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Dr. Ronald A. Milon

Dr. Ronald A. Milon, Chief Diversity Officer, Office of the President, Co-Chair of the Diversity Council

Dr. Milon provides leadership and vision for diversity and inclusion initiatives, ensuring their alignment with the principles and goals of the college’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Strategic Plan. Milon has long been active in diversity activities. At the New School, Dr. Milon master's thesis focused on human rights and the application of such rights to non-Western cultures. He has attended diversity conferences and LGBT training sessions. At Bergen Community College, he managed a federal and Kessler MOSAIC grant designed to place people with disabilities in jobs.

For seven years prior to his arrival at FIT, he conducted diversity workshops for students---and retreats for students and staff---at Bergen Community College and at DeVry University. In 2014, he ran a diversity workshop for staff in the division of Enrollment Management and Student Success entitled, "Training across cultures."

"Diversity should encourage positive dialog which leads to an understanding of differences and appreciation of such differences in our everyday lives."

 Joe Plutz

Joseph Plutz, Director, Office of Disability Services, FIT-ABLE, Co-Chair of the Diversity Council

Joseph Plutz has been working in the FIT-ABLE Office since March 2007. He completed his Master's Degree in Disability Studies at the CUNY School of Professional Studies (SPS) in December 2013 and currently teaches an online Masters course there in Disability Studies.  He works closely with students, faculty, and staff to promote disability awareness on the FIT campus to foster dialog and understanding of disability as a category of diversity and identity.

"I feel that it is important that we all understand that people experience diversity differently.  Diversity is such a wide ranging topic in which people fall into multiple areas.  Increased knowledge of diversity enhances what each of us does and represents inclusion, mutual respect, civility, collaboration and innovation across the campus."

 Patrick Boylan

Patrick Boylan, Adjunct Professor, Fashion Design

A proud alumnus of FIT, Patrick Boylan has been an Adjunct Professor in the apparel area of the Fashion Design department since 2010. He was also a faculty member at Parsons for a period of several years. Beyond the academic studios of FIT, Patrick balances a ‘diverse’ design career. He is currently a design development and production consultant for small start-up brands. His work in this arena led him to pen, Making It – A Guide to Producing a Fashion Collection soon to be published by Thames & Hudson. Patrick is also the owner and designer of Grace Liturgical Vestments, an internationally recognized ecclesiastical design business that he founded in 2000. He is an out and proud family man sharing life’s adventures with his husband and their son and daughter.

“For diversity to become the standard, recognition, intention, and implementation are the required actions…let’s get to work!”

 Jennifer Brady

Jennifer Brady, Library Associate, Office of Library Directors

Jennifer has been a part of the FIT Office of Library Directors since 2014. She provides marketing communications and event publicity; content production and management for publications; social media workflow evaluation, coordination and strategy; and website CMS support for various units of the Library. Jennifer serves on the Love Your Library Events Committee, the Web Management Team and is Chair of the Social Media Team. She holds a dual BA from the University of West Florida, an MFA from The New School and a certificate in French from NYU. She is currently pursuing specializations in Social Media Strategy and Content Strategy and Management from Northwestern University. Previous to her position at FIT, Jennifer was the Graduate Student Affairs Coordinator for the Institute of French Studies at NYU.

Outside of her work, Jennifer is a founding member of the Vanguard Advisory Council for The Global Fund For Women. She serves on the Marketing Committee for UN Women, Metro NY and is a digital ambassador for the Hetrick Martin Institute.

 Angela Brown

Angela Brown is a Residential Counselor in the Residential Life Department at FIT. Angela has a B.A. in Fashion and Textile Technology and M.A. in Student Personnel Administration. Angela enjoys working with residential students and ensuring they live in a diverse and inclusive environment they can call “home”.

Before coming to FIT, Angela had the opportunity to work with the Summer Bridge Program at the University of California, Berkeley and the Educational Opportunity Program at the State University of New York, College at Buffalo. Both of these programs were dedicated to providing equal educational opportunities to underrepresented and under-prepared college students. Angela’s dedication and commitment to diversity in her graduate studies lead to her receiving the Hurculine Guthrie Contribution to Diversity Award from the Student Personnel Administration Department. 


Robert Brown

Robert Brown, Human Resource Generalist, Human Resources

Robert Brown is an HR generalist with FIT Human Resources Management & Labor Relations. He is a strong proponent of diversity and has led different initiatives in his career to celebrate diversity and multiculturalism. Before coming to FIT he worked at NJ Transit as manager of Employee Relations for more than 20 years and led diversity events. His career began in finance. His work in human relations enables him to provide education on the value that diversity brings to an organization. He believes that every organization benefits from learning about diversity and embracing it as part of its culture. At FIT, he is interested in being involved in the planning of campus initiatives. He envisions organizing a Martin Luther King Day of Service, in which FIT students and staff participate in activities to improve their community.

"I believe diversity is important because it enriches the educational experience by learning from those whose experience, beliefs, and experiences are different from our own. Diversity challenges stereotypical preconceptions; it encourages critical thinking; and it helps students, faculty and staff learn to communicate effectively with people of varied backgrounds."

 Estefania Garcia

Estefania Garcia-Correa, Alumna, FMM ITM

Estefania is in charge of business development in Latin America, the Caribbean and Hawaii for the French luxury swim brand Vilebrequin. She holds an A.A. in Fashion Merchandising Management and a B.S. in International Trade and Marketing for the Fashion Industries. She is a recipient of the State Universities New York Chancellor's Award for Student Excellence and a finalist in The Business of Fashion Future Voices 2016 competition. During her time at FIT she was the President of the Latin American Student Organization and the recipient of the ITM PVH-Tommy Hilfiger Scholarship, ITM Ralph Lauren Scholarship and ITM Gemini Shippers Association Scholarship.

“Diversity is the key to reach our maximum potential as a person, as a company and most importantly as a global community such as FIT. With the input of insightful people from all corners of the world, our creativity and knowledge can only become greater.”

 Lucia DeRespinis

Lucia DeRespinis, Executive Director, Office of Grants & Sponsored Programs 

Lucia joined FIT in 2016 with 25 years of senior management experience at leading nonprofit cultural and educational institutions. For most of that time, she supervised Advancement offices, raising support from foundations, government, corporations, individuals, and special events. This included 10 years as head of fundraising, communications and visitor services at the Smithsonian Institution National Museum of the American Indian in New York, and serving as Senior Vice President and Chief Development Officer at China Institute. Lucia received her BA in Art History from Sarah Lawrence College and her MS in Non-profit Management from The New School's Milano School of International Affairs, Management & Urban Policy. She is a graduate of the Smithsonian's Leadership & Development Program.

Eleanor DiPalma

Dr. Eleanor DiPalma, Adjunct Associate Professor, Film, Media, and Performing Arts 

Eleanor DiPalma owes her personal and professional growth as well as the success of her teaching career at FIT to one of her core values and that is, a deep respect for diversity. She is an adjunct associate professor in the Department of Health, Physical Education and Dance at FIT. Her Ph.D. is in dance/movement analysis and psychotherapy from New York University. Dr. DiPalma has a training background in cross-cultural dances and has researched intercultural communications for her work as a dance movement psychotherapist, educator and training consultant.

Her lifelong passion for dance and movement has led her afar off to Alaska, China, West Africa, and Finland for study and teachings. She continues to fully support the value of diversity in the design and delivery of course curricula as well as in her FIT communications and events planning.

"I am honored to serve on the Diversity Council to further the mission of FIT as it reinforces and promotes differences and inclusion, the core values that guide everything we do!" 

 Greg Fittinghoff

Greg L. Fittinghoff, Jr., Acting Vice President for Information Technology and Chief Information Officer

 In his current role Fittinghoff creates and implements IT strategy, and leads planning, policy development, operational design, emerging technology, and the daily operations of the college’s Information Technology Division.

Prior to joining FIT, Fittinghoff served in several roles at HBO first as Vice President, IT corporate systems, in 2006, promoted in 2008 to Senior Vice President, enterprise applications, and in 2010, he was named Senior Vice President, corporate systems and infrastructure. In May of 2014, Fittinghoff was promoters to Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer.

Prior to HBO, Fittinghoff worked at Time Warner and Time, Inc., where he served as vice president, business systems development, from 2004 to 2006, and as director, technology services, responsible for a wide range of functions including strategic business/technology planning.

He spent two years at Becton Dickinson and Company as director of enterprise information systems and of corporate information systems. He also held technology support positions at PepsiCo, Inc. and NYNEX Mobile Communication.

Fittinghoff received a 2010 CIO Ones to Watch Award, given to rising stars in IT for their leadership, innovation, and value to their organization. He holds an MS in telecommunications and a BS in information technology from Iona College.

Georgia Kalivas

Georgia Kalivas, Adjunct Associate Professor, Textile Development and Marketing

Ms. Kalivas earned her master’s degree in adult education. She received a Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Adjunct Teaching for the 2014-15 academic year, and has taught Afghan women in a joint effort between FIT and Business for Peace, a nongovernmental organization.

“Diversity is important at FIT because without a celebration of what makes us different it would be like a world without color and only shades of gray.”

Eli Kince

Elvin Elias Lee Kince, Associate Professor, Communication Design Foundation

Eli Kince is the curriculum chairperson for Graphic Design, and he has been developing the Graphic Design program for nearly 28 years. He earned his master's degree from Yale University. He is the author of the books, Visual Puns in Design and I Remember Daddy: A True Fiction, and many articles. His consultation projects include the corporate image for Chase Manhattan Bank. He believes in mentoring young designers as they start their careers. His proudest project is Newwork Magazine, an award-winning publication started in 2007 by students from Graphic Design. Professor Kince has exhibited his artwork around the world for four decades. In 1995 he completed a one-man exhibition in Moscow. In 2006 he participated in the New York Historical Society's Legacies: Contemporary Artist Reflect on Slavery exhibition. In 1987 he established an art gallery in Harlem.

"Diversity is understanding that the human experience has a lot in common, in spite of our perceived differences, and as we increase our exposure to each other we also expand our knowledge about ourselves."

Cody Kirkpatrick

Cody Kirkpatrick, Housing Operations Associate

Cody has held various positions within FIT's Residential Life department since 2008, serves as the campus Safe Zone trainer and is the advisor to LGBTQ Students United club. In 2011, Cody was awarded the President's Diversity Grant to bring the Safe Zone program to FIT, which has since become institutionalized and resulted in over 400 faculty, staff, and student leaders receiving the training. As a member of the Council's strategic planning subcommittee, Cody helped develop FIT's Diversity Strategic Plan. He also serves as a member of Residential Life's Diversity & Inclusion committee, where he has led numerous diversity and leadership training sessions for Resident Assistants, Orientation Leaders, and Leadership Ambassadors. Prior to coming to FIT, Cody worked as an R.A. throughout undergrad, was Vice-President of his college class, and worked as a psycho-social educator for socioeconomically disadvantaged kids/teens with mental illness. He holds a BFA degree from Emerson College and a Masters in Clinical Psychology: Psychology in Education from Columbia University.

"As a state college located in one of the most diverse cities in the world and preparing its students to work in global industries, FIT is in a fortunate position to embody what diversity and inclusion looks like on a college campus", Cody says. "The Diversity Council, for me, is about listening to all the voices present on our campus, particularly the ones that may not get heard as often, and figuring out a way to elevate those voices".

 Su Ku

Su Ku, Adjunct Professor, Fashion Design

Su Ku is an adjunct instructor in the Fashion Design Department and teaches fashion design illustration techniques, creative design methods and fashion history. Su serves on the Faculty Senate's Assessment Committee and is a member of the Fashion Design Department's Curriculum Committee.

Su worked as design director for major apparel brands, managing diverse design teams and working with European and Asian manufacturers. Su graduated from Yale University and earned master’s degrees in regional studies from Harvard University and art history from Columbia University. Su received a 1991 Mellon Fellowship in the Humanities.

“I believe that diversity is a fuel for creativity at FIT. It ignites the imagination to visualize different points of view and energizes the fusion of ideas forming new designs.”


Tanya Melendez-Escalante, Senior Curator of Education and Public Programs, The Museum at FIT

Tanya Melendez-Escalante is Senior Curator of Education and Public Programs at The Museum at FIT. At MFIT, she has organized over 90 public programs, including the Fashion Culture series and International Fashion Symposia. Prior positions include Arts Manager at the British Council Mexico, Development Coordinator at Design University CENTRO, and Professor at Universidad Latinoamericana, all in Mexico City. She has written about Fashion in Mexican Audiovisual Culture, and Fashion and Art in The Museum Context. Tanya Melendez-Escalante was a Fulbright Scholar in 2002-2004 and holds an MA in Fashion and Textiles: History, Theory, and Museum Practices from the Fashion Institute of Technology.

"I think that spending time people from different backgrounds and cultures, who see the world from a different perspective, makes life much more enjoyable and rich."

 Kyunghee Pyun

Kyunghee Pyun, Assistant Professor, History of Art

Kyunghee Pyun is an Assistant Professor of History of Art and a Co-Advisor of Asian Student Network. Professor Pyun received her B.A. in Art History and Archaeology from Seoul National University in South Korea and completed her M.A. and Ph.D. from the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University. As a David E. Finley fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts (CASVA) in the National Gallery of Arts, she lived in France from 2001 to 2003. As an advocate of diversity and inclusion, she developed a new course in Asian American Art and Design. She is also promoting works and rights of Asian American artists in New York in curatorial activities. As a member of the FIT Diversity Council she participates in its Academic Subcommittee and organizes a talk series Cross Cultural Encounters in Art and Design in conjunction with the Hispanic Heritage Month, the Black History Month, Women’s History Month, and Asian/Pacific Islander Month. As a recipient of the SUNY Innovative Instructional Technology Grant (IITG) in 2016-2017, she has developed an interactive website (Bamboo Canvas) for students to learn diverse techniques of Asian art and design by video documentaries.

“I am privileged to be part of a diverse community like FIT. I enjoy listening to and learning from my students who came from so many different places, geographically and metaphorically. I firmly believe that diversity should be emphatically promoted and embraced in an academic environment. Once students are educated and nurtured in this optimal setting, they would seek for the same level of excellence and inclusion in workplace, family, and society in general. My role as an educator is to teach them how to make a voice for themselves and for their community."

 Melanie Reim

Melanie Reim is an award-winning illustrator with a sketchbook never far from her side.  

Since earning her MFA in Illustration from Syracuse University, she has enjoyed a rich life as a visual storyteller and reportage artist in her native New York City and around the globe.

Professor Reim has been at FIT for over twenty years and is one of the two original co-chairs of the Diversity Council. She is the founder and former chair of the MA and MFA in Illustration programs in the School of Graduate Studies, was the former Acting Assistant Dean for the School of Art and Design, and has sat on the President’s Planning Council, the Brand Consortium and the CARE Team. She is presently the Acting Associate Dean of the School of Art and Design. Professor Reim holds a SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Faculty Service and the President’s Award for Student Centeredness and is a Fulbright Scholar

Her works have published in numerous books and exhibited globally and is part of the US Air Force Art Collection at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC.

Professor Reim is deeply committed not only to the ongoing conversation of diversity on campus, but also to the power of visual storytelling to foster how we see and celebrate ourselves at FIT and beyond.

Dan Shefelman 

Dan Shefelman is a visual storyteller and educator with extensive experience as a cartoonist and filmmaker.

Currently, Shefelman is developing a picture book. His new blog An Artist in My Residence, features animated gifs, cartoons and commentary on politics and culture.

Shefelman’s editorial cartoons have been published in periodicals including the New York Times, Village Voice and Newsweek. His comic strip, Funny Money, was distributed King Features Syndicate. During the 2008 US Presidential Campaign, Shefelman’s web cartoon "Red and Blue" appeared weekly on CNNPolitics.com

Shefelman has worked on animated movies and TV series including Ice Age, Robots, Beavis and Butt-Head, Celebrity Deathmatch and Doug. He has served as Story Artist and Art Director leading teams of artists in developing characters, story and visual structure for several other projects currently in development.

At FIT, Shefelman coordinates the Visual Storytelling program in the Illustration BFA Department. His leadership in implementation of FIT’s Strategic Plan has resulted in initiatives including a new Illustration Department curriculum and creative technology studios, planning a new FIT Makers’ Space, founding Academic Open Mic and founding ChalkFIT.

Shefelman’s work is published in books including Drawing Ideas: A Hand-Drawn Approach for Better Design, The Animation Book & several editions of Best Editorial Cartoons of the Year. Awards include Emmy and Oscar Nominations, ASIFA-East Award of Excellence in Humor, Annie Award nomination in Storyboarding and One-Show Interactive Bronze Award.

 Marjorie Silverman

Marjorie Silverman, Chair and Associate Professor for the Internship Studies department.

Silverman holds an MA in Organizational Psychology from Columbia University and sits on the Statewide SUNY Applied Learning Experts Group and the FIT Applied Learning Group. Silverman focuses on career development within an experiential education setting. Areas of concentration include expanding opportunities and commitments for non-traditional age (NTA) students. She is a recipient of a 2017 Diversity Council event grant for an upcoming career panel event featuring NTA FIT alumni.

An enthusiastic and extensive traveler, she also embraces “everything New York” and supports Open House New York (OHNY). OHNY is a non-profit organization that promotes a greater appreciation of the City’s built environment (architecture, engineering and design) by awareness and opening doors to diverse audiences.

Silverman upholds the message that "we have more in common with each other than we may think" as depicted in the recent Denmark TV1 video: All That We Share.


Christina Solomon

Christina Solomon, Administrative Coordinator, Office of Academic Affairs

Ms. Solomon has served as the administrative coordinator to FIT’s associate vice president for Academic Affairs for five years. She came to FIT after working in a variety of administrative roles at investment banks in New York City. She is a graduate of the School of Communication and Theater at Temple University. She is an avid knitter who mixes her love of the craft of knitting with technology to inspire others to be more creative.

“Diversity should inform the work we do as staff and faculty. Recognizing and acknowledging differences leads to a more productive and creative environment, and ensures that no matter who you are, individuality does matter, and at FIT, there is a seat at the table and a place for one's voice to be heard.” 

Associate Professor Amy Werbel

Amy Werbel, Associate Professor, History of Art Department

Professor Werbel is the author of numerous works on American visual culture, including Thomas Eakins: Art, Medicine, and Sexuality in Nineteenth-Century Philadelphia. She received fellowships and scholarships from the National Endowment  for the Humanities, Smithsonian American Art Museum and others. She served as a Fulbright Scholar for 2011-12 at Guangdong University of Foreign Studies in Guangzhou, China. Her most recent book is Lessons from China: America in the Hearts and Minds of the World’s Most Important Rising Generation. Before coming to FIT, she taught at St. Michael’s College in Vermont. She received degrees from Harvard and Radcliffe Colleges and Yale University.

“The problems we face in the 21st century will require all of us to figure out, working together. Our conversations are smarter and more productive when people with different perspectives and life experiences are at the table, and in the classroom.”