October 2008, Volume 12, Number 8

Academics


Distinguished academics join MDC faculty

Diana Bien-Aime, M.S.
Speech Communication, Wolfson Campus

Diana Bien-Aime’s teaching philosophy is a simple one: She teaches her students only what they can use.

Bien-Aime earned a bachelor’s in public relations at the University of Florida and a master’s in organizational communication at Barry University. While in graduate school, she conducted research on intercultural communication issues for Black women in corporate America and on the motivating factors for employees in the profit and nonprofit sectors using organizational communication paradigms.

The communication professor joins the faculty at Wolfson Campus after a six-year stint at Hallandale Adult Community Center, where she was an adult basic education instructor. Since 2005, Bien-Aime has also hosted radio, TV and online entertainment, conducted communication workshops for young women and was crowned Miss Black South Florida.

“I came to Miami Dade College because this organization is committed to serving the community,” she said, “and community service is my passion.”

Before Bien-Aime’s success in the regional pageant, she published The Lady Love of God: In Her Twenties, a collection of candid and colorful Christian poetry that offers her musings on spirituality and womanhood.

“My poems and words of encouragement let these women know they aren’t forgotten,” she said. In her work, Bien-Aime encourages readers to ask themselves tough questions about their motives and goals. “Just because these ladies are of legal age to make decisions, doesn’t mean they are making the wisest choices in discovering their authentic selves.”

She hopes to bring this same passion to her speech communication classroom at Wolfson Campus.

 

Ivo Calderín, M.S.
Mathematics, Wolfson Campus

Ivo Calderín strongly believes that “every individual, every student, has the potential to exert a positive influence on our human society, regardless of the scale we use as a frame.”

“It is my job as an instructor, professor, educator and mentor to help and guide, and to learn from them as well,” he said.

Calderín, a doctoral candidate in pure mathematics at Florida State University, earned a master’s in physics and pure mathematics and bachelor’s in physics and mathematics.

He comes to MDC with varied professional and academic experience. Recently, he was a programmer in the IT department at Funeral Services Inc., a job he held while pursuing his doctoral studies in Tallahassee. While at Florida State, he was also a graduate assistant in mathematics and physics, teaching undergraduate courses in both subjects. He’s also been an adjunct at Wolfson Campus, where he taught integrated arithmetic, algebra and integrated algebra.

He spent four months at Argonne National Laboratory in Illinois as a student researcher, a position sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy. At Argonne, Calderín took part in experimental data analysis, participated in experimental hardware setups and helped to find new and important results, which were published in Physics Review Letters, a journal of the American Physical Society.

Returning to MDC as a full-time professor was a natural career progression, Calderín explained. “I chose to work at MDC because it is a high-quality undergraduate institution with a rich history and racial and ethnic diversity that is perhaps unmatched by any other institution in the United States,” he said.

“This college is, and has always been, a stepping stone for young and old alike who, due to varied personal circumstances, are unable, without extra help, to live a life with decorum or find a well-paying and more secure job, or even realize their career or lifelong dreams.”

 

Leandro Alvarez, M.S.
Mathematics, North Campus

Before Leandro Alvarez teaches his students a new equation, he likes to know their college majors and extracurricular interests. That information, he says, helps him to insert practical examples into his lessons that his students can use.

“I like students to be engaged in what they are learning,” he said. “They learn more readily when they can see that what we are covering in class has application in their other subjects.”

Alvarez, formerly an adjunct professor, joined the full-time teaching faculty at North Campus.

He got his first job at Kendall Campus as a student tutor in the lab even before enrolling in an associate degree program. He’s been an adjunct professor at Kendall Campus since 2005, when he earned his bachelor’s degree. He has bachelor’s and master’s degrees in mathematical science from Florida International University.

 

María José Cendon, M.D.
Microbiology, Kendall Campus

Dr. María José Cendon came to Miami Dade College four years ago as an adjunct professor because she loves teaching – and because she loves teaching in a multicultural environment. “I believe we are more than professors; we are facilitators of learning,” she said. “It is very important to help our students to develop critical thinking skills.”

Cendon earned a medical degree at the Central University of Venezuela School of Medicine and completed a rotation as an intern at the Luis Ortega Hospital. She launched her teaching career as an instructor at the Central University of Venezuela.

At MDC, she’s taught in classrooms, laboratories and in the Virtual College. Additionally, during Conference Day, she presented “Mapping Learning Outcomes for the Biology Disciplines.” She also participated in the textbook selection committee for Anatomy & Physiology and General Education Biology.

 

Francisco Coro, Ph.D.
Biology, InterAmerican Campus

Dr. Francisco Coro taught at Havana University for 35 years before coming to Miami in 2006. He describes his teaching philosophy as pragmatic as opposed to theoretical.

“I try to teach those things that will make students able to think for themselves,” he said. “It is impossible to teach everything, so I focus on the essentials. Then they have the basic knowledge to understand the more complex knowledge.”

As a recent immigrant, he says he understands many of his students’ experiences and adds that he chose to come to MDC in part because of the institution’s “important relationship with the immigrant student population.” Coro received his bachelor’s degree from Havana University and his doctorate from Moscow State University in Russia

 

Geoffrey Danzig, MBA
Accounting, Hialeah Campus

Prior to his position as adjunct faculty at Hialeah Campus, Geoffrey Danzig worked in the corporate sector. Looking for “something else,” he stopped in at a local job fair and found Miami Dade College.

The newly appointed full-time accounting professor now brings his professional demeanor into all of his interactions with students.

He describes a “mutual academic agreement” between them: “When they are as involved in their education as I am, they are invested.”

He puts the power in their hands and says that they are responsible for setting the pace and asking questions when necessary but also says, “There is nothing I won’t do for my students.”

Danzig has an MBA from Rutgers University.

 

Ying Song, Ph.D.
Engineering, Homestead Campus

“The biggest thing for me is that I want my students to grow,” says Dr. Ying Song, the recently appointed engineering professor at Homestead Campus.

In addition to the growth of her students, she is excited to be working on the growth of the Electrical Power Technology program, a unique educational partnership between the School of Computer and Engineering Technologies and Florida Power & Light’s Turkey Point Nuclear Power Plant.

“I really like the cooperation on the apprentice training for Turkey Point – it is a very strong program,” she says.

Song earned a doctorate from Duke University and previously taught part time at MDC and at FIU. As a resident of Homestead, she says her new position will “assist greatly” with her commute.

— Gariot P. Louima and Katherine Joss


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