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Winter 2013 Class Notes

Winter 2013 Class Notes

December 18, 2013 at 2:11pm


Al ’74 and Maggie Lorenzo ’86 introduced Roary to the Guggenheim Museum Puppy in Bilbao, Spain.


Selina Smith ’82 recently became the director of the Institute of Public and Preventive Health at Georgia Regents University. She is also the deputy director of the Morehouse School of Medicine Cancer Research Program. In the past, Smith has worked and consulted for the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and the Atlanta-based Minority Health Professions Foundation.

Kathleen Cooper Grilli ’84 was appointed general counsel to the United States Sentencing Commission. Grilli joined the commission in 2003 and has served as deputy general counsel since 2007. Previously she was staff counsel at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, in Richmond, Va., and before that a private practitioner and an assistant federal public defender in Miami.

Jorge J. Gonzalez ’88, president and CEO of City National Bank of Florida, and Mayi de la Vega ’81, founder, president and CEO of One Sotheby’s International Realty, were honored at the Ultimate Miami CEO Awards 2013 by the South Florida Business Journal in recognition of their achievements, vision and dedication to excellence as business leaders of Miami-Dade County.


Carolyn Zaumeyer ’90, MSN ’93, was invited to serve on the advisory board for hormone-replacement company BioTE Medical in Dallas. She has served as an adjunct faculty member at FIU, Broward College and Florida Atlantic University, and currently provides patient care at Women’s Awareness & Low T Florida in Fort Lauderdale.

Corry Westbrook ’93 is running for U.S. Congress in Florida’s 8th district as a Democrat. In addition to running for Congress, she works for the nonprofit conservation organization Oceana. Previously Westbrook worked for the National Wildlife Federation.

Ralph Rosado ’96 is executive director of the South Florida Community Development Coalition, a nonprofit membership organization in Miami-Dade County. Rosado holds a master’s degree from Princeton University and is currently completing a doctorate in city planning from the University of Pennsylvania.

Alex F. Vicencio ’97, a financial advisor at Wells Fargo Advisors in Miami, has earned the prestigious Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation. Vicencio joined Prudential Securities in 1998 and is a member of the U.S. Chile Chamber of Commerce for Miami.

Raquel Regalado ’98 represents District 6 as a member of the Miami-Dade County School Board and chairs the Facilities and Construction Reform Committee. A parent of a child with autism, she has championed programs and services for special needs students, most recently securing funding from Humana for sensory rooms at three elementary schools.

Alfredo Riverol ’98, MPA ’00, MS 03, chief financial officer for the City of South Miami, was awarded the 2013 Outstanding Certified Public Accountant in Government Impact Award at the annual AICPA National Governmental Accounting and Auditing Conference in August of 2013 in Washington, D.C.


Stanley Wilson Ed.D. ’00 has been named dean of Nova Southeastern University’s College of Healthcare Sciences. He previously was associate dean for academic affairs, associate dean for rehabilitation services and chair of the physical therapy department at the school. Before that Wilson was associate professor and chair of the physical therapy department at Howard University in Washington, D.C. and assistant professor in the physical therapy department at FIU.

Maria Elena Alonso-Sierra ’01, MA ’05, published her first novel, The Coin, a romantic thriller set in the exotic French Riviera, in April 2013. She is former adjunct professor of English at FIU and has also taught literature and language arts at St. Louis Covenant School and Renaissance Charter Middle School in Miami.

Martino Succetti ’02, a guitarist and songwriter, has been with the band FatKingBulla since 2006. The band has released two acclaimed albums and performs live on a regular basis across the country and in South America. Succetti also plays backup for Cuban icon Willy Chirino and others.

Vivian Gonzalez MS ’04 is one of 10 finalists for the first-ever Grammy Music Educator Award. In January the music teacher from South Miami K-8, chosen from music educators around the country, will travel to Los Angeles to attend the Grammy Awards.

Aston Wilson Jr. ’05, JD ’11, opened his own law firm. Wilson, who played on FIU’s first football team, is an NFL sports agent and a criminal defense attorney.

Ruben Gutierrez ’06, MA ’08, formed Errez Design Inc. in 2009 with wife Katie. The firm’s work has been featured in the book The Tropical Cottage by Beth Dunlop, Small Home Decorating magazine and numerous design blogs. Current projects include a lobby and common area redesign for a Miami Beach condominium and a product display space for a hotel on Ocean Drive.

Nnamdi Jackson ’06, JD ’12, has joined the litigation practice group of Concepción Martinez & Bellido as an associate. He will focus on commercial litigation with an emphasis on tort defense.

Oscar L. Perez ’06 has joined Miami-based CareCloud, a provider of cloud-based practice management, electronic health recordkeeping and medical billing software and services. Perez is vice president of financial systems and operations. He is also a proud member of the FIU Alumni Circle.

Lourdes C. Cortizo-Acevedo ’07  joined the law firm of PobleteTamargo LLP as special counsel in the firm’s Washington, D.C. office focusing on immigration and nationality matters. Previously she served as the sole attorney for a Hispanic nonprofit organization in Alexandria, Va., that specialized in providing immigration legal services.

Adriana Vinent ’07, MBA ’10, and her husband Alberto Vinent CMBA ’12 welcomed son Alejandro on January 28, 2013.


Simone Worsdale ’10 is assistant director of communications for the FIU Office of Alumni Relations and handles email marketing, social media management and content management of She married Andrew Pego ’12 on December 14, 2013.

Yamily Arab ’11 won a $100,000 Pickering Fellowship. The grant will fund a two-year master’s program and two paid internships, one in Washington, D.C. at the State Department and one at an embassy abroad. Currently, she is on a Rotary Ambassadorial Fellowship completing a master’s program at the University of Manchester in England.

Mihaela Plugarasu MS ’11 has been promoted to associate director for strategy and communications at the Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management. In her new role, Plugarasu provides direct leadership over all communication, marketing and branding efforts.

Jesus Borrero ’12 works for the City of Sweetwater as a grants administrator. The job followed from his internship through the Honors College-Sweetwater Partnership program, where he worked in the mayor’s office.

Anthony Gonzalez ’12 and Claudia Gonzalez ’12 were married on August 10, 2013, at St. Catherine of Sienna in Kendall after seven and a half years of dating. Anthony is now attending law school at Nova Southeastern University, and Claudia is working on a master’s in public administration at FIU. She is currently the assistant director of administrative operations in the Office of the President at FIU.

Emma Lopez ’12 recently published an article in Latina Stylemagazine. She is currently a Congressional Hispanic Caucus Graduate STEM Fellow in Washington D.C. She has been accepted in the environmental engineering doctorate program at the University of South Florida.

Lizmarie Morales ’12 and Jose A. Lopez ’12 were married on July 5, 2013, after dating for seven years. Morales is in her first year of pharmacy school at Nova Southeastern University.

Jarrod Knowles ’13, who graduated with a degree in information technology, has written, directed and produced his second full-length movie in the What Lies Beyond horror series. Knowles began his journey by setting up a small production crew and enlisting a few FIU students to take acting roles. What Lies Beyond: The Beginning, premiered in October 2013 at O Cinema in Miami Shores.

In Memoriam

Donna Brown McDowall ’77 passed away on July 15 at the age of 69. She served as the nurse manager of the regional blood bank in Naples, Fla., and also as a nurse in various Florida hospitals prior to moving to Asheville, N.C. Her areas of concentration included medical-surgical intensive care and cardiovascular intensive care. She enjoyed all forms of music and often played and sang hymns. She also had welcomed into her home and adopted cats in need. She is survived by her husband of 27 years, Ian McDowall.

Rev. Mary Tumpkin ’86 passed away on November 15 at the age of 64. She was the founder and senior minister at the Universal Truth Center located in Miami Gardens and the president of the Universal Foundation for Better Living. She began her preaching career as a teenager and is considered a pioneer in the ministry for having started during a time when female ministers were a rarity. An avid fan of the Star Trek series, she was known for her colorful yet powerful sermons. She is survived by her son, Joseph Tumpkin Jr.