Guiding Greatness

September 16, 2021

By Robert Stephens

At Rollins, our professors are equal parts knowledgeable and fascinating, providing
personalized attention to students in and outside the classroom while becoming mentors, research partners, and lifelong guides.

Our expert professors are a lot of things. They’re distinguished researchers and esteemed scholars. They’re sci-fi superfans, Broadway composers, and medieval masters. They also consistently earn Rollins top billing from U.S. News & World Report for our exceptional commitment to teaching undergraduates. But students are more likely to call them “mentors” and “collaborators” because of their uncommon knacks for bringing subjects to life, connecting learning to the real world, and inspiring them to chart their own changemaking course to a meaningful life and productive career.

Through our small, discussion-based classes, one-on-one advising sessions, and impromptu conversations on everything from Fortnite’s latest marketing campaign to the ethics of self-driving cars, our inventive faculty and industrious students give new meaning to the words “engaged learning.”

Ellane ParkEllane Park
Photo by Scott Cook.

Pulling the futuristic world closer to home

The mind of chemistry professor Ellane Park is full of wonder. For example: Could science fiction ever be real science? So she challenges her students to explore the possibilities of nanoparticles and wearable technology, discovering firsthand that what is unrealistic today could make the world better tomorrow.

Introducing an all-star lineup

Sometimes a surprise guest will appear in music professor Jamey Ray’s class. He does, after all, boast an impressive roster of connections, having worked with talent from London to Broadway. His students produce, write, compose, and become versatile enough to make music a career. He knows because he’s done it all.

Josephine Balzac-ArroyoJosephine Balzac-Arroyo
Photo by Scott Cook.

Experiencing good business and dirty jeans

Josephine Balzac-Arroyo is known to dig in the dirt with her social entrepreneurship students. She partners with organizations like Fleet Farming, which converts neighborhood lawns into organic micro-farms, to show her students that what’s good for the community is good for business. They come away with the know-how to find unconventional solutions to complex issues.

Transforming the influenced into influencers

With a PhD from the University of Cambridge, business professor Raghabendra KC could be consulting on marketing campaigns for Fortune 500 companies. Instead, he scrolls Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube to shape up-to-the-minute lessons on the motives behind the messages we consume daily. His goal? Prepare each student to be more discerning and more socially conscious.

Brendaliz Santiago-NarvaezBrendaliz Santiago-Narvaez
Photo by Scott Cook.

Taking biology outside the books

On the first day of class, biology professor Brendaliz Santiago-Narvaez shows each student how the field of biology applies to their major (business, psychology, any major). She then uses daily news stories to show how it applies to everything that’s happening in the world. Biology becomes a study of living organisms and of life itself.

Rachel SimmonsRachel Simmons
Photo by Scott Cook.

Changing lives through art

If studio art professor Rachel Simmons’ classroom is a little messy, that’s perfect. It’s supposed to be a busy art studio. Amid the vintage letterpresses and crafty displays is the centerpiece: an oval table. Here, Simmons inspires personal relationships and creativity to flourish beyond the art-laden walls.

Chris FuseChris Fuse
Photo by Scott Cook.

Making physics seriously fun

First-year students often associate the word “physics” with “complicated.” Students in physics professor Chris Fuse’s classes say physics concepts are awesome. Fuse uses the same learning catalysts that sparked his own interest in science: action movies and TV shows. From there, students are awed to see physics at work everywhere they go.

Dan ChongDan Chong
Photo by Scott Cook.

Opening eyes to how to create real change

Political science professor Dan Chong walks in shadows you cannot fathom, unless you’re a student in his Politics of Global Poverty course, for instance, or on a field study with him in Tanzania. He’s worked in refugee camps, medical clinics, landfills, wherever there’s need. His lessons are more of a walk than a talk because he considers the entire world a classroom.

Meaningful Mentorship

Lucas Hernandez ’13Lucas Hernandez ’13
Lucas Hernandez ’13, director of corporate partnerships, Microsoft Philanthropies.Photo by Scott Cook.
Lauren Neldner ’20, PhD Candidate in Geoscience, University of California RiversideLauren Neldner ’20, PhD Candidate in Geoscience, University of California Riverside
Lauren Neldner ’20, PhD Candidate in Geoscience, University of California Riverside.Photo by Scott Cook.
Kate Knight ’19, recipient of the 2021 USAID Donald M. Payne International Development Graduate FellowshipKate Knight ’19, recipient of the 2021 USAID Donald M. Payne International Development Graduate Fellowship
Kate Knight ’19, recipient of the 2021 USAID Donald M. Payne International Development Graduate Fellowship.Photo by Scott Cook.
A collection of faculty mentors in everything from physics and political science to art and social entrepreneurship..

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