November/December 2016

Spotlight — Degiuli, Johnston, Miksza, Mondal


Francesca Degiuli

Francesca Degiuli
Assistant Professor of Sociology
Florham Campus

How long have you been at FDU?
Since August 2013.

If you could meet anyone in the world, whom would you pick? Why?
At the moment I would say [Nobel Peace Prize winner] Malala Yousafzai. I am really impressed by her courage and her dedication to improving girls’ lives.

What book or film did you recently enjoy? Why would you recommend it?
I just saw an incredibly funny Belgian comedy titled “The Brand New Testament.” It was funny, dark, intelligent, satirical … everything you can ask for in a movie.

Something I’ve always wanted to learn is …
… surfing. I lived for 10 years in California and never got around to doing it. It looks like a LOT of fun.

My first job was …
… in a shoe store in Italy. Not a particularly good job and certainly not one to make a good story but one that gave me access to one of my obsessions: shoes, shoes I say.

One of the things I have in my refrigerator all the time is …
… tomatoes. I also love all kinds of lettuce: arugula, endive, romaine, radicchio … I can go on forever.

Complete the phrase: People would be surprised to know that I …
… am actually a Tyrannosaurus Rex. Have you ever seen me angry?

My biggest challenge is …
… to be organized. I leave stuff everywhere, and I lose my keys at least three times a day.

What profession other than your own would you most like to attempt, and what profession would you want nothing to do with?
I would like to be a historical documentary filmmaker like Ken Burns. I would not want to be a politician.


Cory Johnston

Cory Johnston
Writing and Learning Strategies Specialist, Freshman Intensive Studies Program, and Books Editor, The Literary Review
Florham Campus

How long have you been at FDU?
This is my first year serving in the FIS Program. I started in January 2016.

If you could meet anyone in the world, whom would you pick? Why?
Albert Einstein. He had an idea that emerged from a simple thought experiment (What would happen if I was chasing after a beam of light and actually caught up with it?) then pursued it relentlessly and thoughtfully. In the end, that idea became a theory that changed the most fundamental way we perceive reality and upended centuries of scientific consensus. Through it all, he remained humble, quirky and kind. I’d like to thank him for that.

What book or film did you recently enjoy? Why would you recommend it?
After James by Michael Helm. It’s a novel told in three parts, each of which features a different protagonist, different setting and different plot. But rather than just being a collection of novellas, it actually functions as a single novel, with mysterious and challenging connections uniting the three parts and three people. Unraveling the mystery was one of the most satisfying reading experiences I’ve had in years. It’s about as ambitious a book as you’ll find.

Something I’ve always wanted to learn is …
to play the drums. I’m always tapping and hitting and clicking things (steering wheel, top of my desk, my teeth). It would be nice to learn some actual techniques and styles.

My first job was …
… delivering flowers. I still miss the van.

One of the things I have in my refrigerator all the time is …
… sandwich fixin’s. Turkey, lettuce, onion and some kind of mustard.

Complete the phrase: People would be surprised to know that I …
… am a die-hard, totally obsessed Phish fan.

My biggest challenge is …
… contributing to social conversations in a meaningful way. I’m pretty quiet and reserved by nature, and keeping up the energy needed to be social doesn’t come naturally to me.

What profession other than your own would you most like to attempt, and what profession would you want nothing to do with?
Like any sane and reasonable person, I’d like to be an astronaut. But since it’s too late for me to pursue that, I’d love to own a restaurant, preferably a deli or luncheonette. Otherwise, I’d love to work in the video-game industry. There are a lot of fascinating things going on there, most of which are outside the gaze of the mainstream media. It’s sort of a new frontier in storytelling, with the unique nature of interactivity allowing for things that can’t be accomplished in any other medium. I would never be able to work in finance. Not because it’s not a fine profession, but because I just can’t do the number crunching. Words and sentences make sense to me in a way that numbers never have.


Anne Miksza

Anne Miksza
Assistant Director of Study Abroad
Metropolitan Campus and Florham Campus

How long have you been at FDU?
I have been working here full-time for about 5.5 years.

What book or film did you recently enjoy? Why would you recommend it?
I recently completed Stephen King’s 11/22/63. Normally I’m not one to hunt down King’s novels but I COULD NOT put this one down. It’s the perfect mix of character development and storytelling that just pulls you in. You almost immediately become engrossed in the story to the point that it’s hard to believe you aren’t in fact living in 1958.

Something I’ve always wanted to learn is …
I’d like to be more useful with my hands. I’d love to learn some carpentry skills and know how to build something.

My first job was…
… Organizing ribbons and balloons in my mother’s flower shop. I’m pretty sure I made about $1 per row and spent it all immediately on candy at the shop next door.

One of the things I have in my refrigerator all the time is …
… olives! Simply because they’re delicious.

Complete the phrase: People would be surprised to know that I …
… spend a lot of my time running or looking for community volunteer activities. I ran my third marathon this fall and hope to help encourage others to do the same.

My biggest challenge is …
… procrastination!

What profession other than your own would you most like to attempt, and what profession would you want nothing to do with?
I would love to be a nurse. I’ve had the opportunity to work in the health care field in other capacities before and have always enjoyed it. I would never want to be a prison guard!


Kalyan Mondal

Kalyan Mondal
Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering, Coordinator of the Information Technology Program and Director of the Center for Cybersecurity and Information Assurance
Metropolitan Campus

How long have you been at FDU?
Ten years.

If you could meet anyone in the world, whom would you pick? Why?
The Dalai Lama. He is the spiritual leader who can explain the purpose of our life and how to achieve that amongst all the negatives of this world.

What book or film did you recently enjoy? Why would you recommend it?
My daughter recently recommended reading HBD’s 10 Must Reads On Managing Yourself [published by Harvard Business Review and which includes a bonus article on “How Will You Measure Your Life?”]. This book includes 11 articles on this important aspect of everyone’s life, and I recommend it for a critical look in the mirror of oneself.

Something I’ve always wanted to learn is …
… a language like Spanish or Chinese.

My first job was …
… a lecturer at the University of California, Santa Barbara, teaching undergraduate courses on active and passive filters and circuit theory.

One of the things I have in my refrigerator all the time is …
… a carton of milk.

Complete the phrase: People would be surprised to know that I …
… make mistakes, miss opportunities to apologize for some of them and fix only a few of them.

My biggest challenge is …
… devoting an adequate amount of time to balancing my family life with my professional life.

What profession other than your own would you most like to attempt, and what profession would you want nothing to do with?
I would like to try finance and accounting and not become a politician.