Close

Albert Bleakley, Ph.D.

Brilliant Builder

Dr. Bleakley received his bachelor of science degree from West Point, his master’s in civil engineering from MIT and his Ph.D., also in civil engineering, from Florida Institute of Technology. As an Army Corps of Engineers officer for 30 years, he has managed design and construction contracts in countries all over the world. He has also overseen environmental clean-ups, earthquake, hurricane, and flood disaster recovery including New Orleans after hurricane Katrina. Dr. Bleakley was instrumental in helping to develop the Construction Management program here at FIT. He and the other construction management faculty use over 100 years of combined industry experience to bring real-life examples, case studies, and projects to the classroom. He has enjoyed his career in construction management and wants his students to enjoy learning about it, too! Expect to be engaged his classroom with demonstrations, interactive questions, in-class problems, and group discussion. Be prepared to take interesting field trips to construction sites where students experience the work and get to talk with industry professionals on the job. Our construction management degree produces students into effective leaders in the construction industry!

« Prev | Next »

Close

Semen Koksal, Ph.D.

Mathematics Mastermind

Semen Koksal received her B.S. and M.S from Middle East Technical University in Turkey and her Ph.D. right here, from Florida Tech. She believes math is the most beautiful subject elegant and integral to all scientific research. Koksal's research digs into the biological aspect of the construction and analytics of neural networks, biochemical networks and coral dynamics. Her team's work has appeared in multiple publications. Koksal is also passionate about encouraging young women to study math and pursue careers related to the field. She is heavily involved with the mentoring activities of the Association of Women in Mathematics. Koksal collaborated on the Undergraduate Biological and Mathematical (UBM) training program, a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant that funds the research of six undergraduate students annually. In 2010, two of Florida Tech's UBM students, under the tutelage of Koksal, were invited to present their research at the National Academy of Sciences Meeting in Washington, D.C. They were among just nine students nationwide selected for this honor.

« Prev | Next »

Close

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.

« Prev | Next »

Close

Andrew Aberdein, Ph.D.

Logical Reasoner

Andrew Aberdein is Professor of Philosophy at Florida Institute of Technology where he has taught 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.

« Prev | Next »

Close

Andy Knight, Ph.D.

Knight of the Periodic Table

Andy Knight received his B.S. and Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of St. Andrews in Scotland. He is currently an associate professor of chemistry with a keen interest in inorganic chemistry as it relates to multiple disciplines including catalysis and organic synthesis, nanoscale and layered materials, medicinal chemistry, molecular biology, biodefense and green chemistry. Knight was awarded a nearly $1 million contract from the Naval Research Laboratory to study chemical warfare compounds. His research is helping protect the U.S and its interests from weapons of mass destruction. Knight and his students often present their findings at local and national meetings and are encouraged to co-author scientific papers. Whenever possible, he tries to involve his students at every stage of the research process from experimental design through proofing manuscripts prior to appearing in print. His students learn everything from lab work and report writing, to working within a team and presenting their findings to an audience.

« Prev | Next »

Close

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. 

« Prev | Next »

Close

Robert J. Weaver, Ph.D.

Surf Researcher

Dr. Robert J. Weaver received his B.S. in mathematics and a minor in physics from the University of North Carolina. He went on to the University of Florida to earn both his Master of Science and then his Ph.D. in Coastal and Oceanographic Engineering. Since his arrival at Florida Tech, he built an exciting coastal engineering research program that focuses on eco-engineering and high resolution circulation modeling. Dr. Weaver’s love of surfing led him to also create a Surf Engineering Analysis course. This course teaches students about field data collection as well as the basics of time series data analysis. He’s also spearheaded the formation of the Indian River Lagoon Research Institute with the support of faculty and administration. The Institute is focused on researching engineering solutions to coastal water quality, committed to the restoration and sustainable management of the Indian River Lagoon. Areas of current research include coastal flooding, coastal transport, coastal lagoon water quality, 2D and 3D circulation modeling, and nearshore processes. His teaching style is to engage students, bringing hands-on learning and excitement into the program.

« Prev | Next »

Close

Matthew Ruane, Ph.D.

Global Educator

Dr. Matthew Ruane received his B.A. in History & Political Science from McGill University in Montreal, Canada, his M.A. and most of the work for a Ph.D. (ABD) in History from the University of Delaware, and his Ph.D. in Higher Education & Policy Studies from the University of Central Florida. His research is equally wide-ranging, from pirates to WW1 doctors, as well as on the role of foundations in higher education. Dr. Ruane teaches many different courses from western mythology to military history, along with the western civilization and U.S. history surveys. Dr. Ruane, according to one of his students “talks WITH his students, not AT them, (thus) keeping them engaged,” ensuring that they “always receive the important information and understand why it is significant.” A graduate of two East-West Center “Infusing Institutes,” Dr. Ruane has begun to infuse Chinese, Japanese and South Asian topics and issues into his existing courses to provide students with a more global perspective to their education. 

« Prev | Next »

Close

Carlos E. Otero, Ph.D.

Computer Systems Expert

Dr. Carlos E. Otero is Associate Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering. Before joining Florida Tech, he spent time as faculty at the University of South Florida and University of Virginia systems. He also has over 15 years of private industry experience in defense computer systems, including satellite communications, command and control, wireless security, unmanned aerial vehicles, and other advanced systems. His research interests include a broad range of topics in computer and communication systems, with particular emphasis on algorithm design, performance evaluation, and optimization of systems. He has authored one university textbook and over 70 scientific peer-reviewed publications. Dr. Otero teaches courses in wireless, computer systems, and software/hardware design. He is a strong proponent of practical hands-on learning with focus on industry-need-driven problems. When students enter his classrooms, they can expect to build hardware/software systems that interface with sensors, actuators, or a whole host of other components; build systems that communicate wirelessly; or implement algorithms frequently found in intelligent systems. 

« Prev | Next »

Close

Julie Moore, M.S.

Aviation Ambassador

Professor Julie Moore earned her M.S. in Environmental Studies from Green Mountain College and her B.S. in Human Factors from the US Air Force Academy.  She is currently an Assistant Professor of Aviation Science in the College of Aeronautics, where she teaches aeronautics, advanced aircraft systems and unmanned aerial systems.  In addition to teaching at Florida Tech, Professor Moore is a Major in the US Air Force Reserves.  She has trained fighter pilots across the Air Force on adversary systems and tactics, specializing in infra-red systems, and she has over 1500 hours of jet time, serving in both Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Noble Eagle. Professor Moore enjoys bringing her experiences in military aviation to her classes, tying real life examples to concepts in aviation. For example, she flew an F-16C into the Melbourne International Airport, which allowed her students to see, in person, many of the same systems discussed in class. Her current research interests involve using unmanned aerial systems for environmental monitoring and conservation.

« Prev | Next »

Close

Christian Sonnenberg, Ph.D.

Systems Informant

Dr. Christian Sonnenberg is the Assistant Dean of Online Programs for the College of Business and an Assistant Professor in Information Systems. He earned his B.S., M.S. in Software Engineering, and Ph.D. in Computer Science from Florida Institute of Technology. Dr. Sonnenberg is passionate about introducing students early to technology in the business environment. Each year, he runs the Student Innovation Challenge, a hands-on competition that explores the use of technology for rapid prototyping, programming apps, and product design. Business freshmen create innovative concepts with the use of Raspberry Pis and present their prototypes to compete for cash awards. In his classes, Dr. Sonnenberg engages students in a variety of high demand, extremely marketable business technologies, such as PTC and SAP, and has also been instrumental in incorporating these tools into the online curriculum. Previous to joining Florida Tech, Dr. Sonnenberg worked as a software engineer for over ten years at Harris Corporation where he worked in a number of areas including directional wireless networks, cellular interrogation systems, and satellite image processing applications.

« Prev | Next »

Close

Martin E. Glicksman, Ph.D.

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.

« Prev | Next »

Close

Jian Du, Ph.D.

Modeling Mathematician

Dr. Jian Du received his M.S. and Ph.D. from Stony Brook University in Applied Mathematics. His research focuses on developing realistic models and efficient computational algorithms to study complicated problems in biological fluid dynamics, such as blood clotting and locomotion of microorganisms. Dr. Du's research is currently funded by the Focused Research Group Grant from National Science Foundation, one of the most competitive and prestigious grants at NSF. Additionally, Dr. Du focuses on imparting his passion for research on his students. For example, Dr. Du serves as the mentor for students in the NSF-funded REU program at Florida Tech. These students have presented their work at prestigious conferences, including the Joint Mathematics Meeting, which is the largest mathematics conference in the world. In his computational math courses, Dr. Du continues to make real-world connections for students. His major goal is to help students experience the combination of the beauty of math and the power of computing, in hopes that they will be inspired to use these skills in their own research or practical applications. 

« Prev | Next »

Close

Vanessa Edkins, Ph.D.

Juror Justifier

Dr. Vanessa Edkins, who received her B.S. degree in Psychology from Brandon University and her M.A. and Ph.D. in Social Psychology from University of Kansas, is an Assistant Professor of Forensic Psychology in the College of Psychology and Liberal Arts. Aside from her teaching experience, Dr. Edkins has acted as a reviewer for journals, textbook companies, and conferences. She has also constructed online courses and instructor manuals within her areas of expertise. Dr. Edkins' primary research interest is the intersection of psychology and the legal system, especially as it pertains to jurors. She has assessed juror decision making models and constructed a juror attitude questionnaire to predict how jurors will react to various aspects of a trial. Her most recent research program focuses on the topics of plea bargaining and discrimination in both the criminal and civil justice systems; Dr. Edkins has published research demonstrating that defense attorneys will attempt to negotiate better deals for Caucasian clients than for African American clients. She is currently investigating plea bargaining from the viewpoint of the accused as well as case factors affecting bargains in Florida criminal cases. Dr. Edkins also assists The FBI's Behavioral Sciences Unit and The Academy Group with various research projects including the analysis of hostage-taker motivations and the relationships that convicted child molesters have with their respective wives/girlfriends. Dr. Edkins's is not only passionate about exploring the fundamentals of our world but also in increasing diversity-related awareness in psychology students.

« Prev | Next »

Close

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.

« Prev | Next »

Close

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. 

« Prev | Next »

Close

Rich Griffith, Ph.D.

Human Lie Detector

Richard Griffith received his B.A. from Youngstown State University and his M.A. and Ph.D. from University of Akron. Currently, he is a professor of industrial organizational psychology, a program he founded at Florida Tech. Griffith and his students focus on studying the psychology of applicant faking behavior. Griffith and his Applicant Response Behavior Research team are utilizing over 20,000 applicants for a Fortune 500 company as subjects. The team's research will provide valuable information to companies whose applicants have found ways to optimize their personality scores in order to land a job. He has authored over 75 publications and presentations in the area of selection and is the co-editor of the book A Closer Examination of Applicant Faking Behavior. Griffith's work has been featured in Time Magazine and The Wall Street Journal. When he isn't solving intellectual puzzles with his students, you can catch him rocking out on the guitar in his punk-surf band.

« Prev | Next »

Close

Yi Liao, Ph.D.

Photosensitive Phenom

Dr. Yi Liao received his B.S. in Chemistry from Nankai University, China, and his Ph.D. from University of Massachusetts. He conducts research in photochemistry and develops smart materials that alter their properties under light. What he enjoys most about doing chemistry in Florida is the sunshine. It’s probably because his lab is often in the dark due to the photosensitive stuff he works on. Sometimes you’ll can find him and his students sitting outside of the Olin Physical Science Building, staring at a test tube under sunshine, hoping something will happen. The photosensitive molecules he discovered have been used by research groups around the world to develop smart photoresponsive materials and novel devices. His research has been funded by National Science Foundation and Department of Defense. Dr. Liao teaches General Chemistry, Polymer Chemistry and Electronic Materials courses. He encourages students to ask questions in the class. He always says “no question is a bad question”. His office is always open to the students who need help.

« Prev | Next »

Close

Scott Benjamin, Ph.D.

Serious Entrepreneur

Scott Benjamin brings his 25 years of industry experience alive in the classroom by engaging students in the real world application of knowledge. Scott received his B.B.A. from the University of Miami in Real Estate and Marketing and his M.B.A. and Ph.D. in Strategic Management and Entrepreneurship from the Robert H. Smith College of Business at the University of Maryland. Prior to becoming an academic, Dr. Benjamin started seven ventures in industries from real estate investment and development to medical consulting and radiation safety products. It is Dr. Benjamin's ability to combine the theoretical lessons learned throughout a student’s education with the practical application from his experiences that make the classroom come alive. Dr. Benjamin has been known to include his students in flipping houses, analyzing the purchase and sale of restaurants and evaluating value creation of new ventures that he is involved. Upon graduating, Benjamin's students are fully capable and confident to excel in the "real world".

« Prev | Next »

Close

Kunal Mitra, Ph.D.

LASER Leader

Dr. Kunal Mitra, who received his B.S. degree from Jadvpur University in Calcutta, India and Ph.D. from the Polytechnic Institute of New York University, is a Professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering.  Dr. Mitra’s research interests include the interaction of short pulse lasers with scattering absorbing media such as tissues, ocean water and clouds. The applications include optical tomography for detection of tumors in tissue for early lung cancer detection as well as landmine detection in shallow waters. His research has led to a patent for on in-office laser-based skin cancer detection and treatment system, which may be used in doctor’s offices or specialty imaging centers.  Dr. Mitra also has an interest in various energy systems and applications such as the study of solar collectors and Photovoltaic systems.

« Prev | Next »