Skip to Main Content


The FIU Center for Women’s and Gender Studies Board of Advisors continued to increase its support of the program during its fifth year. Together, these distinguished women contributed greatly to the success and growth of Women’s and Gender Studies. The Board was established in Fall 2003. The term of membership is two years and the members of the Women’s Studies Board of Advisors assume the following responsibilities:

  • Provide advice to the Center for Women’s and Gender Studies, makes linkages to individuals and business contacts in the region, nationally, and internationally, helps develop strategic and long range planning, provides community perspectives and perceptions.
  • Actively seek funding for Women’s and Gender Studies by participating in solicitation, donor prospecting, generating and facilitating contacts, attending ongoing development activities and events, and cultivating others.
  • Provide financial support through donations and helps obtain donations. Members of the Founding Board will make an initial annual donation of $1,000 annually (i.e., to give or get donations).
  • Take time to become informed about the Center for Women’s and Gender Studies, and promotes the center through daily contact. May assist with public sector lobbying. Helps project the Center programs regionally and nationally.
  • Attend board meetings; is available for consultation by appointment, by phone, or email on a pre-notified basis.
  • Cultivate and recommend qualified people who have the potential to be future members of the Board.
  • Previous Board Members

    Ellen Cohn is an Associate Professor in the Department of Criminal Justice and an affiliated faculty member in the Center for Women’s and Gender Studies. Dr. Cohn graduated magna cum laude from the University of Maryland, College Park in 1984, earning BA degrees in both psychology and law enforcement, and earned her MA degree in criminal justice from the same university in 1986. She earned both an MPhil (1988) and a PhD (1992) in criminology from the University of Cambridge.

    Kaleba Ngoie-Kasongo a social-entrepreneur is the founder of Hear Congo, a grassroots volunteer based organization with a mission to harness the hope and positive actions of caring individuals to help rebuild the shattered lives of vulnerable women and children in the Democratic Republic of Congo including war survivors. She organizes informational and fundraising events to raise awareness in the community about the violent crimes the women and children of Congo endure daily. She quickly realized that she needed to reach a global audience and align herself with like-minded organizations worldwide in order to have a more powerful and unified voice to fight violence against women and children. As a result she founded “ Proudly UNITE to End Violence Project”, a collaboration of organizations working together within the framework of United Nations Secretary General’s UNiTE Campaign to End Violence Against Women and Girls worldwide.

    Lorna Owens is a former midwife, registered nurse, attorney, legal commentator and now author who travels the world teaching the art and science of success to women's groups and organizations. At any given time you can find Owens volunteering at local community events in Coconut Grove. She also hosts a local television talk show called "And the Women Gather" on Teleamerica Channel 88, as well as a radio on Blogtalk radio by the same name. She is the author of Daily Sustenance and Everyday Grace Everyday Miracle living the life you were born to live.

    Joyce Peterson is an Associate Professor in History Department and an affiliated faculty member in the Center for Women's and Gender Studies. She earned her Ph.D. in History at University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1976. Her teaching fields are History of U.S. Women, U.S. Cultural History, U.S. Social History, U.S. Labor History.

    Mary Lou Pfeiffer served on the Advisory Board in the College of Arts and Sciences at FIU and the Board for the FIU Center for Spirituality as well as the Women’s and Gender Studies Board of Advisors. She was the contributor of the Helen J. Dunnick Endowment to teach American Indian Studies at FIU. She received a LL.M. in Intercultural Human Rights from St. Thomas University School of Law and a Master’s Degree in Religious Studies from FIU. She is the owner and operator of Pfeiffer Originals art glass studio, President and partner in Caressa-me, an aromatherapy company, and a recipient of the FIU Alumni Torch Award.

    Bettina Rodriguez Aguilera is a well-known public servant, community activist, entrepreneur and innovator, who was elected to the Council on November 6th, 2012. She was the first Economic Developer for the City of Doral and served until July 24th 2012 where she stepped down to run for City Council. Currently Bettina owns her private business, Bettinara Enterprises in the City of Doral providing public, speaking, training and consulting. She has over 25 years of professional experience in business and community involvement, leadership building and entrepreneurial skills. She is a longtime community activist working on important local matters such as business development, emergency preparedness, women’s issues and human rights as well as international issues. Bettina is focused on advancing the economic transformation of the City Of Doral. She is committed to the continued balanced development of Doral, creating jobs and cementing the city’s reputation as the epicenter of international trade and commerce, and a top destination for travel and tourism. Bettina believes in interactive government and the empowerment of its citizens.

    Suzanna M. Rose is the Senior Associate Dean for the Sciences and Professor of Psychology & Women's Studies in the College of Arts & Sciences at FIU. She previously served as Chair of Psychology and as Director of Women's and Gender Studies at FIU. Prior to coming to FIU, she was Professor of Psychology and Director of Women's Studies at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. Dr. Rose has published extensively on issues related to women and gender, including professional networks, career development, leadership, and personal relationships. Dr. Rose has been a member of eight editorial boards for journals in psychology and women's studies and also served on APA grant panels. More than thirty universities nationally and internationally have consulted with her concerning strategies for recruiting and retaining women faculty in science and engineering.

    Mine Üçer is a philanthropist with a special interest in projects targeting the education of girls and young women. After completing an Economics degree at Gazi University in Ankara, she worked at the British Embassy as a Commercial Officer. Mine and her husband are passionate about expanding the international reach of education. They support valuable projects aimed at bright high school and university students from disadvantaged backgrounds. Mine is the sponsor of the Mine Üçer Women in Science Lecture Series.