Task Force2023-02-14T11:37:23-05:00

Task Force

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in CARTA

Juliette Saint Louis Headshot

Juliette Saint Louis
Co-Chair, Professional Staff and Students

Juliette Saint Louis is of Haitian Decent.  She is a lead academic advisor and newly appointed Diversity Equity & Inclusion Advocate for Professional Staff and Students at the College of Communication, Architecture, and the Arts -Florida International University. For the past six years, Juliette has successfully assisted many students in their academic and professional journey.  Due to her passion for working with first generation, black and minority students, she is also one of the advisors for the Haitian Student Organization at FIU. In her new role as DEI advocate, Juliette aims to foster an environment that seeks to ensure that students and professional staff members voices are heard on issues that are important to them while helping to bridge the gap by providing equal access to resources, information, and services. Juliette also serves as an adjunct instructor for the First Year Experience & Public Speaking courses here at FIU. She received a B.S. in Business Marketing with a certificate in Customer Relationship Management and a M.S. in Higher Education Administration, all from Florida International University.


Karla Kennedy
Co-Chair, Faculty

Dr. Karla D. Kennedy is a Florida native who has been involved in student speech and publications since her days in junior high school. Kennedy, a strong advocate for the freedoms and rights of students and student journalists, has advised various high school media for 19 years in Miami-Dade County Public Schools. She served as the first Scholastic Journalism Outreach Coordinator for the University of Oregon at the George S. Turnbull Center located in downtown Portland, as well as the Executive Director of the Northwest Scholastic Press Association from 2012 to 2015. While at UO, she was honored with the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Award in Equity and Inclusion. In 2007, the Florida Scholastic Press Association recognized Kennedy as the Morty Schaap Florida Journalism Teacher of the Year. She has taught Writing for Mass Communications, Writing Strategies, Multimedia Production, Media Law and Ethics, and Public Speaking. She wrote the curriculum and taught the Summer Journalism Institute at the Museum of Contemporary Art in North Miami as well as advised the museum’s student publication, the MOCA’Zine.

Christopher Barake

Christopher Rodriguez Barake
Vice Chair, Art

As Coordinator of Academic Support Services, Christopher Rodriguez Barake oversees internships, accreditation, data input, collection, and analysis. He also is in charge of creating exhibition opportunities for students, admissions, recruitment and retention for the Department of Art + Art History. He has a Master of Fine Arts in Curatorial Practice from FIU;  Thesis on Alternative Spaces, Cultural Production and the coalescence of Art + Industry. His previous body of research was in Latin American and Caribbean Contemporary Art with an emphasis on Brazil. He is a proud Golden Panther, having earned both his Bachelors of Fine Arts, and Graduate Certificate in Museum Studies at FIU.


Judy Litt Pine
Vice Chair, Theatre

Judy Litt has created theatre programming for individuals with disabilities, and has participated in theatre education workshops throughout the United States.  A graduate of Adelphi University with a BA in Sociology and MA in Education, Mrs. Litt is a member of Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs All Kids Included Steering Committee, past chairperson for Cultural Educators of Miami, board secretary for arts4all Florida (formerly VSAFlorida), awarded the Kennedy Center’s LEAD Award for Emerging Leaders in 2010 and is a founding member of FLACA (Florida Access Coalition for the Arts).  She manages rentals and box office for FIU Theatre, theatre summer camps, and also assists in creating new theatre initiatives and cultivating community outreach and engagement.


Grizelle De Los Reyes
Vice Chair, Communication

Grizelle De Los Reyes’ career can be summarized as one-part professional and one-part academic. Her 34+ years of professional experience in media, marketing research, advertising management, strategic planning and sales has made her a very effective educator and program administrator. She has been working at Florida International University (FIU) as an Instructor since 2007 and as Director of the elite Global Strategic Communications program – creative track, in partnership with world renowned Miami Ad School, since 2010.De Los Reyes started her career in 1983 as a student intern working for the international advertising department for The Coca Company Company worldwide. In 1984, she was hired as a Broadcast Negotiator for global advertising agency, J Walter Thompson (JWT) Atlanta.

Yidu Li 2020

Lidu Yi, Vice Chair
Vice Chair, Faculty & AWED Liaison, Art History

Dr. Lidu Yi is a historian of Chinese art and architecture specializing in Chinese visual art and material culture. Yi earned both her M.A. and Ph.D. at the University of Toronto in Canada. Before joining the faculty of the College of Communications, Architecture and The Arts here, she was the visiting Gretta Chambers chair professor at McGill University. Dr. Yi’s research interests are two-fold: Buddhist rock-cut cave-chapel art, architecture and archaeology, and contemporary art in China. Her book, Yungang: Art, History, Archaeology and Liturgy (Routledge, 2017), is a comprehensive examination of a fifth-century rock-cut cave-chapel complex, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and one of the greatest Buddhist monuments of all time, Yungang. Currently, Dr. Yi is working on another book manuscript entitled Faith and Devotion in Excavations along the Silk Roads, based on inscriptions, historical literary sources, and archaeological evidence. She is particularly interested in art, archaeology, liturgy of Buddhist sanctuaries and cultural encounters along the Silk Roads

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Maria Elena Echarri

Maria Elena Echarri brings nearly twenty years of experience in journalism and communication studies to classes at FIU. As a scholar-practitioner, with respect for interdisciplinary approaches, she emphasizes the relationship between cognitive processing and the contexts of human communication.Research/Creative Interests The intersection of cognition and communication, and its effects on health communication, intercultural communication, creativity, and media perception Visual rhetorics of fashion, architecture, design, and media Instructional communication Writing and producing documentaries and videos Echarri graduated from Emerson College with a bachelor of arts in broadcast journalism. She has been honored with journalism awards for her work as a reporter and anchor with ABC, CBS, and NBC stations in several regional television markets. Nationally, her reporting has aired on CNN, MSNBC, and the feed service, NBC News Channel. Additionally, Echarri has worked as a producer for ESPN International. In addition to a career in journalism, Maria Elena Echarri coaches individuals on proposal writing and she has been a producer of strategic communication videos and documentaries for health organizations. 


Jhoanna Farray

Jhoanna Farray was raised in the Dominican Republic and is married with two children. Jhoanna, a Miami Palmetto Senior High graduate holds an Associates in Arts in Architecture from Miami Dade College.  Her love for family, travel, nature, plants, and all variety of arts have fueled her passion to pursue the study of Landscape Architecture and Urban Design, and is currently pursuing a Master’s Degree in Landscape Architecture at Florida International University. She is the founder of Jay Farray Studio, a project to draw attention to social justice issues in Landscape Architecture and uses her social media platform (Instagram: @JayFarray.Studio) to bring awareness to environmental and social justice issues in Landscape Architecture. One of the co-founders and Vice President of the FIU student chapter of the National Association of Minority Landscape Architects (NAMLA), she serves as the Secretary of FIU’s student chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architecture (ASLA), an Ambassador for the WoLand Foundation, an Ambassador/member of The Edge Foundation’s Queen Bees,  and the CSO Representative of FIU’s ecology organization the Growth of Leadership Academics and Diversity in Ecological Sciences (GLADES). Jhoanna is also a member of Phi Kappa Phi, Tau Sigma, and Sigma Alpha Pi.

Stephen Kairalla

Stephen Kairalla

Stephen Kairalla is freelance television news producer who does contracted work with WSVN 7News in Miami. He is also an associate professor of broadcast journalism at Florida International University. Prior to starting at FIU in August of 2020, he was Executive Producer for the morning newscast “Today in Florida” and served as the entry-level hiring manager for 7News. He graduated from the University of Miami with a double major in broadcast journalism and economics. After graduation, he worked as a line producer in Saint Joseph, Missouri and Kansas City, Missouri before moving back to Miami in 2004. 


Linda Lara

Linda Lara is of Haitian descent. She is a sibling of 7 children and spent her earlier years of education in a Catholic school from grades K -12. She earned two degrees from FIU: B.A. in Psychology, and M.S. in Higher Education Administration with a concentration in Student Affairs in 2007.  She currently serves as an Assistant Director, of Academic Support Services for the School of Communication + Journalism (SCJ), Office of the Dean, College of Communication, Architecture + The Arts. She began her career in academic advising at Miami-Dade College. She later transitioned to FIU’s College of Arts & Sciences in 2008 as an Academic Advisor and was later promoted to Assistant Director of Advising Services at the Biscayne Bay Campus in 2010.

Linda has over 15 years of Academic Advising experience. She leads the advising team for SCJ at the Biscayne Bay Campus and provides support services to the Dean’s Office. In 2016, she was recognized by her peers and received the Significant Impact on Advising Community and Advising Partner Award. She is an optimistic, well-rounded, compassionate, and versatile leader. She also enjoys mentoring, teaching, and leading a group of like-minded individuals who are innovative, and proactive with achieving results. She is a strong advocate for social justice and civil rights, gender equality, economic empowerment, education, and the environment.


Lilliam Martinez-Bustos

Lilliam Martinez-Bustos is an Assistant Professor and Faculty Internship & Career Coordinator in the Department of Journalism and Media. She teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in Broadcast Journalism, Visual Storytelling and Multimedia.

Her research interests include trends in multimedia and the Spanish-language news coverage of Latin America, immigration and other issues affecting the fast-growing Latino community in the United States.  Before joining FIU, she spent more than two decades as a broadcast journalist in English-language and Spanish-language television. She worked as a producer in the Washington bureaus of the NBC-Telemundo and Univision networks. She’s also worked at local affiliates of PBS, CBS and ABC in Boston. In Miami, she was an executive producer with CBS-TeleNoticias network. She earned a B.A. from the University of Puerto Rico and a M.A. from the University of Southern California. At USC, she was one of 10 journalists selected nationwide for a year-long fellowship at the school’s Center for International Journalism.



Ebru Özer

Ebru Özer is an associate professor in the Department of Landscape Architecture + Environmental and Urban Design. She teaches grading, drainage, and construction, and community, urban, and regional design. Her research focuses on stormwater management, green infrastructure, sustainability in park and trail design, and age-friendly open space design. She has over 20 years of experience in practicing landscape architecture and architecture. She is the co-founder and principal of LandscapeDE, a landscape architecture, urban design, and planning firm based in Miami, Florida. She serves as the treasurer of the Council of Educators in Landscape Architecture (CELA) and the executive committee member of the American Society of Landscape Architects Florida Chapter.

Clotilde Square Headshot blue

Clotilde M. Picart-Laguer

Clotilde M. Picart-Laguer is a Career Specialist with more than 20 years of experience in labor law. Ms. Picart-Laguer holds a bachelor’s degree in Systems of Justice from Universidad del Sagrado Corazon in Puerto Rico, a master’s in Labor Relations, and a Juris Doctor from Interamerican University. She served as an administrative judge in labor matters and represented the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico in labor and torts disputes and real estate endeavors. In addition, she was a solo-practitioner in family and labor matters representing the interests of marginalized individuals before the judicial court of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and the United States District Court for the District of Puerto Rico. 

She most recently devotes her time to higher education, beginning at FIU in 2017, teaching a variety of courses which include Public Speaking, Ethics in Communication, Interviewing Skills and Practices, Nonverbal Communication, and Business Writing and Oral Skills. Most recently, Ms. Picart managed the Communication Studio in CARTA’s Department of Communication, where she coached hundreds of students in honing their presentation skills. She believes in the power of mentorship and encouraging students to seek new opportunities. 

Paula Powell

Paula Powell

Dr. Paula Powell is an experienced media practitioner with over a decade of experience in television, radio, and print. She holds a doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction from Barry University and a master’s in Mass Communication from Florida International University. In addition, Dr. Powell earned a Bachelor of Arts in Media and Communication: Television Broadcasting from the University of the West Indies in Jamaica. Dr. Powell has presented her research at academic conferences such as the Eastern Educational Research Association (EERA) Annual Conference, the International Symposium on Autoethnography and Narrative Inquiry (IAANI), and the Caribbean Sociological Association Conference. She teaches Interpersonal Communication, Communication Theory, Creative Concepts, Strategic Branding and Social Media, Global Strategic Communication Management, and Professional Project.

Nadine Saint Louis

Nadine Saint- Louis

Nadine Saint-Louis is a licensed architect, registered in the states of New York and Florida. She holds a Master of Architecture Degree from Florida International University and a Bachelor of Architecture degree from New York Institute of Technology. She has had over fourteen years of experience designing high-end residential homes throughout Long Island and is now exploring commercial architecture under the leadership and guidance of the award winning office of MC Harry & Associates. In addition to working in a firm, Ms Saint-Louis is an Adjunct professor at Florida International University. Ms Saint-Louis professional memberships include the American Institute of Architects and the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards. In addition, she serves as the President of the National Organization of Minority Architects of South Florida and Co-Chair of the AIA Miami.


Jacqueline Thompson

Jacqueline (Jacqui) Thompson is the Program Manager of Florida International University’s Miami Beach Urban Studios, where she oversees the CARTA Innovation Lab. Her work involves collaborating with the community on 3D printing projects that span across disciplines including, but not limited to, architecture and interior design, music, and essential medical aide. As an avid advocate for the Americans with Disabilities Act, Jacqueline is constantly seeking avenues to implement universal design, propel independent living, and showcase efficient and effective innovation at the intersection of urban planning and 3D modeling/design. Jacqui holds an Associate’s in Urban Planning from the University of Technology, Jamaica, as well as a Bachelor of Science in Interior Design from Florida International University.