Three FIU engineering graduate students are recipients of the prestigious National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships (NSFGRF), a distinction shared by numerous Nobel Prize winners, government and public policy leaders, and private industry trailblazers, and awarded from a pool of 12,000 applicants.

The benefits for the five-year fellowships include a three-year annual stipend of $34,000 to the student along with a $12,000 cost of education allowance for tuition and fees (paid to the institution), as well as access to opportunities for professional development available to NSF-supported graduate students.

The three recipients who will continue their studies at FIU are:

Sheila Alemany Blanco HeadshotSheila Alemany Blanco, who is pursuing her Ph.D. with Dr. Niki Pissinou at FIU, has researched the intersection between cybersecurity and artificial intelligence, also known as adversarial machine learning. She has four years of experience applying novel data science and machine learning techniques primarily in the fields of cybersecurity and mobile wireless sensor networks.


Headshot of Jasmin BattenJasmine Batten is a computer science Ph. D. student and computer science education graduate research assistant in the Knight Foundation School of Computing and Information Sciences (SCIS) at FIU. She works in the LEARN-CS (Listening and Engaging with Alternative Research Narratives in Computer Science) lab under Dr. Monique Ross. Her research interests are improving women’s retention and persistence in computer science by exploring the differences in epistemological identities that exist between computing faculty and minoritized female computing students. “I am passionate about improving diversity and equity in computer science by conducting research that promotes inclusive learning environments,” Batten said. “My goal is to complete my Ph.D. and become a computer science professor to continue serving the computer science education community through mentorship, research and teaching.”

Headshot of Josue Rodriguez NievesJosue Rodriguez-Nieves is in his second year of a Ph.D. program in Electrical and Computer Engineering at FIU. His research interest is signal and image processing with neuroscience applications, under the guidance of Dr. Mercedes Cabrerizo and Dr. Malek Adjouadi in the Center for Advanced Technology and Education (CATE Center). “I always wanted to achieve significant accomplishments with my academic studies,” Rodriguez-Nieves said. “I am honored and excited to receive the NSF GRFP to support my Ph.D. research and happy to celebrate that my dreams are becoming a reality one step at a time.”

Headshot of Aliyah ShellAn Honorable Mention was awarded to Aliyah Shell, a Ph.D. student, working under Dr. Ranu Jung at FIU. Her research interests include neuroplasticity, congenital limb reduction, and non-invasive stimulation. While receiving an Honorable Mention does not award her the financial benefits of a Fellowship, Shell is considered a meritorious applicant with a significant national academic achievement and is given access to cyberinfrastructure resources through the XSEDE (The Extreme Science and Engineering Discovery Environment).

According to the National Science Foundation, the GFRP is the oldest graduate fellowship of its kind, with a long history of selecting recipients who achieve high levels of success in their future academic and professional careers. The reputation of the GRFP follows recipients and often helps them become life-long leaders that contribute significantly to both scientific innovation and teaching.