Alumni Spotlight Archives

Todd S. Pugh
Todd S. Pugh
BA Political Science 1993

The FAU Alumni Association chose Todd Pugh as the 2018 Distinguished Alum for the Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters. Pugh is currently a partner at Breen and Pugh Attorneys at Law in Chicago, IL. The law firm has earned the reputation of being one of the premier trial firms in Chicago by successfully handling some of the most complex criminal and civil matters in federal and state courts. After graduating from FAU, Pugh attended DePaul University College of Law where he was selected as a member of the “DePaul Law Review” and graduated with honors. “Leading Lawyers” named Pugh one of the best criminal defense lawyers in Illinois in 2007, and one of “Top Ten” defense lawyers 2012. In 2013, Pugh joined the faculty at DePaul University College of Law as adjunct professor. Most recently, Pugh was elected to the Board of Directors of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers in 2016. “My career path began right here at FAU when I was placed as an intern at the Palm Beach County Public Defender’s Office. The mentorship I received allowed me to see the criminal justice system through the eyes of the underserved and disenfranchised communities of our county. I was fortunate for this experience and have tried to apply those early lessons of compassion to my advocacy as a practicing criminal defense attorney.”

Goldman, Racquel
Racquel Goldman
BA Multimedia Journalism 2015

A Florida native from Parkland, Racquel graduated from the Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters with a major in Multimedia Journalism and a minor in Theatre. You can now find Racquel on the jumbo-tron or on the ice during intermissions at the BB&T Center in Sunrise, Florida as the In-Arena Host for the Florida Panthers. Before joining the Panther’s organization Racquel interned at Y100 and the CW's South Florida affiliate station. Since graduation, she has also been invited to be the keynote speaker at Florida Press Association District 7 (FSPA) Workshop this past November. “I owe a lot of my knowledge and confidence in my field to my FAU journalism professors. They are the reason that I am achieving all that I am today. The Arts & Letters college really prepared me for what it is like to be out in the real world.”

Hancock, Corey
Corey Hancock
BA Political Science 2002

While at FAU Corey participated in study abroad programs in Spain and Ecuador. He then earned a Masters in Spanish at FAU before joining the Peace Corps, which stationed him in Bolivia. Corey learned one of the native languages of Bolivia, Quechua, while working on projects in the mountains of the Andean country. He later joined USAID and was stationed in Peru. From there his career has taken him literally around the world, and his job has required him to continue to learn languages. His most recent posts required learning Russian and French. He is currently the Program Director for USAID in Cote d’Ivoire, where he is responsible for US development programs in health, inclusive economic growth, democracy and good governance in various countries of Africa. Corey was nominated as the 2017 Outstanding Young Owl for the College of Arts and Letters.

Price, Elizabeth
Elizabeth Price
MFA, Theatre

Elizabeth recently received a Carbonell Award nomination for her role in “Reborning” which was staged at Arts Garage. Elizabeth has worked as an actor and director in theatre and film in Los Angeles, New Orleans, Dallas, Austin, Atlanta, and New Mexico, but has now made South Florida her artistic home. She recently appeared at FAU’s resident professional company, Theatre Lab, in Steven Dietz’s “This Random World.” She has also appeared in Outre Theatre’s “The Normal Heart,” “The How and the Why” at Arts Garage, as Jack in Thinking Cap Theatre’s “The Importance of Being Earnest,” in City Theatre’s Island “Shorts” and “Standing on Ceremony,” and in several radio plays with Arts Radio Network. As a proud FAU alum, her last role at FAU was Barbara in “August: Osage County” which was named as one of the top ten best productions in South Florida in 2014In addition to her busy performance career, Elizabeth also teaches at FAU as an Adjunct Professor in Acting and Directing. Elizabeth is a consummate professional with tremendous talent who has quickly become one of South Florida’s most respected artists.

Hart, Melissa
Melissa Hart
M.F.A. Theatre, ’90

Melissa was chosen as the FAU 2016 Alum for the College of Arts and Letters. Veteran of several Broadway musicals, Melissa Hart’s Broadway credits include “Candide,” “Scarlet Pimpernel,” “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” “The Apple Tree,” “Georgy” for which she got a TONY nomination, and “Cabaret” in which she played Sally Bowles on Broadway and in the first national company. Off-Broadway credits include “Peg O’ My Heart,” “Radio Gals,” “Cat’s Paw,” “Tock Tick,” “Cyrano,” “Third Person,” and the award-winning “Fleet Week.” Hart received Philadelphia’s Philly Award, Chicago’s Joseph Jefferson Award, and three South Florida Carbonell Awards. “I came to FAU as a successful, but only half-formed actor. I left a mature student of the theatre. Thank you Joe Conway, J. Robert Dietz, Jean-Louis Baldet, and Zoe Caldwell, among others. I am eternally grateful.”

Cabrejos, Pablo
Pablo Francisco Carreno Cabrejos
B.F.A. Theatre Performance & B.A. Spanish, '15

Pablo was nominated and selected by the Dean of FAU’s Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters to become a member of the Parliament of OWLs (Older, Wiser, Leaders). The Parliament of OWLs is an honorary leadership society of the FAU Alumni Association. Each year, a soon-to-be graduate/recent graduate from each FAU college is inducted into the society and honored with a commemorative pin, a replica of a burrowing owl feather. The society is for a select few students who have demonstrated leadership and aptitude during their tenure at the University. In 2015, only ten students have become members. Carreño graduated in 2015 with a B.F.A. in Theatre Performance and a B.A. in Spanish (dual degrees). Prior to beginning his literary and theatrical studies here at FAU, Francisco completed a BS in Mechanical Engineering in his native Peru and worked as project engineer and project manager for Loesche America, Inc. He came to FAU to pursue his true callings (Spanish Literature and Theatre). During his undergraduate studies at FAU, Francisco demonstrated truly exemplary leadership in many realms. He served as President of FAU’s Sigma Delta Pi Spanish Honor Society, Rho Omicron Chapter and in this context, represented FAU and the chapter in a local newscast reporting on a national award received by the FAU chapter. (See the Channel CBS12 News Feature here: - http://youtu.be/E6pk4e5vpTE ). He completed high-level honors research on “Sismología en la Fiesta del Chivo de Mario Vargas Llosa: Heteroglosia en la narrativa del trauma” and shared it formally with the FAU community in bilingual format—in English at the Undergraduate Research Symposium, and in Spanish at the Spanish Honor Society’s initiation ceremony in April 2015. He was a Spanish AcCESS Tutor (for all levels of the Spanish undergraduate curriculum) at the Center for Learning and Student Success (CLASS). In the context of his theatre studies, he was an integral member of many productions, in addition to producing and acting in El suplicio del placer, a Spanish-language performance made possible by Francisco’s deep engagement in both of his chosen disciplines. Francisco has demonstrated exemplary service across multiple departments and contexts, for the enrichment of the entire FAU body.

Mpyes, Holly
Holly Moyes
Anthro ’01

Holly was recently recognized by “Business Insider” as one of the “15 Most Amazing Women in Science Today.” Anthropological archaeologist Moyes explores caves and examines artifacts to understand the rituals of ancient people. By studying the artifacts left by ancient Mayans, Moyes hopes to both preserve Mayan culture and discover stories of these ancient people. Moyes has spent the past 20 years exploring more than 100 caves in Belize, finding everything from tools to sacrificial remains to everyday pottery, to uncover how the Mayans' ideologies were created and maintained. Discovering the why behind ancient people's decision-making allows us to understand the implications of their decisions. One particular ritual Moyes focused on was why Mayans performed human sacrifices deep inside of caves. Though it's a developing theory, Moyes believes the Mayans cared deeply about rain (their lands were dry for many months of the year) and left increasingly large sacrifices to their god, Chac, to lift a devastating drought. Moyes is an assistant professor at the University of California at Merced. http://www.businessinsider.com/coolest-women-in-science-2015-7

Ward, Pat
Pat Ward

Pat started his FAU music experience at TOPS Piano Camp when he was in grade school, and went on to become a commercial music technology major. During his final year at FAU and during the summer after graduation, he toured Europe and much of the United States playing bass for a professional blues band. For the past year he has been playing electric and upright bass in musical theatre shows, sound designing live theatre, engineering albums and singles, and working at FAU as an AV technician for the Lifelong Learning Society, where he was also hired to design and implement acoustic treatment and other audio improvements to the Barry and Florence Friedberg Auditorium. This fall he will be returning to academia as a graduate assistant to pursue a master’s degree in music technology at Georgia Southern University. “I loved the TOPS atmosphere and the fact that I got to meet so many other people my own age learning the same instrument. Being able to interact with other kids was absolutely crucial to my musical development.”

Rosado, Marlow
Marlow Rosado
B.F.A., Music, ’95

Marlow was named the 2015 Distinguished Alumni for the College of Arts and Letters. With 11 nominations and one American Grammy already on his shelf, Marlow Rosado is a driving force in the tropical music industry. He has more than two decades of experience as a pianist, composer and producer, and a powerful portfolio that includes work with top Latin recording artists including Ricky Martin, the late Tejana singer Selena, Tito Puente, the late Salsa legend Celia Cruz, and many more. After teaching elementary school in Miami for 10 years, Rosado decided to take a leave of absence to open what has become a successful recording studio, bringing in top international recording artists. He is continually sought out by his fellow artists for his musical arrangement and directorial skills. It is not uncommon to see Rosado’s name on album liner notes as a pianist, producer, songwriter or musical director. Rosado took center stage in 2009 when he released his first album “Salsalsa” under Fania Records. In 2012, his sophomore album “Retro” surprised not only him but the entire industry when it won the 2012 Grammy for Best Tropical Latin Album, beating out gigantic bachata artist Romeo Santos. In July 2014, Rosado released his third album “Salsanimal,” a beast of a production. Rosado received the Premio La Musa Elena Casals Award at this year’s Latin Songwriter’s Hall of Fame and is now working on his fourth album, set to be released in June 2015. He’s proud to say that FAU helped to prepare him for this amazing world of music.

Baez, Jenny
Jenny Baez
B.A. Political Science, '11

Jenny has been hired by the United Nations Relief Works Agency. She will be working out of Amman, Jordan. Baez was a member of FAU’s Diplomacy Program, competing in the 2010 National Model United Nations (NMUN) conference in New York, and the 2010 European Model United Nations event in The Netherlands. She also joined the FAU AmeriCorps program. After graduating from FAU, Baez pursued her graduate degree at the Institut d'Etudes Politiques de Paris (Sciences Po), a renowned social sciences school in Europe. Her two-year Master's degree was focused on international security, particularly centered on the Middle East. As part of her study, Baez completed a six-month internship in Amman, Jordan with the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA). After completing her M.A., Baez was hired by the UN to continue her work with refugee relief.

Petuch, Brian
Brian Petuch
B.A. Music ’08

will have his composition of a First Music commission titled “If You see Something, Say Something” performed by the New York Youth Symphony in the Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall. Petuch was a commercial music major in the Department of Music and later attended the Mannes School of Music. More information on Petuch’s accomplishments can be found here http://www.nyyouthsymphony.org/first-music/brian-petuch

Rory O'Connor Jr.
Rory O'Connor, Jr.
B.A. Communications, ’95

Rory received the FAU 2014 Distinguished Alumni Award. Rory was chosen for his service to our nation, service to our veterans, and service to FAU as an outstanding graduate. Rory was raised in South Florida and after high school served as a member of the U.S. Navy SEALs for eight years. He then returned to South Florida to pursue a degree in the School of Communication and Multimedia Studies. After graduation, Rory became a financial adviser and his 30-year career includes work as vice president of JP Morgan and financial advisor for Edward Jones Investments. He also created, and is now vice director of, the Tampa Bay Frogman Swim for the Navy SEAL Foundation, which aids active duty Naval Special Warfare personnel and their families. The event has raised more than $700,000 over four years and is used as a model for a nationwide series of swims/fundraisers for the Navy SEAL Foundation.

Judith Ortiz Cofer
Judith Ortiz Cofer
English, ’77

Judith of Athens, GA, has been named the University of Georgia's 2013 recipient of the Southeastern Conference Faculty Achievement Award. She is currently the University’s Franklin Professor of English and Creative Writing. Ortiz Cofer is a two-time Pulitzer-Prize nominee and received the FAU Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters' Distinguished Alumna Award in 2012. Ortíz Cofer was inducted into the Georgia Writers Hall of Fame in 2010 and in 1994, she became the first Hispanic to win the O. Henry Prize for her story “The Latin Deli”. In 1996, Ortíz Cofer and illustrator Susan Guevara became the first recipients of the Pura Belpre Award for Hispanic children’s literature.