Presenter Bios

Presenter Biographies

Federica Bono is an Assistant Professor of Human Geography at Christopher Newport University (CNU). She holds a PhD in Geography from the University of Leuven (KUL) in Belgium, a MSc in Geography from the KUL and an MSc in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Birmingham (UK). Her scholarly work lies at the intersection of geography of food, feminist political economy, and critical legal geography. She has written and published about food access, (cross-border) solidarity relations, alternative and informal food economies, and care in early-career academia. At CNU, she teaches human geography and GIS courses, created the GIS and cartography curriculum, and co-created the Geography minor.

Eric Nost is an assistant professor of geography at the University of Guelph and a political ecologist who researches how data technologies inform environmental governance. He teaches undergraduate courses in nature-society geography and mapping as well as graduate courses in research methods. He is a member of the Environmental Data and Governance Initiative, which brings people together to analyze publicly available socio-environmental data and track the portrayal of climate change issues on the web.

Brad Hanson grew up in Klamath Basin. The beauty of this Place that is the ancestral and current homelands of the Klamath, Modoc, and Yahooskin Nations raised Hanson. Their recent ancestors settled on Lakota lands in the early 1900's coming from Norway before moving to Oregon. Brad is a geography graduate student at New Mexico State University. They are interested in the work and play of decolonizing and Indigenizing themselves, and particularly interested in how college education can be facilitated in ways that do much more than transactionally provide abstract knowledge.

Léa joined the Ph.D. program at Concordia University’s Geography, Planning, and Environment Department in September 2019. After completing a master’s in Cultural Geography at Wageningen Research Institute in the Netherlands, she became fascinated by the power of maps as storytelling devices. She is dedicating her Ph.D. research to strengthening alliances that engage settler and Indigenous communities around the land-based issues that unite and divide them. For this, she assesses the potential and limits of repatriating state-sanctioned historical materials and repurposing them as “counter-archives”. With this information in hand, she produces maps and other creative repurposings to augment the ways Indigenous-led campaigns reach their target audiences.

Levente Juhász is a Research Assistant Professor and Assistant Director of GIScience at the FIU GIS Center. Holding a PhD in Geomatics from the University of Florida and an MSc in Geography from the University of Szeged, Hungary, his expertise lies in data quality of user-generated content, online community behavior, and spatial analysis of social media and other online platforms. His work, featuring innovative research in location-based games, geospatial web, and environmental data science, has garnered international recognition. At FIU since 2019, he previously served as Interim Director of the GIS Center, overseeing strategic planning, operations, and research.

Alexis E. Wood is a graduate student at the University of California, Berkeley Department of Geography and the Berkeley Center for New Media. She researches the intersections of digital geographies, climate change, and American socio-political movements through critical cartography.

Jim E. Thatcher is an assistant professor in the College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences at Oregon State University. His work explores the many intersections of technology, environment, and society with a specific focus on the constitution and representational properties of data. His research has been featured in popular publications, including Mother Jones, The Atlantic, and on NPR, and he is the current editor of the journal Cartographic Perspectives. His second book, Data Power, was published with Pluto Press in 2022.

Chiara Braucher studied as a civil engineer with a keen interest in environmental struggles, political ecology, and commoning practices. She obtained her Ph.D. from La Sapienza, University of Rome, focusing on post-disaster reconstruction and self-construction as commoning practices. During her academic journey, she attended a visiting period at the Environmental Humanities Lab at KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm. Currently, she is pursuing a second Ph.D. at the Sociology and Social Research department of Trento University, where her research focuses on environmental struggles and extractivist processes with a decolonial approach.

Thais Escobar-Sanabria a PhD student in the FIU Department of Global and Socio-Cultural Studies. Holding a bachelor’s degree in history and a Master's in geography from the Universidad de Los Andes (Colombia), their professional background includes significant experience at the Colombian Attorney General’s Office in the of Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law, focused on human rights violations, environmental crimes, and organized crime. Their research interest is centered on political ecology and environmental justice within energy transition contexts, and the evolving narratives and landscape shifts within these energy transition scenarios.

Raymond K. Awadzi is a Ph.D. candidate of Cultural Anthropology in the Department of Global Sociocultural Studies (GSS), Florida International University. His research focus on identity politics and its ramifications for political, economic, and socio-cultural developments in Africa and the African diaspora. He also serves as a teaching assistant and an adjunct professor at the Florida International University respectively. His dissertation delves into the emergent vertical and the horizontal transnational networks among the African diaspora and the ethnic reconstruction processes in the African homeland with a focus on the West African Ewe ethnically based diaspora communities in North America.

Francesca Escoto is a multi-career, bi-cultural professional, serving as Chief Operations Officer at the Allapattah Collaborative CDC. She is also an engineer by day, and an expressive painter by night. Her multi-disciplinary approach enriches the work, and has landed her on the pages and stages of MIT Media Lab, SXSW, Main Street America, Cosmo For Latinas, CNN Espanol, Black & Brown Founders, among others. She loves mothering her three daughters, hanging out with her artist husband, and walking her dog Chula.

Lorena is a 3 time nationally awarded Dominican American educator focused on anti racist and anti bias education. She’s been featured in the New York Times, NPR, PBS, Rethinking Schools, EdWeek, Learning for Justice Magazine, and more. She published The Anti Racist Teacher: Reading Instruction Workbook, and Textured Teaching: A Framework for Culturally Sustaining Practices about curriculum & lesson development focused on social justice. She’s a co-founder of #DisruptTexts and Multicultural Classroom. Lorena is also the Chair of NCTE’s Committee Against Racism and Bias in the Teaching of English. She lives in Tampa, Florida.

Rayne Hawkins has been employed as a researcher, UAS pilot, logistics and GIS specialist at Florida State University since 2020. They received their Bachelor of Science in Environment & Society in the Summer of 2020, and began their Master of Science in Geography in 2021. Their research focuses on the intersection of traditional ecological knowledge, unmanned aircraft systems, and Indigenous capacity building in the realm of natural resource governance. Using their experience as a team member of a state-deployable resource for disaster response, Rayne explores ethical training methodologies in partnership with a First Nations community in British Columbia, Canada.

Ana Casasanta Skaarup a third-year PhD student at Florida International University. They were born and raised in Brazil and currently live in Miami. Their research interest is Indigenous studies, focusing on urban and peri-urban Indigenous communities. Their current study topic is the use of social media in digital placemaking. Their methodologies reflect a commitment to amplifying the voices of Indigenous communities through Indigenous-led research.

Frank Schmitz is an adjunct instructor in the Department of Geography at Florida State University. His research interests include water governance, political ecology, and environ mental history, with a special interest in the US Southeast.

Carl-Philippe Juste Carl-Philippe Juste is the founder of IPC ArtSpace, Director of Iris PhotoCollective and curator of over seventy projects. He is Senior Photojournalist, Miami Herald; and the CEO of the Haitian Cultural Arts Alliance. Under the threat of persecution, Haitian-born Carl– Philippe Juste and his politically active family were forced to flee their homeland in 1965, eventually settling in Miami’s Haitian community. Over the course of his career, he has won countless awards as a photojournalist. Juste has covered national and international stories for the Herald, including assignments in Haiti, Cuba, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iraq. As part of his ongoing independent work, in 1998, Juste co-founded Iris PhotoCollective. In 2016, Juste won a prestigious Knight Arts Challenge grant to complete Havana, Haiti: Two Cultures, One Community, a book and exhibit of photographs and essays about Cubans’ and Haitians’ lives and shared humanity. The book is forthcoming from Akashi Press in 2025. Carl opened IPC ArtSpace in 2019 to further engage the public with the arts, and in 2019 and 2021 he won the “The Ellies,” an award from Oolite Arts.

Dr. Rebecca Friedman is the Founding Director of the Wolfsonian Public Humanities Lab (WPHL) and a Professor of History at Florida International University. Friedman has been a leader at FIU in a number of capacities. She served as the Director of the European Union Center of Excellence/European and Eurasian Studies for over eight years and served as the Faculty Fellow in the Office of the Provost from 2012-2022. In 2019, she was named Director of the WPHL. Rebecca has collaboratively secured over 10 million dollars in research and institution-building grants for the university. She is a leading point of contact for the university in Miami's arts and cultural communities. Her scholarly focus is on the history and culture of modern Russia. Her monographs include Modernity, Domesticity and Temporality in Modern Russia: Time at Home (Bloomsbury, 2020) and her 2006 book on the history of masculinity in Russia — Masculinity, Autocracy and the Russian University, 1804-1863. As a leader in her field, she edited (with Barbara Clements and Dan Healy) Russian Masculinities in History and Culture, which is the first volume in English to focus on the growing field of Russian masculinity studies. She edited (with Markus Thiel), European Identity and Culture: Narratives of Transnational Belonging (Routledge, 2012). She is currently co-editing a Cambridge University Press series on Elements in Soviet and Post-Soviet History.

Dr. Marcie Washington received her Master's degree in International Affairs in the College of Social Sciences at Florida State University and her Ph.D. in Conflict Analysis and Resolution from Nova Southeastern University. Her research interests are diverse, but most of the time she focus on topics related to conflict and cooperation, international and domestic migration, and transnational and domestic security. Dr. Washington's research interests assists in delivering an understanding that refugees, the diaspora, and internally displaced persons are also challengers whom have the capacity in certain political and social environments to organize unrest and promote peace. Her work builds upon the rich and current scholarship of conflict and peace studies - demonstrating that understanding collective action is impractical in the absence of close attention to how memories influence collectives to engage in contentious tactics to re-frame a 'real and/or perceived' grievance from the past in order to reinforce their desired identity. She is PI on the 4.63M$ Mellon grant Commons for Justice: Race, Risk, Resilience.

Valerie L. Patterson is a Clinical Professor in the Public Policy and Administration program at Florida International University (FIU) and the current director of FIU’s African & African Diaspora Studies program. She also serves as affiliated faculty with FIU’s Center for Women’s and Gender Studies. Her most recent research examines post racial performance of race, gender and policing in majority -minority communities, and the history and lasting impact of Bahamian immigrants in the founding and building of the City of Miami.

Gray Read teaches history, theory, and sustainable design in the School of Architecture at Florida International University. She holds a PhD from University of Pennsylvania and is a licensed architect. She has written two books on historical urbanism, focusing on human scale and the theatrical nature of public spaces, design qualities that can contribute to more sustainable cities. Recently she led a group of students in visualizing the history of the main street of Black Coconut Grove when it was the lively center of the community.

Aarti Mehta-Kroll is a Graduate Research Assistant in the Department of Global Sociocultural Studies. Her research focuses on how the historic Black and Bahamian community of Coconut Grove and Coral Gables is engaged in resisting encroaching gentrification. As a part of the Mellon Foundation grant, Commons for Justice, she has worked on multiple, interdisciplinary projects focused on the cultural preservation and historic commemoration of Little Bahamas of Coconut Grove. Aarti Mehta-Kroll is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Global & Sociocultural Studies at the Steven J. Green School of International and Public Affairs at Florida International University.

Derrick Boakye Boadu is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Public Policy and Administration at the Steven J. Green School of International and Public Affairs at Florida International University.

Alexander Kroll is an associate professor of public policy and administration in the Steven J. Green School of International and Public Affairs at Florida International University.

Jennifer Tisthammer is the Chief of Conservation and the Director of the Deering Estate for Miami-Dade County's Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces Department. Jennifer has served as the Director of the State-owned, County managed Deering Estate since 2014, serving as Deputy Director for seven years before that. Jennifer has more than 25 years of experience in senior and executive management, specializing in finance, operations, cultural and natural resource management, and nonprofit governance. Jennifer is a past member of FIU’s Honor’s College Advisory Board, Advisory Board Member to FIU’s College of Earth and Environment, and the national Organization of Biological Field Stations. Jennifer received a Master of Science degree in Environmental Studies, was an American Association of Women scholarship recipient for Women in STEM, has a Graduate Certificate from University Florida, Preservation Institute in Historic Preservation, a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in Finance and Marketing, and is pursuing a PhD in Global and Socio-Cultural Studies, focusing her thesis work on Indigenous Data Sovereignty in Cultural Resource Management.

Stephannie Fernandes holds a Bachelor of Law from Milton Campos Law School (Brazil) and earned an MSc in Environmental Science and Policy at Northern Arizona University (United States). Currently pursuing her PhD in the department of Global and Sociocultural Studies at Florida International University (United States), Stephannie is researching the relationships among institutional arrangements and different stakeholders in the context of development and conservation policies for water resources in the Amazon Basin. With a passion for interdisciplinary collaboration, she is dedicated to bridge different sectors, disciplines and contribute to a more comprehensive understanding of the complex challenges surrounding water protection.

Sedrika Jacques is a resident of the Lincoln-Fields HUD apartment complex in Liberty City and a member of the Miami Workers Center. She is currently working to organize the tenants of Lincoln Fields while collaborating with the Mellon-sponsored research-activism project of FIU's Richard Tardanico.

David Ortiz is a Ph.D. student in the Global & Sociocultural Studies department at FIU. His area of focus is on housing and community development. More specifically his current dissertation project seeks to understand how informal housing, in the form of Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) and garages turned into rental units, operate in South Florida as a complex and well-established housing system.

Richard Tardanico is associate professor of sociology in, and former chair of, FIU's Department of Global & Sociocultural Studies. His research and writing has focused on local/global transformations of Latin America and the Caribbean, past and present, but currently addresses such transformations of Greater Miami. In addition to his edited and co-edited books on Latin American and the Caribbean, he has published in journals such as Politics & Society, Comparative Studies in Society and History, Theory & Society, Studies in Comparative International Development, Development & Change, Journal of Development Studies, and International Journal of Urban and Regional Research.

Lauraelena Guerrero is a graduate of Florida International University. She has a Master's in GSS Interdisciplinary Applied Social Science, and her research focuses on Indigenous geospatial data sovereignty and Indigenous pedagogies.

Anthony Georgekish is from the Cree nation of Wemindji, located in northern Quebec, Canada. He currently works for a community-based mapping project as a GIS tech and researcher. This project aims to map Cree oral stories of the land with elders and land users and their families. He has been part of the team since 2016.

Loreen S. Magariño is a PhD candidate in Clinical Science at Florida International University. She is a bilingual and multiracial Caribbean Latina who enjoys eating, napping, belly laughs, and reading non-fiction works. Her research interests are in youth development and resilience, interdisciplinary community-engaged participatory research, dissemination and systems science, and culturally and trauma-informed health promotion for and with diverse communities. Loreen’s work leverages science and communication for equitable capacity-building and engagement with culturally and racial-ethnically diverse, as well as socioeconomically vulnerable and marginalized communities.