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View of Havana from atop the Castillo de la Real Fuerza

Cuba Week Spring 2020

The spring 2020 trip to Cuba has been postponed due to COVID-19-related travel restrictions.


  • Ana Corbalan received her Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill in Romance Languages-Spanish. She is a professor of Spanish at The University of Alabama, where she teaches contemporary Spanish literature and film in the Department of Modern Languages and Classics. Her research examines 20th-21st Spanish Literature and Culture, Film, Visual Arts, Memory and Trauma, Spanish Civil War, Women Writers, Cultural Studies, Transatlantic Studies, and Gender Studies. She has published extensively on 20th- and 21st-century Spanish literature, culture, film, gender studies, memory, migrations, cultural studies, and transatlantic studies. She is the associate editor of the Journal of Gender and Sexuality Studies and the book review editor of Hispanófila and is on the editorial board of several academic journals. She has been appointed to serve in the executive committee of numerous national and international organizations such as the MLA, SAMLA, Hispanic Association of Humanities, Association of Gender and Sexuality Studies, and International Association of Feminine Hispanic Literature.
  • Joseph Messina received his Ph. D. from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill in Geography. He became a Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at The University of Alabama in 2019. His research emphases are on Population-Environment Interactions, Medical Geography, Geographic Information Science, Remote Sensing, Spatial Analyses, and Land Change Science. More specifically, he has researched the integration of people, spaces, and the environment through the lens of dynamic models and complex systems. Field research activities have taken place in Malawi, Kenya, Mali, Thailand, Vietnam, China, Ecuador and Colombia, the health and disease research has focused on malaria and African Trypanosomiasis in East Africa. Health care delivery has focused on the access to care in Michigan and China, and the landscape pattern metrics, error and uncertainty, dynamic spatial simulation models, complex systems research.
  • Osiris Molina is Professor of Clarinet and Woodwind Area Coordinator at The University of Alabama. He has extensive experience as a soloist, chamber and orchestral musician. His professional accomplishments have taken him overseas and across the country. Dr. Molina is currently Principal Clarinet of the Tuscaloosa Symphony Orchestra, Second Clarinet with the Huntsville Symphony and performs regularly with the Alabama, Mobile and Chattanooga symphony clarinet sections, in addition to work with the Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, Greater Lansing, and Bridgeport (CT) symphony orchestras. Dr. Molina will be releasing his first solo album in 2020. Entitled Cuba, Alabama, this album will be works that Molina found in Cuba during his many visits, including works by Andres Alén, Javier Zalba, Paquito D’Rivera, and Leo Brouwer. Dr. Molina is a D’Addario Reeds Artist and a Selmer-Paris Artist/Clinician. He performs on the Recital clarinet and the Privilege Bass Clarinet.
  • Sarah Marshall is an Associate Professor of Art, Printmaking.  Since joining The University of Alabama in 2001, her work has been included in national and international printmaking exhibitions including Global Matrix, 4th Minnesota National Print Biennial and 17th Parkside National Small Print Exhibition. Her work has been the subject of solo exhibitions in Alabama, Iowa, Pennsylvania and Maryland. Marshall is interested in how everyday experiences are constructed and recorded in the human mind. Her work explores the links between direct sensory encounters and a rich history of belief, imagination, and memory. Plant forms, animal forms and the figure reference the physical world. Manipulated words and letterforms, and references to language and translation suggest the complexities of human thought, learning and behavior. She often works with appropriated source imagery, cutting apart and recombining elements, and abstracting them through simplification, repetition, and layering. Her attraction to the multiple comes from the possibility of infinite variation as much as infinite repeatability, and a family of related images often replaces the edition in her studio practice.
  • Michael Schnepf received his Ph. D. from Indiana University in Spanish with a minor in English. He is an Emeritus Professor of Spanish and Codirector for the Center for Cuba Collaboration and Scholarship at The University of Alabama. His research interests focus on “A Detailed Study of the Complete Manuscript and the Unseen Sketches of Galdós’s La desheredada”, “The deliveries of the first edition of La desheredada: divisions, dates, and strategies”, and “Drawings and Sketches by Galdós from all the Original Manuscripts Housed in the Biblioteca Nacional in Madrid”. He has come up with fascinating drawings that deal with politics, politicians, and architecture. His most recent publications include, the “Scandal and La Cárcel Modelo: Intertextual ‘Bouncing’ in Galdós’s La desheredada.” Romance Quarterly 49 (2002): 36-49, the “Background Information for Two Political References in Clarín’s La Regenta.” Romance Notes 41 (2001): 319-324, and the “X-rated Galdós: Manuscript Nudes.” Galdosianos Annals 37 (2002): 137-140.
  • Robert Palazzo received his B.S. and Ph.D. degrees from Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan. After conducting four years of post-doctorate research at the University of Virginia’s biology department, he received appointment as scientist at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Massachusetts. He currently serves as the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at The University of Alabama at Birmingham. Palazzo is a member of the Scientific Advisory Board for Scientific American Magazine and is chair of the Board of Directors for The Alliance for Science and Technology Research in America (ASTRA). He served as the President of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB), which currently represents 26 basic biomedical research societies and more than 100,000 scientists. Palazzo served as Chair of the Science Advisory Council and as ex officio member of the Board of Trustees for the Marine Biological Laboratory.
  • Patrick Evans received his Doctor of Music from The Florida State University. Currently, Evans is a Professor and Chair at The University of Alabama at Birmingham Department of Music Faculty. Prior to his role at UAB, he was an Associate Professor in the Practice of Sacred Music at the Yale University Institute of Sacred Music. As a baritone, Dr. Evans has performed in opera, oratorio, and recital performances throughout the United States and abroad, including the Tanglewood Festival, Cleveland Art Song Festival, and the Pacific Music Festival in Sapporo, Japan. During his visit to the University of La Havana he would like to meet with administrators from the Music Department at ISA to explore the possibility of collaborations between the faculty of his department and ISA in the area of Music.
  • Richard C. Gere received his Master of Fine Arts at the University of Tennessee. He is an interdisciplinary print media artist working in alternative photo processes; works of paper, sculpture, and installation. He is currently the Chair of the Art Department at The University of Alabama at Birmingham. As a researcher/artist, and co-investigator, he has been the recipient of numerous grants and awards, including funding from the Rauschenberg Foundation and a multimillion-dollar grant from the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), which supports his research on integrating the visual arts as pedagogy into nursing and medical science curriculums. His work has appeared in more than 250 juried, solo, and group exhibitions, including recent exhibits at the El Paso Museum in El Paso, Texas; the Museo de Arte de Ciudad, Juarez, Mexico; SCOPE Basel, Switzerland; ArtHelix Gallery, Brooklyn, New York; and at the Toolbox Gallery, Berlin, Germany. His artwork appears in numerous public and private collections across the country and in Europe. He is represented by Marcia Wood Gallery of Atlanta.
  • Lisa Pawloski is a professor of Anthropology and Associate Dean for International Programs in the College of Arts and Sciences. She received her Ph. D. in Anthropology from Indiana University. Her previous roles included founding Chair of the Departments of Nutrition and Food Studies and Global and Community Health at George Mason University. ?She also served as Dean of Academic Affairs on the George Mason University Korea campus in Songdo Korea. Dr. Pawloski is an expert in childhood obesity and biocultural aspects of health and nutrition among children, adolescents, and young adults. As a Fulbright Scholar in 1997, she examined the nutritional status of adolescent girls from the Segou Region in Mali, West Africa to explore factors impacting malnutrition in that region. Her current interests involve exploring the biocultural, geographic, and social determinants of obesity in transitional countries. Dr. Pawloski has most recently worked and conducted research in Thailand, Iraq, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Chile, and Paris, France.
  • Juan Lopez-Bautista received his Ph.D. in Plant Biology from Louisiana State University within the Division of Systematics, Ecology, and Evolution. Currently, he is a professor at The University of Alabama and Director of the Cuba Center. His principal research interests are in Phycology. Dr. Lopez’s research program is focused on the biodiversity, phylogenomics, molecular systematics, and evolution of algae. His current projects are on algal plastid genomes and two NSF-funded Tree of Life projects in Green and Red algae. Additional related projects are seaweed biodiversity in the Gulf of Mexico and the subaerial microchlorophytes from tropical rainforests.
  • Jonathan Benstead received his Ph.D. in Ecology from the University of Georgia. His laboratory’s research program at The University of Alabama focuses on interactions among three important drivers of ecosystem function and community structure: energy input, nutrient availability, and temperature. While the research leverages the unique characteristics of streams and their suitability for ecosystem-level research, he concentrates on broad questions that are also relevant to other ecosystem types. A major goal for the research program is to integrate the metabolic theory of ecology, with its emphasis on temperature and body size, with the explicit multiple-element approach to resource limitation that is central to ecological stoichiometry theory. Although guided by theory, their research has a strong empirical focus, spans scales from the individual to the ecosystem, and often exploits both natural landscape gradients and experimental manipulations at the ecosystem level.
  • Amber Buck received her Ph. D. from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign in English and Writing Studies. She is an Assistant Professor in the Department of English. Her research interests include digital literacies, multimodal composition, new media and identity, and social media. Her most recent book chapters include “Grad School 2.0: Performing Professionalism on Social Media.” Ed. Stephanie Vie & Douglas Walls. Social Writing/Social Media: Pedagogy, Presentation, and Publics. WAC Clearinghouse/Parlor Press, 2017. Amber is the Social Media and Visibility Editor for Computers and Composition Digital Press. You can also find her at
  • Jennifer Cox in an Associate Professor at The University of Alabama in Clinical Psychology. Her research explores factors that influence individual decision making within the context of the criminal justice system. She is interested in how individual differences, including personality traits and demographic factors, such as gender and sexual orientation, impact the legal decision maker’s judgments and ultimate decisions. In addition, she is exploring how evidence regarding psychological constructs (e.g., psychopathy) and psychological assessments are considered by these legal decision makers. Given the high stakes of many criminal cases, this research makes a substantial contribution to the understanding of the factors that contribute to legal outcomes. A more complete understanding of the elements that drive decision making within the courtroom may pave the way for addressing the differential treatment of defendants due to extra-legal considerations.
  • Sharony Green received her Ph.D. from the University of Illinois. She is an Associate Professor at The University of Alabama within the Department of History. Her research area focuses on gender, urban history, U.S. history, and transnationalism. Currently, she is working on exploring black-white intimacies in antebellum America and the race and space in Miami, Florida. Her most recent awards and honors include 2021 – Newberry Fellow, 2020 – PEN Jean Stein Grant for Literary Oral History for “Baa Haas” research, and 2016 Barbara “Penny” Kanner Prize, Western Association of Women Historians (WAWH) for Remember Me to Miss Louisa: Hidden Black-White Intimacies in Antebellum America (Northern Illinois University Press, 2015). Recent publications include “When I First Wore Fish Leather, Or Black Girl in Iceland,” Pan African Spaces: Essays on Black Transnationalism, Msia K. Clark, Phiwokuhle W. Mnyandu, and Loy Azalia, eds. (New York: Rowman & Littlefield, 2019) and “Tracing Black Racial and Spatial Politics in South Florida via Memory,” Journal of Urban History (First published date: January-30-2017 ): 1-21.
  • Vishal Gupta received his Ph.D. from the University of Missouri. He is now an Associate Professor in the Culverhouse College of Business at The University of Alabama within the Department of Management. His most recent publications include Gupta, V. K., Mortal, S. C., Turban, D. (2018). “Research: Activist Investors Are More Likely to Target Female CEOs”. Harvard Business Review Online and Gupta, V. K., Mortal, S. C., Xiaohu, G. (2018). “Is there a gender pay gap in CEO compensation?” Harvard law school blog on corporate governance and financial 3 regulation. (April 21, 2018). His recent research shows that firms with women as Chief Financial Officer are less likely to misreport key data in financial statements.
  • Evie Malaia is an Associate Professor within the Department of Communicative Disorders at The University of Alabama. She received her Ph.D. from Purdue University. Her research interests focus on neural modeling in Autism Spectrum Disorders from infancy to adulthood, neurodevelopmental disorders (ASD, ADHD, dyslexia, etc.), sign Language acquisition and  processing (American Sign Language, Austrian Sign Language, Croatian Sign Language), and signal processing in cognitive neuroscience (EEG, fMRI, fNIRS, motion capture). She’s received 1 million dollars in funding from the National Science Foundation for Neuroimaging to Advance Computer Vision, NLP, and AI. She had two publications in press Malaia, E.A., Wilbur, R.B. Syllable as a unit of information transfer in linguistic communication: The Entropy Syllable Parsing model. WIREs Cognitive Science. Impact Factor: 2.881, and Krebs, J., Malaia, E.A., Wilbur, R.B., Roehm, D. Interaction between topic marking and subject preference strategy in sign language processing. Language, Cognition, and Neuroscience. Impact Factor: 2.444.
  • Moises Molina is an active soloist and chamber musician. He has participated in the International Chamber Music Festival in Lima and Cusco Music Festival in Cusco, Perú. Dr. Molina was a guest artist/teacher at the Conservatorio Nacional de Música in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, the Tennessee Cello Workshop in Nashville, and the 2011 and 2017 Biennial Violoncello Festivals in Lima, Perú. He also gave a series of master classes at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Honduras. Currently, Dr. Molina is an Assistant Professor of Cello at The University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa. Molina has performed in the United States, Central and South America, and Europe. He has recorded for Centaur Records, Parma Records, Profil, and New World labels and has served on the faculty of the Schlern Music Festival in Italy (now Orfeo Music Festival) He was also a guest artist at the St. Augustine Music Festival in Florida for several seasons.
  • Sandra Mortal received her Ph.D. from University of Georgia in Finance. She is an Associate Professor in the Department of Finance in the Culverhouse College of Business at The University of Alabama. Mortal has received many honors and awards including the Blackmon-Moody outstanding professor award finalist – 2019 (University of Alabama), Summer research grant – 2014 (Fogelman College of Business and Economics), Summer research grant – 2013 (Fogelman College of Business and Economics) , and the George Johnson elite paper award – 2013 (twice for two different papers). She teaches financial management, investments, and research in finance for undergrad and grad students at UA. Her most recent publications include Gupta, V. K., Mortal, S. C., Turban, D. (2018). “Research: Activist Investors Are More Likely to Target Female CEOs”. Harvard Business Review Online and Gupta, V. K., Mortal, S. C., Xiaohu, G. (2018). “Is there a gender pay gap in CEO compensation?” Harvard law school blog on corporate governance and financial 3 regulation. (April 21, 2018). 
  • Ignacio Rodeño received his Ph.D. from the University of Deusto in Philosophy and Letters and Hispanic Literatures and Linguistics from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Dr. Rodeño’s research interests at The University of Alabama include US Latina / o, Caribbean, and Mexican literatures and cultures, Hispanic autobiography and narratives of the self, literary theory, and transatlantic studies. He teaches a range of classes from Hispanic Autobiography, Literary theory, Literature of insular Caribbean to Mexican literature of the XX and XXI centuries, and The Chicano Experience. His most recent publications include “To power from the resistance: The female subalterity in Balún Canán de Rosario Castellanos.” Cuadrivium 12 (2018): 88-97, and “The dreams of the guaracha.” On the back of a tiger: Homage to Luis Rafael Sánchez. Ed. William Mejías López. San Juan: Editorial of the University of Puerto Rico, 2015. 285-298.
  • Rachel Stephens received her Ph. D. from the University of Iowa in Art History. She is an Associate Professor of Art History, American Art and Architecture at The University of Alabama. Her research focuses on 19th-century American art and visual culture, Jacksonian-era portraiture and political prints, antebellum southern art, and race and representation. Her book, Selling Andrew Jackson: Ralph E. W. Earl and the Politics of Portraiture, published in June 2018 with the University of South Carolina Press, explores the critical role of Earl and his dozens of portraits of Jackson within the circle and career of Old Hickory. Her current book project investigates the implications of abolitionism and pro-slavery justification on antebellum visual culture. Dr. Stephens was a Tyson Fellow at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in the fall of 2018 and a fellow at Yale’s Gilder Lehrman Center in the spring of 2019. Stephens is an active member of SECAC, where she served as Editor-in-chief of Art Inquiries from 2014-2017.
  • Jacob Adams is a graduate of Oberlin Conservatory, Yale School of Music, and University of California – Santa Barbara. In addition to his performance degrees, Adams earned his M.A. in Musicology from the University of California – Santa Barbara. He is an Assistant Professor of Viola at The University of Alabama and a board member of the American Viola Society. Since making his solo debut with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra at age 17, he has performed throughout the United States and at major venues around the world, including all three stages at Carnegie Hall, Merkin Hall, the Hollywood Bowl, Boston’s Symphony Hall, Seattle’s Benaroya Hall, the Rudolfinium in Prague, and the El Escorial Palace in Spain. Adams has performed on the prized Amati instruments at the Smithsonian and appeared on stage with such diverse acts as the Kronos Quartet, Yo-Yo Ma, Suzanne Vega, Herbie Hancock, and Quincy Jones, among others.
  • Jeremy Crawford is an Assistant Professor of Tuba & Euphonium at The University of Alabama.  Additional teaching responsibilities include brass chamber music, brass methods, and directing the UA Tuba & Euphonium Ensemble.  At Alabama Dr. Crawford is a member of the Faculty Brass Quintet, which performs every year for students across the state of Alabama, and in the spring of 2012 toured Italy in a featured solo group with the UA Wind Ensemble.  In addition to teaching, Dr. Crawfird has performed in numerous ensembles throughout his career, including the Alabama Symphony Orchestra, the Tuscaloosa Symphony Orchestra, the Chicago Brass Band, Northwest Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Evanston Symphony Orchestra, Dubuque Brass Quintet, and the Southeast Tuba Euphonium Quartet.  Recent solo performances have included guest solos with the University of Alabama Trombone Choir, the UA Tuba & Euphonium Ensemble, and the UA Wind Ensemble.
  • Karl DeRouen received his Ph. D. from Texas A&M University. He is a Professor in the Department of Political Science at The University of Alabama. His research focuses mostly on International Relations. His selected publications include “Is U.S. Humanitarian Aid Based Primarily on Need or Self-Interest?” International Studies Quarterly, forthcoming (with Rob Kevlihan and Glen Biglaiser), Understanding Foreign Policy Decision Making. 2010. Cambridge University Press (with Alex Mintz; being translated into Arabic and Hebrew; Winner of Israeli Social Science Network Book of the Month, March 2010), and “What Makes a State Stable? Good Governance, Legitimacy and the Legal-rational State Matter Even More for Low income States.” Civil Wars, pgs. 499–520, 2012 (with Shaun Goldfinch).
  • Jenny Gregoire is an Assistant Professor of Violin and String Area Coordinator at The University of Alabama. She was admitted in the pre-college division of the Québec Music Conservatoire where she studied with Jean Angers and Liliane Garnier-Le Sage and earned both undergraduate and graduate degrees in violin performance, with a minor in chamber music. Upon leaving Québec, Ms. Grégoire attended Northwestern University, where she received a master’s degree in Violin Performance and Pedagogy with Dr. Myron Kartman. She was also a member of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago for two seasons and worked with conductors Cliff Colnot, Daniel Barenboim, Neeme Jarvi, Mstislav Rostropovich and Pierre Boulez, among others. Jenny Grégoire left Chicago to play one season with the New World Symphony, under the direction of Michael Tilson Thomas, in Miami, FL. Ms. Grégoire is currently concertmaster of the Mobile Symphony Orchestra, a position that she has held since 2001. She is extremely sought-after in the southeast, as she is also concertmaster of the Meridian, North Mississippi and Tuscaloosa Symphony Orchestras.
  • Charles Snead currently serves as the Director of the Music School and a professor of horn at The University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, where, along with administrative duties, he teaches applied horn and brass pedagogy. Skip has performed internationally as a soloist and chamber musician, with appearances in Egypt, Romania, the United Kingdom, and Cuba, in addition to various regional horn workshops and the International Horn Society Summer Symposium. He has been a featured artist with many ensembles, including the Alexandria Symphony in Alexandria, Egypt; the State Orchestra of Romania; the British Horn Society; the Monroe Symphony; the Macon Symphony; the Tuscaloosa Symphony; and the Shreveport Summer Music Festival Orchestras. He is internationally recognized as a teacher and clinician. He has given master classes throughout the United States and Europe and serves on the executive board of the International Horn Competition of America.
  • Silvia Suarez is a Doctor of Musical Arts Candidate at The University of Alabama. She is a member of the Huntsville Symphony, Mobile Symphony and Meridian Symphony, and is currently serving as concertmaster of the Starkville Symphony for the 2018-2019 season. She performs regularly with Chattanooga Symphony, Tuscaloosa Symphony, and North Mississippi Symphony. Prior to moving to Tuscaloosa, Silvia performed with The Civic Orchestra of Chicago and The New World Symphony. In past summers, she has participated in various music festivals such as The National Repertory Orchestra, Meadowmount School of Music, Bowdoin International Music Festival, and Atlantic Music Festival. Silvia won the Huxford Concerto Competition.
  • Jonathan Whitaker joined the faculty of The University of Alabama in the fall of 2009. At Alabama, Whitaker’s students have been tremendously successful in national and international solo competitions as well as being placed in some of the nation’s top summer music festivals. The University of Alabama Trombone Choir has given performances at the 2010 Eastern Trombone Workshop, the 2011 International Trombone Festival in Nashville, TN and the 2013 International Trombone Festival in Columbus, GA. Whitaker has also appeared twice as a performer and clinician at the Eastern Trombone Workshop and two International Trombone Festivals. Whitaker is in great demand as a guest artist and has appeared at some of the most prestigious music schools in the country including The Juilliard School, New England Conservatory, Yale University, Indiana University and many more.
  • Shannon Blanton specializes in the areas of international relations and foreign policy, with an emphasis on human rights, political violence, and international political economy. She is the inaugural dean of The University of Alabama at Birmingham Honors College, past vice provost for undergraduate programs, department chair and undergraduate coordinator. Dr. Blanton has taught courses on foreign policy, international relations, international conflict, and statistics. Dr. Blanton has published articles on the determinants of U.S. arms transfers, the impact of arms imports on human security in developing countries, human rights as a determinant of U.S. foreign aid, and the role of cognitive images in U.S. foreign policy decision-making. Investigating the significance of human rights concerns in global economic interactions, she has also examined the role that human rights concerns play in shaping foreign direct investment and trade in the global community. Her most recent research examines the impact of international financial institutions, financial crises, and globalization on labor rights and human trafficking in countries around the world.
  • Charles Amsler received his Ph. D. from the University of California at Santa Barbara in Biological Sciences. He is a Professor at The University of Alabama at Birmingham with a research and teaching interest in Marine Ecophysiology and Chemical Ecology. His postdoctoral work at the University of Illinois at Chicago took him into studies of how bacteria behaviorally respond to information about their chemical environments where he learned methods and perspectives that were very important in developing his subsequent UAB-based studies of marine chemical ecology and behavior. He has been an avid researcher in Antarctica with funding from The National Science Foundation. For their research efforts in Antarctica, he and his wife Maggy, were honored with an Island named Amsler Island, on the Palmer Archipelago.
  • Jim McClintock is The University of Alabama at Birmingham Polar and Marine Biology Endowed Professor. His research is at Palmer Station and through National Science Foundation-funded expedition that focuses on continuation studies of the team’s long-term research program on the chemical ecology of Antarctic marine algae and invertebrates.  At UAB he will continue to blog on his outreach efforts related to Antarctic climate change and other topics on his web site. McClintock’s work in Antarctica in previous years earned him a distinction that few living people in the world have: a spot-on coast of Antarctica named McClintock Point in his honor by the U.S. Board of Geographic Names.  McClintock Point is at the end of a three-mile stretch of land known as Explorers Cove, where he has conducted past research.  McClintock’s work has been featured in numerous articles in publications, including American Scientist, the Los Angeles Times, Smithsonian Magazine, Nature, and the Wall Street Journal.