Randy Pestana serves as a Assistant Director at FIU’s Gordon Institute, where he is tasked with coordinating the Academic-Defense partnership with U.S. Southern Command and supporting the execution of the institute's cybersecurity programs. Mr. Pestana specializes in International Relations with major focuses on U.S. Foreign Policy and Security Studies. The majority of his work has been linked to Governance and Security in Latin America and the Caribbean, with a particular focus on transnational organized crime, terrorism, rule of law, and gangs. Mr. Pestana has published on drug trafficking, organized crime, democratic institutions, and U.S. foreign policy, and has assisted in countless publications for both academic and defense purposes related to U.S. foreign policy and national security. Mr. Pestana has expansive presentation experience in both academic and defense settings including presentations for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Defense Intelligence Agency, and the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency and at major conferences throughout the country. He is also a frequent contributor to local media including WIOD, CBS4 Miami, and NPR. Mr. Pestana also serves as an Adjunct Professor for FIU’s Steven J. Green School of International and Public Affairs and FIU’s Honors College.
Prior to joining the Gordon Institute, Mr. Pestana served as a Policy Analyst at FIU’s Applied Research Center and as a Research Assistant for FIU’s Kimberly Green Latin American and Caribbean Center where he worked on projects for U.S. Department of Defense and U.S. Department of State. He served as both an intern and coordinator for U.S. Department of State’s Diplomacy Lab project where he focused on Prison Violence in Latin America and the Caribbean, and Judicial Reform in Latin America and the Caribbean. Prior to joining FIU, Mr. Pestana attended the Platoon Leader’s Course in Quantico, Virginia for the United States Marine Corps where he received a favorable evaluation and top five ranking by his peers as a Candidate Platoon Sgt., and served as a recruiting assistant for the USMC in Miami, Florida where he helped train recruits prior to their departure to basic training. Mr. Pestana holds a M.A. in Latin American and Caribbean Studies with a Graduate Certificate in National Security Studies from FIU. He is currently pursuing his Ph.D. in International Relations at FIU.