Dr. Frank Biafora

Dr. Frank Biafora joins the faculty of ISS on a part-time basis as Professor of Sociology after serving as the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at USF St. Petersburg between 2007 and 2018.  Frank earned his B.A. and M.A. in Sociology from the University of Florida, and his Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Miami.  Prior to his arrival in St. Petersburg, Frank served for fourteen years at St. John’s University (New York City) where he taught undergraduate and graduate courses in Sociology, Criminology, and Public Health and served as the Associate Dean in the College of Arts and Sciences from 1999 to 2007.  He also wrote and directed for eight years the Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program, a mentor-based student success program funded by the US Department of Education Title IV, designed specifically to prepare first-generation and under-represented students for doctoral level study and a path to the professoriate.

Frank is a graduate of Leadership St. Pete (Class of 2008) and he subsequently accepted opportunities to serve on a number of community Boards including the American Stage Theatre Company, Pinellas County Urban League, National Forensic Science Technology Council, and the Florida Humanities Council.  As Dean, Dr. Biafora was instrumental in expanding the suite of new majors in the College and he led the effort to introduce new innovative programs including the Brewing Arts Program and the Open Partnership Education Network (OPEN), which he currently serves as Executive Director.

Frank continues to engage in community based scholarship and he teach courses in support of the ISS major.  He has also, for the past ten years, led a summer study abroad course to Vietnam in fulfillment of a long-established partnership with colleagues at Vinh University. He is a published author of more than twenty refereed publications on topics related to adolescent development and delinquency, academic success and school tracking, race and ethnic relations, and adoption.

Dr. Rebecca Johns

Dr. Johns received the  Bachelor of Arts degree in Anthropology from Stanford University;  the Master of Science degree in Geography from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and the Ph.D. in Geography from Rutgers University in 1994. She is an Associate Professor of Geography, and currently holds the Frank E. Duckwall Professor of Florida Studies endowed chair. She is the Program Coordinator for ISS. She is the Education and Community Outreach
Director for the Initiative on Coastal Adaptation and Resilience at USFSP.

Her research interests include human perceptions of nature; nature-society relationships; and the commodification of nature through neoliberalism; and particularly the implementation of environmental education programs in the U.S., Florida and India. Current projects examine the role of state, county and local parks in increasing environmental literacy among adults in Florida, a comparison of environmental education programming in India and the U.S., and the study of barriers to climate resilience in Pinellas County. Older research focuses primarily on spatial
characteristics of labor organizing and the globalization of class struggle.

Recent publications
Dixon, B., Gruber, J., Mbatu, R. and Johns, R., 2017. Measuring conservation success beyond the traditional biological criteria: the case of conservation projects in Costa Rica, Mekong Valley, and Cameroon. Natural Resources Forum.

Johns, Rebecca, and Merton, Elizabeth, 2015. “Neglected Yards and Community Landscaping,” The Southeastern Geographer.

Johns, Rebecca, Dixon, Barnali, McHan, Chris and Westmark, Zach, 2013. “Evaluating Food Deserts in St. Petersburg, Florida.” The Florida Geographer 44: 15-37.

Mustafa, D, Smucker, T A, Ginn, F, Johns, R, Connely, S, 2010, “Xeriscape people and the cultural politics of turfgrass transformation” Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 28(4) 600–617.

Johns, Rebecca A., 2009. “Assessing The Social And Ecological Impact Of Voluntary Simplicity,” Papers of the Applied Geography Conferences, Vol. 32.

Johns, Rebecca A., 2008. “Ecologically Appropriate Residential Landscaping in Pinellas County, Florida: Barriers and Incentives.” Papers of the Applied Geography Conference, Vol. 31, pgs. 283-291.

Johns, Rebecca A., Connelly, Shanon, Dorsey Joseph ,Krest, Jim, Mustafa, Daanish, Smucker, Thomas.. “Xeriscaping as Coastal Amelioration: using “Florida Friendly Landscaping” to reduce pollutant runoff and water consumption in Pinellas County, Florida,” Interdisciplinary Environmental Review, Vol X, No. 2, 2007, pps. 113-141.

Nancy McCann

Nancy McCann has a bachelor of arts degree in biology and a master of liberal arts degree with a concentration in social and political thought, both from the University of South Florida. Her study interests are in the intersections of nature and culture, particularly the biological aspects of animal and human social behavior.

She worked in many environmental aspects of local government for 35 years, starting as a planner in Hillsborough County and finishing her career as the City of Tampa’s urban environmental coordinator. Her professional expertise is in the environmental regulation of soil, air and groundwater pollution and technologies that convert municipal waste into energy.

Nancy is currently working on a master’s degree at USF St. Petersburg in journalism and media studies. She is a regular contributor to the campus student newspaper, The Crow’s Nest, and is a local government correspondent for the Tampa Bay Times.

Dr. Byron Miller

Dr. Miller received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Sociology with a minor in Psychology and a Master’s in Teaching Secondary Social Science from the University of South Florida; a Master of Science as well as a Ph.D. in Sociology with a focus on Mental Health and minor concentration in Social Stratification from Florida State University.

Dr. Miller is a Sociologist that uses an epidemiology approach to investigate how psychological and social factors impact health outcomes. His research examines how psychosocial measures like mastery, discrimination, and social support impact health disparities. Dr. Miller’s primary research interests examine the interconnections between race, gender, interracial romance and mental health. His current projects are investigating contemporary definitions of race and the link between interracial romance and mental health among college-aged adults.

Recent publications
James, Anthony, and Byron Miller. 2017. “My body is a temple: Testing the mediating role of youths’ spirituality on healthy behaviors.” International Journal of Children’s Spirituality 22(2); 134-153.

Tillman, Kathryn Harker, and Byron Miller. 2016. “The Role of Family Relationships in the Psychological Wellbeing of Interracially Dating Adolescents.” Social Science Research.

Miller, Byron, and Benjamin Lennox Kail. 2016. “Exploring the Effects of Spousal Race on the Self-Rated Health of Intermarried Adults.” Sociological Perspectives. DOI: 10.1177/0731121416641702.

Miller, Byron, and Jessica Irvin. 2016. “Invisible Scars: Comparing the Mental Health of Same-Sex and Opposite-Sex Intimate Partner Violence Victims.” Journal of Homosexuality.

Miller, Byron. 2015. “The Big Picture: Black Girls, Adolescent Girls and Crime Today.” Pp. 301-312 in Black Girls and Adolescents: Facing the Challenges, edited by Catherine Fisher Collins. Santa Barbara: Praeger Publishers.

Miller, Byron. 2014. “What are the Odds: An Examination of Adolescent Interracial Romance and Risk for Depression.” Youth and Society: DOI: 10.1177/0044118X14531150.

Miller, Byron, Sunshine Rote, and Verna Keith. 2013. “Coping with Racial Discrimination: Assessing the Vulnerability of African Americans and the Mediated Moderation of Psychosocial Resources.” Society and Mental Health 3(2): 133-150.

Dr. Heather O’Leary

Dr. O’Leary received the  Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor;  the Master of Arts degree in Social Sciences from the University of Chicago, and the Ph.D. in Anthropology from the University of Minnesota in 2014. She is an Assistant Professor of Anthropology in the ISS Program.  Dr. O’Leary currently holds the position of Head of the Council of Commissions for the International Union of Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences (IUAES) and is on the Steering Committee for the World Anthropological Union (WAU).

Her research interests are in human equity and extractive development; diversity of global environmentalisms; and informal labor and urban in-migration. Current projects include: a comparative project on cities, climate change and inclusive human security in coastal and riparian megacities in Asia; epistemic erasure and citation politics in the environmental social sciences; and the politics of waste.  Previous research focuses on the cultural dimensions of water disparity in the context of urban development in India and the ways in which infrastructure and discourse shapes not only the way people see water, but the way they see themselves; comparative global pathways to urban water security and intersectional perspectives of environmental risk.  She has served as a specialist with the OECD and Global Water Partnership and has consulted with municipalities and foreign government agencies.  Her research has proved both academic and applied impact at community, city, national and international levels.

Recent publications

2018  “Pluralizing Science for Inclusive Water Governance: An engaged ethnographic approach to WaSH data collection in Delhi, India” In Case Studies in the Environment.

2017 “Epistemological Undercurrents: Delhi’s Water Crisis and the Role of the Urban Water Poor” In Water, Knowledge and the Environment in Asia: Epistemologies, practices and locales, Ravi Baghel, Lea Stepan, Joseph K.W. Hill (eds.).  Routledge Earthscan series.

2016  “Between stagnancy and affluence: Reinterpreting water poverty and domestic flows in Delhi, India.” Society & Natural Resources, 29 (6), 639-653.

Winner  The Burge and Field Outstanding Article Award: “For innovative and meaningful contributions and great promise to be influential over time”

2015  (with lead chapter author, Dustin Garrick) “Chapter 4: Pathways to Water Security” Securing Water, Sustaining Growth: Report of the GWP/OECD Task Force on Water Security and Sustainable Growth, Claudia Sadoff (ed.). 114-169. University of Oxford.

2015  “Producing Middle-Class Waterscapes Beyond Middle-Class Thresholds: Domestic Workers and Identity Expression through Water Allocation in Lower-Class Delhi, India” In Averting a Global Environmental Collapse: The Role of Anthropology and Local Knowledge, Thomas Reuter (ed.); Cambridge Scholar Series.

Dr. Ella Schmidt (Retired)

Dr. Schmidt is a cultural anthropologist who has done research on Mexican farm workers in West Central Florida and changes in their construction of identity.  Currently her research focuses on transnational indigenous Mexican migrants in Clearwater and Valle del Mezquital, Hidalgo, Mexico and the creation of new social formations in both home and host communities.  She recently co-edited a special issue of Globalizationon “Cultures of Globalization. Coherence, Hybridity, and Contestation.” 4(1)2007.  Her co-edited book (with Ward Stavig) The Tupac Amaru and Catarista Rebellions: an Anthology of Sources, was published in late March 2008 by  Hackett Publishing Co., Mass.  Her recent book  The Dream Fields of Florida;  Mexican Farmworkers and the Myth of Belonging was published in November 2009 by Lexington Books.  She is currently on sabbatical, supported by a Fulbright Research Grant, doing research among indigenous Hñähñu in the Mezquital Valley and their centuries-old notions of communal citizenship that inform their interactions with their U.S. communities of destination.

Recent publications

Schmidt Ella. “Ciudadanía comunal y patrimonio cultural indígena: el caso del Valle del Mezquital, Hidalgo.  Dimensión Antropológica (Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia, Mexico D.F.) 20(59)2013: 147-162.

Schmidt, Ella.  “Otavalo Diaspora in Historical Perspective: Different Opportunities, Different Paths”.  In Encyclopedia of Global Human Migration. Wiley Blackwell. 2012.

Schmidt, Ella.  “Citizenship from below: Hñahñu heritage in a transnational world.” Latino Studies 10(1-2)2012: 196-219.

Baez Cubero, L., Crummett, Maria, Fierro Alonso, U. J.,  Garret Rios, M.G., Moreno Alcántara, B. and Schmidt, Ella.  “De mi parcela al ancho mundo.”  Efectos de la movilidad en Hidalgo, México y Clearwater, Florida, Estados Unidos.  IN La migración indígena.  Causas y efectos en la cultura, en la economía y en la población.  Etnografia de los Pueblos Indígenas de México Series.  Comisión Nacional de Antropología e Historia-Instituto de Antropología e Historia.  México, D.F. 2012.

Schmidt, Ella.  “Marginales o Ciudadanos? El Caso de los ÑähÑus en Clearwater, Florida.  In Homenaje a Yolanda Lastra. X Coloquio Internacional de Otopames. Ana María Salazar & Verónica Kugel, eds.  Mexico D.F.: Universidad Autónoma de México and Instituto Nacional de Lenguas Indígenas. 2010.

Schmidt, Ella.  The Dream Fields of Florida:  Mexican Farmworkers and the Myth of Belonging.  Lanham:  Lexington Books. 2009.

Schmidt, Ella. Localismo, Globalismo y la Expansión de Tradiciones Culturales: el Caso de los Hñahñu (Otomí) de Hidalgo, Mexico y Clearwater, Florida.  Estudios de Cultura Otopame.  Vol. VI.  UNAM: Instituto de Investigaciones Antropológicas.  2008.

Stavig, Ward & Ella Schmidt.  The Tupac Amaru and Catarista Rebellions:  An Anthology of Sources.  Edited and translated by Ward Stavig and Ella Schmidt with an introduction by Charles Walker. Mass.: Hackett Publishing Co. 2008.

Archer, Kevin, M. Martin Bosman, M. Mark Amen & Ella Schmidt.  Cultures of Globalization. Coherence, Hybridity, Contestation London and New York: Routledge. 2008.

Schmidt, Ella.  “Whose Culture?  Globalism, Localism, and the Expansion of Tradition; the Case of the Hñähñu of Hidalgo, Mexico and Clearwater, Florida.”  Special Issue of Globalizations Cultures of Globalization:  Coherence, Hybridity, and Contestation  4(1)2007: 101-114.

Archer, K, M. Bosman, M. Amen & E. Schmidt.  “Locating Globalizations and Cultures.” Special Issue of Globalizations “Cultures of Globalization: Coherence, Hybridity, and Contestation.” 4(1)2007: 1-14.