classnotes fall 2020

A&S Class Notes

By A&S News

A&S Class Notes

By A&S News


Craig Smith, B.A. ’67, published his second book of poetry entitled, We All Have Dreams, Poetry for Life and Love. He invites readers to share thoughts and experiences through his poems. After reading his book, Smith hopes that readers will come away with a deeper understanding of life.

Peter A. Wish, B.A. ’67, launched the book The Candidate’s 7 Deadly Sins, on March 10th. It combines neuroscience, cognitive psychology, case studies of winners and losers, and years of coaching political candidates on how to make a better emotional connection with the voter.


Nanette Lampl Avery, B.F.A. '76, released her latest historical fiction, Out of the Rabbit Hutch, published May 2019. Set before and after the American Civil War, this multistrand novel circles through a large set of vibrant characters between the United States and colonial Tasmania. Avery lives outside Nashville with her husband and orange cat.


Dr. Marina P. Banchetti, B.A. '85, M.A. '89, Ph.D. '91, is Associate Professor of Philosophy at Florida Atlantic University. Her academic book, The Chemical Philosophy of Robert Boyle: Mechanicism, Chymical Atoms, and Emergence, has just been published by Oxford University Press. Banchetti was recently appointed Florida Department of Education's Philosophy Discipline Coordinator for the Statewide Course Numbering System. In this role, she oversees the course numbering and the approval of all new philosophy courses for Florida's state colleges and universities and for participating private colleges and universities.

Michael Bennett, B.A. ’87, published his debut novel, Young Donald, with Inkshares in October. The book is an imagined biography of U.S. President Donald Trump in high school.

Jill Mangone, B.A. ’88, is a successful real estate businessperson in New York who has contributed generously to the College of Arts and Sciences. She and her two brothers, Dennis Mangone, B.A. ’86, and Greg Mangone, UM Class of 2001, endowed the Louis A. Mangone Endowed Lecture Series in the Classics Department. The endowment is named after their uncle, the distinguished New York attorney Louis Mangone.


Donna A. Liberman-Scott, B.A. ’90, debuted Shame the Devil, a historical fiction novel. Liberman-Scott is an award-winning author of 17th- and 18th-century historical fiction. Before embarking on a writing career, she spent her time in the world of academia. Shame the Devil won the first place Chaucer Award for its historical fiction category and the Best Book Award from Chanticleer International Book Awards.

Roy L. Weinfeld, B.A. ’89, J.D. ’95, a creditors’ rights and real estate litigator, has brokered commercial lease and sales transaction for nearly 25 years and conducts seminars regularly in areas of his expertise. He has presented seminars to the Attorneys real Estate Council of Miami-Dade County (AREC), Miami Beach Bar Association, Colliers International, and NAI Miami commercial brokerages.

Scott Stein, B.A. ’93, M.F.A. ’97, signed a book contract with Tiny Fox Press. His novel The Great American Deception was published this year.

Earnest DeLoach, B.A. ’96, was promoted to Vice President-Legal for the Florida Division of Balfour Beatty Construction, LLC. DeLoach joined the company as Division Counsel in July 2018.

Joshua A. Cohen, B.A. ’96, has been recognized as a Top National Financial Advisor by Northwestern Mutual for his commitment and drive to help families and businesses plan for and achieve financial security. Cohen is affiliated with the Northwestern Mutual Boston & Rockland offices and resides with his family in Canton, Massachusetts. As part of this recognition, Cohen will be inducted into the company’s elite membership, the 2020 Forum Group.

Monique N. Woodard, B.A. ’98, a venture capitalist and angel investor, was featured in Queer 50 as the first Black partner at 500 Startups, a venture fund and accelerator. She championed underrepresented founders by investing in Black-owned businesses such as media startup Blavity and legal tech company Court Buddy. Woodard—who previously cofounded a network of Black tech entrepreneurs, BlackFounders—led a $25 million microfund at 500 Startups that focused on investing in pre-seed and seed-stage startups helmed by Black and Latino founders.

Rachel Avchen, ’99, serves as chief of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Evaluation and Analysis Branch in the Division of State and Local Readiness and the Center for Preparedness and Response, which provides analysis and evaluation services to support state and local decision making related to COVID-19. The division provides funds to 50 states, eight U.S. territories and freely associated states (including Puerto Rico), and four local health departments in the U.S.


John J. Crocitti, Ph.D. ’01, was elected President of the San Diego Mesa College Academic Senate. He took office of Senate President Elect this summer and will Office of Senate President in July 2021. Crocitti also served as Social Sciences Department Chair since 2013.

Dr. Jim B. Fatzinger, B.A. ’99, M.B.A. ’01, is now the Associate Vice President of the Kentucky Fulbright Alumni Association. He is currently a tenure-track faculty member at the Eastern Kentucky University College of Business and Technology and a member of the Fulbright Specialist Roster.

Dr. Mahsaw Nademin, B.A. ’02, is a psychologist in Arizona, a recent author, and owner of an anti-aging skincare business. Her new book, Don’t Be A Stranger, connects with people and creates a kinder world, one memorable moment at a time. The book is available online. Dr. Nademin is proud and appreciative of her background at UM. She is grateful for all the seeds planted that contributed to her career.

Daniel I. Pedreira, B.A. ’06, a doctoral candidate in political science at Florida International University, published his third book titled, PEN Club of Cuban Writers in Exile: Foundation, Struggle and Present. This bilingual book was published by the PEN Club of Cuban Writers in Exile and tells the story of the decades-long work of Cuban and Cuban American authors towards advancing freedom of speech in Cuba and around the world.


Erica Towle, B.S. ’10, Ph.D. ’15, recently became the National Coral Reef Monitoring Program (NCRMP) coordinator for the Coral Reef Conservation Program at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). In this role, she is the program manager for coral reef monitoring in the 10 U.S. jurisdictions that have coral reefs—Florida, Hawaii, U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary, American Samoa, Guam, Marianas, and the Pacific Remote Islands. The data collected by NCRMP provide a robust picture of the condition of U.S. coral reef ecosystems and the communities connected to them. She is based at NOAA headquarters in Silver Spring, MD, and resides in Washington, D.C., where she is also the Treasurer of the D.C. Canes Community.

Pili Tobar, M.P.A. ’10, was named deputy White House communications director in the incoming Biden administration. Tobar was deputy director for America’s Voice, where she advocated on behalf of immigrants. Additionally, she has worked as the Hispanic media director for Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer; national director of Hispanic Media and Western regional press secretary for the Democratic National Committee; communications director for Congressman Ruben Gallego; and communications director for the Latino Victory Project.

Eric Geron, B.A. '11, recently signed his debut picture book POULTRYGEIST with Candlewick. The story is about a chicken that crosses the road and ends up on the other side—in the spirit world. Other ghost animals encourage the poultrygeist to embrace its dark side, but it may be too chicken. Geron’s book will be illustrated by #1 New York Times bestselling illustrator, Pete Oswald, and is slated for publication in fall 2021.

Dr. Michael Venincasa, B.A. ’15, has been awarded a residency at UM’s Bascom Palmer Eye Institute. The competition for residencies at Bascom Palmer is on an international level and among the most sought-after residences in the world.

Katherine E. Masih, B.S. ’15, was recently accepted in into the NIH Oxford-Cambridge Scholars Program. After completing her graduate and medical schooling, Masih will pursue clinical training in pediatric hematology-oncology.

Fajer Almenaie , A.B.A., ’18, established the first-of-its-kind intervention clinic for children with autism in Kuwait, one patterned after UM's Intensive Behavioral Intervention Services (IBIS) Clinic. Almenaie and the four technicians she trained are the only ABA-certified professionals in her Middle Eastern homeland offering what is scientifically regarded as the most effective therapy for curtailing disruptive behaviors and embedding basic functional skills in young children on the autism spectrum. 


Dr. Keith Gill Scott passed on February 29, 2020, in Dacula, GA. He was 85. He is survived by his wife, Marcia Strong Scott, who is also a Department of Psychology retired faculty member, his son Garth and his wife Michele, and his grand-daughters Athena and Cassidy. Dr. Scott and Wendell and Linda Ray founded the Center, which provides programs and services to support positive developmental outcomes for at-risk infants and toddlers.

Dr. Richard A. Williams passed on July 6, 2020. He was 75. Dr. Williams grew up in South Florida and attended Coral Gables High School. He received his bachelor’s degree in History and Anthropology from Florida State and went on to receive a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago in South Asian Languages and Civilizations. He came to UM in 1983 to work in the Office of Development in the College of Arts and Sciences. He then moved to the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs, becoming the Director of that office in 1989. He later was the Director of Financial Affairs for the UM North-South Center, the Director of Personnel and Fiscal Management for Psychology, and a Senior Manager in the Comptroller’s Office. In 2001, Dr. Williams returned to the Psychology Department as the Assistant Chair for Finance and Compliance, which is the position he held for the last 19 years.