College of Science Leadership Bios

Office of the Dean

Dean Teresa

Valery E. Forbes, Ph.D.

Dean, Charles E. Schmidt College of Science

Valery E. Forbes serves as Dean of the College of Science. From 2015-2022 she was Dean of the College of Biological Sciences at University of Minnesota. From 2011-2015 she was Director of the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. From 1989-2010, she lived and worked in Denmark, most recently as the Founding Chair of the Department of Environmental, Social and Spatial Change and Professor of Aquatic Ecology and Ecotoxicology at Roskilde University. Dr. Forbes received her Bachelor’s Degree (Biology & Geology) from the State University of New York at Binghamton in 1983, her M.Sc. (Marine Environmental Science) from SUNY-Stony Brook in 1984, and her Ph.D. (Coastal Oceanography), also from SUNY- Stony Brook in 1988. Specific research topics include population ecology and modeling, fate and effects of toxic chemicals in sediments, and ecological risk assessment. Dr. Forbes has served on the Danish Natural Sciences Research Council, the European Research Council, NATO’s Environmental Security Panel, and as ad hoc reviewer for numerous funding agencies from various countries. She is on the editorial board of several international journals and provides scientific advice to the private and public sectors. In 2018 she was awarded a prestigious Helmholtz International Fellowship.

Assistant to the Dean, Hannah Cohen, 561-297-3288


Deans Assistant

Hannah Pilar Cohen

Assistant to the Dean

Hannah's extensive career as an Administrative Assistant has given her a myriad of experiences working for non-profit organizations, news media corporations, the healthcare industry as well as the United States (U.S.) Department of Justice at the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City, assisting enforcement agents in combating drug trafficking. Hannah taught English as a second language (ESL) at a language institute and at the University of San Buenaventura Cali in Colombia. She is a native Spanish speaker born in Colombia and raised in New Jersey (NJ). Hannah earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism and the Mass Media and Spanish Literature from Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ in 1994.

Associate Deans, Directors, and Chairs


Evonne Rezler, Ph.D.

Senior Associate Dean for Undergraduate Studies, Charles E. Schmidt College of Science 

Dr. Rezler received her B.S. with Honors (1996) and Ph.D. (2001) degrees in Chemistry from the University of Sydney, Australia. In 2002, she joined the laboratory of Dr. Laurence Hurley at the Arizona Cancer Center as a Postdoctoral Fellow where she carried out research investigating the formation and structure of G-quadruplexes in the promoter regions of oncogenes and their putative role in the onset and progression of various cancers. In 2005, Dr. Rezler was recognized with BioFlorida’s Legacy in Life Science Award for the research she conducted in Dr. Fields’ Lab as a Postdoctoral Fellow on developing drug delivery systems targeted to cellular receptors in metastatic melanoma cells, and investigating the mechanism of drug delivery by cell selective cell penetrating peptides (CPPs). In 2006, Dr. Rezler joined FAU’s Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, teaching Organic and Inorganic Chemistry lab and lecture courses, and conducting Chemical Education research. Dr. Rezler currently serves as Senior Associate Dean for Undergraduate Studies in the College of Science. She leads the College of Science and Pre-Health advising teams to help students achieve their academic, career, and timely graduation goals. Additionally, her responsibilities include leading College of Science SACS accreditation compliance, and academic program evaluation and assessment efforts.

Since 2020, Dr. Rezler has been working with a diverse and interdisciplinary research team at Florida Atlantic University (FAU) as part of the FAU STEM Research Group for Digital Laboratory Learning. She serves as the scientific and evaluation lead on the research team. To date research efforts have focused on developing, implementing, and evaluating the efficacy of a novel digital instructional/learning approach that utilizes immersive online content (IOC) in the Neurophysiology and General Chemistry 1 practical laboratory courses at FAU.

Dr. Rezler is currently co-PI of the National Science Foundation (NSF) Improving Undergraduate STEM Education (IUSE) Program GP-IMPACT grant: “A Geopathway Utilizing High-Tech Geoscience Experiences for Recruitment and Retention-A Collaboration between PBSC and FAU”, and the NSF Hispanic Serving Institutions IUSE Program grant: “STEM Articulation and Transfer Collaborative Project” with Palm Beach State College. She also recently served as co-PI on FAU’s NSF ADVANCE Institutional Transformation-Catalyst (IT-Catalyst) grant: “Transforming Faculty Gender Diversity at Florida Atlantic University”, and a PI of a NSF Transforming Undergraduate Education in Science (TUES) grant: “Vertical Integration of Raman Spectroscopy into the Chemistry Curriculum” that successfully incorporated a 'spectroscopy-to-learn' approach in the chemistry curriculum at FAU.

jay baldwin

John Baldwin, Ph.D.

Associate Dean, Faculty Development, Charles E. Schmidt College of Science

Dr. John “Jay” Baldwin serves as the Associate Dean for Faculty Development in the Schmidt College of Science and is a Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences. In addition, he serves as FAU’s Chair of the Diving and Boating Board. He received a B.Sc. in Zoology from the University of Maryland, College Park and his Ph.D. in Cell and Developmental Biology from the University California at Davis at the U.C. Bodega Marine Lab. Following a Postdoctoral Fellow position at the University of Florida in the Department of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, Dr. Baldwin joined the faculty at Florida Atlantic University as an Assistant Professor in 1998. Dr. Baldwin runs an active and diverse research program in population genetics and conservation ecology. 

predrag cudic

Predrag Cudic, Ph.D.

Associate Dean for Research, Charles E. Schmidt College of Science

Dr. Predrag Cudic earned his Ph.D., a degree in Chemistry from the University of Zagreb, College of Science, Croatia, in 1996. He then joined a group of Prof. Jean-Marie Lehn, winner of the 1987 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, at the Collège de France in Paris, France, as a Postdoctoral Fellow. In 1998 Dr. Cudic moved to the University of Pennsylvania, School of Medicine, Philadelphia, USA, where he had further postdoctoral training. Starting in August 2003, Dr. Cudic began his independent research and teaching career in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at Florida Atlantic University (FAU). In August 2009 he was awarded tenure and promoted to the rank of Associate Professor. In August 2010, Dr. Cudic joined Torrey Pines Institute for Molecular Studies in Florida and in 2016 he came back to FAU as a tenured Full Professor. His research interests are in the field of peptide-based drug discovery and he was funded by the American Heart Association, NIH and DoD throughout his career.


Zhixiao Xie, Ph.D.

Associate Dean for Graduate Studies & Professor, Charles E. Schmidt College of Science



yanmei li

Yanmei Li, Ph.D., AICP

Administrative Fellow for Faculty Development

Yanmei Li, Ph.D., AICP, is an Associate Professor in the Department of Urban and Regional Planning. She holds a Ph.D. in City and Regional Planning from the Ohio State University and a Master’s degree in Regional Economics from Beijing Normal University. Dr. Li has taught various courses in research methods, geography, and urban planning. She has actively participated in the plan-making process of local communities, served on multiple advisory committees on planning, and served as a board member for local planning organizations and boards. She is actively involved in the planning profession and served as a conference track chair, and a member to various committees in national planning organizations.

Dr. Li’s research interests focus on housing and community development, research methods, and real estate and urban economics. She is very interested in policies related to affordable housing, sustainable community development, housing programs for people with special needs, historic preservation, and housing rehabilitation. She is particularly interested in the relationship between housing market, neighborhoods, racial minorities, and immigrants. 


Dr. Gary Perry

Gary W. Perry, Ph.D.

Director of the Center for Complex Systems and Brain Sciences, Charles E. Schmidt College of Science.

Dr. Perry currently serves as Director of the Center for Complex Systems and Brain Sciences and is a tenured Professor of Neuroscience in the Charles E. Schmidt College of Science,. He joined the Center for Complex Systems and Brain Sciences and the Department of Psychology at FAU in 1989. He has taught extensively in the graduate and undergraduate programs at FAU and he has been involved in the development of several interdisciplinary graduate programs, initially the Ph.D. program in Complex Systems and Brain Sciences, as well as the joint graduate Ph.D. program in Integrative Biology and Neuroscience with the Max Planck Florida Institute for Neuroscience. His research interests have included molecular and cellular mechanisms regulating neural development, neural regeneration, and neuroplasticity; and more recently the evolving field of Educational Neuroscience. He holds a Ph.D. from the University of Manchester (1977) and B.Sc. in Biochemistry from the University of London (1973) in the UK.

Previously, Dr. Perry served as Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at FAU (2014 - 2018) following nine months as Interim Provost (2013-2014), as well as Dean of the Charles E. Schmidt College of Science (2006-2013), FAU's Interim Graduate Dean (2004-2006), and Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Studies in the College (1998-2004).


  Colin Polsky

Colin Polsky, Ph.D.

Director of the Center for Environmental Studies (CES), Charles E. Schmidt College of Science.

Dr. Colin Polsky joined the Florida Atlantic University faculty as Professor of Geosciences in August 2014. His primary responsibility is to Direct the Florida Center for Environmental Studies. Under his leadership, CES has embraced a new vision that builds on past successes while expanding into new domains. The vision of CES is to improve Florida's sustainability through research, education, and community engagement, on wetlands ecology, coastal resilience, and energy innovations.

Dr. Polsky is trained as a Geographer, specializing in the Human Dimensions of Global Environmental Change. He has completed four degrees with majors in four disciplines, plus a two-year postdoctoral training in a fifth field. This background in mathematics, humanities, French, geography, and Science & International Affairs (from U. Texas, Penn State, and Harvard, respectively) has led to a sustained interest in advancing knowledge of U.S. climate vulnerabilities, in both methodological and applied terms.

  John Renne

John Renne, Ph.D., AICP

Director of the Center for Urban and Environmental Solutions (CUES), Charles E. Schmidt College of Science.

John L. Renne, Ph.D., AICP is the Director of the Center for Urban and Environmental Solutions and a Professor in the Department of Urban and Regional Planning in the Charles E. Schmidt College of Science at Florida Atlantic University (FAU). Dr. Renne’s work focuses on creating sustainability and resilience through land use and transportation systems. His research has been widely cited by academic journals and news media, reaching over a billion people across the globe. His books include Creating Resilient Transportation Systems: Policy, Planning, and Implementation , Adaptation Urbanism and Resilient Communities: Transforming Streets to Address Climate Change , Transport Beyond Oil: Policy Choices for a Multimodal Future , Transit Oriented Development: Making It Happen . He is active in the professional community and serves on a number of boards of professional associations, nonprofits and companies.


Department Chairs


  Tiffany Roberts Briggs

Tiffany Roberts Briggs, Ph.D.

Interim Chair of Geosciences, Director of Environmental Sciences Program

Dr. Tiffany Roberts Briggs serves as Director of the Environmental Science Program and is an Associate Professor in the Department of Geosciences. She received a Ph.D. (2012) and M.S. (2008) in Geology and a B.S. in Environmental Science (Honors College, 2002) from the University of South Florida. Before joining FAU in 2014, she was an Instructor in the Department of Geology & Geophysics at Louisiana State University. She leads the FAU Coastal Studies Lab on a range of research topics in coastal geology, geomorphology, and coastal science. Her specific interests are related to natural (e.g., storm impact and recovery) and anthropogenic (e.g., beach nourishment) influences on coastal environments, environmental characterization of beach-nearshore habitat, and sediment as a resource for improving coastal resiliency.



Stephen Locke, Ph.D.

Chair, Department of Mathematical Sciences, Charles E. Schmidt College of Science

Dr. Stephen C. Locke serves as the Chair of Mathematical Sciences. He earned his B.Math. and M.Math. from the University of Waterloo in Canada. As an undergraduate at UW, he was a member of the 1974 winning team on the prestigious William Lowell Putnam Mathematical Competition. His Ph.D. in Combinatorics and Optimization in 1982 was also earned at the University of Waterloo. In 1981, Dr. Locke was hired by FAU as an Assistant Professor, and in 1993 he was promoted to Professor. He served as Chair of the Department of Mathematics from 2000 to 2003 and as Associate Chair for a total of 20 years or more. Dr. Locke has over 40 publications in Graph Theory and has recently published in Combinatorial Game Theory. He has had three Ph.D. students graduate. He is a regular member of the department's problem-solving group. Dr. Locke is a Rokudan in Judo, a Godan in Ju-Jitsu, and plays tournament bridge.



Sarah Milton, Ph.D.

Chair, Department of Biological Sciences, Charles E. Schmidt College of Science

Dr. Sarah L. Milton is the Chair of the Department of Biological Sciences. Dr. Milton previously served as the Associate Director of the Graduate Program in Integrative Biology at FAU, and is co-director of the Master’s Program in Marine Science and Oceanography.  She graduated magna cum laude from Cornell University with a B.A. in Biology (1988) and earned her doctoral degree in Biological Oceanography at the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences in 1994.

Dr. Milton initially worked at FAU as a Research Assistant Professor prior to her appointment as a tenure-track Assistant Professor in 2006.  She was promoted to Associate Professor in 2011 and to Full Professor in 2019.  Her research interests lie in environmental physiology, investigating the effects of environmental stressors on animal physiology and adaptive mechanisms of survival.  This includes two main branches: (1) survival of the brain in the absence of oxygen, and (2) sea turtle physiology and conservation. She has nearly 50 peer-reviewed publications covering a broad range of topics in these areas. 


  Jesse Saginor

Jesse Saginor, Ph.D., AICP

Chair, Department of Urban and Regional Planning, Charles E. Schmidt College of Science

Jesse Saginor, Ph.D., AICP is a Professor. He holds a Ph.D. in Urban Studies and Public Affairs with a concentration on real estate and economic development from Cleveland State University. He also has a Master’s degree in Public Administration from the Ohio State University. Dr. Saginor worked as an Assistant Professor for seven years at Texas A&M University, where he taught in the undergraduate Urban and Regional Planning Program and the Master of Land and Property Development Program. He has taught various courses in infrastructure development, market analysis, public-private partnerships and real estate development. He currently serves as chairperson since 2018 and has been a commissioner with the Delray Beach Housing Authority since 2015. Previously he served as chairperson of the Delray Housing Group where he continues to serve on the Board of Directors. He also serves on the executive board of the School District of Palm Beach County Independent Sales Surtax Oversight Committee, which oversees $1.3B in sales tax proceeds from a countywide referendum passed in 2016.

Dr. Saginor’s research interests revolve around affordable housing, real estate development and economic development using qualitative and quantitative methods. His past research used methods ranging from contingent valuation analysis to meta-analysis in assessing and estimating the impact of environmental contamination on commercial and residential real estate markets as well as using hierarchical linear modeling to determine which housing subdivision and individual home characteristics created the most value in subdivisions. Current and future research focuses on funding for affordable housing, community-based market analysis approaches, economic development policy, and the impact of automation on employment and land use.


  andrew terentis

Andrew Terentis, Ph.D.

Chair, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Charles E. Schmidt College of Science

Dr. Andrew Terentis is a Professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry and currently serves as Chair of the department. Prior to joining FAU in 2004 he received Bachelor of Science and Ph.D. degrees in physical Chemistry from the University of Sydney and was a postdoctoral researcher at the Heart Research Institute in Sydney and at the University of Arizona. Dr. Terentis’ research is aimed at developing laser-based techniques for the detection and treatment of skin cancers, as well studying structure-function relationships in cancer-related enzymes and cell-penetrating peptides. While at FAU he has received funding from the NIH, NSF and the American chemical society and in 2020 he received a U.S. Fulbright Scholar award.



Robin Vallacher, Ph.D.

Interim Chair, Department of Psychology, Charles E. Schmidt College of Science

Robin Vallacher is a professor and Interim Chair of the Department of Psychology. He is also a Research Associate in the Center for Complex Systems, University of Warsaw, Poland, and a Research Affiliate in the Advanced Consortium on Cooperation, Conflict, and Complexity at Columbia University. His research spans a wide range of topics, from intrapersonal processes to interpersonal dynamics and societal issues, all centered on principles of complexity science. Dr. Vallacher has authored or edited 9 professional books, written over 150 book chapters and journal articles, and presented the results of his research in over 150 national and international conferences.



Luc T. Wille, Ph.D.

Chair, Department of Physics, Charles E. Schmidt College of Science

Luc T. Wille is the Chair of the Physics Department. He holds a B.S. (1980) and Ph. D. (1983) in Physics from Ghent University (Belgium). He subsequently earned an M.S. in Computer Science (1985). He was a postdoctoral researcher at Daresbury Laboratory (UK) and the University of California at Berkeley. He came to FAU in 1989 as an Assistant Professor, was promoted to Associate Professor in 1991, and to Professor in 1995. He has won three awards for excellence in teaching, including the Distinguished Teacher of the Year award (1996), and one award for excellence in undergraduate advising. His research covers a wide range of topics, all centered around the collective behavior of complex systems. Some recent examples include synchronization of oscillators, protein folding, DNA denaturation, and magnetic nano structures. He has published over 160 papers and edited 11 books.


  m zourdos

Michael Zourdos, Ph.D.

Chair, Department of Exercise Science and Health Promotion, Charles E. Schmidt College of Scienc

Mike received his Ph.D. (2012) in Exercise Physiology from Florida State University, studying under Dr. Jeong-Su Kim, then began at FAU in the Fall of 2012 as an Assistant Professor. Mike received early promotion and tenure to Associate Professor in 2017 and again received early promotion Full Professor in 2021.
Mike is the Director of FAU’s Muscle Physiology Research Lab (research: Google Scholar and PubMed) which, has three main focuses: 1) Configuring resistance training programs to enhance muscle hypertrophy and strength, 2) Examining the role of resistance training to induce responses in biomarkers associated with neuroprotection, and 3) Investigating novel resistance training program designs to improve health-related quality of life and combat muscle wasting in cancer patients undergoing curative treatments. 
Mike is proud to have mentored many students, and he and his students host the Muscle Lab Podcast, which is aimed at helping undergraduate and graduate students navigate research and academia.  



Dominique Blanchard, MBA

Business Manager, Charles E. Schmidt College of Science 

Dominique Blanchard is the Business Manager of the Charles E. Schmidt College of Science. Before joining the Charles E. Schmidt College of Science, Dominique was the Associate Director of Research Accounting and served the Division of Research for 13 years. She received her MBA at Florida Atlantic University in 2014.


  Todd Clark

Todd Clark

Director of Development, Charles E. Schmidt College of Science

Todd Clark joined the Schmidt College of Science in May 2023 as the Director of Development.  Todd works in partnership with the Dean, University-College leadership, and faculty to identify fundraising opportunities to support strategic initiatives and enhance FAU's reputation of excellence.  Before joining Florida Atlantic University, he held previous higher education fundraising roles with The Ohio State University, University of Arkansas and worked in college athletics at University of Louisville and Western Kentucky University.  He received his B.S.B.A. (2009) and M.E. (2011) from the University of Arkansas.



Zachary Greathouse, MBA

Director of Communications, Charles E. Schmidt College of Science

Zach joins the Charles E. Schmidt College of Science after six years at FAU’s Graduate College, where he served as Director of Marketing and Communications. In that role, he has been instrumental in the development of the Pathways to Graduate Education initiative, the University’s Three Minute Thesis Competition, the Graduate Fellowship Awards, and other initiatives.  He earned his B.S. in Marketing from UCF and his MBA from FAU.


Information Technology


Jay Paredes

Director of Information Technology, Charles E. Schmidt College of Science

Jay Paredes has served as the Director of Information Technology for the Charles E. Schmidt College of Science since November 2006. Prior to joining FAU, he spent more than a decade in Healthcare Information Technology helping to implement the new HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996) guidelines. Earlier in his career, Mr. Paredes worked for the Design and Human Factors division of IBM; designing operating system user interfaces and testing assistive computer technologies for people with disabilities.

He is also a nature photographer and has provided images for conservation and governmental agencies such as the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, and FAU research.