MEET THE PRESENTERS
Mitchell Bard, Ph.D., is the executive director of the nonprofit American‑Israeli Cooperative Enterprise and an authority on U.S.‑Middle East policy. Bard is the director of the Jewish Virtual Library, the world's most popular and comprehensive online encyclopedia of Jewish history. He earned a doctoral degree in political science from UCLA and a master's degree in public policy from Berkeley. He earned his bachelor's degree in economics from UCSB and has been named one of the "top 100 people positively influencing Jewish life" by the Algemeiner Journal. He has appeared on national and international media outlets and is the author/editor of 22 books.
Zachary Bartholomew, DMA is an award-winning pianist, composer, and music educator who maintains an active performance career as one of the most heavily sought-after pianists, accompanists, and sidemen in South Florida. He has headlined national and international jazz festivals with his band, toured across the country, and has placed as one of the top three finalists in the highly acclaimed Jacksonville Jazz Piano Competition on two separate occasions. He is the pianist in the Gulf Coast Symphony’s Jazz Collective, the Lake Wales Jazz Connection, and regularly performs with professional organizations such as the Naples Philharmonic and Sarasota Pops Orchestra. In addition to his active performance career, Bartholomew is a full-time professor at Florida Memorial University and is actively involved in music education and outreach. One current project is his state-funded “Jazz Access Tour,” an outreach program that aims to provide underserved communities and schools in Florida with world-class public performances and educational programs.
William Baxley, P.E. has more than 30 years of experience in ocean engineering and offshore operations, including 16 years as a U.S. Navy test engineer and diving officer. He has been involved in all aspects of ocean technology, including all class of underwater vehicles, advanced diving operations, and deployment/recovery operations of large complex systems. He is proficient in finite element cable and structure modeling and is active in several design projects for ocean energy and academic research projects. He currently serves as Chief Engineer for Florida Atlantic University’s Southeast National Marine Renewable Energy Center (SNMREC). He is responsible for the overall planning, operation, and maintenance of an offshore ocean energy test facility, and all technical support for center users.
Chef Baba (Chef Andrew N. Bennardo) is an award-winning chef with dual degrees from the (CIA) Culinary Institute of America and (FIU) Florida International University's School of Hospitality and Management. He trained at the best hotels and restaurants in Europe and South Florida. Yes, Italy! His training inspired local restaurants, Bennardo’s Ristorante, Delray Beach, Giancarlo Brick Oven, Delray Beach, and Talia’s Tuscan Table, Boca Raton. His current mission is to share his experiences and educate you with student-prepared, fresh, tasty cuisine in a fun-filled cooking class for everyone at all levels.
Evan P. Bennett, Ph.D. is a historian of the American South whose research focuses on the intersections of rural, environmental, and labor history. He has just completed writing a book on the environmental history of Tampa Bay. He is the author of “When Tobacco Was King: Families, Farm Labor, and Federal Policy in the Piedmont,” (University Press of Florida, 2014). He is also co-editor of “Beyond Forty Acres and a Mule: African American Landowning Families Since Reconstruction,” (University Press of Florida, 2012).
Stephen Berk, Ph.D., is a professor of history at Union College in Schenectady, New York, where he holds the Henry and Sally Schaffer Chair in Holocaust and Jewish Studies. He is the author of "Year of Crisis, Year of Hope: Russian Jewry and the Pogroms of 1881-1882". Berk has written articles on Russian and Jewish history, anti-Semitism, and the Middle East. In 2010, he was designated an Israel Hero for his defense and advocacy of the State of Israel by JERNY, the Jewish Educational Resources of New York. In 2013, he was the recipient of the Citizen Laureate Award from the University of Albany Foundation.