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According to Robert Maynard Hutchins, an early president of the University of Chicago, “The object of the educational system, taken as a whole, is not to produce hands for industry or to teach the young how to make a living. It is to produce responsible citizens.” Hutchins’s message that an education is meant to produce engaged citizens is still true today. LEONIDAS G. BACHAS Dean of the UM College of Arts and Sciences

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In the College of Arts and Sciences, our goal is not only to teach students the skills they need to pursue their dreams but also to help them become active citizens who continually strive to make their communities better places. We believe it is our responsibility as faculty members and administrators to provide students with a safe environment in which to grow, learn, experiment, and find a larger purpose in life. A liberal arts education is defined by free inquiry rather than narrow concern for vocational utility. We aim to give students opportunities to reflect on their beliefs and choices, to be creative in their problem solving, and to engage with the world around them. In these ways, we prepare students for a lifetime. While some of our students ultimately will become physicians, lawyers, academics or businesspeople, all of them will be citizens of a larger community. They will make decisions that

may affect the lives of others. We are committed to giving students the tools to face these challenges in an informed and thoughtful way, to extend their learning from campus to community and beyond. This issue of the magazine explores how current students and faculty members in the College do just that. Many former students tell us they value the preparation for life they received as students in the College. One result is their support of the College through contributions to our Annual Fund. This year, I am pleased to announce that the Annual Fund exceeded $1 million dollars. These gifts support student scholarships and fellowships, recruitment of world-class faculty members, and the development of innovative programs. I thank all of our former students who have contributed to the fund. And I also thank our students and alumni for heeding Robert Maynard Hutchins’s challenge to make a positive mark in their community.


Dean Leonidas G. Bachas Senior Associate Deans Traci Ardren Angel Kaifer Daniel L. Pals Associate Deans Rita L. Deutsch Charles Mallery Assistant Dean Jennifer Lewis ADVANCEMENT

Assistant Dean for Development Holly Davis


Editor Sara LaJeunesse Contributing Editor Steven J. Marcus Contributing Writers Sherri Miles Kyle Siebrecht Holly Davis Design Seth Sirbaugh Photographers Liana Minassian Byron Maldonaldo Richard Patterson, Focal Point LLC Lynned Perez Meg Pukel

Director of Development Jeanne Luis Assistant Director Jacky Donate

Find us on Facebook

CONTENTS UniversityofMiamiCollegeofArtsandSciences



12 I S  tudent Engagement

2 I News Briefs 22 I T racking

Students in the College make a difference in the South Florida community and beyond.

16 I P  sychology Faculty Engaged in the Community Faculty researchers and clinicians in the Department of Psychology offer help to those in the community who suffer from disorders, including autism, anxiety, and depression.


26 I Campus Events 28 I No. 38!

Arts & Sciences is produced in the fall and spring by the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Miami. Through the magazine, we seek to increase awareness of the College’s activities by telling the stories of faculty, staff, students, and alumni. Send comments, requests for permission to reprint material, requests for extra copies, and change of address notification to: Arts & Sciences, College of Arts and Sciences, P.O. Box 248004, Coral Gables, FL 33124-4620. Telephone: (305) 284-3874. All contents © 2011, University of Miami. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission is prohibited. Visit the College of Art and Sciences on the web: http:// Past issues of the magazine are available at http://www.


A & S STUDENTS Named Fulbright Scholars


Recipients research ways to advance global health issues, improve living conditions of indigenous peoples, and heal tumor cells. BY SHERRI MILES

Three students in the College of Arts & Sciences were named 2011-2012 Fulbright Scholars. Here are their stories:

REAL Students EXCEL at Artificial intelligence Undergraduate computer-science TEAM REACHES World Finals IN PROGRAMMING CONTEST.

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Ubbo Visser, associate professor of computer science, and students (from left) Andreas Seekircher and Justin Stoeckler.

ranked universities. For example, an undergrad software team consisting of Frank Rodriguez ’12 (Computer Science/Engineering), Juan Bustos ’10 (Math/Computer Science), and Andy Mok ’12 (Computer Science/Math) represented UM at the ACM Southeastern Regional Computer Programming Contest held in November 2010 at the Florida Institute of Technology in Melbourne. The team finished in first place among 74 teams from 29 schools, and this victory earned it one of only 105 spots—a prestigious distinction in a total field of 8,000 regional teams—to compete in the 2011 ACM International Collegiate Programming Contest World Finals. In that event, held in May

in Orlando, Florida, the UM team placed 69th in the world and ranked sixth among the American universities that competed. In another impressive performance this year, at the IEEE SoutheastCon 2011 Software Contest held in March in Nashville, Tennessee, the UM team of Rodriguez, Mok, and Oscar Sanchez ’12 (Computer Science/Math) beat 18 out of 19 teams to finish in second place. The competition challenged teams of three students each to use their analytical abilities and programming skills to solve assigned problems within three hours using only the laptops and software provided.

Rebecca Alarcon

Chirag Gheewala

Rachel Libby

Returning to Costa Rica and the Reto Juvenil International organization where she volunteered in 2010, Liz Rebecca Alarcon (BA ’11, International Studies/Sociology) will carry out her Fulbright project, “Development from the Bottom Up: Partnerships for Self-Sustainability in Los Jazmines, Costa Rica,” developed with advisor Steve Ralph, director of student services in the Department of International Studies. Alarcon will examine how a small group of indigenous women from one of the poorest locales in Costa Rica worked through an “executive board”, the Association of Los Jazmines Women, to successfully create partnerships with local nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) to improve living conditions in their community. Alarcon will study the structures of these NGO partnerships and also poll the residents of Los Jazmines to follow up studies she initiated in 2010.

Chirag Gheewala (BS ’11, Chemistry/Biology), will conduct research in Madrid at Spain’s Institute of General Organic Chemistry. His Fulbright project, “Synthesis of Bioactive Chromanes,” developed with advisor James N. Wilson, an assistant professor of chemistry, involves both organic chemistry and molecular biology. He will produce organic compounds called chromanes in a chemistry lab and test their restorative properties on tumor cells in a biology lab. Chemistry has an extensive history of crosscultural collaboration, which is more important now than ever before,” says Gheewala. “Crosscultural cooperation requires effective communication and mutual cultural understanding. Working with the scientists in Madrid will provide me the international exposure necessary to hone these communication skills and prepare me for a career in chemistry research.”

Rachel Libby (AB/MA ’11, FILAS), a graduate of the Fellowship in Latin American Studies (FILAS), a five-year dual-degree honors program, is continuing to work toward her goal of improving global health. Through FILAS she spent over a year abroad—in Cuba, Argentina, Panama, Nicaragua, and Haiti—serving in field hospitals, completing health-education projects, and acting as a medical translator. Libby’s Fulbright project, “Health-Education Programs in Dominican Bateyes: Evaluating the Community-Based Approach,” developed with her advisor Sherri Porcelain, a lecturer in international studies, builds on the work of the Dominican Republic’s National Center for Child and Maternal Health. She will study the impact of health-education programs on Dominican sugar plantations, or bateyes, where residents, who often are victims of violence, economic hardship, social stigmatization, and racism, are traditionally deprived of basic services, such as education and health care, offered to other Dominicans. ARTS I SCIENCES  3

Photo BY Meg Pukel

A major challenge in artificial intelligence (AI) is to develop new technologies that allow autonomous robots—capable of making decisions without human assistance—to act appropriately in unforeseen situations and in real-time and dynamic environments. Toward that end, the RoboCanes, a virtual soccer team developed by the AI & Games group of UM’s Department of Computer Science, plays in the 3D soccer-simulation league at RoboCup—a series of international robotics competitions. In April 2011, the RoboCanes were undefeated at the RoboCup German Open in Magdeburg—a competition of 10 teams from seven countries. Research Associate Professor and RoboCanes coach Ubbo Visser pointed out this strong performance followed a successful appearance at the World Championships held in June 2010 in Singapore, where the team made it to the quarterfinals. In the RoboCanes’ most recent major competition, at this year’s World Championships held in July in Istanbul, Turkey, it defeated the former world-champion team from China to secure fifth place among 22 teams. Members of the RoboCanes include doctoral students Saminda Abeyruwan, Andreas Seekircher, and Justin Stoecker, with their coach as “the driving force behind the team,” according to Hüseyin Koçak, professor and chair of the Department of Computer Science. “Professor Visser’s technical leadership and boundless enthusiasm has inspired the students.” In addition to these achievements at the graduate level, undergraduate computer-science students are competing against and beating software teams from some of the world’s most highly

Photo BY

By Sherri Miles

Photo BY Liana Minassian



CLASSSPOTLIGHT Internships with Holocaust Survivors

Center for the Humanities is New Home for Prominent Academic Journal

and preserve unique personal histories.



From left to right: Mihoko Suzuki, Mary Lindemann, and Anne Cruz.

The editorial office of Early Modern Women: An Interdisciplinary Journal is now located at the University of Miami’s Center for the Humanities, where it is being coedited by Anne J. Cruz, professor of Spanish in the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures and Cooper fellow; Mary Lindemann, professor and chair of the Department of History; and Mihoko Suzuki, professor of English and director of the Center for the Humanities. The three editors are members of the Center’s Early Modern Studies Research Group. As the first scholarly publication to be housed in the Center for the Humanities, the journal will draw international attention to UM’s strength in early modern studies,” said Cruz. “Its interdisciplinary focus ideally

reflects the Center’s academic and pedagogical mission.” Early Modern Women was founded in 2006 at the University of Maryland’s Center for Renaissance and Baroque Studies. It is the only journal devoted solely to the interdisciplinary and global study of women and gender during the years 1400-1700. It has published field-defining articles as well as forums on topics such as early modern women and sex, material culture, and the rise of the mercantile economy. Cruz, Lindemann, and Suzuki are all prolific authors of numerous books and essays on women in the early modern period. Cruz and Suzuki are co-editors of The Rule of Women in Early Modern Europe (2009). Cruz has edited Women’s Literacy in Early Modern Spain and the New World (2011) and is writing a book on Luisa de Carvajal y Mendoza, a Spanish missionary to England. Suzuki’s most recent book is The History of British Women’s Writing 1610-1690 (2011); her current project, “Antigone’s Example,” takes as its subject women and civil war in early modern England and France. Lindemann is the author of Liaisons Dangereuses: Sex, Law, and Diplomacy in the Age of Frederick the Great (2006); the second edition of Medicine and Society in Early Modern Europe (1999) was published in 2010. She is writing a book titled Charlotte’s Web: The Guyard Incest Case as History and Literature. The College of Arts and Sciences Center for the Humanities at the University of Miami is dedicated to supporting humanities, arts, and interpretive social science research and teaching, as well as to presenting public programs to enrich Miami’s intellectual culture. Visit the journal online at:


Course helps students form intergenerational bonds

In a small apartment in Aventura, Vanessa Mander, ’11 (Political Science/Jewish Studies), sits down with Mrs. B. L. and asks her, “When did you first allow yourself to think you might survive the war?” B. sighs audibly as she organizes her thoughts and then begins the first of many stories she will tell Vanessa over the next several weeks. Such narratives of horror, endurance, and reflection are a central part of one of the College of Arts and Sciences’ most remarkable interdisciplinary offerings, Judaic Studies 205/206. “Survivor.” One of the most potent words in the English language, its ultimate association is with those imprisoned in the Nazi concentration camps during World War II and who somehow managed to emerge alive. These survivors bear important witness to the most horrendous chapter of the 20th century—arguably, of world history. Eugene Rothman, associate director of academic development at the Sue and Leonard Miller Center for Contemporary Judaic Studies, explains that the class was created with the goal of making the current generation aware of that experience within an academic framework.

This unique program, which lasts two semesters, has three components. First, interns make biweekly visits to Holocaust survivors, in their homes, to hear and chronicle their stories and build relationships. Second, through an academic-enrichment component, students acquire skills such as interviewing, journaling, and building intergenerational relationships. And third, they must complete one of the College’s courses about the Holocaust—English 365 (Holocaust Literature), for example, or German 400 (The Holocaust in History, Film, and Memorial Culture). For the Holocaust survivors, the program provides an opportunity not only to preserve their firsthand record of this historical occurrence but also to speak to the present generation—and, in effect, future generations—about its significance. On a personal level, it gives many survivors a new set of “grandchildren” as they form relationships with their student visitors that often continue after the program has been completed. Students participating in the program develop skills in framing the interviews, recording the subjects’ words in a consistent and usable format, and then organizing and

analyzing the result—skills that have application in academic and workplace pursuits well beyond the program’s subject matter. Through the required HSSI projects, known as “Legacy Projects,” they create records of the survivors’ personal stories. The interns come from a wide range of majors, and some 50 percent do not have a Jewish background. “The internship program attracts a broad spectrum of UM students and provides them with a unique educational experience that reinforces their community values and commitment,” says Rothman, who serves as the coordinator of the internships. And the experience is transcendent in several ways. He adds: “The program changes the lives of the interns and survivors, and according to many of the participating students it is their most significant learning experience at UM.” Says Rothman: “Over 300 UM students have participated in the Holocaust Survivors Support Internship program, which we believe can serve as a model for university-community collaboration in supporting other groups whose voices should be heard and whose stories should be recorded, told, and retold.”

BOOKMARKS Encountering Revolution

Photos BY Lynned Perez

Encountering Revolution (John Hopkins University Press) by Assistant Professor of History Ashli White examines the significant impact of the Haitian Revolution on the early United States. In this period no other event laid bare the contradiction between republican principles and slavery more clearly than the Haitian Revolution (1791-1804), when slaves and free people of color in the French Caribbean colony of Saint-Domingue insisted that all men, regardless of race, are free, equal, and entitled to the rights of citizens. White shows how the Haitian Revolution forced Americans to confront the paradox of being a “slaveholding republic” and in so doing, shaped the course of slavery, racism, and politics in the United States.

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The Spirits and the Law: Vodou and Power in Haiti

Civic Talk: Peers, Politics and the Future of Democracy

The Spirits and the Law: Vodou and Power in Haiti (University of Chicago Press) by Assistant Professor of History Kate Ramsey examines the history and legacy of laws that prohibited popular religious practices in Haiti between 1835 and 1987. While not often strictly enforced, these laws were at times the basis for attacks on the Vodou religion by the Haitian state, the Catholic Church, and occupying U.S. forces. At the same time, Ramsey examines the ways communities across Haiti evaded, subverted, redirected, and shaped enforcement of the laws. Analyzing the long genealogy of anti-Vodou rhetoric, The Spirits and the Law deconstructs claims that the religion has impeded Haiti’s development.

While face-to-face conversation seems quaint in an era where texting, Facebook, and Twitter rule, Associate Professor of Political Science Casey Klofstad convincingly demonstrates that ordinary talk still matters. In his innovative book, Civic Talk: Peers, Politics and the Future of Democracy (Temple University Press), Klofstad shows that discussing politics and current events with our friends, colleagues, and relatives encourages us to become civically active. Klofstad’s path-breaking research is the first to find evidence of a causal relationship between these informal chats and civic participation. This conclusion cuts against the grain of previous research, which primarily focuses on individual-level determinants of civic participation, and negates social-level explanations.

Comprehending Drug Use Comprehending Drug Use (Rutgers University Press) by Professor of Anthropology J. Bryan Page and Merrill Singer is a discussion of the use of ethnographic methods in drug research. The volume is a comprehensive survey of how ethnographic approaches have contributed to the study of drug use, particularly illegal drugs, and it suggests strategies to reform the system currently in place to control drug use. Since the beginning of the 20th century, anthropologists and sociologists have been placing themselves in circumstances where they could watch drug users consume their drugs of choice and ask questions about it. This approach suggested ways to gain new knowledge about how and why people use drugs.





A & S Student Appointed to the Board of trustees

Meet three scholars who joined the College of Arts & Sciences in Fall 2011.

Student leader Dara Collins is serving as student trustee for 2011-12 BY SHERRI MILES

Marc R. Knecht, associate professor

Renée Fox, assistant professor

Department of Mathematics

Department of Chemistry

Department of English

Hometown: Austin, Texas

Hometown: Somerset, Pennsylvania

Hometown: Los Angeles, California

Education: B.S., mathematics and psychology, Texas State University; M.S., mathematics, University of Nebraska-Lincoln; Ph.D., mathematics, University of Georgia.

Education: B.S., chemistry, Duquesne University; Ph.D., chemistry, Vanderbilt University.

Education: B.A., M.A., English, Stanford University; Ph.D., English, Princeton University.

Research and teaching interests: My research interests focus on bio-inspired nanotechnology—I study the use of small peptides and proteins for the fabrication of functional nanostructures that operate under green conditions. Regarding my teaching interests, I enjoy teaching general chemistry and similar courses to freshmen.

Research and teaching interests: 19th- and 20th-century Irish literature, Victorian literature and culture

Research and teaching interests: Topological and probabilistic methods in data analysis; computational biology; geometric combinatorics. When not teaching or researching, I am . . . . . . running marathons and ultramarathons. I have a goal of completing a marathon in every state, and I’m nearly halfway finished. Aside from running, I enjoy spending time with my two-year-old son. We play in parks, we read books, we play with puzzles, and most importantly, we giggle! How did your career lead you to UM? I came to the University of Miami because of its endless opportunities for interdisciplinary research. The Departments of Mathematics, Biology, and Computer Science have very strong researchers who are open to and excited by interdisciplinary collaboration. I also love interacting with pure mathematicians, and the research areas in the UM Department of Mathematics complement my background and interests in pure mathematics.

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How does what you research affect society? My research explores the use of new pathways to achieve nanostructures with energy-neutral functionality. For instance, we have designed new types of catalysts—species that drive chemical reactions—that operate at room temperature in water. These systems are modeled after the ways in which nature makes functional nanostructures using peptides. By applying nature’s principles, we have exploited existing biological capabilities and directed them toward technological goals. In light of the current energy situation around the globe, we are striving to make our systems more efficient than those currently used to minimize energy consumption.

When not teaching or researching, I am . . . . . . compulsively baking and making a giant mess in the kitchen. I especially love to experiment with cookie baking, but I’m happy trying to perfect almost anything that allows me to add copious amounts of chocolate and butter. My less chocolate-y free time often includes hiking, yoga, spending time with my family, and indulging my weak spot for HBO series or old Buffy the Vampire Slayer episodes. What do you hope to accomplish in your classroom or with your research? The Victorian period is often thought of (when it’s thought of at all) as a stuffy, uptight, longwinded century. I love to expose students to the incredible weirdness, perversity, and fascination with new “science” that winds through 19th-century literature (digging up corpses to find buried poetry, blood-sucking women haunting castles, mummies coming back to life), and then to trace contemporary phenomena like the Twilight series back to their origins in 19th-century Gothic fiction.

Photo BY Meg Pukel

Valerie Hower, assistant professor

Dara Collins, the current student member of the University of Miami’s Board of Trustees, is the fifth of the last seven student trustees to come from the College of Arts and Sciences. She follows in the path most recently of T. Mechelle Francis, an international studies doctoral candidate who served in 2009-10, and Shajena Erazo (’09), an English major who served in 2008-09. Collins, a senior, is an international studies major with minors in aerospace studies and public relations. In addition to her role on the Board, Collins is serving as president of United Black Students (UBS) for the 2011-12 academic year. She also holds leadership roles in her sorority, Delta Sigma Theta, as well as within the Air Force ROTC, where she has been a flight commander and operations squadron commander. Collins knew she wanted to get involved in campus activities when she first arrived at UM. She enlisted the help of a number of student leaders, whose guidance and mentorship led her to organizations she cared about. She rose rapidly in those organizations. “In the UBS I began as a committee member for our Martin Luther King celebration. I started attending more service days and was elected public relations cochair. Ultimately I was inspired to take on the presidency of UBS.” Collins was encouraged by others to pursue the role of Student Trustee and she is clear in what she plans to accomplish in that capacity. “I hope to provide a student perspective, represent the diversity of this University, and encourage student interaction and involvement. I will actively work to ensure that students are at the forefront of decision making and planning.”


Billie Grace Lynn, associate professor of sculpture and head of 3D Art in the Department of Art and Art History, is the prestigious West Collection 2011 Grand Prize winner. She will use the $25,000 prize to traverse the country on the skeleton of a cow—her electric/hybrid Mad Cow Motorcycle—to share her message “Go vegetarian! Save the earth! Eat less meat!”. The sculpture was showcased in 2010 at the “Dead or Alive: Nature Becomes Art Exhibition” at the Museum of Arts and Design in New York.




Undergraduates Publish in Science

based on how the first two skirmishes unfold. “Our model helps determine the best ways to train people in the military to fight these kinds of conflicts and how one should assess progress,” explained Carran. In building the model, the team examined the timelines of successive fatal attacks in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and it also analyzed terrorist assaults by various groups in other locales, including the Middle East’s Hezbollah and Pakistani militants. The data demonstrated the existence of mathematical relationships regarding the activities of insurgent groups in different provinces and the ways in which those activities evolve throughout a conflict. The researchers generalized their findings into a concept, called the Red Queen hypothesis, that describes the constant adaptations of insurgents and the military to each other’s tactics. The premise of the biology-based hypothesis—that organisms continuously evolve to better compete with each other for resources in order to survive—can also be applied to a wide range of human activities, said Johnson. “This work could be used in any process in which agents are learning about a system and the system is countering their learning—for example, a body’s immune system fighting disease or a computer system facing increasingly sophisticated cyberattacks.” Johnson added that the work would not have been possible without the efforts of the students. “They each brought enthusiasm and, given that they were drawn from different departments within the College, had complementary skills,” he said. “I couldn’t have imagined a more cohesive and productive group, and it demonstrates how the talents of our undergrads blossom when they are organized into innovative groups.”

Students build a mathematical model that forecasts the evolution of insurgents’ fatal attacks in war zones such as Afghanistan. By SARA LAJEUNESSE

The team of co-authors included an unlikely mix of undergraduate majors: biology, mathematics, and history major Spencer Carran; computer-science major Joel Botner; international studies, political science, and economics major Kyle Fontaine; physics major Nathan Laxague; and School of Business finance major Philip Nuetzel. But for five talented undergraduates, that achievement came early. Under the guidance of physics professor Neil Johnson and two outside experts, the students developed a mathematical model that predicts the progression of fatal attacks by insurgents or terrorists virtually anywhere in the world. The researchers’ findings were published in Science’s July 1, 2011 issue. The team of co-authors included an unlikely mix of undergraduate majors: computer-science major Joel Botner, international studies, political science and economics major Kyle Fontaine, physics major Nathan Laxague, and finance major Philip Nuetzel. Outside experts Jessica Turnley, the president of Galisteo Consulting Group, and Brian Tivnan, a principal engineer at the MITRE Corporation, were coauthors as well. “I don’t know of any other paper in Science that has had five undergrads as authors … ever,” said Johnson. “It is fantastic for their careers.” According to Carran, who performed much of the study’s data analysis, the team’s work gets to the heart of how insurgents and the military fight each other, and it shows how each side learns over time to adapt to what the other side is doing. The prediction formula, which the team used to estimate the progression of hostilities in a region

Photo BY Meg Pukel

From left to right: Kyle Fontaine, Neil Johnson, Joel Botner, and Spencer Carran

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Assembling the A-Team How did a heterogeneous group of College undergraduates come together to write a groundbreaking article for Science, one of the most prestigious magazines in its field? The backstory reveals the excitement and opportunities found at the College of Arts and Sciences. Professor of Physics Johnson explains:

I got some money for a research project for summer 2010, but it came late. As it got closer and closer to May, I got more and more worried about finding students to work on the grant. I asked around, and eventually sent out emails to faculty in other departments looking for students who met the grant requirements, but no luck. I even considered shouting out an announcement in the Food Court! Then at the end of Spring 2010 semester, in a final discussion class of physics 101, I asked my students to ask their dorm friends if they knew of anyone who wanted to “work” over the summer, without even saying what the work would entail (it could have been cleaning up my yard). Nothing happened. About three days later, Spencer arrived at my door. A few days after that, a friend of a friend of someone who overheard someone else talking about it in the Food Court, turned up at my office unannounced. By the end of the week, I had five students, none of whom knew each other, and whom I did not really know. Nor did I know how good they were or what they could do. I gave each one a five second interview. “What are the things that you think you do best?” I asked. And they each gave me an answer. Some said, “I work hard.” Others said, “I want to try something new.” I liked the responses.  We all met up in an empty classroom downstairs in physics, and the rest, as they say, is history or, more precisely, science. I remember the look on their faces when I said we were going to analyze insurgencies in Afghanistan and Iraq. They sat there in silence with mouths open and blank looks. But within two to three days, they were all starting to read newspapers, catch up on what was going on, and contribute. It was amazing.  What is most remarkable is that this was all independent of grades. I had no past record and no letters of recommendation. It was simply a selection of people who were motivated and wanted to be involved, and who had made the effort to track me down on the back of a rumor about “summer work.”   To me it was a great real experiment of what diverse teams of UM undergrads can do when they get together when they are “out of the box” (out of regular classes), and what amazing students we have wandering around campus every day.




Assistant Professor of Anthropology Louis Herns Marcelin founded the Interuniversity Institute for Research and Development (INURED) to develop research and education capacities in Haiti and apply them to the country’s myriad social and economic problems.

Photo BY Meg Pukel

“The Forum grew out of residents’ own concern for the community,” says Bryan Page, professor and chair of the Department of Anthropology at UM and an advisor to INURED. Further, the Forum’s data will be used as a template for planning any new interventions in Cité Soleil by nongovernmental organizations. “That’s a very powerful paradigm,” says Page. “It had already begun to work before the earthquake and it continued to work after the earthquake.” At present, “the Forum is engaging representatives from Cité Soleil’s many neighborhoods to identify areas of intervention for children, youth, and the elderly, and it is reinforcing civic participation and advocacy,” says Marcelin. For example, the Forum plans to conduct classes for children on productive citizenship. Looking toward the future, INURED members hope that the Forum will serve as a model for replication across Haiti—that it will help to bridge divides, reconnect people, and reintegrate a long troubled and conflicted island nation.

Helping Haiti A UM-led research organization in Haiti engages residents in rebuilding basic institutions and turning the tide of poverty and violence.

A variety of programs Another outcome of INURED’s activities is an innovative program—the Youth-to-Youth Connection initiative—that connects UM students with young people in Cité Soleil to help achieve information-technology training, international exchange, and educational development. Latin American Studies student Austin Webbert (’10) participated in Marcelin’s spring-break travel course to Haiti in 2008 and became a founding member of the program. “We resolved to work toward opening

access to education and fostering connections between youth by setting up community centers in Cité Soleil,” says Webbert. Since the 2010 earthquake, fundraising and planning programs to reorganize and rebuild community centers. In yet another program, INURED is working closely with the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies at the UM to help correct a sudden and severe shortfall in graduate education in Haiti. “The earthquake killed more than 1,000 professors and many more graduate students and it leveled most of the major academic institutions in the Port-au-Prince metropolitan area,” says Marcelin. The Graduate Course/ Doctoral Thesis/Seminars Program aims to help Haiti redevelop its human-capital base. More broadly, Marcelin’s report, “The Challenge for Haitian Higher Education”—the first postearthquake assessment of the country’s highereducation system—examines that system both at the graduate and undergraduate levels. In addition to its civic-engagement and education programs, INURED runs research laboratories in partnership with national and international institutions. For example, the World Bank and Canada’s International Development Research Centre (IDRC) are funding two current projects. As part of the World Bank’s worldwide studies of areas in crisis, INURED received $70,000 to conduct research on the “Societal Dynamics and Fragility in Haiti”—a project that included Marcelin and Pierre-Michel Fontaine, a lecturer in international studies and Africana studies at UM. The resulting report lays the foundation for

intervention projects—designed, for example, to empower women and encourage investment in microenterprises—that help people connect in new and more productive ways. In the summer of 2011, INURED, together with the Center for Latin American Studies at UM, began a $150,000 IDRC-funded research project, “Diaspora Engagement in Crisis Settings: Haiti Case Study,” to examine how overseas citizens of countries in conflict and crisis influence their homelands’ capacity for recovery. Transcending politics Overall, “what INURED has done best is develop networks and human capital that have quietly made a great impact,” says Webbert. “For instance, by engaging the community of Cité Soleil in participatory research and facilitating town hall-style community meetings, INURED has helped turn the tide of violence in an area that the United Nations had deemed ‘the most dangerous place in the world.’” Thus the cabinet of Michel Martelly (the new president of Haiti) met with INURED for guidance in the areas of health, rule of law, education, environment, urban planning, and security—based on INURED’s previous work in Haiti. Though INURED does not get involved in political parties or governmental politics, it does aim to exercise its capacity to serve the public good. “A key role of INURED is to help strengthen institutional and human capacity in Haiti,” says Marcelin. “This is the only way Haiti can move from being a burden for everybody to being a partner with everybody.”


The College of Arts and Sciences has worked in Haiti since 2006 through the presence there of the Interuniversity Institute for Research and Development (INURED), an organization cofounded by UM assistant professor of anthropology Louis Herns Marcelin. Given INURED’s purpose—to develop research and education capacities in Haiti and apply them to the country’s myriad social and economic problems—it was well positioned to assist in the recovery from the crippling earthquake of January 12, 2010, through programs established both before that natural disaster and afterward. Civic engagement Consider Cité Soleil, a community of 350,000 on the outskirts of Haiti’s capital Port-au-Prince and one of 10  FALL 2011

the world’s poorest, most stigmatized, and neglected places. In 2007 and 2008 INURED set out to conduct participatory research in Cité Soleil that would gather baseline data on the experiences and quality of life of its residents. To accomplish this end, INURED created a Community Advisory Council of grassroots leaders and trained a cadre of 100 local volunteers to complete household surveys throughout the area. Responding to questions about what the community needed, 1,800 residents cited water, sanitation, and police presence as the top three priorities. These and other results inspired the Community Advisory Council to create another entity—a Community Forum for Cité Soleil—to channel the voice of community members, prioritize grievances and needs, and provide local oversight and execution of programs. ARTS I SCIENCES  11

Students in Associate Professor of Religious Studies Michelle Maldonado’s course “Guatemala: Its Land, Culture and Religion” spend a week engaged in local service projects. Credit: Byron Maldonado


Why civic engagement? Should it be an academic priority, especially at a time when resources are scarce and students are under pressure to prepare for a challenging work environment beyond graduation? Administrators and faculty of the College of Arts and Sciences tend to think so, and here’s why: Students who serve their communities and join civic associations do better in school, and in life, than their unengaged peers, as confirmed by a study published in the journal Liberal Education (Spring 2011). These students learn to lead; they develop team-building skills; and they form the attitudes needed to succeed. The College of Arts and Sciences is committed to promoting civic-engagement service among its students. By encouraging them to participate in organized, studentled groups; by offering a wide variety of courses with service-learning components; and by promoting initiatives such as internships and community-based research projects through the University’s new Office of Civic and Community Engagement, the College is helping students cultivate the skills they need to distinguish themselves among their peers and succeed in the workforce and in life.

12  FALL 2011


This fall, students majoring in history and English, selected in a competitive College-wide process, are completing internships with Southridge High School teachers to promote a college-going culture among traditionally underserved students. From left to right: Robin Bachin, Amanda Klafehn, Erin Nutsugah, and Amanda Gomez.

Engagement Through Courses Students also can learn to become agents of change through their coursework. More than 25 courses offered at the College of Arts and Sciences have a service-learning requirement of some kind. Gregory Bush, associate professor of history, has long been one of the faculty members engaged in such initiatives. This fall he is

UM students visit San Lucas Toliman through a civic engagement opportunity organized by Canes International Outreach.

14  FALL 2011

teaching a new course, titled “Civic Activism in Modern Miami,” that examines housing policy and the culture of resource management and land use in South Florida. The course also aims to provide students with real-life experiences by giving them opportunities to interact with leading local officials and public-interest groups. “It is important for students to understand they can make a huge impact if their efforts are smartly focused,” said Bush. “I tend to be a feather ruffler in trying to do what I think is important, and I want to help students do the same.” When students take “Guatemala: Its Land, Culture, and Religion,” taught by associate professor of religious studies Michelle Maldonado, they actually travel with her to Guatemala. Having first studied and analyzed aspects of Guatemalan society back at UM, students arrive in the small town of San Lucas Tolimán, where they spend a week engaged in local service projects such as working in the local women’s center or on organic farms. “It’s easy to talk about poverty and hunger when you’re sitting in an air-conditioned classroom,” said Maldonado. “But it’s much more valuable for students to interact with

tory and English, selected in a competitive College-wide process, are completing internships with Miami’s Southridge High School teachers in history and language arts. “The goal is to promote a college-going culture among traditionally underserved students,” said Bachin, who helped establish the partnership. “The College’s students are achieving this goal by giving guest lectures in the school, working with assigned teachers on curricular enhancements of lesson plans, and, most importantly, mentoring students by talking with them about collegiate culture, study habits, and reading and writing strategies, among other topics.” Another new initiative of the Office of Civic

Photo BY Meg Pukel

nutrition, and sexual health—for youth living in Overtown, a low-income Miami neighborhood. While S.T.R.I.V.E.’s members focus their efforts on the community outside the University, another student group, Students Toward a New Democracy (S.T.A.N.D.), encourages responsible policies on a wide range of social issues affecting the campus. “We campaign for our University to live up to its ’Cane values,” said Stephanie Sandhu ’11, a neuroscience/neurobiology grad and former S.T.A.N.D. leader. S.T.A.N.D.’s successful initiatives include persuading the University to serve fair-trade coffee in the C-Store and to end its contracts with an athletic-apparel company that had been cited for labor-practice violations.

These students learn to lead; they develop team-building skills; and they form the attitudes needed to succeed.


Student Groups as Models of Leadership and Engagement “Serving Together Reaching Integrity, Values, and Engagement,” better known by its acronym S.T.R.I.V.E., is a living and learning community coordinated by the Butler Center for Service and Leadership and the Office of Academic Enhancement. Residents of this highly selective community commit to a specified number of service and leadership hours each week, a mentoring relationship, and numerous shared experiences and campus programs. According to Haley Gordon ’12, a psychology major and program leader, through its service days and other initiatives S.T.R.I.V.E. aims to alleviate social disparities involving the environment, health care, poverty, and domestic violence. “By learning about these issues and conducting related service workdays in the community, we instill a sense of civic engagement, morality, and initiative in our members while also helping them become active citizens and catalysts for social change,” Gordon said. In one recent service workday, for example, S.T.R.I.V.E. members helped organize an event—encompassing drug use, exercise,

the people whose lives are defined by these horrors. I hope the course experience transforms the students in some positive way, not necessarily to return to Guatemala or to devote their careers to relief work but to realize how fortunate they are to be getting a university degree and to be challenged to do something important with it.” Undergraduate Nawara Alawa ’13, a dual microbiology and religious studies major, took Maldonado’s course last spring. “It’s one thing to read about Guatemala, and a completely different thing to see it all right in front of you,” she said. “I learned that being civically engaged encompasses an understanding of a community, its key players, and the causes and effects of the social issues that confront them.” Office of Civic and Community Engagement According to Robin Bachin, the Charlton W. Tebeau associate professor of history and assistant provost for civic and community engagement, Alawa’s experience doing service work

is one that all of the College’s students should have at some point in their academic careers. And Bachin isn’t the only one who thinks so. A recent survey at UM revealed that more than 80 percent of the University’s faculty members and students believe that civic engagement should be integrated into learning, whether through student-led initiatives, courses with servicelearning components, community-based research projects, or internships. The aim of Office of Civic and Community Engagement, an initiative of the Office of the Provost under the aegis of William S. Green, senior vice provost and dean of undergraduate education, is to put the academic resources of the University, including faculty members and students, to work in solving pressing public problems and thereby contributing to the public good. The office recently developed a new partnership with Miami-Dade County Public Schools that specifically engages students in the College. This fall, students majoring in his-

and Community Engagement engages both faculty members and students in the University. The “Focus on Affordable Housing” initiative is connecting them with community partners to address strategies for improving housing options in Miami. This fall, the College is offering several courses that relate to housing issues. In addition Bachin’s office is hosting a series of public programs that bring together leading scholars, activists, developers, architects, and civic and political leaders to promote dialogue about affordable housing. “Students in the College have a wide array of options for acquiring hands-on practical experience,” said Leonidas Bachas, dean of the College. Bachas shares Bachin’s goal of expanding these opportunities further. As Bachin said, “By harnessing the University’s diverse academic resources, its deep connections to the region, and its spirit of innovation, we can help prepare students to make significant contributions to community well-being.” ARTS I SCIENCES  15



Engaged in the

COMMUNITY By Sara LaJeunesse

Researchers in the College offer help, often free of charge, to community members who suffer from disorders such as autism, chronic anxiety, or clinical depression. t took a bump on her son’s head for Lissette Perez to realize that something was wrong with him. “At three and a half years of age, Kristian should have been able to tell me how he hurt himself,” she said. “But he just couldn’t get the words out.” Soon after the incident, Perez and her husband had their son Kristian evaluated by a neurologist. His diagnosis: autism. “We were so scared,” said Perez. “We had no idea what to do next.” But the neurologist helped by steering them to the research/clinical team at the UM Department of Psychology’s Center for Autism and Related Disabilities (CARD)—an outreach and support program established in 1993 to provide services not only to children with autism and related disabilities but also to their families.

16  FALL 2011


“As a university facility, we offer information and resources on the most current evidencebased treatments available,” said Michael Alessandri, clinical professor of psychology and pediatrics and executive director of CARD. According to Alessandri, the center tailors its services to the unique needs of each client and family. But with more than 6,000 families per year seeking help from the center and a recent state budget cut of nearly 35 percent, providing such customized treatment is a constant challenge, especially given the fact that CARD’s services are entirely free to participants. Perez and her family are among those who have benefited from Alessandri’s personal attention, as well as that of the other clinicians and researchers at the Center. “There are no words to describe how beneficial it has been for us,” said Perez, who has served as chair of CARD’s Tropical Nights fundraising event. “They give us such personal attention, even to the point of working directly with Kristian’s school teachers and administrators.” Alessandri says that most of the children assisted by CARD see improvement. “For some, this could mean learning to communicate and interact more successfully with their families and friends; for others, it may mean gaining meaningful employment after attending school. Each client has his or her own personal success story to tell, and we try to play some part in each of those remarkable stories.” Outreach to the Community CARD is just one of the many programs and services offered to the public by the departments within the College of Arts and Sciences. For example, the Department of English hosts “ writers’ salons” in the community in which authors or commentators discuss a writer’s body of work or selected book. Faculty members in the Department of Theatre Arts go into the community to teach dance. And the Cuban Theatre Digital Archive project in the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures engages with theater groups in the United States and Cuba to create free digital archives of their productions. 18  FALL 2011

Lissette Perez sends her son Kristian to the Surf Camp for Children with Autism, which is run by the Center for Autism and Related Disabilities (CARD).

But as the largest academic unit of the College and given the nature of its discipline, the Department of Psychology has the greatest capacity to engage the community. Through its Division of Community Outreach and Development the department offers programs not only to autistic children and their families but also to people who struggle with anxiety, hoarding, postpartum depression, and other disorders. These programs are “remarkably effective,” said Alessandri, who directs the Division of Community Outreach and Development. “We are committed to expanding them and to nurturing the department’s culture of service.” The Department of Psychology was in fact recognized in 2008 with the Culture of Service Award of the American Psychological Association. Changing the Lives of Children One of the initiatives of the community-outreach division is the Child and Adolescent Mood and Anxiety Treatment (CAMAT) program, directed by Jill Ehrenreich-May, an associate professor of psychology. Faculty members and graduate stu-

“We’ve all experienced varying levels of anxiety at some points in our lives, but people do not always realize that it can be quite severe.” dents participating in the CAMAT program conduct research related to the treatment of anxiety and depression in youth, and they provide services—often free—to help individuals in need. “All children have fears and phobias; that’s normal,” said Ehrenreich-May. “But for some children, worries persist and become so severe that they avoid situations associated with their fears. This can be very upsetting for the parents of children suffering from intense anxiety, as they often feel overwhelmed by their child’s distress.” So, for example, they may allow or even encourage their child to steer clear of anxiety-triggering situations. “While these efforts are well-intended, they may also send the message that the situations may be genuinely threatening,” she said. “Therefore many of our programs work with the whole family to try to solve such problems.” In a new program called Emotion Detectives, aimed at

Investigating Hispanic-Community Health Hispanic adults in the United States, being more likely to become overweight than non-Hispanic white adults, are at higher risk of developing diabetes and other serious health problems. Neil Schneiderman, a professor of psychology, is the principal investigator of two grants funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), totaling about $25 million, to study the health risks, health practices, and disease burden of diverse people with Hispanic backgrounds. One of the projects, the Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos (HCHS/ SOL), is the largest NIH study ever undertaken to examine these factors within this ethnic group. The other project is designed to decrease health risks in the Hispanic and other disadvantaged communities in MiamiDade County specifically. Schneiderman and his collaborators have collected data on 4,000 Miami-Dade residents, primarily of Cuban and Central American origin. Meanwhile, other colleagues—those on the HCHS/SOL project—have collected data on 12,000 more Hispanic participants living in three other regions of the country. In particular, the team is examining the prevalence of disease and the risk factors for heart, lung, blood, and sleep disorders—as well as documenting kidney and liver function, cognitive function, and the incidence of diabetes, dental conditions, and hearing problems—among the participants. “Not only is our project characterizing the health risks and disease burden of the largest minority population in the United States, it also is describing both the positive and negative consequences of Hispanic people’s immigration and acculturation to mainstream U.S. lifestyles, environment, and health care opportunities,” said Schneiderman. “For example, we are investigating why Hispanics tend to be significantly healthier when they immigrate to the United States than they are after living here 10 years and, more important, why this happens.” Over half of the Miami-Dade Hispanic community members, he notes, were born outside the United States. The researchers led by Schneiderman also are using behavioral interventions to prevent the development of coronary heart disease (CHD) in type 2 diabetes patients—primarily minorities and other people at high risk of CHD. These individuals receive their usual medical care at Jackson Health System community clinics such as the Jefferson Reaves Senior Health Center in Overtown and the Dr. Rafael A. Peñalver Clinic in Little Havana. The interventions emphasize weight loss, physical activity, and stress-management techniques to decrease CHD risk. “Hispanics are the nation’s largest and fastest-growing minority group,” said Schneiderman. “Because many of them don’t speak English or have little or no health insurance, they often miss out on opportunities to access or adequately utilize the health care services they need. Our goal is to reach out to members of the Hispanic community and try to reduce their and other disadvantaged minorities’ disease burdens and risks.” ARTS I SCIENCES  19

Donor’s Bequest Helps Community

7-to-12-year-olds, Ehrenreich-May addresses separation anxiety—in addition to other anxiety disorders, including social anxiety and phobias—through enjoyable and creative activities that provide children with coping skills. Emotion Detectives is an extension of EhrenreichMay’s efforts, funded by the National Institutes of Health, to treat adolescents’ anxiety and

To Aid Adults as Well Researchers in the Department of Psychology also help anxiety-stricken adults. Kiara Timpano, an assistant professor of psychology, is the director of the Program for Anxiety, Stress, and OCD [obsessive-compulsive disorder], an initiative for better understanding the causes, features, and consequences of anxiety syndromes.

“Much of what I do in my research, involves putting people in anxiety-provoking situations, observing how they react, and measuring their physiology.”

Photo BY Meg Pukel

depression through proven cognitive-behavioral techniques. In another new program, called Physical Exercise for Teen Worry, Ehrenreich-May is examining the therapeutic effects of cardiovascular exercise on symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder in adolescents aged 13 to17. The 12-week exercise program is held at the Patti and Alan Herbert Wellness Center on the Coral Gables campus.

20  FALL 2011

“We’ve all experienced varying levels of anxiety at some points in our lives,” said Timpano, “but people do not always realize that it can be quite severe. For example, individuals with hoarding disorder can experience so much anxiety about discarding items that they accumulate possessions—sometimes collectibles, sometimes animals, and sometimes even trash—to the point that their homes become dangerous places to live in.”

According to Timpano, the program’s mission is to uncover factors that could be targeted in the prevention and treatment of anxietyrelated pathologies. Thus, for example, early this fall the program began offering facilitated self-help groups for individuals with hoarding disorder. Over the course of 13 weeks, program participants gain insight into hoarding in general—and into their own particular reasons for doing it—and they begin to develop new tools to help with decision-making regarding their accumulation of possessions and the more desirable alternative of non-acquiring. Timpano also is evaluating a range of potential vulnerability factors for hoarding so as to determine whether they change as a result of membership in the group. “The idea is to try and develop ways to make existing treatments even more effective,” she said. In addition, Timpano is exploring ways to help expectant mothers avoid postpartum anxiety. She works with women during their pregnancy to educate them about the anxiety symptoms they might experience after their child is born, and she teaches them cognitive and behavioral techniques for dealing with these symptoms should they arise. Her past research has shown that such programs significantly reduce symptoms of anxiety among new mothers.

anxiety pay more attention to frowning faces than to smiling faces,” he said. “We’re trying to figure out if they are just drawn to those frowning faces or if, when happening to see a frowning face, they can’t ignore it.” Whatever the answer, Marker hosts sessions, open to the public, in which he trains people to focus more on the positive. Marker also provides one-on-one support to those who suffer from social anxiety. For example, he’ll go with them to a nearby supermarket and have them knock items off a shelf—with a result that would embarrass most of us but that could set someone with an anxiety disorder into a panic attack. “Practicing these types of things helps people realize they can live with the situation,” he said. Similarly, Marker encourages individuals to confront their fear of flying by exposing them to flight simulations and later encouraging them to get on an actual plane. When such services are part of one of Marker’s research projects, they are free to the public; otherwise, they incur a fee. But in any case, the results are effective. “Eighty percent of the people who come to the Psychological Services Center no longer report their anxiety to a diagnosable standard after 12 weeks of treatment,” he said.

Resolving Social Anxiety The department’s Psychological Services Center conducts some 1,800 therapy sessions a year. Ultimately, the Center’s goal is to understand what causes social-anxiety disorders to persist. Craig Marker, a clinical assistant professor, works with adults there to treat social anxiety. “Much of what I do in my research,” he said, “involves putting people in anxiety-provoking situations, observing how they react, and measuring their physiology.” This process often involves the use of an eye-tracker device to determine where individuals who, say, are giving a speech, focus their attention. “In general, we have found that people with social

More Than Just Research Although the faculty members of the Department of Psychology—and those across the College—who conduct outreach programs aim to collect data for use in their research, they are motivated just as much by the good feelings they experience from helping people. “There isn’t a night of the week that I’m not working with autistic kids and adults and their families,” said Alessandri. “But I don’t regret any of the time I spend in this way. These people need our help, and we are well equipped to provide effective assistance. We can make a difference in their lives, and that’s what matters most.”

While grants from public organizations and private foundations help the College reach out to the community, sometimes it is community members themselves who make this work possible. Jane Lawton is one such person. Through a $1 million bequest to the Department of Psychology and its Psychological Services Center, she is enabling the continuation of efforts to provide services to children with emotional problems who attend MiamiDade County Public Schools (MDCPS). “Over the course of her 50 years living in Miami, Jane became increasingly concerned that the psychological needs of disadvantaged children were not being adequately addressed in our community,” said Marika Formoso, a trustee of Lawton’s estate. “After learning about the success of the University of Miami Department of Psychology’s research, its outreach programs, and the Psychological Services Center’s commitment to the community at large, she felt that the department was best suited to advance her mission and commitment to improving the mental health care and services for the children of Miami-Dade County.” In particular, the bequest enabled the department to create the Program for Emotional Problems in Children (PEP-C), which assists (for a reduced fee) MDCPS in the identification and treatment of children who have emotional problems. “The bequest is extremely important in helping us continue our community outreach mission as it allows us to identify, serve, and treat significantly more children from the Miami Dade Public Schools who may have emotional problems,” said Saneya Tawfik, a clinical assistant professor of psychology and the director of PEP-C. “There is a strong need to provide community-based direct services to children identified by MDCPS teachers, counselors, and school psychologists as having emotional problems.” Through the PEP-C program Tawfik performs evidence-based assessment and intervention services to the MDCPS. In particular, she screens elementary-school children ages six through eleven for emotional problems and provides clinical services to them, such as individual therapy and group therapy. Tawfik also meets regularly with the Division of Psychological Services at MDCPS as well as with the MDCPS’s school principals in order to promote and monitor the program’s success and serve as a liaison, referring children to appropriate counselors and school psychologists. Lawton was born in Massachusetts and attended Smith College in Northampton. She loved music, having grown up playing the piano, studying music in college, and playing the pipe organ for the Miami Chorale after moving to Miami in the 1950s. She enjoyed riding horses. She won numerous ribbons and trophies in the hunter/jumper category in her youth and supported horse rescue organizations. Another passion of Lawton’s was traveling. She was known for telling tales of her journeys to Madagascar, the Seychelles, South America, Europe, and the Polynesian Islands. According to Formoso, “Jane was enthusiastic, generous, and pursued her passions without any hesitation.”

To find out more about how you can leave a legacy at the University of Miami College of Arts and Sciences, please contact:

Cynthia L. Beamish, Esq. Office of Estate and Gift Planning (305) 284-2914 or toll free (800) 529-6935 or go to

For general information about gifts to support the College, please contact:

Holly Davis College of Arts and Sciences (305) 284-4638







Keep track of Hurricane Classmates by visiting our new Facebook page

30s Edith Bleich, A.B., ’39, thought to be the oldest surviving graduate of the College of Arts and Sciences, passed away on June 19th at the age of 102. Her 52-year career as a teacher in Miami Dade County was among the longest in Florida’s history. Bleich entered the University of Miami as a member of its first class in 1926. She was a beloved teacher and an avid sports fan, including in her later years, the University of Miami Women’s basketball team, for which she was the team’s unofficial cheerleader.

50s Richard H. Plager, A.B. ’51, Mathematics, was past police captain in the Miami-Dade Police Department, chief of police in the Sanibel Florida Police Department, and captain (0-6) in the U.S. Coast Guard. Plager became a certified public accountant in 1954. He is retired and lives in Coral Gables. Paul Siegel, B.S. ’58, Physics, magna cum laude, JD ’62, cum laude, 1962 editor-in-chief of the UM Law Review, recently retired after 19 years of service to the Circuit Court in Miami. Upon his retirement, Siegel established Voluntary Trial Resolution LLC to provide mediation and private trial services.

60s Jack Hill, B.S. ’67, is the chief executive officer at Renovate Your World. is a consumerfocused online publisher. Hill lives in Yarmouth, Massachusetts. 22  FALL 2011

Dexter Lehtinen, A.B. ’68, Politics, has been appointed to the Florida Judicial Nomination Commission for the Southern District of Florida by Florida Senators Bill Nelson and Marco Rubio. He earned his MBA degree at Columbia University and a JD degree at Stanford Law School. Aida Levitan, A.B. ’69, president of The Levitan Group, Inc. and the non-profit ArtesMiami, Inc., has been named Latina Pioneer of the Year for 2011. As president of the non-profit ArtesMiami, Inc., she dedicates herself to promoting the cultural development of South Florida. Recently, she launched its publishing division, Editorial Ultramar, which published La Ciudad de laUnidad Possible, a collection of 107 poems by 32 South Florida Hispanic poets. Ivan Matusek, A.B. ’69, History, past chairman in the Workers’ Compensation Section of the Florida Bar, passed away on May 22, 2011. He was 63 years old. A native of Washington D.C., Matusek earned a law degree at Duke University in 1972. He founded his own law firm with his partner and maintained it until his passing. Matusek was active in the Workers’ Compensation Section of the Florida Bar, and he often lectured and authored publications on Workers’ Compensation. His personal interests were many and included traveling, gourmet cooking, contemporary and primitive art collecting, photographing, and interior and architectural designing.

Thomas P. Rebel, B.S. ’69, Biology, M.S. ’73, Biology, M.S. ’74, Marine Biology and Fisheries, MED ’74, School Administration and Educational Research, JD ’78, is the new managing partner of Fisher and Philips LLP Atlanta office. Rebel has practiced law for 33 years, focusing in the areas of wage and hour, affirmative action, and education and disability law. He has handled many National Labor Relations Act matters as well as matters arising under the Occupational Safety and Health Act. He is a frequent lecturer to industry groups on various labor and employment topics. Rebel is a member of the National Association of College and University Attorneys.

Up Through the Ranks at ExxonMobil Her coursework and diverse experiences at UM helped to fuel Patricia Froyo’s career—in fuels. By SARA LAJEUNESSE

70s Jerry Soen, M.S. ’73, Physics, senior medical physicist at Advocate Christ Medical Center and president and owner of Medical Radiation Concepts, Inc. in Itasca, IL, has been inducted as a Fellow in the American College of Radiology (ACR). Recognition as a Fellow of the ACR is one of the highest honors the ACR can bestow on a radiologist, radiation oncologist, or medical physicist.

Frances Aldrich Sevilla-Sacasa, A.B. ’77, Languages, who until July 31 was interim dean of the University of Miami School of Business, was appointed to the board of trust managers of the Houston-based Camden Property Trust, where she will serve as an independent trust manager. SevillaSacasa had earlier been president of U.S. Trust, Bank of America Private Wealth Management. Prior to that she was president and chief executive officer of U.S. Trust.

Patricia Froyo, ExxonMobil

“Approach your academic interests strategically. Have the end in mind, and identify and pursue the experiences that will prepare you to achieve your goals and be successful.”

“Challenges are to be sought and welcomed,” said Patricia Froyo, who has met and grown from more than her share of them. As a UM student she earned a bachelor’s degree summa cum laude in computer science/mathematics in 1983 and a master’s degree in computer science/mathematics in 1986. Joining ExxonMobil after graduation, she rose steadily through its ranks and is now president of the giant multinational’s Inter-America subsidiary, headquartered in Coral Gables. Froyo credits much of her success to experiences at UM, which she chose because of its strong academic reputation, vibrant community, enviable location, and, most of all, diverse student body. “I can assert without any doubt that the range of people I was exposed to at UM was key in preparing me for dealing with global markets and managing global organizations,” she said. As a student, Froyo envisioned working for a large corporation, and she pursued courses and other opportunities accordingly. In much the same spirit, she advises current students to “approach your academic interests strategically. Have the end in mind, and identify and pursue the experiences that will prepare you to achieve your goals and be successful.” But it wasn’t just her own motivation that contributed to Froyo’s outstanding career. The interactions she had with UM faculty also helped. “I was privileged to have professors who took a keen interest in developing well-rounded professionals,” she said. “I can look back and point to key [facultyrelated] events that propelled my leadership skills, strengthened my resiliency, and enhanced my analytical and problem-solving skills.” One professor in particular was especially influential. “Dr. Michelle Galloway not only inspired me to pursue a graduate degree but also helped

me to develop skills in effectively managing complexity and in creatively solving problems, both of which I rely on in my daily work.” Froyo’s daily work involves heading up ExxonMobil’s fuels-marketing business in the Caribbean, Central America, and South America, a position she assumed in June 2010. Froyo also serves as an advisory board member of the ExxonMobil Global Organization for the Advancement of Latinos (GOAL), which helps to nurture the company’s Hispanic employees. She also is a founding mentor of the Hispanic Heritage Foundation’s STEM [science, technology, engineering, and mathematics] Mentoring Program at ExxonMobil, which pairs Hispanic student recipients of company scholarships with ExxonMobil employee-mentors. “I think it is very important to give back and to offer a positive influence so others can benefit from what we have learned during our life and career experience,” she said. Froyo’s own experience has included relocation to multiple domestic and international sites, implementation of new ways to go to market, creation of new service-support centers worldwide, and management of large global organizations. “And because all this has required extensive travel for most of my career,” she said, “I’ve had to be very disciplined and resourceful to find the right balance between work and family.” Her family includes husband Michael D. McCarty ‘86 and daughter Kathelijne, and together they enjoy downhill skiing and fly-fishing whenever possible. Froyo also finds time to serve her alma mater as a member of the College’s Visiting Committee, which reviews the College’s mission, programs and progress on its strategic goals, and serves as the College’s liaison with the Board of Trustees. ARTS I SCIENCES  23


Martin Douglas Kelly, A.B. ’77, Psychology, is a licensed Florida P.I. and president of Kelly Security International, based in Clearwater, Florida. Kelly also serves as a contributing editor for Florida Sportsman magazine. He produced videos, two television series, and a syndicated radio talk show about the outdoors. This year, he authored the historical compendium Florida’s Fishing Legends and Pioneers.

80s Cindy J. Lau-Evans, A.B. ’83, Sociology, M.S.E.D. ’85, a past president of the Caribbean Students Association, is the current president of the Greater Miami chapter of the Society for Human Resource Management. She served as their director of diversity and director of professional development in prior years. Adalberto José Jordán, B.A. ’84, Politics and Public Affairs, magna cum laude, J.D. ’87, summa cum laude, was nominated to the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit by President Obama on August 2nd, 2011. After graduating from law school, he served as a law clerk to the Honorable Thomas A. Clark of the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit from 1987 to 1988, and the following year he served as a law clerk to the Honorable Sandra Day O’Connor of the Supreme Court of the United States. In 1989, Jordán joined the Miami law firm of Steel Hector & Davis LLP (now Squire Sanders & Dempsey) as a litigation associate, eventually specializing in appellate practice and becoming a partner in 1994. Later that year, he joined the United States Attorney’s Office in the Southern District of Florida, serving as an assistant United States attorney in the appellate division and handling criminal and civil appeals on behalf of the government. He was appointed to the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida in Miami in 1999. In addition, he has frequently sat by designation 24  FALL 2011


on the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. Since 1990, he has taught as an adjunct professor of law at the University of Miami School of Law as well as the Florida International University College of Law. Shawn Paul Marcotte, B.A. ’85, Politics and Public Affairs, recently received his master’s degree in strategic studies from the United States Army War College. Colonel Marcotte also assumed a reserve command of the 5th Multi-Functional Brigade, 94th Division, in San Juan, Puerto Rico. As a civilian, he serves as the director of operations of the Latin America Division at Brightstar Corporation. Virginia Ginny Rorby, A.B. ’85, Biology and English, is a novelist. Her most recent novels are The Outside of a Horse (Dial Penguin 2010) and Lost in the River of Grass (Lerner 2011). She lives on the north coast of California.

Jeffrey S. Jacobs, B.S. ’89, Biology, M.D. ’93, is the secretary of the Florida Society of Anesthesiologists and practices at the Cleveland Clinic in Weston, Florida. He has been appointed the incoming chairman of the American Society of Anesthesiologists’ Committee on Ethics. He is married to Karen Talpins Jacobs. Michelle Marcos, A.B. ’89, English, is the author of the Pleasure Emporium series of historical romance novels and the Highland Knaves series (published by St. Martin’s Press), which includes the recently published Secrets to Seducing a Scot (August 2011). Donald R. Wagner, B.S.’89, Geology, cum laude, a shareholder of Stevens and Lee, is a Pennsylvania-licensed geologist as well as a lawyer who concentrates his legal practice on environmental issues. He counsels clients on state voluntary cleanup programs and assists them in formulating and implementing cleanup strategies. He is also a Pennsylvania-licensed property and casualty insurance producer.

90s Peter Rabley, A.B. ’87, Geography, M.A. ’94, Geography, is the vice president for international operations government at Thomson Reuters. He previously was the president of International Land Systems, which provides software to governments and development institutions for land titling and property registration.

Debbie Gordon Holzberg, A.B. ’90, Psychology, M.S.E.D. ’05, has taught high school at a private, K-12 school since 2002. Her subjects include world history, psychology, sociology, and world religions (a course she designed and for which she wrote the curriculum). She lives outside Charlotte, N.C., has been married for 20 years, and has three sons. Karen Talpins Jacobs, B.S. ’90, Psychology, M.D. ’95. Karen Jacobs works as a part-time MRI radiologist and full-time mom to two boys.

Russell Maryland, A.B. ’90, Psychology, former Hurricanes defensive tackle, was nominated to the College Football Hall of Fame. He played at UM from 1986 to 1990, winning national titles in 1987 and 1989. He was the first Hurricane to win the Outland Trophy (1990). Maryland was drafted first overall by former UM Coach Jimmy Johnson’s Dallas Cowboys and played 10 seasons in the NFL with the Cowboys, Oakland Raiders, and Green Bay Packers. He and his wife have three children and live in Southlake, Texas.

Lourdes M. Plans-Rudd, A.B. ’90, Psychology, has taught for 22 years in MiamiDade County. As a teacher in South Miami, she observed how a lack of basic needs impacted her students. After five years of volunteer work, Plans-Rudd started Ready 2 Give, Inc. to promote awareness in the community of the needs of children and to provide assistance. She currently is working on raising funds to provide 100 backpacks to children in the community. Alicia D. Powell, B.S. ’90, Biology, M.D. ’93, recently assumed the position of assistant medical director of Vinfen Corporation, a nonprofit human services organization, based in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Michael Hettich, Ph.D. ’91, English, has published 12 books and chapbooks of poetry. His most recent books include Swimmer Dreams (winner of the Tables Prize, Turning Point, 2004), Flock and Shadow: New and Selected Poems (New Rivers Press, 2005), Many Loves (a chapbook, winner of the Yellow Jacket Poetry Award, 2007), Like Happiness (Anhinga Press, October 2010), and the forthcoming The Animals Beyond Us (New Rivers Press). Manisha Singh, B.A. ’91, Political Science, is a senior professional staff member with the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations. She was previously on the committee staff as deputy chief counsel for four years. She also spent time as counsel to the U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce. In addition, Singh has served in two political appointments at the U.S. Department of State;

as deputy assistant secretary for trade policy in the Bureau of Economic Energy and Business Affairs, the senior-most department official on trade policy; and as deputy assistant secretary in the Bureau of International Organization Affairs, where she managed U.S. relations with the United Nations. Marisol R. Basulto, A.B. ’93, Political Science, managing partner at Mirza Basulto and Robbins, LLP, a law firm, handles homeowner and condominium association legal issues. Debra Hain Rodman, A.B. ’94, Anthropology and Women’s Studies, M.A. ’98, Marine Affairs and Policy, earned her Ph.D. degree and is a cultural anthropologist and assistant professor of anthropology and women’s studies at Randolph-Macon College in Ashland, Virginia, where she recently was recommended for tenure and promotion to associate professor. Rodman also serves as an expert witness for political asylum cases covering protected ground of femicide, domestic violence, homosexuality and transgender, and land tenure issues. She, husband Mark, and toddler son Ronin live in Richmond.

Michael Barretti, B.S. ’97, Biology, Lt. Commander in the Naval Reserve, is doing a three year Pulmonary Fellowship at UMASS Med Ctr. He was a battalion surgeon with the Marines for two years, including doing a tour in Iraq. He spent two years of active duty at the Naval Air Station in Jacksonville, Fl. He and his wife Aileen Barretti have one child and live in Worcester, Massachusetts. Gisela M. Munoz, A.B. ’97, International Studies and French, was promoted by the law firm Hughes Hubbard & Reed LLP in Miami to the position of counsel. Her commercial real estate and corporate legal practice involves a variety of transactions, including cross-border deals, and she has particular experience in the areas of hospitality, financing, and joint ventures. Munoz and husband Dan Baker (B.S. 1995, Biology) reside in Coral Gables. Glen Retief, M.F.A. ’99, Creative Writing, published a memoir about growing up in a game park in South Africa, The Jack Bank (St. Martin’s Press), which was listed on the Top 10 LGBT cultural activities for the month by The Advocate magazine. Recently, he did reading and class visits at Virginia Tech.

Liana G. Seldin, B.S. ’96, Chemistry, D.P.M., is the president of the Dade-County Podiatric Medical Association. Seldin is a podiatrist at Southern Most Foot & Ankle Specialist. Jason H. Starkman, A.B. ’96, Economics, is a licensed New Jersey real estate broker. Starkman founded the Starkman Realty Group, LLC, which is a commercial real estate firm specializing in the sale and third-party management of multi-family apartment. ARTS I SCIENCES  25


00s Raju Parakkal, M.A. ’04, Economics, is an assistant professor of international relations in Philadelphia University. Parakkal completed his Ph.D. degree in international relations at Florida International University in 2009. Anthony D. Bello, A.B. ’05, Theatre Arts, was selected as Miami’s Power Under 30 for Community Service. Under 30 honors outstanding individuals under 30 years old who have achieved extraordinary success. Bello is an assistant state attorney in the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s office. He lives in Coral Gables. Laura Alfonso, A.B. ’06, International Studies, founded an innovative organic food restaurant concept called Green Gables Café, located in Coral Gables. Established less than three years ago, it has become a highly popular restaurant. Alfonso recently has been profiled in the Miami Herald, el Nuevo Herald, the Miami New Times, Miami Home Magazine, Haute Magazine, and the Coral Gables Gazette. Nelson Dellis, B.S. ’10, Computer Science, won the 14th annual U.S.A. Memory Championship on March 12. He set two new U.S. records: most digits memorized in five minutes (284 digits) and fastest to memorize the order of a full shuffled deck of playing cards (63 seconds). Dellis currently is climbing Mont Everest to raise awareness and money for Alzheimer’s research in memory of his grandmother who recently succumbed to the disease.


Come to Campus A sampling of offerings open to the community

CENTER FOR THE HUMANITIES February 9-11 Florida at the Crossroads: Five Hundred Years of Encounters, Conflicts, and Exchanges March 28 Alan Lightman: Adjunct Professor of Physics and the Humanities at MIT and author of Einstein Dreams

THEATRE October 13-30 The House of Bernarda Alba Co-production with the Arsht Center (all performances at Arsht’s Carnival Studio Theater) February 15-25 Stage Door

NAMED LECTURES January 17 McKnight-Zame Lecture (Mathematics) Shing-Tung Yau, Professor of Mathematics at Harvard University and Field Medal Winner February 9 Dr. Jimmie R. Nelson Lecture (Chemistry) Ines R. Triay, Ph.D. ’86, B.S. ’80, former Assistant Secretary for Environment Management

LOWE ART MUSEUM Through April 22 Art Lab at the Lowe: Islam at the Crossroads between East and West January 28-March 25 Building a Legacy: Seventy Years of Collecting from the Vault at the Lowe Art Museum

ART DEPARTMENT November 3-December 2 Alumni Show at CAS Gallery November 29-January 27 Art BASEL/Miami Beach Student Exhibition For more information, go to: 26  FALL 2011

Three Reasons to Support the

College of Arts & Sciences

Rebecca Alarcon, Chirag Gheewala, and Rachel Libby are three of the 4,000 College of Arts & Sciences’ students; a group of talented young people engaged in studying the sciences, social sciences, and the humanities. The Annual Fund supports our students and the many programs which enable the College to provide an outstanding education.

Your gift to the College is critical. If you have already made a contribution this year, thank you for making a difference.

You can support the College by making a gift online at or by mailing your gift to: The College of Arts and Sciences University of Miami Post Office Box 248004 Coral Gables, Florida 33124-9965.

Learn more about the College of Arts & Sciences at the University of Miami, visit Any gift to the University of Miami is fully tax-deductible to the extent allowed by the law. For more information about giving to the University of Miami Annual Fund, call 305.284.3874 or visit


No. 38

Leaping nine points in a single year to No. 38 on U.S. News & World Report’s 2012 “Best Colleges” list, the University of Miami continues an unprecedented trajectory of progress.

“The University of Miami has moved up nine spots from No. 47 last year and 29 spots in the last ten years in the U.S. News rankings. The U has now joined the most elite universities in the country. This prestigious placement reflects significant accomplishments in student quality, retention, and graduation rates, as well as faculty strength and alumni giving.” _ Leonard Abess Chair, University of Miami Board of Trustees

“We take special pride that the rankings are principally a measure of the academic strength of undergraduate education of the institutions surveyed. At the University of Miami, the College of Arts and Sciences is the principal provider of undergraduate instruction. Ninety-eight percent of freshmen take a class in the College and thirtyseven percent of UM undergraduates have degrees from the College. The long-term vision of the College has been to raise to ever-higher standards the quality of our research and educational endeavors. We are honored that our efforts are receiving such recognition beyond the borders of our campus. For this success, and for your support that exceeded $1 million dollars in Annual Fund gifts last year, we thank our students, our faculty, our alumni, and our friends.” _ Leonidas Bachas Dean, College of Arts and Sciences

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1252 Memorial Drive | Ashe Building 227 Coral Gables, FL 33121-9965

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From Flash Gordon to Flash Drives The left picture shows students in a 1937 physics class learning the rudiments of radio. The right picture shows computer science students using advanced computer software to build virtual robots.

Arts & Sciences Magazine Fall 2011  

The College of Arts & Sciences Magazine is produced in the fall and spring by the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Miami. T...