MEET THE PRESENTERS
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.
Dr. Irving Berkowitz is the Emeritus Dean of Academic Affairs at Palm Beach State College, a position from which he retired after 8 years in 2020. This followed a 3-year stint as the Executive Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs at the only institution of higher education on the island nation of Bermuda, Bermuda College. In his 42-year career in higher education he has served as a Professor, Dean, and Academic Vice President of colleges and universities around the country. He is a widely respected scholar and public speaker on the Holocaust and Contemporary Antisemitism and a recognized internationally published scholar in the fields of social policy and organization theory. Early in his career he was chosen Distinguished University Professor for his teaching and scholarship. In 1993, twenty years after graduating from Ohio University, Dr. Berkowitz was chosen as one of five distinguished alumni. In 1997 he was inducted into the Honor Society for International Scholars.
Monica Berovides-Hidalgo, mezzo-soprano, is an adjunct professor of voice at Florida Atlantic University and Director of Worship at First Church of Coral Springs. Ms. Berovides-Hidalgo is an assistant conductor and artist in residence with Schola Cantorum of Florida. She is the Director of the SCOF Academy of Music at FAU for elementary and middle school students. She is currently the Music Director with Torch and Trumpet Theater Company and most recently premiered in Florida as Anna in the musical “When Calls the Heart.” She also played the role of Mary, the mother of Jesus, in “The Scarlet Thread,” June 2022. In December 2023, she will perform in the musical “It’s A Wonderful Life.” Ms. Berovides-Hidalgo has performed and recorded throughout South Florida and the United States, and she is an accomplished and sought-after soloist with experience in studio recording and cross-over styles, including opera, musical theater, recital repertoire, Contemporary Commercial Music, Contemporary and Traditional Christian music and Latin American popular songs. She is certified in Somatic Voicework and the LoVetri Method, and also certified with The Contemporary Commercial Music Vocal Pedagogy Institute at Shenandoah University, and has completed the Lyric Diction Workshop at Vanderbilt University. In the Summer of 2022, Ms. Berovides-Hidalgo received Level I Orff Certification. She is an active coach, clinician, and private voice instructor.