Award Ceremony 2017

Faculty Awards


Excellence in Teaching

Trevor Cickovski

For his creative application of active learning in the classroom and engagement with Nvidia’s GPU Educators Program, all the while maintaining exceptional teaching ratings.

Excellence in Fundamental Research

Shu-Ching Chen

For his broad, interdisciplinary research-engaging with many groups inside and outside of FIU, including IHRC, InWE, SERC, CASE, CARTA, and SBEI–including the Storm Surge Simulator which was accessed over 25,000 times during Hurricane Irma.

Excellence in Applied Research

Debra Davis

For her ongoing research in Computer Science education, above and beyond what is expected of an instructor, including four ongoing grants, four grants submitted and pending, and four published papers in the past year alone.

Excellence in Service

Jai Navlakha

For his direction of the School’s successful ABET re-accreditation, the final report for which was selected for display at the 2017 National ABET Symposium as a model document.

Excellence in Service

Kip Irvine

For his mentoring and training of high-school and middle-school teachers as part of the Ultimate Software Academy, mentoring of ACM programming competition students, teachers, and coaches, and mentoring and training of participants in FIU’s new partnership with

Student Awards


Overall Outstanding Graduate Student

Samira Poyanfar

  • Samira Pouyanfar is a Ph.D. candidate. She has 8+ years of research and development experiences in computer science. Her research interests include data science, multimedia big data mining, machine learning, image, audio, and video processing, and information retrieval.
  • She has published over 15 research papers in international journals and conference proceedings.
  • She is currently working as a research assistant in the Distributed Multimedia Information Systems (DMIS) lab at FIU under the supervision of Prof. Shu-Ching Chen, who will be the EIC of IEEE Multimedia Magazine starting in 2018.
  • Samira is also very active in SCIS student organizations and has a good service record.

Best Graduate Student Research

Mozhgan Azimpourkivi

  • Mozhgan Azimpourkivi, under the direction of Dr.Carbunar, has done an excellent  Cybersecurity related research work that has received worldwide media coverage due to outstanding research result that has real-world impact and visibility.
  • Along with a research team, they have created a custom two-factor authentication (2FA) system that relies on users taking a photo of a personal object. The act of taking the photo comes to replace the cumbersome process of using crypto-based hardware security keys or entering verification codes received via SMS or voice call.
  • She has published one book chapter, 3 Journal papers, and 5 conference papers.

Outstanding Undergraduate Student Research

Wendy Aleman Martinez

  • Wendy is one of the brightest students in our undergraduate program. She has the mathematical maturity, programming skills and the tenacity to work through theoretical and practical problems in Computer Science.
  • Along with her teammates, she has made FIU/SCIS proud at the ACM regional championships where we regularly compete with some of the best teams in the nation. Based on her outstanding performance with the programming she was selected to get special training at the ACM-ICPC Training Bootcamp with special coaching from the best coaches in the world.
  • Last year she started doing research on online algorithms and proved several theoretically demanding results about the worst-case performance of cache replacement algorithms like Adaptive Replacement Cache and Clock with Adaptive Replacement.

Outstanding Undergraduate Student Research

Sheila Alemany

  • Sheila began working with our research team in 2016 and has demonstrated herself to be a dedicated, talented, and creative researcher.
  • She attended the NSF Research Experience for Undergraduates and was also selected as undergraduate research apprentice by the DoD in the US Army program, where she conducted research in wireless sensor networks.
  • Although she has only been in research for 14 months, she has co-authored 3 research papers, and her team’s most recent paper was selected for publication and presentation at the 2018 International Conference on Computing, Networking, and Communications. She has also presented at several conferences and symposiums

Outstanding Undergraduate Student Research

Atalie Garcia

  • Atalie has been working as an undergraduate researcher since Summer of 2017 supporting both the Verizon Innovation in Learning grant as well as the FLITPatch Scholars program.
  • Atalie has a background in both English and computer science and has jumped in with incredible enthusiasm exploring both qualitative and quantitative educational research methods. She has submitted three abstracts to conferences with her work in computer science identity development and the implications of mentoring on identity development of both engineering and computer science undergraduate students.
  • She is not only intelligent but fearless, hardworking, and enthusiastic about FIU, the school of computing and information sciences, and computer science education research.

Special Recognition Awards


Student Appreciation Certificates

Cesar Villa-Garcia

Cesar oversaw event sponsorship which included over a dozen different companies, many have recruited students as a result of the event.

Angelo Saraceno

Angelo oversaw event sponsorship and engaged companies like JP Morgan Chase and State Farm. We would like to acknowledge ACM members for their volunteer service for the event.

Christopher Rodriguez

Christopher was the lead organizer for Shell Hacks, our second Major League Hacking event, with the help of many students in UPE. The event attracted over 250 students and had close to 40 projects demonstrated.

Juan Alvarado

Juan founded the Mango Hacks, first Major League Hacking event, which was attended by over 300 students this year, including many students from other Florida Universities.

Staff Awards


Best Technical Staff

Sydney Sheran

Sydney has successfully developed and implemented our new Microsoft Windows 10 OS image which is being used in labs and offices.

Best Advising Staff

Ruth Suarez

Ruth Suarez has been with the school for over three years and is one of the most dedicated advisors at FIU.  

She has been taking critical projects outside her caseloads of over 400 advisees.  She was a key person for the advising part of the SCIS accreditation ensuring and reviewing our formal documents.  Amongst her projects are being in charge of our major maps, the school pamphlets, and transient protocols, which are tedious tasks and require concentration and deep knowledge.

Staff Award for Excellence

Ariana Taglioretti

For outstanding behind the scenes work under tight timelines and across competing, multiple daily number one priorities. She keeps the ship sailing smoothly under all conditions!

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