More than 5,900 FIU students will celebrate their graduation this fall in five ceremonies Dec. 11 – 12, 2021 at FIU Stadium on the university’s main campus.
Some of the graduates will be recognized as Real Triumphs Graduates for their stellar academic achievements and work on finding solutions to real-world problems.
“It’s an honor to celebrate these fall graduates who exemplify the best of our university,” said FIU President Mark B. Rosenberg. “I am inspired by our Real Triumphs Graduates’ focus on solving real-world problems through groundbreaking research.”
From smart grid optimization to improving health and education equity for vulnerable families, Real Triumphs Graduates have invested their time and poured their passion into finding solutions that can make our world better. Real Triumph Graduates include:
- An Honors College student, Andrea Ramirez, 22, received the 2021 Dean’s Research Award for the Advanced Research and Creativity in Honors program. Her research indicated that many victims of sexual assault are not willing to undergo the invasive practices of retrieving DNA samples. A staunch advocate for the prevention of sexual violence, Ramirez is developing a less-invasive technology to detect bacteria that transfers from the suspect to the victim. On Saturday, Dec. 11 at 3 p.m., Ramirez graduates with a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry and natural and applied sciences from the College of Arts, Sciences & Education.
- Nicole Hatton, 32, graduates with a bachelor’s degree in international relations and political science from the Steven J. Green School of International & Public Affairs after taking a 10-year hiatus from her studies. Hatton entered the Honors College in Fall 2020 and conducted research on narcotics trafficking as a Diplomacy Lab fellow. By the time she graduates on Saturday, Dec. 11 at 3 p.m., she will have completed an internship with the U.S. Department of Commerce in the Office of the Secretary. Hatton plans to pursue a career as a foreign service officer.
- Francisco Peña Guerra, 32, is the first student to take part in an innovative dual-degree program with the University of Florence in Italy. On Sunday, Dec. 12 at 6:30 p.m., Peña will be awarded a Ph.D. in earth science systems from the College of Arts, Sciences & Education. He is also earning a D. in civil engineering from the University of Florence. At FIU he created an innovative flood model focusing on different flood hazards to understand how various flood drivers interact. His research can be used in urban planning and by insurance companies to improve flood risk assessment accuracy. Peña dreams of using science to help countries that desperately need it. He plans to rejoin the United Nations — where he worked in 2015 — to advocate for flood risk prevention, mitigation and adaptations throughout Latin America.
- Temitayo Olowu, 38, has been working on research in the areas of voltage control and optimization in smart grids as well as renewable energy systems. Olowu has authored or co-authored 44 technical papers and has led several FIU projects with FPL, finding solutions that more effectively integrate renewable energy into the grid. He also holds a patent for a controller that allows for the intelligent grid-interconnection of different energy resources and has several more patents pending. After graduation, he is joining a U.S. federal research lab. On Sunday, Dec. 12 at 6:30 p.m. he graduates with a Ph.D. in electrical and computer engineering from the College of Engineering and Computing.
- After conversations with caregivers reminded her of growing up as a second-generation American from a Nigerian family, Jacqueline Moses, 30, dedicated herself to reduce barriers to care and improve health and education equity for vulnerable families. After receiving a McKnight Fellowship, she began studying risk and resilience pathways to adolescent school engagement and collaborated with E-SToPP (Eradicating the School-To-Prison Pipeline), providing restorative justice groups for teens in juvenile detention. Moses graduates on Sunday, Dec. 12 at 6:30 p.m. with a Ph.D. in psychology from the College of Arts, Sciences & Education. She is currently completing a postdoctoral fellowship in the Institute for Juvenile Research and the Center for Clinical and Translational Science at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
- Growing up in Iran, Saman Farhangdoust, 32, recognized that using cutting-edge technologies to build smart and resilient infrastructures was key to improving quality of life and safety. At FIU he has worked across disciplines, to contribute to his field as the national level with guidelines for the inspection of Accelerated Bridge Construction. He has collaborated with the Florida Department of Transportation on infrastructure resilience and worked on advanced energy harvesting and structural health monitoring concepts in a mentoring program through Boeing Research and Technology, resulting in several U.S. patent applications. His numerous honors include the U.S. Department of Transportation Outstanding Student of the Year Award. After graduation, he hopes to take an international leadership position as a faculty member or a senior scientist in a governmental role to develop innovative solutions for smart and resilient infrastructure. On Sunday, Dec. 12 at 6:30 p.m., Farhangdoust graduates with a Ph.D. in structural engineering from the College of Engineering and Computing.
Three commencement ceremonies will take place on Saturday, Dec. 11 at 10 a.m., 3 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. On Sunday, Dec. 12, the remaining ceremonies will take place at 2 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.
Travis Cloyd, CEO of WorldwideXR, an entertainment technology and digital agency, will be honored with a Medallion for University Service during the 7:30 p.m. ceremony on Saturday.