Debate 2012 at Lynn University

October 22, 2012 • 9 P.M. EDT

Debate Experts List

As the host of the final 2012 presidential debate that is scheduled to focus on foreign policy, Lynn University has assembled a group of experts to help provide background and context for journalists producing stories on issues related to this topic, and these experts can also provide a deeper understanding of the election, the campaigns and a myriad of other domestic issues. Additionally, since nearly a quarter of our student body is comprised of international students, we can also help journalists reporting on the election understand their unique and global perspective.

Executive Leadership


What it means to Lynn: President Kevin M. Ross is highly involved in Lynn’s hosting of a 2012 presidential debate and is a strong proponent of engaged citizenship. He has often spoken on higher education trends and issues and the importance of teaching global citizenship to the next generation. Since he became president of Lynn University in July 2006, Ross has overseen the launch of the long-range Lynn 2020 strategic plan, the funding and construction of new campus facilities, including the state-of-the-art Keith C. and Elaine Johnson Wold Performing Arts Center (site of the 2012 presidential debate), and helped guide the school through its recent Haiti crisis.

How and why the debate came: Jason Walton, Lynn’s chief of staff, has been a driving force behind hosting the debate since the beginning, overseeing the creation of the school’s application to the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD). He has also been a key figure in bringing in other elected officials and local leaders to Lynn, including the debate between Allen West and Ron Klein for one of Florida’s congressional seats.

Preparing campus grounds: Greg Malfitano, senior vice president for administration, has been with Lynn University for more than 40 years and was involved in the early steps of bringing the debate to the school. He has overseen nearly every aspect of the school’s physical preparation for the debate, including changes at the Wold Center, site of the presidential debate. He graduated from Lynn in 1975.

Student involvement: Phil Riordan, vice president for student life, is overseeing the development of a large number of debate-related activities for Lynn students and can speak about official student activities offered as part of the school’s debate programing including the lottery for student tickets to the debate hall.

Debate-related academic offerings: Gregg Cox, vice president for academic affairs, has been with Lynn University for more than 30 years and oversaw the development and implementation of debate-related curriculum. This includes the more than 80 classes designed for Lynn students as well as the curriculum that is being shared with public and private K-12 educational institutions via iTunes U. He can talk about how Lynn is using the debate as a springboard for learning in the classroom, both for our students as well as K-12 students across the country.

Technology involved: Christian Boniforti, Lynn University’s chief information officer (CIO), is leading the team that will provide the substantial tech services and IT infrastructure needed for the debate. He can speak to the media about the debate upgrades, Lynn’s iTunes U debate-related curriculum, computer security and the importance of technology in today’s classrooms (and during a crisis), campus network management and technological advancements. He graduated from Lynn in 2002 and speaks fluent Spanish.

Media interested in speaking with any of the Lynn executives above should contact Joshua Glanzer, Lynn University director of public relations, at 561-237-7761 (work) or 561-212-2924 (cell) or to arrange an interview.

Foreign Policy


Anna Krift, associate professor, International Relations

Areas of expertise: Latin American politics, U.S.-Latin American relations, U.S. foreign policy, international development, the Fulbright program and Lynn University’s Citizenship Project
Brief bio: Krift oversees Lynn's Citizenship Project, a first-year experience on civic engagement, and teaches courses in International Relations. As a Fulbright recipient, Krift conducted oral history research on Costa Rica’s first women voters and researched post-disaster response in Central America.
Work: 561-237-7413 Cell: 561-961-9473 Email:

Marcheta Wright, professor, International Relations

Areas of expertise: U.S. foreign policy, human rights, international law, women and politics, regional geopolitics, environmental politics
Brief bio: Wright has an extensive research background in human rights, globalization, gender and their relevance for U.S. foreign policy. She has regularly spoken with the media on issues surrounding current regional geopolitical situations, American positions on global events, and the topics listed above.
Work: 561-237-7216 Cell: 561-846-9620 Email:

National Security And Terrorism


Joseph Hall, associate professor, Criminal Justice

Areas of expertise: criminal justice in cross-cultural perspective, terrorism, privacy and surveillance, history of justice, race and cultural studies, immigration studies
Brief bio: Joseph Hall began his academic career as an anthropologist/archaeologist. After 12 years of work in historical cultures, Hall began service as a special agent of the FBI, pursuing Asian Organized Crime, Counter-Terrorism and Foreign Counter-Intelligence investigations.
Work: 561-237-7747 Cell: 954-649-9339 Email:

The International Perspective


International students make up nearly a quarter of Lynn’s student body. U.S. News & World Report currently ranks Lynn fourth in the nation for highest percentage of international students. Several of our student leaders and debate volunteers come from nations outside the United States and are available to discuss their unique perspective on this marquee event in American politics. Please contact Laura Stephens at 561-237-7967 or via email at

Gareth Fowles, vice president for enrollment management

Areas of expertise: international student perspective, international admissions, earning U.S. citizenship
Brief bio: Fowles came to Lynn as an international student from South Africa. He played soccer for the school and went on to earn his M.B.A. at Lynn before attending Vanderbilt’s Peabody College where he earned his Ed.D. Upon completion of this degree, he returned to Lynn and rose quickly to head its Admission department. He also just received his United States citizenship.
Cell: 561-703-1947 Email:

Stevan Trooboff, senior international officer, Center for Learning Abroad

Areas of expertise: international education, both inbound and outbound, the role of study abroad as part of a college education
Brief bio: For 17 years he was the CEO and president of The Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE), one of the nation’s largest organizations providing student study abroad for U.S. college students and international exchange programs into the U.S. for overseas high school and college students. By 2010, CIEE was the leading operator of study abroad programs in the U.S. with approximately 5000+ students studying at more than 125 programs in more than 40+ countries around the world. It was also the leading provider of J visa programs to the U.S.
Cell: 772-828-9240 Email:

National And Florida Politics, Elections, The Campaigns And The Presidency


Robert Watson, professor, American Studies

Areas of expertise: presidents, first ladies, elections and campaigns, Florida politics, congress
Brief bio: Watson is one of the foremost experts and authors on U.S. presidents and elections. He has published 34 books and hundreds of articles and chapters, and is a frequent media commentator for national as well as international outlets.
Cell: 561-716-2834 Email:

John Pickering, professor, History

Areas of expertise: undecided voters, 2012 presidential election, Lynn University history
Brief bio: Pickering has been teaching history and political science courses at Lynn for more than 30 years. In addition, he served on Lynn’s 2020 strategic planning committee that is focused on making Lynn the most international, individualized and innovative small university in the nation.
Work: 561-237-7204 Cell: 561-573-0647 Email:

The Economy, Jobs And Business


Thomas Kruczek, dean, College of Business and Management

Areas of expertise: the contribution of entrepreneurs and small businesses to the economy, American entrepreneurial culture, business schools and higher academia
Brief bio: Kruczek started and sold successful businesses during his long career and understands how entrepreneurship and business startups can help grow the economy. He has fostered several outreach and incubator programs as part of his effort to bring academia and entrepreneurship together.
Work: 561-237-7458 Cell: 561-955-0159 Email:

Denisha Bonds, director of career services

Areas of expertise: employment trends for college students, the use of social media during job searches, the economy and overall job market trends
Brief bio: Bonds has more than 20 years of experience working in student affairs. Prior to Lynn, she served as the director of career services for The University of North Carolina at Pembroke.
Work: 561-237-7287 Cell: 910-689-5150 Email:

Farideh Farazmand, professor, International Business

Areas of expertise: Economics (including current issues), international finance, international business and Persian culture
Brief bio: Farazmand is an expert in economics and global issues and at the intersections of political and economic forces. In this role, she can speak to the media on current national and global economic issues, the role of government in the economy and the impact of cultural differences in international negotiations.
Work: 561-237-7847 Cell: 561-251-9271 Email:

Rick Sayers, executive director of the Internships and Cooperative Education Program

Areas of expertise: employment in today’s economy, career preparation, executive compensation
Brief bio: Sayers has more than 36 years of corporate experience and now heads Lynn’s innovative, new internship program to support and help prepare students in the College of Business and Management for a career in the business world. He helps students discover their intellectual and personal strengths through formal preparation including mock interviews, business etiquette skills and personality profile exams, while building relationships with the business community to help place students.
Work: 561-237-7090 Cell: 216-571-6800 Email:

Health Care


Daniel Ceccoli, assistant professor, Scientific Literacy and Pre-Medical Studies

Areas of expertise: health and wellness, health care policy, medical education, medical industry and hospitals, and scientific literacy among youth.
Brief bio: Ceccoli is an M.D. who has worked in the field of medicine for more than 25 years from practice to research to education. He brings an expertise in health care from an insider’s point of view on how the American medical industry can best serve future generations of Americans.
Cell: 954-914-3089 Email:

Education Policy, Teaching And Our Schools


Craig Mertler, dean, Ross College of Education

Areas of expertise: Lynn’s debate-related K-12 curriculum, education policy, Obama’s Race To The Top program, Bush-era No Child Left Behind program, use of testing data to measure school performance, implications of cheating and plagiarism
Brief bio: Mertler’s work focuses on applied classroom and school-based action research that can be used by educators and administrators to develop real-world solutions for their school districts’ needs. Mertler is an expert and author on helping schools interpret testing data so that they can integrate that information into curriculum.
Work: 561-237-7441 Cell: 561-961-9707 Email:

Marsha Glines, dean, Institute for Achievement and Learning

Areas of expertise: educating students with ADHD and learning disabilities, learning disabled students in mainstream classrooms, ways to identify students’ learning modalities
Brief bio: 2012 Lewis Hines Award recipient, Glines specializes in educating students with learning disabilities and has been nationally recognized for her innovative educational programs, including the creation of Lynn University’s Institute for Achievement and Learning.
Work: 561-237-7881 Cell: 561-703-9507 Email:

Jon Robertson, dean, Lynn University Conservatory of Music

Areas of expertise: the importance of music and the arts in education, the role music plays in political campaigns, Lynn’s world-class artists-faculty and staff
Brief bio: Jamaican-born maestro Jon Robertson has enjoyed a distinguished career as a pianist, conductor and academician. Earning B.M., M.S. and D.M.A. degrees in piano performance from The Juilliard School of Music, Robertson has an international reputation among musicians and artists.
Work: 561-237-7702 Cell: 561-212-4175 Email:

The Campaigns And The Media


David Jaffe, dean, College of International Communication

Areas of expertise: multimedia journalism, television and radio, emergent communications technologies, journalism
Brief bio: Jaffe helped establish the first cable television origination station in the U.S. In 1985, he received a grant from the federal government to conduct research on a telephone-based broadcast delivery system that paved the way for Internet radio and television streaming.
Work: 561-237-7099 Cell: 561-414-9676 Email:

Environmental Policy, Alternative Energy And Sustainability


Frank Lucas, assistant professor, Global Warming and Scientific Literacy

Areas of expertise: alternative energy solutions, global warming, biology, sustainable lifestyles
Brief bio: Lucas has developed over 100 commercial products and authored 13 U.S. patents and lectured all over the world. In 1981, he was the principal investigator for an alternate energy grant that used crushed sugarcane stalks to enzymatically convert cellulose to alcohol for fuel harvesting alcohol by solar distillation.
Work: 561-237-7308 Cell: 561-289-2904 Email:

The Military And Veterans’ Issues


Jeffrey Johnson, dean, Burton D. Morgan School of Aeronautics

Areas of expertise: Military policies, aviation and aerospace industries, veterans’ issues
Brief bio: Johnson is a career military aviator still actively serving in the Air Force Reserves. He is well versed in current world military strategic issues including potential areas of conflict. He is also knowledgeable on current transportation issues, specifically aviation and aerospace related.
Work: 561-237-7333 Cell: 561-414-9669 Email:

Equality And Social Issues


Katrina Carter-Tellison, dean, College of Liberal Education

Areas of expertise: race and ethnic relations, social stratification, cultural studies, gender and identity, immigration, Caribbean studies, Lynn’s core curriculum, the Dialogues of Learning
Brief bio: Carter-Tellison began her career at Lynn by teaching Sociology courses, including Contemporary Social Problems, Race and Ethnic Concerns and Current Perspectives in Substance Abuse. Her intellectual interests and research pursuits have mainly focused on three areas: curriculum, immigration, and inequality and social stratification
Work: 561-237-7412 Cell: 561-654-3301 Email:

Law And Justice


Sindee Kerker, associate professor, Criminal Justice

Areas of expertise: the criminal justice system, the U.S. Supreme Court, legal and consequences of DUI
Brief bio: A former prosecutor in the Los Angeles District Attorney's Office for seven years, she worked in the L.A. Office during O.J. Simpson’s trial. Kerker teaches criminal justice and law classes and a class focusing on the Nuremberg trials.
Work: 561-237-7255 Cell: 561-251-9689 Email:

Jill Levenson, associate professor, Psychology

Areas of expertise: nationally renowned expert on sexual violence, laws affecting sexual predators, tracking and rehabilitation of sex offenders
Brief bio: Levenson has over 25 years of experience treating sexual abuse victims, survivors, perpetrators and non-offending parents. Her academic focus is on sexual abuse and sexual violence policy.
Work: 561-237-7925 Cell: 954-729-8795 Email:

Gary Martin, associate dean, Student Life

Areas of expertise: national drug enforcement laws, the War on Drugs, student life
Brief bio: In addition to his work at Lynn, Martin has been a local homicide detective at the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office (PBSO) since 1994. He worked to help pass the 911 Good Samaritan Act that provides limited immunity from criminal prosecution when a drug-related overdose victim or a witness to an overdose seeks medical assistance.
Work: 561-237-7157 Cell: 561-755-2033 Email:

Charlotte Muriel, coordinator of Lynn’s Women’s Center

Areas of expertise: the health and safety of college-aged women, dating/domestic violence and tactics for educating the local community and campus on these topics
Brief bio: Muriel has been a victim advocate since 2004. Prior to Lynn, she served as victim services program specialist for the Office of the Attorney General, Child Predator and Cyber Crime Unit in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
Work: 561-237-7955 Cell: 561-212-8356 Email: