Meet The Team

    Abbie Bernet

    Tell us a little bit about yourself:
    Raised on the East Coast, I found my home in Miami in 2019 and have since fallen in love with the many cultures, beautiful nature and warm winters. I earned my Bachelor’s degree in International Studies from the University of North Florida and my Master’s in Global Politics from Malmö University.

    What do you enjoy most about your role at FIU?
    One reason I love working in International Admissions is because I was an exchange and international student in Spain, Germany, South Korea and Sweden. I love seeing students realize their dream of studying abroad! Now as an evaluator, I work with transcripts from nearly every country which keeps me learning about international education every single day.

    What do you enjoy doing when you’re not working?
    When I’m not working you can find me riding my bike, watering my plants, taking care of my cats, and planning my next international adventure.

    Delver Retana

    Tell us a little bit about yourself.
    I am a USMC veteran, and an FIU alumni. I have earned a Bachelor of Arts in English and Information Technology. I am currently in graduate school, working towards my Master of Science in Higher Education Admin.

    What do you enjoy most about your role at FIU?
    I enjoy working with multiple departments across the school, and assisting them in order to have our international students show up to FIU and achieve their academic goals. It also helps to come to a beautiful campus when reporting for work!

    What do you enjoy doing when you’re not working?
    I enjoy watching anime, reading fantasy/sci-fi books,  listening to music, playing dungeons & dragons.

    Eduardo Nunez

    Tell us a little bit about yourself:
    Que Tal! My name is Eduardo, but I also go by Lalo. Originally from Guadalajara, Mexico, I studied at the University of Guadalajara from where I got my B.B.A. I joined the FIU family a year ago as an International Evaluator. Before moving to Florida, I used to work and study at the University of New Mexico (UNM), where I graduated with an MPA. I am currently finishing my doctoral program in Educational Leadership also from UNM. I consider myself the type of person that can backpack Europe and attend a black-tie event.

    What do you enjoy doing when you’re not working?
    I am an adventurer outdoor enthusiast that loves city life as well. I enjoy going on long hikes or just hanging around by the beach while enjoying a good time with friends. Spending time with my family is also important to me. Unfortunately, since they all live in Mexico, I am not able to do that very often. Oh! Eating tacos with my favorite Mexican beverage is my preferred thing to do!

    What would you do if you won the lottery tomorrow?
    If I win the lottery tomorrow, it is game over! Paying debts, buying a house with a pool, and having 5 golden retrievers, is the dream. But honestly, I would also like to give some study abroad scholarships to low-income students in Mexico. For me, studying abroad was not an option until later in life, so I would like to share a bit of that life-changing experience with others.

    Lynette Luis

    Tell us a little bit about yourself:
    Hello everyone, my name is Lynette Luis! Originally from Cuba, I graduated with my Bachelor’s Degree in Architecture from Havana University. My husband, two kids, and I went over to live in Chile and, seven years later, we travelled to the United States.  I joined the FIU staff almost 10 years ago as Program Assistant and clerical on UGS. I have been in Office of International Admissions for the past 4 years. I have passion for good design and decoration, I love creating things and doing arts and crafts. I am result-oriented in my daily work, finding what we need to do to accomplish it and constantly checking in with the goal to determine how close or far away we are from it. I have a steady source of motivation that drives me to do my best. A successful work day for me is when all tasks can be accomplished and you can solve various problems.

    Favorite travel spot/where would you like to visit?
    My favorite place I’ve traveled would have to be Chile because the landscape varieties and the sceneries breath taking. There is so much culture and tradition that is intertwined in every aspect of daily Chilean life that can be felt at the core of their being.

    What do you enjoy most about your role at FIU?
    My job offers a wide variety of opportunities. This brings varied work and challenging projects. The most rewarding aspect of my job is developing my skills and helping to foster the growth of my team

    Xavier Remigio

    Tell us a little bit about yourself:
    I work in the international admissions office as an Enrollment Officer, primarily helping the staff in the FIU Global First Year program with H.S credential evaluating, immigration advisement and document processing. I’m also responsible for ensuring that the students who complete the pathway program have met the necessary requirements to advance to degree-seeking program in order to then process their registration.

    What do you enjoy doing when you’re not working?
    Off work, I’m passionate about tennis and love to play every chance I get. Biking is another treat. Love to watch HGTV and try the do-it-yourself tips, which do not always come out right. The gardening tips have worked—mostly!

    What do you enjoy most about your job?
    Working with people from other cultures has been one of the most rewarding experiences in the work I do. Over the years I have made long-lasting friendships with students and co-workers alike. I’ve grown a lot through these relationships. Priceless!

    Michaela Smolka

    Tell us a little about yourself:
    Hi Everyone! My name is Michaela Smolka. I was born and raised in Boca Raton, Florida. I graduated with my Bachelors from Florida Atlantic University and am currently in my Masters program here at Florida International University. I have been in the Office of International Admissions for the past two years and have loved every second of it.  I have a connection with international students being my father was born in Vienna, Austria and then attended grade school in the United Kingdom. He was later an F-1 student in the U.S. My father going through the international student process has made my love and passion for international students and the process infinite.

    What do you enjoy most about your role at FIU?
    I like being a recruiter because it connects me with people all around the world. While being a recruiter you learn many things that you never thought you may ever come across in life! Being a recruiter has truly has given me experience and knowledge that I never would have known about before being a recruiter. Having “connections” and relationships with not only other recruiters, but students, means a lot to me and my life goals.

    What do you enjoy doing when you’re not working?
    While not working, I enjoy hanging out with my friends and family. I truly enjoy being outside in the fresh air and or at the beach, here in sunny South Florida.

    Sarah Noppen

    Tell us a little bit about yourself:
    Like many in Miami, I am a transplant and have grown to really love both the city and FIU! I am originally from Columbus, Ohio but have also lived in New York City and Columbia, South Carolina. I went to Ohio University for my undergraduate degrees in Business Economics and German and have an MBA with an international business concentration from the University of South Carolina. I am most excited about completing my PhD in Public Affairs from our very own Florida International University hopefully by Spring 2022. I most enjoy traveling to meet prospective students from around the world and learning about new cultures, cuisines, and sneaking in the opportunity to find salsa or tango clubs while abroad.

    What do you enjoy doing when you’re not working?
    In my free time I love taking my three dogs on long walks and exploring new areas of South Florida with them. Being outdoors, whether on walks, tending my vegetable garden and plants, going on long bike rides or relaxing poolside are some of my favorite activities and ways to relax.  I also greatly enjoy dancing and am an avid salsa, bachata and tango dancer.

    Favorite travel spot/where would you like to visit?
    I am always looking forward to the next opportunity to travel, whether in the U.S. or internationally. I have a long list of places I want to visit, those at the top are Antarctica, Macchu Picchu (Peru), Iceland, New Zealand and Cambodia. My two favorite places to return to are New York City and Mumbai, since both have amazing shopping, restaurants, and nightlife, and are home to many of my sweetest friends.

    Sofia Sanchez

    Tell us a little about yourself:
    Sunrises, great films, plant-based meals, animals and adventures are just a few of my favorite things! As an only child of Cuban-Venezuelan and German-Venezuelan parents, I grew to be incredibly interested in meeting new people and learning about their cultures and experiences. This inspired me to earn my Master’s degree in International Business and assist students from around the world.

    What does a successful workday look like?
    A successful workday is any time I show an applicant FIU’s awesome majors, scholarships and opportunities, and as a result, they feel relieved and excited about their admission process. What I most enjoy about my role is when a student tells me how thrilled and grateful they are to become a FIU Panther. Any part I can contribute to their success is incredibly rewarding for me.

    What would you do if you won the lottery tomorrow?
    Once I share the winnings with my family, I would plan a vacation to visit my favorite cities, donate to important causes and open an adoption shelter for handicapped animals. I rescued my own ‘tri-paw’d’ dog, Simba, and hope all animals can find a home, too.

    Laura Pacchioni

    Tell us a little about yourself:
    I’m originally from Miami, but my parents moved here after immigrating from Italy. I love being outdoors, and one of my personal goals is to visit every major National Park in the U.S. If we’re being honest…I’m also guilty of spending too much time indoors watching twitch streams- it’s called balance. As for education, I received both my undergrad and graduate degrees from FIU.

    Describe a successful work day?
    When traveling I consider it a success if I don’t lose my passport (which has happened in Denmark, India, Singapore, and Korea).  If I’m in the office, a successful day includes working with our evaluation team to admit future FIU students- it’s cool to help students achieve their goals. We also have a great space in the newest building on campus so it’s nice to just hang out and get things done as a team.

    What do you like to do when you’re not working?
    Head to the beach! Florida is the Sunshine State which means I can count on great weather. I’ve recently picked up running and biking so I spend a lot of time outdoors finding new paths and trails with my dog. Even if you’re not keen on an active lifestyle, there are still plenty of things to do in Miami. We have Miami Music Week for those interested in EDM (deep house/minimal are my favorites), Art Basel, the SOBE Wine and Food Festival, and so many other great events in the city year-round.