los Reyes and her website grizelledelosreyes.com for more information on her courses and projects.

Lilianne Saviñon | Visiting Instructor

VH242 (MMC)

Lilianne Saviñon is the Director of FIU’s student-run communications agency, BOLD. The agency provides a supervised space where students can apply the skills acquired in the classroom to real campaigns for real clients. Mrs. Saviñon specializes in strategic creative and teaches Advertising courses that touch upon branding, strategy, social media, art direction and copywriting.

Mrs. Saviñon earned her Master of Advertising from Boston University and her B.S. in Public Relations at Florida International University.

Crystal Sears | Visiting Professor

Crystal Sears teaches online courses from Michigan. Crystal Sears received her BS in Communication with a minor in Psychology from Eastern Michigan University. She went on to receive her MA in Communication with a cognate in Psychology also from Eastern Michigan University. She continued her education by attending Wayne State University, where she completed her Ph.D. in Communication with a cognate in Social Psychology and Health Communication. Her doctoral dissertation was an in-depth study on cyber-bullying.

She also received a second MA in Mental Health Counseling from Liberty University and is currently a licensed counselor in the state of Michigan. She has also received certification from the state of Michigan and the Dispute Resolution Center of Center Michigan in Civil Court Mediation.


Sigal Segev | Associate Professor

AC2 325A (BBC)
305 -919-5618

Sigal Segev, Ph.D. is an assistant professor in the Department of Communication at Florida International University (FIU). She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Arabic Language from Tel- Aviv University, a Master’s degree in Advertising & Public Relations from Florida International University and a Ph.D. in Communications from the University of Leicester, UK. Dr. Segev’s research interests focus on green advertising, new media and multi-cultural communication, specifically the effect of acculturation and ethnic identity on audience responses and decision-making. She teaches classes in both graduate and undergraduate levels, including communication research methods, strategic communication in public diplomacy, global communication, a seminar in crisis management, and a new course in public opinion and new media as part of the SCJ’s recently launched major in Digital Media Studies. Prior to joining FIU, Dr. Segev held marketing communications and public relations positions at both private and government sectors.

Brian Siress | Visiting Instructor


Instructor Siress has more than 20 years experience in academia and is a graduate of New York University’s (NYU) Steinhardt School of Culture, Communication, Education, and Human Development where he earned his MA in Communication Studies.  He also earned his BA degree in Communication Studies from Emerson College in Boston.

Instructor Siress has taught many classes in communication studies at various colleges and universities including Marymount Manhattan College, the CUNY college system of New York City, Monroe College, and Barry University in Miami where he taught classes such as Communication Theory, Rhetoric and Public Speaking, Intercultural Communication, Mass Media History, Popular Music and the Media to name a few.

Prior to teaching, Instructor Siress worked for various professional business organizations in New York City including HBO where he was a staff writer and production assistant for the Original Programming Department.  He worked doing research for the executive producers on several popular documentaries and nationally televised programs.   Instructor Siress is an amateur filmmaker and musician who has performed with various musical groups and has also performed and produced several of his own recordings.

Research interests include persuasion and communication theory, mass media history, semiotics, non-verbal communication, political rhetoric, and pop music history.

Instructor Siress is a member of National Communication Association and was recently appointed full-time as a Visiting Instructor within the FIU Department of Commination where he has taught since 2010.   At FIU Instructor Siress has taught (and currently teaches) Persuasion, Public Speaking, Non-Verbal Communication, Rhetoric and Public Address, Professional Communication, and Intercultural Communication in both the traditional classroom setting and on-line.

John Sotham | Visiting Instructor

VH 241

John Sotham is a retired U.S. Air Force colonel with 30 years of active and reserve service who has commanded Air Force squadrons both Stateside and in Afghanistan, and who has an interest in furthering the communication skills of veterans entering the workforce. He is an alumni of and former leadership and research instructor at Air Command and Staff College, a graduate institution for mid-grade officers from all services and the militaries of 35 foreign countries. Mr. Sotham is currently a contributing editor and former associate editor of Air & Space Smithsonian magazine in Washington, D.C., where he reported nationally and internationally, served as the book reviews editor, and continues to author stories and blog on aviation and space flight. Prior to joining the communication department full-time, he was an adjunct instructor who taught a variety of courses including Intercultural Communication, Communication for Effective Leadership, Nonverbal Communication, and Business and Professional Communication, for which he serves as the faculty coordinator. He is teaching a new course in applied communication for specific professions whose students will publish a digital magazine each semester. He received an M.A. in Journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia and an M.M.A.S. from Air Command and Staff College.

Alfred Soto | Visiting Professor

VH 214 (MMC)
(305) 348-1584

Alfred Soto is a visiting professor of communications at FIU. He has taught journalism, writing, film, and literature courses at FIU for twenty years. In addition, he worked as assistant director of Student Media, advising student publications PantherNow, Panther Magazine and student radio station The ROAR FM. At SPIN Magazine, he served as freelance assignment editor. He is a freelance journalist whose work about literature, music and film has appeared in  Pitchfork, Billboard, The Miami Herald, PBS, and Slate, among other publications. He is a member of the Florida Film Critics Circle.

He received his master’s in English at Florida International University.

Carlos Miguel Suris | Senior Instructor

VH 208 (MMC)

Carlos Miguel Suris, M.L.S., M.M. is a Senior Instructor in the Department of Communication. He teaches Mass Media & Society, including a fully online version of the course, Database & Public Records Reporting. He also teaches in the Spanish Journalism Masters Program. Suris has worked as a media and business researcher, reference and special collections librarian and as a financial and accounting consultant. This broad background has made Suris one of SCJ’s primary research mentors. His affinity for research is balanced with a thorough knowledge of music; he is an accomplished guitarist. A member of SCJ’s faculty since 1993, receiving the Dean’s Award for Outstanding Faculty in 2007, he pioneered SCJ’s online collaboration with FIU’s Online Learning Center. In addition, he has chaired the SCJ’s Curriculum Committee since 2005, in which he has participated in various re-structuring initiatives of the curriculum.


Weirui Wang | Associate Professor

AC2 328 (BBC)

Weirui (Vay-Ray) Wang, associate professor in the Department of Communication, earned a Ph.D. in Mass Communication from the Pennsylvania State University. She received a Master of Arts in Communication Studies from Virginia Tech University and Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from Fudan University in Shanghai, China. Dr. Wang’s research focuses broadly on health communication and new media. In particular, she is interested in investigating the effects of new technology use in arenas of health information seeking, message processing and persuasion, and stigma communication. She has also conducted research on persuasive strategies in health related social marketing, and on the effects of cultural factors on health attitudes and behaviors. In 2012, Dr. Wang was a recipient of AEJMC emerging scholar award and named one of Florida International University’s Top Scholars. Her work has been accepted and published in Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health, Health Communication, International Journal of Advertising, International Journal of Communication, and other peer-reviewed journals.

María Elena Villar | Associate Professor

PCA(MMC) | AC2 326 (BBC)
305-348-7644 (MMC) | 305-919-5795 (BBC)

María Elena Villar is associate professor of the Department of Communication at the School of Communication + Journalism at Florida International University and teaches courses in communication theory, research methods, multicultural communication, and advanced seminars in strategic communications. She holds a doctorate in communications and master’s in public health from the University of Miami, and a bachelor’s degree in economics from Columbia University. Her research focuses on culturally competent communication for social and behavioral change, and on strategic communication for diverse audiences. In her career as a researcher, Dr. Villar has focused on diverse topics that range from culture and communication, social determinants of disease and health, domestic and sexual violence prevention, stigma related to HIV, mental health and drug abuse, evaluation of program outcomes, and communication for social change. She helped found the student-run faculty supervised strategic communication agency, BOLD, and has taken groups of students on summer abroad programs to Berlin, Germany and Seville, Spain. She has been an invited lecturer for graduate programs at Universidad del Norte in Colombia and Universidad Americana in Nicaragua.

She has dozens of publications based on her research including peer-reviewed journal articles, conference proceedings, a book chapter and many conference presentations, and several technical reports. Her work has been published in Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health, Sex Education, Health and Mass Communication, Howard Journal of Communication, Journal of Product and Brand Management, American Journal of Media Psychology, Pediatrics, and Journal of Pediatrics, as well as other scholarly journals. She has presented papers and lectures at national and international refereed conferences, including the National Communication Association, International Communication Association, Public Relations Society of America, Association for Educators in Mass Communication, Institute for Public Relations, World Congress on Communications for Development, Latin American Studies Association, Global Health and Innovation Summit at Yale University, and the CDC National Conference on Health Communication, Marketing and Media.

Prior to coming to FIU, she was adjunct professor of public health at Nova Northeastern University, and taught speech communication at Miami Dade College and communication at the University of Miami. She has been an invited lecturer for graduate programs at several universities in Latin America. Dr. Villar’s professional experience includes senior research roles at the University of Miami School of Medicine departments of epidemiology and pediatrics; and at the Nova Southeastern University’s Institute for Child Health Policy.

In addition to her responsibilities as researcher and educator, Dr. Villar is heavily involved in the community. She served as social marketing director to federally funded FACES (Families and Communities Empowered for Success), a community initiative to improve behavioral health services for youth and ensure that family voices are heard. In that role she oversaw all social marketing, branding, stigma reduction and internal communication activities. For her work, she received various ECCO (Excellence in Communication and Community Outreach) Award from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Based on this work, she was recognized by Florida International University as a 2012 Top Scholar for her scholarly contributions.

Dr. Villar’s current projects include research on the use of “fotonovelas” or graphic novels for discussion of stigmatized health issues among Haitian and Latino immigrants; culture, stigma and HIV-related behaviors; culturally appropriate approaches to improve clergy health; involvement of Latino fathers in their children’s health, and and measuring attitude change as a precursor to behavior change. She is currently collaborating on an interactive game intervention to increase awareness and promote prevention of commercial sexual exploitation of children and adolescents in Colombia.

Villar CV – April 2016

Chun Zhou | Visiting Assistant Professor
VH 219 (MMC)

Chun Zhou earned her Ph.D. in Communication from the University of Miami and her M.A. in Public Relations and Advertising from DePaul University. Dr. Zhou’s research involves designing and evaluating persuasive messages using digital communication technologies, such as serious digital games and interactive websites, for health education purposes. Her current research projects examine whether and why digital game features, such as interactivity or narratives enhance persuasive outcomes. Dr. Zhou has published on Health Education, Journal of Intercultural Communication Research, and Newspaper Research Journal, and has presented her work at the conferences of National Communication Association, International Communication Association, and Kentucky Conference on Health Communication over the past years. She teaches Communication Theory, Interpersonal Communication, Persuasion, and Small Group Communication at Florida International University.

Tanya Abreu

Audria Aldridge Email

Liza Alexandra Email

Carolina Almeida Email

Judith Anderson Email

Sample syllabus: SPC 2608

Lorraine Bauday

Brent Campbell Email

Lara Chapman

Lara C. Chapman earned her B.A. in English: Creative Writing from the University of Central Florida, a graduate certificate in Professional Writing from Old Dominion University and an M.A. in Journalism and Media Studies from the University of South Florida St. Petersburg.

She currently teaches online courses including Artistic Expression in a Global Society (IDS 3336), Rhetorical Communication (SPC 3230) and Business and Professional Communication (COM 3110). She also works as a copywriter for a South Florida marketing firm and has written for a variety of publications including a daily newspaper, local and regional magazines, business journals as well as companies and private organizations– specializing in profiles, advertorials, promotional content, and feature stories.


Joan Chrissos Email

Christine Donaldson

Christine Donaldson received her BA in Speech Communication from Youngstown State University in Ohio and her MA in Interpersonal Communication from the University of Central Florida. Christine has been teaching in higher education since 2010 both in the traditional classroom and online. She is committed to increasing accessibility and creating a positive online learning experience for her students. Christine teaches Gender and Communication, Fundamentals of Leadership, Interpersonal Communication and Business and Professional Communication with FIU.


Mario Diament Email

Erin Ebanks

Erin Ebanks holds a bachelor’s degree in Communication from Stetson University, and a master’s degree in Mass Media Communication from UCF. She has a professional background in marketing, and has taught several courses in interpersonal and speech communication across the state of Florida. She is the author of the book Happy Professor: An Adjunct Instructor’s Guide to Personal, Financial, and Student Success, and she runs the website happyprofessor.com.


Donna Evans Email

Maria Garcia Email

Shane Gunderson

Dr. Shane Gunderson is an Adjunct Professor in Communication Arts at Florida International University. He earned a Master’s of Public Administration and a Ph.D. in Comparative Studies at Florida Atlantic University. He is the author and subject-matter expert for Dimensions of Public Speaking: Connecting with the Audience, a public speaking webtext. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers are releasing his forthcoming book, Momentum and the East Timor Independence Movement: The Origins of America’s Debate on East Timor. In addition, he has published two book chapters, six journal articles and presented his research at fourteen national conferences and one international conference in Budapest, Hungary. His article, “Protest Actions, Image Events, and the Civil Rights Movement in Birmingham,” was published in the American Communication Journal. Professor Gunderson teaches Public Speaking (SPC 2608), Political Communication (COM 4510), and Intercultural Communication (COM 3461).

His strong social science research background in communication and sociology promotes academic rigor and a practical orientation toward mentoring and training students to address issues of strategic communication, humanitarian action, societal change, justice, and governing in theory and praxis.

Dr. Gunderson’s professional experience outside of an educational setting, in the court system since 1989, is well-suited to integrating case studies to help students understand how effective communication can assist communities. His credentials speak to his engagement with the community. In 1995 and 1997, as a President Clinton appointee to the Presidential Rank Awards Review Board, Dr. Gunderson evaluated federal executives for outstanding contributions to the management of government programs. He devotes the same intensity to the welfare of the community as he does to his professional life. In 2006, he was honored by the United Way for the formation of Providing Basic Needs and Increasing Self Sufficiency Impact Team, a hard-working volunteer group that created a model for improving community conditions. He is currently a member of the following organizations: the National Communication Association, the Florida Distance Learning Association and the Mid-South Sociological Association.


Giselle Heraux Email

Bob Holtzman Email

Ana Hume Email

Wendy Imel

Wendy Imel has a BSBA in Business Administration and Marketing from Suffolk University in Boston Massachusetts, as well as a MBA with a concentration in Organizational Communication and Leadership from Marylhurst University in Oregon. She has worked for more than 9 years in higher education, both teaching and managing teams and project initiatives. She teaches Organizational Communication and Managerial Communication for the Communication Arts Department at Florida International University.


Karla Kennedy Email

Yvette Lujan Email

Steve Luscher

Steve Luscher earned a B.A. in English from the University of Maryland and an M.A. in Linguistics from Florida International University and has 18 graduate credits of Communication Arts at Florida Atlantic University. He currently teaches Business and Professional Communication (COM 3110) and Intercultural Communication (COM 3461) for the Communication Arts Department at Florida International University.


Sample syllabi: COM 3461 | COM 3150

Henry Maklakiewicz Email

Jessica Matias Email

Tom Meade

Tom earned his B.S. in Advertising and M.A. in Communication Studies from West Virginia University. He earned his Ph.D. in Mass Communication at the University of Alabama. Tom’s research focuses on media effects, specifically developmental differences that may occur from access to media.


Barbara Midence Email

Luis Montenegro Email

Noelia Moreno Email

Stephen Muniz Email

Sample syllabi: COM 3110 | SPC 2608 | COM 3150

Arden Napier Email

Arden Napier received a B.S. in Public Relations with a minor in Spanish from the University of Florida. She pursued a career in public relations and sports marketing which included working on a myriad of communications and branding initiatives to reach new markets. Professor Napier returned to school and received a M.S. in Mass Communication with an emphasis on Global Strategic Communications from Florida International University.

Victoria Ng Email

William Parsons Email

Sample syllabus: SPC 2608

Rochelle Patten

Rochelle Patten earned a B.B.A. in Human Resource Management from Florida International University. She pursued a career in hospitality, travel and tourism with Sandals Resorts International, head office for the Sandals and Beaches resorts where she worked closely with the Jamaica Tourist Board and other offices of government. She returned to school where she earned a M.A. in Corporate Communication from Baruch College, CUNY. She worked in recruiting before pursuing a career in higher education. Ms. Patten is an academic advisor with the School of Journalism and Mass Communication and is currently pursuing a doctorate in Adult Education/ Human Resource Development. Ms. Patten teaches Public Speaking (SPC 2608) for the Communication Arts Department.


Sample syllabus: SPC 2608

Clotilde Picart Email

Gabriella Portela

Gabby Portela serves as the the Community Engagement Coordinator and supports the Department of Communication’s Internship Initiative, oversees the alumni board, and coordinates the logistics of the department’s community projects. She earned her B.A. in Art History from Florida State University and an M.S. in Higher Education Administration from FIU. Gabby joined FIU in 2011 as the Marketing and Communications Coordinator for the Frost Art Museum where she directed the design of all publicity materials including press releases, invitations, brochures, and museum catalogs. Previously, she worked at several cultural institutions doing marketing and development including Miami Art Museum, The Florida Historic Capitol, and the Ringling Museum. She is an active member of the Junior League of Miami and is the Community Outreach Coordinator for the Miami Seminole Club.


Jose Rodriguez

José Rodríguez received a B.S.C. in Speech Communication and Psychology with a minor in Spanish and an M.S.Ed. in Higher Education Administration and Enrollment Management from the University of Miami. He has worked for over 13 years in university administration and teaching both at UM and FIU. He is currently the assistant dean of the Honors College at FIU and is enrolled in the Industrial-Organizational Psychology Ph.D. program where he is studying communication dynamics in the work place as they relate to conflict, culture, and wellbeing. Professor Rodriguez teaches Business Communication (COM 3110), Advanced Business Communication (3150), Public Speaking (SPC 2608), Intercultural Communication (COM 3461) and the Comm Arts Department’s first study abroad class, the Cultural Communication Patterns of Europe (COM 4731).


Sample syllabus: COM 3461

Eduardo Santa Maria Email

Orly Shuber


Sample syllabus: COM 3471

Audrey Shaffer

Katy Snell Email

Anthony Spallone Email

Anthony Spallone received his BS in Religion from Liberty University in Virginia and his MTh in Applied Theology from the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom. In the past, Anthony worked as a Teaching Assistant in Speech and also helped lead the debate team at Miami Dade College in Kendall. He is currently working full time at the University of Miami and hoping to pursue a graduate degree in Communications in 2019.

Brittany Spencer Email

Carlos Suris Email

Cristina Trinh Email

Sabrina Vollrath-Bueno Email

Sabrina Vollrath-Bueno earned her B.S. in Communication from the University of Miami and her M.S. from Florida International University in Mass Communication. Since 2005, Sabrina has been deeply involved in the Marketing field handling on-line web marketing, e-mail communications, product campaign development, event planning, and media relations. The courses Professor Vollrath-Bueno teaches includes Intercultural Communication (COM 3461), Business and Professional Communication (COM 3110), Healthcare Communication (COM 4022), Small Group Communication (SPC 3425) and Public Speaking (SPC 2608).

Sample syllabi: SPC 2608 | COM 3150

Erika Wallgren Email

Patricia Whalen Email

Raquel Wilmot Email

Allan Wilson Email

Suzanne N. Wilson-Wong Email

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