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Division of Public Relations and Marketing Communications
Nova Southeastern University
3301 College Avenue
Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33314-7796


SharkBytes Archives


Division of Public Relations and Marketing Communications
Nova Southeastern University
3301 College Avenue
Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33314-7796


Farquhar College of Arts and Sciences Welcomes New Faculty Members

The Farquhar College of Arts and Sciences welcomes more than 20 new faculty members this fall. Each brings to NSU noteworthy academic experience, both inside and outside of the classroom, in a variety of fields and interests.

Roberta Arrigo, Ph.D., visiting professor

Arrigo earned her doctoral degree in psychology from Yeshiva University’s Albert Einstein College of Medicine and a post-doctoral certificate from the Institute for Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy in New York. She has worked as a clinical psychologist in private practice, a psychologist for a variety of child and family services agencies, and a consultant to various educational institutions. Arrigo has also served as an adjunct faculty member at NSU, Hunter College, and City College in New York. Her research interests are in the areas of bilingualism and multiculturalism.

Jonathan Banks, Ph.D., assistant professor

Banks earned an M.S. in Developmental Psychology from North Carolina State University in 2004 and his Ph.D. in Experimental Psychology from the University of North Texas in 2011. As a graduate student, Banks served as a project coordinator for a number of research projects, authored several peer-reviewed articles, and presented his work regularly at professional conferences. His research interests are focused on stress and its influence on cognitive processes.

Charmaine Barreto, Ph.D., associate professor

Barreto earned her Ph.D. in Information Transfer and her M.S. in Telecommunications and Network Management from Syracuse University in 2003. She has served as an associate professor at Mount Olive College and as an assistant professor at Florida Atlantic University. Barreto has taught a variety of project management, Web design, and systems analysis and design courses in undergraduate and graduate programs. She has published a number of research papers in the areas of knowledge proliferation, and has also presented her research at many professional conferences.

Nelson Bass, J.D., visiting professor
Bass earned his J.D. from the University of Miami and is currently completing his Ph.D. in Political Science at Florida International University. His research and teaching interests include American politics and foreign policy, international relations and international political economy, and Cuban politics.

Christopher Blanar, Ph.D., assistant professor
Blanar earned his Ph.D. in Biology from the University of New Brunswick in 2008 and an M.S. in Natural Resource Sciences from McGill University in 2001. He has taught several courses as an NSU adjunct and/or visiting faculty member, including Evolution, Invertebrate Zoology, Parasitology, Zoology, Environmental issues, Environmental Health, Ecosystem Function, Human Health, Comparative Animal Behavior, and Animal Physiology. Blanar has published a number of research papers in peer-reviewed journals.

Myron Burns, Ph.D., assistant professor

Burns earned his doctoral degree in counseling psychology from Tennessee State University in 2002. For several years following his graduation, he worked as a project director at the University of Miami’s Center for Family Studies, where he assisted HIV-positive women in recovering from substance abuse. Most recently, Burns served as an assistant professor of psychology and counseling at Nevada State College.  His research interests focus on substance-abuse treatment issues.

Kevin Dvorak, Ph.D., associate professor and coordinator of writing center
Dvorak earned his Ph.D. in English with specialties in composition and TESOL from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and also holds an M.A. in English with an emphasis in rhetoric and composition from Sonoma State University. Prior to joining NSU, he was a faculty member and director of the university writing center at St. Thomas University in Miami. Dvorak published Creative Approaches to Writing Center Work, which won the International Writing Centers Association Scholarship Award for Best Book/Major Work. He is currently the president of the Southeastern Writing Center Association and was recently elected to a two-year term as vice president, to be followed by a two-year term as president, of the International Writing Centers Association. His current research focuses on bilingual tutoring.

Alvaro Escobar, M.S., instructor and coordinator of computer science lab
Escobar received his M.S. in Computer Science from Kutztown University of Pennsylvania in 1990 and is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Computer Science and Engineering at Florida Atlantic University. His graduate coursework includes computer programming, dynamic and math programming, operating systems, computer networking, and computer algorithms. Escobar has served as an adjunct faculty in computer science and computer information systems at NSU. He has extensive computer-industry experience as a systems engineer and Web developer.

Bert Exsted, Ph.D., visiting professor
Exsted received his Ph.D. in Chemistry with a specialty in polymer and coating in 1990 from North Dakota State University. He has worked as a polymer chemist and chemistry intern at Bayer AG in Germany and Mobay Chemical in Pittsburgh. Exsted also served as a product-development specialist at 3M, from 1991 to 2000, and at the adhesive and monomers technical service department at Bayer Corporation in Pittsburg, from 2000 to 2002. He has eight years of teaching experience at the high-school level, teaching IB Chemistry at the International Community School of Addis Ababa in Ethiopia from 2002 to 2008 and Advanced Placement and Honors Chemistry at the Hillel Community Day School in Miami since 2008. Exsted has also served as an adjunct faculty member at NSU.

Tamara Frank, Ph.D., associate professor

Frank earned her Ph.D. in Aquatic Biology from the University of California, Santa Barbara in 1987. After completing her Ph.D., she completed three post-doctoral assignments. She conducted intracellular studies on the role of Ca+2 (calcium) in invertebrate vision as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Connecticut Health Center from 1988 to 1989. From 1989 to 1991, Frank was involved in patch clamp studies of the differential effects of pyrethroid insecticides on nodose and petrosal ganglion cells in fish versus mice at the Hatfield Marine Science Center as part of a National Institutes of Health postdoctoral traineeship. Frank was a post-doctoral fellow (1992 to 1993), and then an associate research professor at Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution, where she studied visual physiology of pelagic and benthic organisms. Frank has authored more than 30 publications in her field and has obtained more than 15 research grants as a result of her various studies.

Ronald Goldstein, Ph.D., visiting professor

Goldstein earned his Ph.D. in Mathematics from New York University’s Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences in 1970. He has served as an associate professor of mathematics at the University of Miami, an assistant professor of mathematics at Notre Dame University, an instructor at New York University, and as visiting faculty at the University of Warwick. Goldstein currently serves as president and chief technology officer of a software company based in South Florida. He has also served as an adjunct faculty member at NSU.

Amy Hirons, Ph.D., assistant professor
Hirons earned her Ph.D. in Oceanography from the University of Alaska Fairbanks in 2001. She also earned an M.A. in Zoology from the University of Northern Colorado in 1989. Hirons has taught a wide variety of courses at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, including Biology I, Biology II, Ecology, Marine Ecology, Food Web Dynamics, Plankton Ecology, and Invertebrate Zoology as well as topics in biological anthropology. Her research is ecological in nature, and she has published a number of research papers in her field. Hirons has received many research funding awards from various funding agencies, and has served as an adjunct faculty at NSU.

Kristine Johnson, Ph.D., visiting professor
Johnson earned her Ph.D. in Mass Communication from Florida State University, as well as an M.S. in Advertising and Public Relations from Texas Christian University. In addition to her academic experience, she has experience working in professional public relations and media venues. Her research and teaching interests include new media and radio broadcasting, and mass communication.

Krista Kasdorf, Ph.D., visiting professor
Kasdorf earned her Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry from the University of London in 1995 and the Diploma of Imperial College following her graduate program with Colorado State University in 1996. She served as a postdoctoral fellow at Emory University and Florida Atlantic University (FAU) for one year each. Kasdorf has taught chemistry courses at FAU since 2007. She has published a number of peer-reviewed research papers and is a co-author of three editions of the General Chemistry Laboratory textbook by Plymouth. She is a recipient of the 1996 Hofmann Prize for Research in Organic Chemistry from Imperial College.

Stefan Kautsch, Ph.D., assistant professor
Kautsch earned his Ph.D. in Astronomy from the University of Basel, Switzerland, in 2006. He held a post-doctoral appointment at the University of Florida from 2006 to 2009. Kautsch’s specific fields of interest and research are observational cosmology and galaxy morphology, as well as evolution. He has taught at the university level for several years, most recently teaching physics and astronomy courses at Christopher Newport University in Virginia. Kautsch has published multiple research papers in astronomy and physics. He has also been actively engaged in both school and community projects that promote astronomy.

Edmond Lee, Ph.D., assistant professor

Lee earned his M.Sc. in Mathematics in 1997 and his Ph.D. in Mathematics from Simon Fraser University in 2002. Most recently, Lee was a math instructor at Corpus Christi College in Canada and an adjunct faculty at Simon Fraser University. He has taught a variety of math courses at all levels including pre-calculus, discrete mathematics, and differential calculus for biological sciences. He also served as an academic advisor for the mathematics department at Simon Fraser University from 2003 to 2006. Lee has published 24 research papers in peer-reviewed math journals.

Tobin Silver, Ph.D., assistant professor
Silver earned his Ph.D. in Health and Kinesiology from Purdue University in 2010 and his M.S. in Movement Science from Barry University in 2005. He has worked as director of a fitness center and a lecturer in the kinesiology department at the University of Massachusetts. Silver has taught a variety of courses in the areas of exercise and sport science, biomechanics, anatomy and physiology, and athletic training. He has published a number of research papers in the field of kinesiology and biomechanics.

Tyler Smith, M.F.A., visiting professor

Smith is a sculptor, illustrator, educator, art director, and the resident set designer for the Fort Lauderdale Children’s Theatre. He earned his M.F.A. from Indiana University. His sculptures have been exhibited in places from Italy to New York, to the big screen in Sydney Pollack’s 1995 film Sabrina. In addition to his career experience in the arts, Smith’s teaching credits include Rhode Island School of Design, Miami International University, the Art and Culture Center of Hollywood, and Broward College.

Augusto Soledade, M.F.A., assistant professor

Soledade is a performer and choreographer and the founder, artistic director, and resident choreographer of Brazz Dance Theater. He earned his M.F.A. in Dance from SUNY Brockport in 1998 and received the Pylyshenko-Strasser Graduate Dance Award that same year. He has performed in Brazil, Trinidad and Tobago, and throughout the United States. He has received six fellowships since 2005 and multiple grants to develop choreographic- and research-based projects. He has taught at Smith College, the University of Michigan, Wells College, and the University of Rochester.

Katerina Tsakiri, Ph.D., assistant professor

Tsakiri earned her Ph.D. in Mathematics from SUNY University of Albany in 2010. While at SUNY, she served as a lecturer in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics. For the past year, she has served as a postdoctoral research associate at the University of Florida. Tsakiri has taught a variety of math and statistics courses at all levels, including statistics, algebra, and calculus. She has published a number of research papers in the areas of time series analysis and has presented multiple talks at professional conferences.

Suzanne Weber, Ph.D., visiting professor

Weber earned her Ph.D. in Comparative Sociology from Florida International University in 2007. She has an eclectic education background that includes degrees in music, social-work administration, and Judaic studies. Weber has served as an adjunct faculty member at Broward College, Miami-Dade College, Florida Atlantic University, and NSU. Her dissertation research focused on survival mechanisms used by Holocaust survivors who sought refuge in Eastern European forests.