FIU experts on Orlando attack

The attack in Orlando early Sunday morning has become the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history. Florida International University has the following experts available to discuss the different aspects of this tragedy. Many of them are available for interviews in English and Spanish.

Members of the FIU Media Relations team are available to assist in contacting experts:

  • Madeline Baró, associate director: 305-310-9665,
  • Dianne Fernandez, broadcast media specialist: 305-608-4870,
  • Amy Ellis, communications manager, Steven J. Green School of International & Public Affairs: 305-348-5360,
  • Jean Milán, account manager for the Robert Stempel College of Public Health & Social Work: 305-348-4974,
  • Jamie Giller, account manager for Student Affairs: 786-565-2456,
  • Ayleen Barbel, account manager for the College or Arts, Science & Education: 305-348-4492,

Frank Mora
Frank Mora is the director of the Kimberly Green Latin American and Caribbean Center. Prior to coming to FIU, Mora served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for the Western Hemisphere. During the last twenty years Mora worked as a consultant to the Library of Congress, U.S. Department of the Air Force, Department of the Army, the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS), the National Democratic Institute, U.S. State Department, the Organization of American States, and U.S. Southern Command. Mora is the author or editor of five books and numerous academic and policy articles, book chapters, and monographs on hemispheric security, U.S.-Latin American relations, civil-military relations, Cuban politics and 305-military, and Latin American foreign policy. He is a recipient of the Outstanding Public Service Award, Department of Defense (2011). He is available for Spanish language interviews.
305-348-2894 (Office)

Brian Fonseca
Brian Fonseca is director of the Jack D. Gordon Institute for Public Policy at FIU’s Steven J. Green School of International and Public Affairs.  With nearly 20 years’ experience in military affairs, Fonseca served as a defense intelligence analyst at United States Southern Command. His work focuses on general security trends and he has published on transnational organized crime, extra hemispheric actors (China, Russia, and Iran), institutional crisis in Latin America (prisons, police, and militaries), political instability and governance in the Americas.
305-348-7420 (Office)
305-218-6323 (Cell)

Eric Lob
Eric Lob is an assistant professor in the Department of Politics and International Relations. His research focuses on the intersection of development and politics in the Middle East, specifically exploring how state and non-state actors in the region instrumentalize development as a soft power mechanism to further their political interests both domestically and internationally. Lob is currently working on a book project entitled Construction Jihad: Rural Development and Regime Consolidation in Revolutionary Iran (1979-2013). The book examines how the Islamic Republic mobilized activists and promoted development in the countryside to consolidate power against its internal and external opponents.

Lob currently teaches courses on comparative politics and international relations of the Middle East and on political violence and revolution. Before joining the faculty at Florida International University, he was a postdoctoral research fellow at Brandeis University’s Crown Center for Middle East Studies. Between 2009 and 2011, Lob conducted fieldwork and studied Persian in Iran. He also studied Arabic at Georgetown and Damascus Universities between 2005 and 2007.
305-348-7923 (Office)

Suzanna M. Rose
Professor Rose’s research and areas of expertise include romantic relationships, sexuality, and friendship; sexual orientation, bias crimes and domestic violence; women’s career development, gender roles, international issues in women’s studies and other areas related to women and gender. She has published articles and chapters on women and gender issues for several publications including the Journal of Lesbian Studies, American Psychologist, and the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships. Rose was director of the Center for Women’s and Gender Studies from 2000 to 2007. Rose is available to discuss how an event like this has a ripple effect on not only the LGBT community’s safety and freedom but also on their families and the broader community.
305-348-1975 (Office)
305-609-4300 (Cell)

Laurie J. Shrage
Professor Shrage’s research and areas of expertise include moral and political philosophy, and gender and sexuality studies. Shrage, who previously served as director of the Center for Women’s and Gender Studies,  teaches courses on LGBTQ issues, feminist theory, and health and social justice. She is currently a fellow-in-residence at the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard University, where she is working on a project that examines how hypersegregation, mass incarceration and health disparities are linked. Shrage is the author of Abortion and Social Responsibility: Depolarizing the Debate, (Oxford UP 2003), and Moral Dilemmas of Feminism: Adultery, Prostitution, and Abortion (Routledge 1994).  She edited You’ve Changed: Sex Reassignment and Personal Identity (Oxford UP 2009), and recently co-authored Philosophizing About Sex (Broadview 2015). She has written several op-eds for The New York Times:  and her work has been published in numerous scholarly journals.
305-348-6797 (Office)
786-657-4506 (Cell)

Jonathan Comer
Comer has conducted extensive research on the psychological impact of terrorism and other traumatic events or disasters on youth, including the Boston Marathon bombing and the September 11 attacks. As Director of the Mental Health Interventions and Technology Program at FIU’s Center for Children and Families, his research focuses on expanding the quality, scope and accessibility of mental health care for youth. Much of his work examines children’s media-based exposure to traumatic events and how caregivers can best discuss frightening world events with their children.
305-348-7580 (Office)
267-736-2761 (Cell)

Kate Kominars
Kate Kominars is the associate director and director of clinical operations at FIU’s Counseling and Psychological Services Center. As a Licensed Psychologist and certified addictions professional with more than 20 years of clinical, training and consulting experience, Dr. Kominars has developed several areas of expertise in the treatment of anxiety and depression; crisis intervention; psychological first aid; sexual orientation and identity development; as well as other dimensions of individual difference; and coping with loss, grief and bereavement. Her interest in grief, loss and bereavement began as a result of personal loss, followed by many years of working with people coping with HIV/AIDS and chronic mental and physical health conditions.
Please contact Jamie Giller to speak with Dr. Kominars.

Isabel Rodriguez-Duncan
Isabel Rodriguez-Duncan is a licensed clinical social worker specializing in the delivery of clinical services to school-aged youth with special needs including treatment of ADHD, conduct disorder, substance abuse, oppositional defiant disorder, anxiety disorders, psychosis and mood disorders. With more than 24 years of experience in program development, management and delivery of clinical services across the lifespan, Rodriguez-Duncan’s clinical experience includes crisis management, large and small scale crisis incident responding, suicide, and bullying/violence prevention. She has also worked on district and state support policies and program school supports for youth identifying as LGBTQI.  She has worked with Miami-Dade County Public Schools (M-DCPS) for more than 20 years at the school and district levels which included chairing the Mental Health and Crisis Management Department of M-DCPS. Rodriguez-Duncan is available for interviews in English and Spanish.
305-348-4315 (Office)

Jeremy Pettit
Jeremy Pettit is director of the Child Anxiety and Phobia Program at FIU’s Center for Children and Families. Pettit specializes on the course of depression, anxiety and suicidal behaviors over time. His research includes interpersonal and cognitive factors that contribute to the onset, maintenance and recurrence of these behaviors. An expert in anxiety and depression, Pettit has written more than 100 scientific papers and received numerous awards and grants for his work in this area. He can discuss the feelings of anxiety, fear and depression people may be experiencing in the aftermath of the Orlando mass shooting.
305-348-1671 (Office)

Gladys Ibañez
Gladys Ibañez is an assistant professor in the Department of Epidemiology at the FIU Robert Stempel College of Public Health & Social Work. She has over 10 years of experience conducting public health research primarily focused on HIV, and she can speak about the Orlando shooting from the perspective of an LGBT community member.
305-348-4920 (Office)