FIU - Education , Florida International University

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Making a Difference

Alex Rodriguez-roig '99

Alex Rodriguez

2014 Community Leadership Award

President, Boys & Girls Clubs of Miami-Dade

A Cuba native, Alex Rodriguez-Roig truly knows what it means to be less fortunate and is extremely passionate about providing children with hope, freedom and opportunities. As president, he oversees five clubs that serve an estimated 8,000 children on an annual basis. His clubs provide the community an overall economic impact totaling $78 million in income generations and savings. Prior to filling this role, he served as academic director for the organization where he developed Academic Improvement Methods (A.I.M.), a comprehensive educational enhancement curriculum to improve academic levels of children in after school programs. In his first few years as president, he diversified and expanded its $4 million annual funding sources and increased its unrestricted cash reserves from just over three weeks' to three months' worth. Since that time, the organization has been financially thriving. Rodriguez-Roig also serves as treasurer on the board of directors of the Florida Alliance of Boys & Girls Clubs, which has been instrumental in bringing over $36 million to Boys & Girls Clubs throughout the state of Florida. He also serves on the National Latino Advisory Council for Boys & Girls Clubs of America and is a board member of the South Florida Workforce Youth Council. In April 2012, he was appointed to the Florida International University College of Education Advisory Board and in 2014 was named a Lifestyle Media Group Up & Comer in the nonprofit category. He was also named as one of South Florida Business Journal's 2013 40 Under 40 list, which recognizes the most dynamic individuals under the age of 40 in Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade Counties who work diligently to contribute to their company's growth and to improve the local community. Additional awards and accolades include the 2005 Top 100 People of Like Minds by Florida International Magazine, the Florida Marlins' Heart of the Community Award in 2005 for his work in the community and the 2005 New Executive of the Year by Boys & Girls

Marcia L. Martinez Strait, MS '77

2014 Distinguished Alumni Award

CEO, Strait Tutoring Services

Marcia Louisa Martinez Strait's affiliation with Florida International University spans back decades and she has been an active and influential member of the community ever since. After completing a Bachelor in Fine Arts and Languages at Barry College, she chose to attend FIU to pursue her Masters in Fine Arts and Administration and Supervision. She once again returned to further her education and complete a certification to become a counseling specialist. Her career path has included a diversity of positions in education for Miami-Dade County, including Fine Arts Instructor, Reading Specialist, Crisis Interventionist, and most recently, CELLA Examiner and Team Leader. She also dedicates her time to mentoring, teaching and sponsoring an all-girls reading club, which serves underprivileged girls from ages 8 through 12. Strait's business endeavors are in testing, evaluating, diagnosing and re-mediating home learning for individual students in the private sector. Her passion is to instill the love of learning using historical research so that students can discover the difference between the past and the present and be able to create a future. In her 35 years of professional experience, Strait's motto has always been, "If you can search it, you will learn it."

Robert Inza '02, '04, '08

Robert Inza

Robert Inza has come full circle at Barbara Goleman Senior High School. He is a member of the first graduating class, a former English teacher and Activities Director and newly appointed assistant principal, the first Goleman alumnus to be named an administrator.

From the time he was a child, Inza was an engaged and motivated student. He recalls being eager to go to sleep so the next school day would come sooner.

"I'm a lifelong learner. If I could go to school forever, I would," he said. Considering Inza's track record for education, it seems as though he may very well go to school forever, even if not always in the classroom.

Inza attended Florida International University for his bachelor's in English Education, master's in Reading Education and a Specialist in Educational Leadership. His first job teaching was back in the halls of Barbara Goleman High School.

After teaching English and a newspaper elective course for a handful of years, Inza transitioned into Activities Director for the school, initially while still teaching classes and eventually completely delving into his new position. After spending three years as Activities Director, he participated in an internship for Project Lead Strong, an opportunity for teachers and other administrative members to qualify and intern at various schools for career advancement.

Inza interned as an assistant principal at American Senior High School for the 2013-2014 school year and in participating as an intern, he completed a portfolio in which Florida standards of competency for school administration were met. Following the program there were no guarantees that he would be placed as an assistant principal at his Alma Mater, though as fate would have it, Inza would once again revisit his home school only this time as an administrator in June 2014.

Rachael Skye Sorger '12

Rachael Skye Sorger

Marketing Coordinator

Rachael is back for her fourth Miami Open, after working the 2011, 2012 and 2014 tournaments. She assists with all of the marketing and advertising efforts for the Miami Open and the Bank of the West Classic in Palo Alto, California.

A native of Edwardsville, IL, Rachael earned her Bachelor's in 2010 and went on to obtain a Master's in Sports Management with a concentration in Sports Marketing at Florida International University in 2012. She interned with IMG Miami in 2012 and previously held a Sales and Marketing position with the St. Louis Cardinals before deciding to head back to South Florida to join the Miami Open team.

Vivian E. Gonzalez '04, '07

Vivian Gonzalez began studying the violin at age 5. At age ten Ms. Gonzalez made her solo debut with the former Philharmonic Orchestra of Florida. Her teachers include members of Miami String Quartet, Felicia Moye, Ivan Chan, and Margaret Pardee of the Juilliard School. Ms. Gonzalez is a product of Miami-Dade County Public Schools and Magnet Programs

Ms. Gonzalez also participated in many local youth ensembles including South Florida Youth Symphony, Greater Miami Youth Symphony, Florida Youth Orchestra, Superintendent's Honors Orchestra, Superintendent's Honors Choir, Florida All-State and Miami Children's Chorus.

Upon graduating from New World School of the Arts High School, Ms. Gonzalez attended the Mannes College in New York, University of Florida, Florida International University and Florida Atlantic University. Wanting to give back to the community that gave so much to her, Ms. Gonzalez became a Miami-Dade County Public School music teacher in 1999.

In her fifteen years of teaching, Ms. Gonzalez has had the great privilege of teaching thousands of students including students with special needs and music magnet. Currently, Ms. Gonzalez is a National Board Certified Teacher and Grammy Music Educator Award Finalist, teaching the magnet and general music students in grades three through five at South Miami K-8 Center.

Vivian currently teaches at South Miami K-8 to Magnet Music Grades 3-5; Strings, Steel Drums, Choir, Afro-Caribbean Percussion, Mandolins and Music Theory and General Music Grades 3-5.

Among her many accomplishments are 2015 Grammy Music Educator Award Semi-Finalist, 2014 Grammy Music Educator Award Top-Ten Finalist, 2011-2012 South Miami K-8 Center Teacher of the Year, 2014 and 2013 Magnet Schools of America School of Excellence Merit Award Winner (Application Writer), Presenter at 2012 and 2013 American String Teacher Association National Convention, National Board Certification attained December 2006 EAYA Music,1st, 2nd, and 3rd place and Grand Champion winner of National Choral and Instrumental Festival 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2nd Place Winner of the National Steel Drum Festival in 2008.

Sandra Olsen, Ed.S. '12, Clinician, Support Specialist, FIU Center for Children and Families

Olsen SandySandra is currently a clinician at the FIU Center for Children and Families. She is working on a clinical research trial that evaluates a summer preparatory program for rising sixth and ninth grade students with ADHD to promote healthy transitions to new secondary school environments. Some of her responsibilities include; completing full battery assessments on incoming students, serving as a clinical supervisor for the summer treatment program for adolescents, conducting parent trainings to help manage academic and behavioral concerns in the home setting, and serving as a consultant to provide academic and behavioral support services at schools within MDCPS. She feels fortunate to have found an opportunity where she is utilizing many of the skills she learned in the FIU School Psychology Program. Her tips for incoming School Psychology students: gain as much related experience as possible prior to applying for internship, attend FASP and NASP conferences to learn, present, and network; cherish the friendships you make with fellow students, and don't forget to ENJOY being a graduate student before entering the field as a school psychologist!

Rita Diaz, Ed.S. '13, Bilingual School Psychologist, Hanford Elementary School District, Hanford, CA

Diaz RitaRita Diaz is a first year School Psychologist in a small district in the Central Valley city of Hanford, California. There are eleven schools in the district and about 5,300 students enrolled. She serves two schools that are K-6 and the 4- 6 grade class at the Community Day School (which is an alternative placement). Assessment is about 60% of the job. Hanford Elementary still uses the discrepancy model in order to discern a learning disability. Their Autism and Emotional Disturbed (EBD) assessments look VERY different than the ones she is used to doing in Florida. They are trained on and give the ADOS-II (which is pretty neat) and they don't use projective techniques for EBD assessments. Outside of assessments, some of her daily or weekly functions as a school psychologist include: providing guidance and counseling to students with IEPs, running social skills groups with high priority students on our campus, creating and helping implement behavior intervention plans as well as collecting documentation and data, and creating achievable behavior goals for students on their IEPs, just to name a few. Rita's first year has been a huge learning curve, but it's been an incredible and exciting journey. If she could give any new students a piece of advice, it would be to not take any class you take in your graduate career for granted. "Although you may think some of the courses you are taking now you will not need, believe me... you may find yourself taking out your Research Methods notes to help you develop a systematic behavior intervention!"

James S. Rosa '78, Director of Staff, United States Liaison Office

James RosaJames S. Rosa is the Director of Staff, U.S. Embassy, United States Liaison Office (USLO), Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. He exercises supervisory and managerial responsibilities and represents the USLO to a variety of government agencies, U.S. headquarters and functional area organizations. Rosa was commissioned in the Air Force in 1978 through the University of Miami ROTC program. He has served in a variety of command and personnel-related organizations, including recruiting, contingency operations and personnel readiness, attaché assignments, civilian personnel, and systems acquisition related functional management. He served in three command positions, two joint assignments, and two overseas assignments; was deployed under Operations DESERT STORM and SOUTHERN WATCH; and completed two Pentagon (air staff) tours. He retired from active duty in the rank of Lieutenant Colonel and entered civil service in 2003. Rosa was married to Denise A. Rosa for over 31 years.