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Bob Taylor, Ph.D.

Literary Leader

Robert Taylor received his B.A. and M.A. from the University of South Florida and his Ph.D. from Florida State University. Currently he is Professor of History as well as Associate Dean and Head of the School of Arts and Communication. Taylor’s research focuses on 19th- and 20th century America, the American South, Florida history, U.S. Military history, and the history of the space age. His research has led to multiple publications in academic journals and books as well as popular works. Taylor is committed to helping students deal with complex intellectual concepts and learn to grapple with difficult issues without simple answers. These skills, and the world view history and the rest of the humanities can provide, are in demand in the global economy. Taylor is a graduate of the Military Instructor Course at the U.S. Army’s Combat Studies Institute, Command and General Staff College, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. He is also a recipient of the Kerry Bruce Clark Award for Excellence in Teaching and the Florida Tech Alumni Association Award.

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Kevin Burke, Ph.D.

The Music Man

Kevin R. Burke is an Associate Professor of Music and Director of Music Programs. He holds a Ph.D. in Musicology from the University of Cincinnati, College-Conservatory of Music. He’s an active scholar of music pedagogy, recently elected Secretary-Treasurer for AMS's Pedagogy Study Group after serving as Chair of the PSG Programming Committee the previous year. He pioneered the use of iPads in the music history classroom with an Eli Lilly grant in 2010 and has presented his work on music and instructional technology in the journal Hybrid Pedagogy, in Engaging Students: Essays in Music Pedagogy, and at various pedagogy conferences, workshops, and panels. Dr. Burke is an advocate of the roleplaying platform “Reacting to the Past,” and has published research in this area in the Journal of Music History Pedagogy. He believes that to appreciate music, one must play and compose music. His general studies humanities courses in World Music and Video Game Music engage students from all backgrounds in this pursuit, whether its panpipe playing or programming chiptunes from old Atari, Nintendo, and Sega games.

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Syed Murshid, Ph.D.

Fiber Optic Communicator

As a professor in electrical and computer engineering, Dr. Murshid serves both industry and academia. He is a dedicated teacher with a love and passion for education. He teaches and mentors the next generation of student scientists and engineers with the goal of instilling a desire to become the best they can be. Dr. Murshid works very hard to cultivate, through focused efforts and sustained labor, the work ethics in his students which will provide them with the confidence to become the best. His students work hard and they are challenged to excel. His treasures include: mails, notes, and comments from past students stating that his endeavors were critical to their successful careers. His research activities revolve around optics and photonics. His research focus lies in fiber optic communications where he is credited with adding two new degrees of photon freedom to optical fiber multiplexing. His students closely work with him on these endeavors and nearly a hundred of his patents, patent disclosures and publications list his students as his co-inventors and co-authors.

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Mark Bush, Ph.D.

Eco-Explorer

Mark Bush received his B.S. and Ph.D. from University of Hull in the U.K and his M.S. from Duke University. Currently, he is the professor and chair of the conservation and ecology program of the biological sciences department. Central to his research is meaningful student involvement, and he has a proven track record of helping his students publish their work. Bush's fieldwork has brought his students to the far reaches of the Andes, Amazon and Galapagos. His current focus is exploring the impact of climatic change on plant communities in tropical Central and South America. His research has led him to discover the earliest known maize cultivation in Amazonia. He is also the editor of the Journal of Biogeography, which continues to provide essential reading for all environmentalists, biogeographers, ecologists, biologists, botanists and zoologists.

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Julie Costopoulos, Ph.D.

Forensic Expert Witness

Dr. Julie Costopoulos, who received her B.A. degree from University of Florida, M.S. from Florida State University, and her Ph.D. from New York University, is an Assistant Professor of Clinical Psychology in the College of Psychology and Liberal Arts. Dr. Costopoulos’ career has been in the area of forensic psychology. She comes to Florida Tech after serving as the senior forensic psychologist for the Sexually Violent Predator Program of Florida (also known as the Jimmy Ryce Act). Previously, she served at a forensic psychiatric inpatient unit at Florida State Hospital where she conducted therapy, assessments, and testified to the court on issues of residents’ competency to stand trial, commitment for hospitalization and other forensic matters. While there, she received a number of awards for her outstanding work and contributions. Dr. Costopoulos will serve as the Undergraduate Psychology Internship Director and is currently Chair of the Continuing Education Committee. Currently, Dr. Costopoulos is initiating a study of factors predictive of recidivism among offenders released from the sexually violent predator program. Dr. Costopoulos is also completing a theory article related to the psychoanalytic conceptualization of violent criminal behavior and is nearing the completion of a study that evaluates aggression in an impatient forensic hospital, a retrospective longitudinal study. 

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Steven Lazarus, Ph.D.

Meteorology Genius

Dr. Steven Lazarus is highly involved in the study of atmospheric sciences and is a member of the American Meteorological Society, the Florida Academy of Sciences and the Global Geophysical Union. Before coming to Florida Tech, Dr. Lazarus worked with Dr. Theodore Fujita, the creator of the Fujita Scale of tornado strength.  While pursuing his post-doctorate research at the University of Utah, he performed real-time weather analysis for the 2002 Winter Olympics that were held in nearby Salt Lake City. Dr. Lazarus is both an active reviewer and writer of research-based journal articles; to date, he has reviewed more than 20 articles and proposals to and published a dozen of his own in multiple journals. Some of his other areas of interest include climate change and hurricanes, coastal meteorology and terrestrial gamma ray flashes/thunderstorms. Dr. Lazarus is a adventurous professor with great insight about the field of meteorology. He holds a Ph.D. from the University of Oklahoma.

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Ronaldo Menezes, Ph.D.

Network Artist

Dr. Ronaldo Menezes earned his B.S. in computer science from the University of Fortaleza in Brazil and his Ph.D. from the University of York in the United Kingdom. He lived in Ireland before moving down to sunny Melbourne, Florida and becoming an associate professor of computer science. His areas of research include swarm intelligence, complex networks, self-organization, multi-agent systems, and coordination systems. Dr. Menezes and his students study the field of complex networks and have found that they can gain a better understanding of complex phenomena such as the spread of disease, protein interaction and social relationships by utilizing computer science.  Dr. Menezes also likes to tap into the creative side of digital networks and was instrumental in bringing artistic visualizations of digital networks to Florida Tech’s Foosaner Art Museum with the “Art of Networks” exhibit. The exhibit featured ten unique visualizations representing topics like migration flows, speech cognition and the spread of social messages by thought-leaders around world. 

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Meredith Carroll, Ph.D.

Stress Researcher

Dr. Meredith Carroll is an Associate Professor of Aviation Human Factors. She has over 10 years of experience conducting research for the Office of Naval Research, Air Force Research Lab, and Army Research Lab. Her research focuses on utilizing physiological sensor technology (e.g., eye tracking, cardiovascular and electrodermal activity sensors) to gain access to previously unobservable aspects of performance in order to optimize learning and cognition. Recently, her research has focused on studying the impact of stress on decision making, including developing predictive models of an individual's resilience and ability to perform under stress, measures that can quantify stress in real time and training approaches to improve decision making under stress. She teaches a range of human factors courses aimed at giving students practical, hands-on experience in applying theories of human cognition and learning to optimize performance in a range of situations from aviation to driving to playing sports. She engages classes with entertaining exercises and demonstrations ranging from playing a rubber band with her teeth to cross classroom football passes.

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Jessica L. Wildman, Ph.D.

Organizational Researcher

Dr. Jessica L. Wildman (Wildones) earned her PhD from the University of Central Florida, and is now an Assistant Professor in the Industrial Organizational Psychology program and the Research Director of the Institute for Cross Cultural Management at Florida Tech. She is also the Vice President-Conference Coordinator of the Interdisciplinary Network for Group Research. Her research and teaching interests include interpersonal trust dynamics, multicultural/global work issues, and teams in the workplace. Her awesome student research team, the Relationship and Interaction Optimization in Teams (RIOT) lab, has recently been studying how and why individuals in teams share leadership. Dr. Wildman has conducted organizational research for clients including the Office of Naval Research, NASA, and large multinational companies, and uses these experiences as engaging examples in her interactive, discussion-based classes. Dr. Wildman was also recently awarded an early career grant from the Army Research Institute to examine the development, violation, and repair of interpersonal trust across cultures. The RIOT lab regularly showcases their research via conferences, book chapters, and journal articles.

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Ugur Abdulla, Ph.D.

Math Wiz

Dr. Ugur Abdulla received his Ph.D. at the age of 21 from the USSR Academy of Sciences. He is a well-known expert in the field of partial differential equations, Potential Theory, Optimal Control and Inverse Problems with 48 papers published in top mathematical journals. The American Institute of Mathematical Sciences named his research paper as one of the 11 most significant advances in all branches of mathematics in 2008. Dr. Abdulla also started the National Science Foundation funded REU Site on Partial Differential Equations and Dynamical Systems at FIT. His mathematical blog serves the mathematical community worldwide. Dr. Abdulla passionately teaches math courses from the freshman to doctorate level. To him, mathematics is a way of thinking, and the primary goal in any math class is to let students into his world and to teach them to think as a mathematician, and that is the key to success for any natural scientist or engineer. Dr. Abdulla was also a national champion of Azerbaijan in freestyle wrestling, and he enjoys all kind of athletic activities in his free time.

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Christopher Bashur, Ph.D.

Tissue Engineer

Dr. Bashur received his bachelor’s degree from Lafayette College and his Ph.D. from Virginia Tech, both in Chemical Engineering. Through this training, he has had experience with both the material science aspect of biomaterials and the biomaterial interaction with cells. Prior to his appointment at Florida Tech, he performed postdoctoral work in the Biomedical Engineering Department at the Cleveland Clinic. There he became familiar with overall clinical applications of the tissue engineered medical devices. At Florida Tech, he has several ongoing projects that expand on aspects of this vascular tissue engineering postdoctoral research. A couple of these projects focus on the host response to biomaterials and drug delivery through electrospun scaffolds. The core focus of his research involves elucidating how cells interact with their microenvironment (e.g., topography and scaffold composition) and using this knowledge to develop strategies to produce tissue engineered grafts. This tissue engineering background is integrated within the Tissue Engineering, Drug Delivery, and Tissue Mechanics courses that he teaches. He appreciates the interdisciplinary environment found within the field of Biomedical Engineering, but also wants his students to become proficient in the engineering approach to solve problems.  

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James Brenner, Ph.D.

Hydrogen Hero

James Brenner received his B.S. in chemical engineering from the University of Delaware and went on to receive his M.S. and Ph.D. in chemical engineering from the University of Michigan. Currently, Brenner is researching hydrogen fuel cell technology. Brenner and his students are working on the development of an array of porous carbon templates. These arrays are to act as a novel gas diffusion layer for hydrogen cells, a technology that has been under-researched and under-developed, until now. The cutting edge research Brenner and his students are conducting has the potential to impact the practicality of hydrogen fuel cell use in personal vehicles. Brenner's teaching methods have garnered him multiple awards, including the 2011 Kerry Bruce Clark Award for Excellence in Teaching, six teaching awards from students and one teaching award from the College of Engineering.

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John Deaton, Ph.D.

Neural Navigator

Dr. John Deaton earned his Ph.D. in applied experimental psychology at the Catholic University of America and his B.A. in psychology from San Diego State University.  Dr. Deaton is currently the Professor and Chair of the Aviation Human Factors program as well as the Director of Research for the College of Aeronautics. Before coming to Florida Tech, he was a NASA astronaut candidate and has over 700 hours of flight time logged on various Navy aircraft as well as experience with experimental aircraft. This deep understanding of how pilot safety is so ingrained with how efficiently pilots can integrate and respond to aviation technology is brought into the classroom and into the lab for an exciting blend of engineering and psychology.  Dr. Deaton is the director for the Center for Aviation Human Factors (CAHF) lab where he mentors students, secures sponsored research and teaches human factors courses. 

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Charles Bryant, DBA

World Adventurer

Now boarding for all points East, West, North, and South! Dr. Charles (Chuck) Bryant is an assistant professor of International Business who teaches International Business courses and brings years of global travel and study-abroad experience to FIT. He received his BS in Engineering from Franklin University, his MBA in International Business and his MBA in Finance from Ashland University, and his Doctorate in International Business from Cleveland State University. Dr. Bryant is an experienced study-abroad program manager and is now leading the Spain global experience for the Bisk College of Business at FIT. In the classroom, Dr. Bryant passionately engages his students and challenges them to gain a global business perspective by directly experiencing global cultures. His classroom is an interactive experience - integrating lectures, real-world exposure, online engagement, and student involvement, Dr. Bryant strives to enlighten his students to true multinational value creation in a global business environment. Dr. Bryant’s goal is to bring the real-world to the classroom, and the classroom to the real-world!

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Martin E. Glicksman

The Metal Detector

Martin E. Glicksman has extensively mined the subject of metallurgy. Ask him anything about the solidification of metals and semiconductors, atomic diffusion processes and microstructure evolution. His expertise brought him to Florida Tech as a professor in the Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering department and the Allen S. Henry Chair. Glicksman’s experiments aboard Space Shuttle Columbia earned him NASA’s Award for Technical Excellence and, in 2012, he was honored with an Invitational Fellowship for Research in Japan through the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science.  A member of the National Academy of Engineering, he is a recent chair of the Materials Engineering Section. Glicksman, who graduated from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute with a bachelor’s degree and doctoral degree in physical metallurgy, began his career as head of the Naval Research Laboratory, Transformations and Kinetics Branch. He has authored two major textbooks.

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Andrew Aberdein, Ph.D.

Logical Reasoner

Andrew Aberdein is Professor of Philosophy at Florida Institute of Technology since 2003. Prior to his appointment at Florida Tech he was a Lecturer in Philosophy at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland. He has also held visiting research positions at the University of Edinburgh and the University of Windsor in Ontario. He graduated with a Ph.D. in Logic & Metaphysics from the University of St. Andrews in 2001. Much of Dr. Aberdein's teaching is focused on developing the skills of logical reasoning. He hopes that his students come out of his classes making stronger arguments for whatever they believe in and that they are better able to defend their opinions than before they took the class. In 2015 Dr. Aberdein served as President of the Florida Philosophical Association. He is the coauthor of Rhetoric: The Art of Persuasion, Wooden, 2015, and coeditor of The Argument of Mathematics, Springer, 2013. He is particularly interested in the study of human reason, and its application to understanding science, technology, and mathematics.

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Jignya Patel, Ph.D.

Software Investigator

Dr. Jignya Patel earned her Ph.D. from the University of Memphis, and is now an Assistant Professor in the Information System program at the college of business here at Florida Tech. In the class you can find her keeping students engaged and active by giving dynamic presentations with tons of real world examples, occasionally using a flipped class room strategy, and by putting the students in “What would you do if you were the CIO of the company?” scenarios. Her research interests include both technical topics such as Software Testing and non-technical topics with managerial implications such as effective ways to integrate Information Technology into the workplace. She loves to keep herself updated on the industry’s most contemporary softwares and teach them to students to gain a competitive edge in the market upon graduation. Dr. Patel is currently actively involved in fully integrating SAP software in various courses of the information systems curriculum. Recently, she is investigating into using SAP to learn data analytics and other concepts related to analyzing big data.

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Jonathan Whitlow, Ph.D.

Chemical Engineer

Dr. Jonathan Whitlow received his PhD in Chemical Engineering from Vanderbilt University in 1989 and began his teaching career at Florida Tech that same year. He also has a MS degree in Chemical Engineering from Vanderbilt and a BS degree in Chemical Engineering from Virginia Tech. Although he teaches courses in Chemical Engineering, his primary focus includes courses in process controls and senior level capstone design projects. Each of these courses requires a deep understanding of application software, which can only be accomplished through hands-on experience with both the software and the computer. Dr. Whitlow teaches his students to solve problems in the lab utilizing a step-by-step approach that includes the experience of solving similar problems. His teaching philosophy is that students not only learn through practice and feedback from the instructor but also from each other. His students are encouraged to share their knowledge and experience with their classmates, creating an atmosphere of success for all students. When students teach others how things are done, it enhances the own learning experience. 

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Debbie Lelekis, Ph.D.

Community Spectator

Dr. Debbie Lelekis received her Ph.D. in English from the University of Missouri. Currently, she teaches writing, British and American literature, and the elective “Science, Technology, and the American Narrative,” which she designed to challenge students to unite their creative impulses with their writing and research skills through interactive assignments on films and classic texts. Her research focuses on the notion of community in nineteenth and early twentieth century American fiction. In her book, American Literature, Lynching, and the Spectator in the Crowd: Spectacular Violence, Dr. Lelekis examines literary depictions of the witnessing and reporting of racial violence. She has also published on women writers and narratives of community, and she has been invited to present on her research at sessions for the Lifelong Scholar Society, as well as panels at the annual conferences for Interdisciplinary Nineteenth-Century Studies and the American Literature Association. Additionally, Dr. Lelekis serves as one of the faculty advisors for Florida Tech’s literary arts magazine Kaleidoscope.

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Cem Kaner, Ph.D.

Software Sleuth

Cem Kaner received his B.A. from Brock University, a law degree from Golden Gate University and his Ph.D. in experimental psychology from McMaster University in Ontario. He is currently a professor of computer science teaching software engineering. Kaner's research is focused on effective software testing methods with a heavy focus on career preparation for his students. Kaner and his students explore software metrics through the multidiscipline lens of psychology and physics. Most recently, Kaner received the "Making a Difference Award" from the Association for Computing Machinery's Computers & Society Special Interest Group, a once-in-a-lifetime honor presented to an individual who is widely recognized for work related to the interactions of computers and society. He has also been elected to the American Law Institute, one of the most prestigious organizations of attorneys in the country. Kaner's law background has led him to be instrumental in the drafting of the Uniform Computer Information Transaction Act, an advocate for consumers and small businesses.

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