Twenty-three students, which included College of Engineering and Computing (CEC) students, and one student club were recognized for stand-out leadership, service and scholarship at the 2023 Outstanding Student Life Awards.

The annual ceremony recognizes Panthers who excel academically and in the areas of distinguished service to others, citizenship, innovation, leadership, diversity advancement and promotion of the Panther spirit.

Fernando MelaraFernando Melara

Fernando Melara, a senior majoring in biomedical engineering and College of Engineering & Computing

The Larry W. Lunsford Leadership Award is given to a student who rises above any one category of leadership and has proven their dedication to improving the quality of life on campus and enhancing the quality of student life.

Fernando Melara, a senior majoring in biomedical engineering and College of Engineering & Computing senator for SGA, received the Larry W. Lunsford Leadership Award this year. In addition to mentoring young contestants on the academic Olympiad team of his home country, El Salvador, Melara serves as a learning assistant for multiple departments at FIU. In SGA, Melara champions initiatives that promote success for fellow international students. Melara’s research has also received national attention at undergraduate research conferences, earning him the opportunity to present his work to the National Institutes of Health; and he is part of a team of students who developed a new surgical stapler, for which a patent is pending.

“I’m very grateful for this nomination. This award represents the amount of impact that I have had the possibility to engage in during my time here at FIU,” Melara said in a video testimony.

The following CEC students were also selected as recipients from a pool of more than 250 nominations and 46 finalists:

  • Outstanding Service Award
    Nicole Cruz, computer science
  • Outstanding Innovation Award
    Nicholas Gonzalez MS ’22, computer science
  • Outstanding Scholar Award – Undergraduate
    Ana Claus, mechanical engineering
    Matty Sey, mechanical engineering
  • Outstanding Scholar Award – Graduate
    Adnan Maruf, computer science doctoral student
    Seyed Saman Khedmatgozar Dolati MS ’21, civil engineering doctoral student
  • Special Recognition – Student Government Association
    President Cristopher Lugo ’22, computer science

Read more at FIU News.