2016 Alumni Weekend Guest Speakers

We have an amazing line up of guest speakers this year that are generously donating their time to speak with FSU’s Asian American community.

ScottAtwellScott Atwell, President and CEO, FSU Alumni Association

Scott Atwell was appointed president of the FSU Alumni Association on July 1, 2008, after serving as chief of staff for the vice president for university relations. He came to Tallahassee in 1983 as a graduate assistant in the FSU Sports Information Office and is closely associated with Seminole athletics, having served as a co-host on every one of the FSU coaches’ television programs, including the Bobby Bowden Show.

Mr. Atwell has worked in the FSU administration for 20 years, mostly in University Communications. He produced the definitive history of FSU in 1997 for the institution’s 50th anniversary celebration, for which he received the Gabor Award for Superior Accomplishment within the university President’s Division. He also produced a history video for the university’s sesquicentennial in 2001, and served for 11 years as anchor of the FSU Headlines television news magazine, after first starting the program on the university’s public broadcasting radio station, WFSU. The Capital Chapter of the Florida Public Relations Association recognized his work with its inaugural Communicator of the Year Award in 2004.

Before coming to FSU, Mr. Atwell was a sports anchor for 11 years with Tallahassee’s CBS affiliate WCTV, where he followed the Seminoles to bowl games from Tempe to Ft. Lauderdale and was on hand for FSU’s 10-day run to the championship game of the 1989 College World Series.

A native of Key West, Florida, Mr. Atwell is married to Dr. Michelle Bachtel, a Tallahassee cardiologist, and together they are the parents of daughters Savannah, Olivia and Juliana, and son, Brandon.

LarryDennisDr. Larry Dennis, Dean, FSU College of Communication and Information (CCI)

Dr. Lawrence C. Dennis earned his BS in Physics at the University of Michigan in 1974 and his PhD in Nuclear Physics at the University of Virginia in 1979. Prior to the CCI merger, he was Dean of the FSU College of Information (2004-2009) and the Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs and Director of the Office for Distributed and Distance Learning (ODDL) at FSU (2002-2004). Additionally, he has served as acting Director of the FSU Supercomputer Computations Research Institute. He taught physics at FSU from 1979 t0 2004 and has won a University Teaching Award and two State of Florida Teaching Incentive Program Awards. In his role as Director of ODDL, he gained extensive experience developing online degree programs and applying technology to instruction. As dean he is teaching courses in Information Systems and Services, Project Management and Information Architecture.

Dr. Dennis has an interest in IT education and helped establish the STARS Alliance in 2005. The STARS Alliance is focused on recruiting, retaining and graduating more women and minorities in IT. This Alliance has grown from its 10 original members to over 50 Colleges and Universities. For the last year, he has directed the Florida IT Career Alliance with the goal of increasing number of students pursuing computing and IT careers, helping students find appropriate academic programs and helping graduates find great companies in which to build a career.

Dr. Dennis has served on the Board of Directors of the Southeastern University Research Association, as Chairman for the CLAS Collaboration Coordinating Committee and as a member of the EDUCAUSE Advisory Committee on Teaching and Learning. He currently is serving on the Executive Board of the STARS Alliance, the Board of Directors for FBMC, Benefits Management, Inc and for the John and Jane Marks Foundation.

MafeBrooksMafé Brooks, Director of Development, FSU College of Communication and Information (CCI)

Before her current role within FSU CCI, she was an Annual Giving Development Officer for FSU’s Undergraduate Studies-Honors Program and the College of Medicine. Prior to her career in the development field, she was the Assistant Director for Programs & Development at FSU’s International Center. Her educational background is in Linguistics, Education and Teaching English as a Second Language. Her professional affiliations include the Academic Libraries Advancement & Development Network (ALADN), the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) and the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP). Mafé is passionate about giving back to the community so she is involved with a few local non-profit organizations. She currently serves on the board of the Character & Heritage Institute and the Big Bend Filipino-American Association. Past board and committee service includes the Asian Coalition of Tallahassee, Literacy Volunteers of Leon County, and the March of Dimes.

EbeRandereeEbe Randeree, Associate Dean, FSU College of Communication and Information (CCI)

Ebe Randeree has been teaching since 2003 and joined the faculty at the College of Communication & Information at Florida State University (FSU) in August 2006. He had been working on my PhD in Management Information Systems at the University at Buffalo (UB) where he also earned an MBA with concentrations in Health Systems Management and M.I.S. Prior to going back to school for his MBA and Ph.D, he earned a BS in Computer Science from the Rochester Institute of Technology.

MarkZeiglerMark Zeigler, Professor, FSU College of Communication and Information (CCI)

Mark Zeigler is an award-winning professor and one of the most passionate educators in the country dedicating his life to Higher Education. A true Seminole, his mentorship and involvement spans across the university for organizations like Omicron Delta Kappa, Phi Eta Sigma, Phi Kappa Phi, University Athletic Board, Honors Faculty, Camp Rockmont Diversity Board, Head Marshal for FSU Commencement, and serves on the Faculty Evaluation Committee for Faculty Senate.

LadanyaRamirezSurmeierLadanya Ramirez Surmeier, Coordinator of Education and Assessment, FSU Ogelsby Union

Ladanya Ramirez Surmeier (BS ’04, MS ’06) is responsible for evaluating the effectiveness of various university programs and initiatives by utilizing research data to inform market strategies to better serve the university community. It is through this role that she also serves as the liaison to the Division Research & Assessment Team, the Division Professional Development Committee and the Oglesby Union Board to identify and apply for grants to support a wide-array of research projects.

Ladanya’s passion and advocacy for diversity and community service is rooted in her undergraduate years branching throughout her career. She was a two-term Director of the Hispanic Latino Student Union (HLSU) and a Service Scholar for all four undergraduate years. After earning her Master of Science in Higher Education Administration, she accepted a job with FSU’s Center for Global Engagement (CGE) as the Coordinator of Campus and Community Programs (’06-’07) and then as the Coordinator of Beyond Borders International Cultural Exchange Program (’07-’10). During her time at the CGE, she was responsible for coordinating all cultural programs and new student orientations for the CGE as well as identifying needs of international students and establishing programs that provide support and promote interaction with domestic students and community members. Part of her role at the CGE was serving as the liaison to the Beyond Borders FSU/UWI exchange and the Asian Coalition of Tallahassee.

She is always giving back to the community as a member of multiple organizations like the Florida Diversity Council, Junior League of Tallahassee, National Council of Catholic Women and the Association of College Unions International.

JuanEscalanteJuan Escalante, Digital Campaigns Manager, America’s Voice

A two-time graduate (BS, MS) of FSU originally from Venezuela, Juan Escalante is undocumented and a current beneficiary of President Obama’s executive actions on immigration. His immigration case fell apart when his family’s attorney failed to provide proper council, leaving him and his entire family in an immigration limbo. Since then, Juan has been a relentless advocate for immigrant rights, and continues to advocate for policies that would help him, his family, and people in similar situations. His digital advocacy work has been profiled by various media outlets (like MSNBC), as he continues to promote the use of new technologies in order to empower individuals across the Untied States.

KristineDobosenskiKristine Dobosenski, Partner, SociallyLoved

Born and raised in Miami, FL, Kristine Dobosenski started her career as a working in sales full time while attending school at FIU for sociology. Upon graduation, she continued her sales career and also started a business as a concierge hairstylist. This path took her global, affording her the opportunities to travel to New York, Los Angeles, Amsterdam, Belgium, France, Germany and Spain. When she returned to the States in 2011, nothing could stop her. She overcame many obstacles, using it to grow her ability to forgive and find grace in any situation. Looking for something new, Kristine worked as a lead generator for a Home Depot campaign in 2013. This position required her to overcome rejection with a great mindset and build leaders who could do the same. Now, Kristine is loving on Tally through Sociallyloved, a book that seeks to let raving fans be the voice of local business marketing. She is the Chair of Leads Group B for Access Tallahassee, an Ambassador for the Chamber of Commerce and is known around town as the “Hug Dealer”.

ClydeDiaoDr. Clyde Diao, Deputy Policy Coordinator, Executive Office of the Governor

Originally from the Philippines, Dr. Diao is an economist responsible for forecasting Florida’s economy and demographics, the basis of Florida’s state budget. He obtained his bachelor’s degree at Xavier University/Ateneo de Cagayan and his Master’s Degree and Ph.D in Economics at Florida State University as a World Bank scholar. His professional work experience includes: managing, developing, and conducting economic research projects related to economic development and environmental issues, cost-benefit analysis, econometric and regional economic analysis, developing large econometric models, as well as analyzing economic policies for Florida. Prior to this, he also worked as an economic analyst/lead economist with the Labor Market Information at the Department of Labor and Security which gave him extensive knowledge and understanding about Florida’s labor market. His career with the State started as an economist at the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). Eventually, he became the Chief Economist responsible for managing DEP’s Economic Analysis Section.

Outside of work, Dr. Diao is an active leader in the community. He is the current Chairman of the Asian Coalition of Tallahassee (ACT), a 501(c3) nonprofit corporation and in his 9th year in this position. ACT is an umbrella organization of several Asian organizations and other groups in Tallahassee (including FSU). It aims to unite the Asian Americans, advocates issues important to them, and promotes the varied Asian cultures. He was also the President of the Big Bend Filipino-American Association (BBFAA), Inc. for 5 terms (10 years). BBFAA is a 501(c3) non-profit corporation that has been in existence for more than 30 years. It is engaged in charitable, educational and cultural activities both locally and abroad.

DrSomaDr. Thayumanasamy “Soma” Somasundaram, Director, FSU X-ray Crystallography Facility

A Ph.D in Physical Sciences, Dr. Soma serves as a Facility Director for FSU’s Institute of Molecular Biophysics and is credited with over 30 scientific publications. He is responsible for training and teaching students how to collect and analyze macromolecular X-ray diffraction data and the day-to-day operation and maintenance of the X-Ray Facility (see historic photos and data) including XRF hardware and software. During the summer, he works with the Department of Biological Science’s six-week residential science and mathematics Young Scholars Program. An accomplished scientist, he will also be giving a presentation about the robotic microscope at FSU DigiTech 2016.

An active member of the community deeply invested in the growth and development of Asian cultural initiatives. He serves as a Board Member for the Asian Coalition of Tallahassee (ACT) and is a Co-founder of Tallahassee Tamil Sangam. Additionally, he is a member of the Tallahassee Human Relations Council and the Leon Country Science Advisory Committee.