Daniela Radu of FIU NASA awards FIU $3M for space tech research; ADT partners with LyftDaniela Radu, associate professor in the Department of Mechanical and Materials Engineering and a Diversity Mentor Professor, is an FIU Top Scholar for the 2019-2020 academic year.

Each year, select individuals are recognized with an award for significant achievements in their scholarly pursuits during the Faculty Convocation and Awards Ceremony, FIU’s annual celebration of the collective accomplishments of the faculty. Radu was recognized for her research and creative activities in the category of Established Faculty with Significant Grants (Sciences).

Radu is leading the Center for Research and Education in 2D Optoelectronics (CRE2DO), created at FIU through a $3 million award from the NASA Minority University Research and Education Project (MUREP) Institutional Research Opportunity (MIRO) program.

CRE2DO is leading innovative education and research in support of NASA’s efforts to develop revolutionary technologies that promote the advancement of space exploration. CRE2DO researchers explore novel two-dimensional (2D) functional materials, which are sheets made of a single or few layers of atoms. These nanomaterials are extremely strong, have high flexibility and conductivity, and due to their lightweight, are ideal for applications in space. Six FIU students have been participating in virtual internship experiences over the summer at various NASA centers, such as the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the Space Kennedy Center.

Radu is also the leader of the department’s diversity and inclusion committee, mentors both undergraduate and graduate students, and has participated as a guest STEM panelist at various “Society of Women in Engineering” events at FIU and the University of Miami.

Radu, who joined FIU in 2018, was thrilled when she received the unexpected news. “This type of recognition, especially as I haven’t been at FIU that long, is very special and reassuring,” she says. “It’s a great feeling of appreciation and of belonging.”