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Humanities Edge Undergraduate Research Symposium | Summer 2020

Faculty Mentors

Faculty Mentors
Kristofer Arca
Arts and Philosophy, Kendall Campus, MDC
Ildiko Barsony
English and Communications, North Campus, MDC
Professor Arca is an Assistant Professor of Philosophy at the Kendall Campus of Miami Dade College. He is also completing his doctoral studies at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, with a dissertation on the intersection between selfhood and memory in Paul Ricoeur’s existential hermeneutic phenomenology. He is really good at pretending that he knows the meaning of those last three words, so don’t be shy to ask him. If Professor Arca had a superpower, it would be the power to make every conversation about the greatest band of all time, Rush—who incorporated a lot of existentialism into their lyrics. (See?) Ildiko Barsony is an Assistant Professor of English at Miami Dade College, North Campus. She utilizes high-impact educational practices, including undergraduate research, in her composition and developmental education courses. She has been in various positions at MDC since 2007. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Teaching English as a Foreign Language and History from the University of Szeged, Hungary, a Master of Science in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) from Florida International University, and a Doctor of Philosophy in Curriculum and Instruction with a concentration in Language, Literacy, and Culture from Florida International University.
Carmen Bucher
English and Communications, North Campus, MDC
Lara Cahill-Booth
English and Communications, Kendall Campus, MDC

Carmen Bucher has served Miami Dade College North Campus in various staff and administrative capacities since 1994. Currently, she serves as a faculty member teaching writing and literature in the English and Communications Department and teaching leadership in the prestigious Honors College. She also serves as Co-Advisor of the award-winning Axis Creative Arts Magazine and Sigma Kappa Delta English Honors Society. With a focus on communication, Carmen’s mission is to meet the individual needs of students at whatever point they are in their academic pursuits. Through her teaching and mentoring, she works to provoke self-actualization via her students’ personal stories. She lives in Northwest Miami-Dade with her husband, Michael, college-age son, Shane, and Labrador—Milo. She has been sorted as a Ravenclaw.

Lara Cahill-Booth is an Assistant Professor in the English Department at MDC, Kendall, where she teaches Literature, Composition, and Creative Writing. A lifelong dedication to the American Tropics has inevitably situated her in Miami, where she initially moved for a job in non-profit arts administration before completing a PhD in Caribbean Literature and Cultural Studies at the University of Miami. Dr. Cahill-Booth's interest in human geography, performativity, and the poetics of place runs through her scholarly publications, zine-making, and inquiry-based teaching. She critically and uncritically enjoys dance, performance, and exercise as well as manages an unruly family of boys.

Maria Caridad Cumana
Arts, Math, & Sciences, Wolfson & North Campus, MDC
Tricia Foster
Communications, Arts & Philosophy, Padrón Campus, MDC

Maria Caridad Cumana has an MA and BA in Art History and was professor of Film and Television in the School of Arts and Letters at the University of Havana, Cuba for 15 years.  She was Chief Coordinator for the Audiovisual Portal for Latin American and Caribbean Cinema at the Foundation of New Latin American Cinema (FNCL) and received the Excellence in Investigative Online Journalism award from the AVINA and DARIOS Foundation. She has co-authored A Look at Cuban Cinema, Latitudes of the Margin: Latin American Cinema before the Third Millennium and co-edited My Havana: The Musical City of Carlos Varela.  Professor Cumana produced the web-based documentary Highrise/Out My Window, filmed by the National Film Board of Canada (NFB) in Havana which won an International Digital Emmy Award for best non-fiction program during the television industry show MIPTV in Cannes, France.  Professor Cumana is currently an adjunct faculty at Miami Dade College where she teaches Cinema Appreciation, Art Appreciation, and Art History.

Professor Tricia Foster has an MA in English Literature and has been working at Miami Dade College since 2012. She teaches English Composition 1 (ENC1101), English Composition 2 (ENC1102), and Introduction to Literature (LIT2000). She was recently awarded the President's Innovation Grant at Miami Dade College for her work on remediation modules that run concurrent with core classes to help students succeed in their freshman year. She will also be presenting at the first Humanities Edge sponsored Creative Writing Workshop at Miami Dade College this June.

Alicia Garcia
Communications, Arts, & Philosophy, Padrón Campus, MDC
Victor Gomez
Arts and Philosophy, North Campus, MDC
Alicia K. Garcia has been an educator for over 15 years, and has spent four of them with Miami Dade College. She teaches in the Communication, Arts, & Philosophy department at Padrón Campus. She is passionate about education and the arts, using her acting and improv comedy skills in the classroom. Victor Gomez is a dedicated and passionate artist and professor. As a BFA student at Temple University, he interned at the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s Education Department. He worked with the Education Department, teaching sculpture to enrolled students. While in pursuit of his MFA at Hunter College, he did the same at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The combination of teaching and study abroad programs, granted Professor Gomez direct access to the Historical Art that was being referenced throughout his courses. Accepting a faculty appointment at Miami Dade College has been a wonderful opportunity to implement all of these experiences.
Adam Hauptfeld
Arts & Philosophy, Kendall Campus, MDC
Robert R. Henry
Arts & Philosophy, Wolfson Campus, MDC
 Robert Henry

Originally from California, Adam Hauptfeld has been teaching at Miami Dade College full-time since 2018. He is currently completing his Ph.D. in the epistemology and phenomenology of perception. His other philosophical interests include the mind/body problem, Bertrand Russell, philosophy of science, 18th Century European philosophy, and the pedagogy of philosophy.

Robert R. Henry is an instructor of Humanities at Miami Dade College’s Wolfson Campus and a doctoral candidate at Florida State University. He earned a LL.M in Intercultural Human Rights from St. Thomas University Law School in Miami (2007). He earned a M.A in Humanities (2004) and a B.A. (2003) in Humanities and Religion from Florida State University. He is an Earth Ethics Institute faculty council member, and a faculty of the Honors College. His interest include religion, traditional ways of world cultures, protecting the environment, sustainability, food ethics and security, water rights and renewable technologies.


Carolina Hospital
English and Communications, Kendall Campus, MDC

Alison Kennedy-Davis
Communications, Humanities, & Soc. Sciences, Homestead Campus, MDC

Carolina Hospital is the author of the poetry collections Key West Nights and Other Aftershocks (Anhinga Press), The Child of Exile: A Poetry Memoir (Arte Público Press), and Myth America, a collaboration with Maureen Seaton, Holly Iglesias and Nicole Hospital-Medina, forthcoming from Anhinga Press; as well as the novel A Little Love, under the pen name C. C. Medina (Warner Books); and No Excuses! A Brief Survival Guide to Freshman Composition (Sonoran Desert Books). She edited Los Atrevidos: Cuban American Writers (Linden Lane Press) and A Century of Cuban Writers in Florida (Pineapple Press). Her work has appeared in numerous national publications, such as the Norton Anthology of Latino Literature and Bedford/St. Martin’s Florida Literature.

Dr. Alison Kennedy Davis is an Associate Psychology Professor at Miami Dade College, Homestead Campus. Before devoting her passion to the pathway of Higher Education she enjoyed a full career as a United States Postal Letter Carrier. Dr. Davis has also served South Florida Communities as a Licensed Mental Health Counselor providing services for diverse populations of all ages.

Dr. Davis is a native Floridian and alumni of Miami Dade College Kendall Campus. Her academia includes Early Childhood Education, Interpersonal Communications, Psychological Studies and Counselor Education and Supervision.

In addition to being a provider of public service, Dr. Davis has written a children’s book, “But I Can’t See It”, inspiring an early message of self-empowerment and critical thinking. Dr. Davis enjoys the great outdoors, family time, gaining and sharing knowledge, embracing community and the simple pleasures of life.

Jairo Ricardo Ledesma
Communications, Humanities, & Soc. Sciences, Homestead Campus, MDC
Michael Lenaghan
Social Sciences Department, North Campus, MDC

Jairo Ricardo Ledesma is a Professor of History and Sociology at Miami Dade College’s Homestead campus. For over twenty years, he has worked at private and public institutions serving in different higher education roles, including student counselor, career counselor, academic adviser, Grant Director, and as an adjunct instructor. Professor Ledesma holds a Bachelor of Science in communications and a Master of Arts in sociology from St. John’s University in New York City. He also holds a Master of Arts in history and is currently a third-year history Ph.D. student at Florida International University.

Throughout his career, Professor Ledesma has worked with underrepresented groups. The hundreds of students he has advised or taught are now industry leaders or educators throughout the world. He is former USDA Kika the la Garza Fellow, and a Humanities Edge Grant recipient where he led undergraduate students in historical research. Currently he is a board member of the Homestead City Hall Museum, sits on the F.I.U Statewide Federal Government Conference committee, and is the Chair of the Hispanic Heritage Month committee.

Born in Buenaventura, Colombia, and reared in Queens, NY, he moved to Miami in 2001. He is married to his beautiful wife, Lillian. They have two children and an 8-year-old schnauzer named Bowser.

Eight-time NEH Summer Workshop Fellow and Endowed Chair of Teaching Excellence Professor in Political Science and International Relations, Dr. Lenaghan invites scholars to engage in exploration of literature that relates to each one’s special interests, aspirations. Presuming each student brings a unique genius to a course or seminar, he invites each to identify books, creative or performing arts or sources of ideas, insights and inspirations by which to make the learning community more meaningful. And by research, reading, writing, oral presentation or graphic representation each make the whole of the course experience greater than the sum of its parts.
Amy Lund
Arts and Philosophy, Kendall Campus, MDC
Ana Luszczynska 
English Department Chair, FIU
 Dr. Ana Luszczynska
Amy Lund earned her Ph.D. in Philosophy from the University of New Mexico. Her areas of specialization were Early Modern Philosophy, Feminist Philosophy, and Aesthetics. She has taught at colleges all over the United States, including the University of Oregon, Simmons College, Bentley College, and Florida Atlantic University. She founded Pride Week at Miami Dade College. She served as co-director for the Ethics Center at MDC Kendall Campus. She founded and co-manages the Philosophy Peer Tutoring Program at Kendall Campus’s Department of Philosophy. She loves introducing students to the joys of studying philosophy.

Dr. Ana Luszczynska is the Chair of the English Department at Florida International University. With her PhD in Comparative Literature, she specializes in Phenomenology, Deconstruction, and 20th and 21st Century US American Latinx and African-American Literatures. She is an academic advocate and activist for the essential role of diverse voices in teaching and research at all levels. She is the author of The Ethics of Community as well as numerous scholarly articles devoted to contemporary US Latinx Literature.

William "Bill" Maguire
Visual Arts, FIU
Prisca Milliance
Fashion Institute, Wolfson Campus, MDC
Bill Maguire

Bill Maguire has been teaching at FIU since 1975. In addition to his photography and history of photography classes, he has also taught a course called Visual Thinking. That course includes people in all media and is designed to provoke finely tuned ideas motivating one’s work. Maguire’s interest in sequential storytelling and comics has made him receptive to others with similar interests, occasionally including collaboration as in an example to be seen in the Symposium. Maguire has been a recipient of the Guggenheim Fellowship and several other awards of note. His most significant influence is the fiction of Samuel Beckett.

After receiving a BA in Journalism from Georgetown University in 2005, Prisca Milliance revisited her childhood love for art and fashion when she enrolled in a costume design class at Boston University. When her sewing instructor recommended she enroll in the Master's of Science in Fashion Design program at Drexel University, Ms. Milliance considered it to be a call from the universe to pursue her lifelong passion. However, she took the year before starting her graduate degree to travel across the US as a costume attendant for the Ringling Bros Circus. She has worked as a technical designer for contemporary brands including Mara Hoffman, Tracy Reese and Vanilla Beach.

Ms. Milliance has a strong affinity for the use of technology in creating fashion including Digital Illustration along with Pattern Making in CAD. Nevertheless, the love of art and fashion history is what drew her to this profession. Her goal is to share that curiosity and interest in research with the MFI community.

Ginny Peterson Tennant
Social Sciences Department, North Campus, MDC
Janet Raskin
Arts and Philosophy, North Campus, MDC

Over the course of the past 28 years, Dr. Ginny Peterson Tennant has taught over 9,000 undergraduate students in both the Social Science department and the Honors College at Miami Dade College. As a qualitative researcher, she has explored topics such as reverse acculturation, work/family balance and service learning. Her research appears in peer-reviewed journals. She has received grants and led students on study abroad programs. Twice, she was named as a National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) scholar. In 2017 she was honored as the recipient of the Ruth & Jack Kassewitz Endowed Teaching Chair award.

Janet Raskin is an Adjunct Faculty member in the Arts and Philosophy Department at MDC North where she teaches Acting for the Camera. She has taught Acting at MDC and Valencia College in Orlando, and has given workshops on the psycho-physical techniques of Michael Chekhov. In 2008, she was an Inge Scholar for her research on the plays of William Inge. In 2011-2012, she taught drama in China as part of her English Language Fellowship with the US State Department. She received her Bachelor's degree in Speech from Northwestern University and her Master's degree in Theater Performance from the University of Central Florida.
Emily Sendin
Communications, Arts, & Philosophy, Padrón Campus, MDC
Vanessa Sohan
English, Writing & Rhetoric, FIU

Emily Sendin

Vanessa Sohan

Emily Andrea Sendin is a professor of English, literature, and leadership in her twenty-first year teaching at Miami Dade College, Eduardo J. Padrón Campus. Prof. Sendin is an Endowed Teaching Chair and a Fulbright Scholar. She is also an alumna of the National Hispana Leadership Institute's Executive Leadership Program. She holds certificates from the Center for Creative Leadership and the Harvard Kennedy School. In 2012, she was named Florida Campus Contact Service-Learning Faculty of the Year for the Florida College Sector. Prof. Sendin earned a B.A. and M.A. in English with a concentration in Women's Studies from Florida International University. She serves as a mentor in the Earth Ethics Institute and teaches GSELS courses. She is also a service-learning faculty coordinator for the Institute of Civic Engagement and Democracy. Prof. Sendin is the founding advisor of Urbana, the award-winning literary and arts magazine of the Padrón Campus, currently on its thirteenth volume. Her passions are teaching and service.

Vanessa Kraemer Sohan is an Associate Professor in the English Department’s Writing & Rhetoric program, where she also helps direct the newly-established MA in Writing & Rhetoric track. She teaches upper-division writing courses focused on academic writing and research, multilingual and multimodal writing, feminist rhetorical practice, and material rhetorics. Her research investigates multilingual writing and pedagogy, feminist rhetorical theory and practice, and material/cultural writing and rhetoric. Her book, Lives, Letters, and Quilts: Women and Everyday Rhetorics of Resistance (University of Alabama Press, 2020) considers historical examples of composers working within/across language, mode, and media to engage in activist rhetorical work.

Maria Thevenot
Communications, Arts, & Philosophy, Padrón Campus, MDC
Marisol Varela
English & Communications, Kendall Campus, MDC

Maria Helena Thevenot is an educator, scholar, experimental choreographer, and solo performer based in Miami. Ms. Thevenot is faculty at Miami Dade College – Padrón Campus Communication, Arts and Philosophy Department – teaching humanities, cinema and dance. She holds a B.A. in Dance from the University of Maryland and an M.A. in Performance Studies from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. Over the course of her career, Helena has been a recipient of multiple grants and fellowships to research, choreograph and perform her works in the USA, Brazil, Finland, France, Germany, Poland, Mexico, Nicaragua, Colombia and Japan. She received the 2006 – 2007 Lecture/Research Fulbright Scholar Award to Brazil, twice the Choreographer's Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs' Dance Miami Fellowship Program and the State of Florida Individual Artist Fellowship Honors in Dance. She is, also, a seven-time recipient of the Artist Access Grant awarded by the Dade Cultural Affairs Council and Tigertail Productions.

Certified in the Topf Technique and specializing in Japanese Butoh dance, Helena has guest lectured and taught master workshops at festivals, colleges and universities nationally and internationally.

Major interests: Performance Studies, Continental Philosophy, Experimental Dance and Somatic Practices.

Originally from New Orleans, Louisiana, and born of immigrant parents, Dr. Varela moved to Florida to live with the rest of her family and to attend college. Dr. Varela has been teaching for 25 years. She currently holds a Doctorate Degree in Education with a concentration in Curriculum Development and Organizational Leadership. Dr. Varela’s teaching interests include, developmental education, first year composition, rhetoric, literacy, research, and service learning. Dr. Varela has participated in community involvement her entire life. Since age 14, she’s been involved with service learning and volunteer work at the Ronald McDonald House. In fact, a large part of her teaching philosophy centers on service learning. At the global spectrum, she was involved in a humanitarian mission in Ecuador and Kenya with her students. Dr. Varela’s involvement with service learning has been a catalyst for her continual inspiration and growth, and it demonstrates her confidence and ability to network with colleagues, students, and the community. Dr. Varela was awarded the 2016 Anastasio and Maria Kyriakides Endowed Teaching Chair.
Sabrina Walters
English & Communications, North Campus, MDC
Dr. Sabrina Walters is a Professor in the English and Communications Department at Miami Dade College, North Campus. Her research has centered on the plight of African American males in higher education. She has focused on coping mechanisms employed by African American males to determine specific strategies associated with the achievement outcomes among Black males at Predominately White Institutions (PWIs). Prior to joining Miami Dade College, Dr. Walters was a reporter at the Philadelphia Inquirer, Chicago Sun-Times, and the Miami Herald. She is a recipient of an Education Writers Association fellowship and a National Press Foundation fellowship, which allowed her to travel to Mexico to study Spanish. Dr. Walters attended the University of Miami where she completed her doctoral studies in Higher Education Leadership. She also earned a BS in Journalism from Michigan State University and MS in English Education from Nova Southeastern University.