Award Ceremony 2018

Faculty Awards


Excellence in Teaching

Mark Finlayson

Mark had a fantastically successful year. His Overall Assessment of Instructor rating was 4.91, one of the highest ever rating in the School.

His overall contributions teaching our students in and outside the classroom have been superb this year.

Excellence in Fundamental Research

Jason Liu

Jason’s research focuses on modeling and simulation, parallel discrete-event simulation, performance modeling and simulation of computer systems and computer networks. This year, his fundamental research in these fields has been absolutely top notch.

He acquired a new DHS grant as PI for $1.2 M, and directs six ongoing NSF grants and one ongoing DoD grant.

Excellence in Applied Research

Bogdan Carbunar

For his extremely productive year publishing novel results in the application of distributed systems to fraud and abuse detection in online systems, mobile authentication, and cryptocurrencies; publications; advising; and ongoing grants (2 FC2 and 5 NSF)

Excellence in Service

Peter Clarke

Peter Clarke performed outstanding service for the School this year.

On 2018 Dr. Clarke was awarded many service awards including (1) FIU Outstanding Student Service Award for his contributions to UPE, (2) South Florida’s Top Black Educator Award, (3) Outstanding National Chapter Award for UPE, and finally, (4) the University’s Advising and Mentorship award

Excellence in Mentorship

Naphtali Rishe

Naphtali has had a phenomenal year mentoring students at all levels and visiting faculty. He is mentoring several visiting faculty, post doctoral candidates, but his most prominent and successful mentorship this year was at the Masters and undergraduate levels. His twin GRA’s, Shonda and Shalisha Witherspoon, were on internship at the IBM Watson Research Center in the summer of 2017, and as a team, won the IBM’s BlueHack hackathon for Internet of Things TJBot Challenge.

Student Awards


Overall Outstanding Graduate Student

Qing Wang

  • Qing entered the doctoral program in Fall 2014. Her research focuses on developing intelligent data-driven techniques for interactive recommender systems and automatic service management.
  • Qing’s research work has been published in top journals and conferences such as IEEE TKDE, KAIS, ACM SIGKDD, ACM CIKM, SDM, and IEEE Big Data.
  • She received the Best Student Paper Award from IEEE SCC 2017.
  • She was also awarded the FIU Dissertation Year Fellowship in Fall 2018.
  • In summer 2016, 2017 and 2018, she had three great internships at IBM Thomas J. Watson Research Center as a research intern to solve the real problems in the products.
  • She is going to be an IBM Postdoctoral Researcher to continue her research work after graduation.

Best Graduate Student Research

Haiman Tian

  • Haiman is currently working as a research assistant in the DMIS Lab under the supervision of Dr. Shu-Ching Chen.
  • Haiman’s research work has been published in top journals and conferences such as ACM Computing Surveys, IEEE, World Wide Web, WISE, IEEE IRI, IEEE MIPR, IEEE BigMM, IEEE ICSC, etc. .
  • She is the architect and leading developer of several research projects including Visual Analytics for Command, Control, and Interoperability Environment (VACCINE) and (a web-based disaster response tracker that is used by Miami-Dade County Emergency Operation Center (EOC) during 2017 hurricane season – Mathew & Irma.
  • She has received the FIU GPSC Student Travel Award in 2016 and 2018.


Special Recognition Awards


Student Appreciation Certificates


Shanna Sit

  • Shanna is on the executive board of UPE, and is in charge of the curriculum used for our coding club outreach to the elementary schoolsnear FIU.
  • Shanna also has given countless hours in helping organize ShellHacks, and most recently CodeFest. She happily takes on any tasks needed to get the job done, all the while with a big smile on her face and much enthusiasm.
  • For all the selfless hours that Shanna gives of her time to help others.


Christopher Rodriguez

  • Christopher is a junior in our BS in Computer Science program, was previously the Vice President of Upsilon Pi Epsilon (UPE), and recently elected President of UPE.
  • He has coordinated the ShellHacks hackathon at FIU for the past 2 years and it has been a tremendous success in both years! In 2017 ShellHacks raised more than $38,000 in donations from industry with over 400 students, and in 2018 nearly $100,000 with over 700 students from the US and various countries across the world!
  • Christopher won one of the national UPE Academic Achievement Awards (Students from schools such as University of Michigan–Dearborn, Illinois Institute of Technology and Johns Hopkins won similar awards.)


Jake Lopez

  • Jake served as a tutor and President of the Academic Success Initiative (ASI) of the advising center. He has been applying his knowledge of Computer Science while working with ASI.
  • He spearheaded the development of a web-based solution that helped make ASI daily operations faster and more effective; this software continues to help students and tutors schedule tutoring sessions online. Moreover, during two semesters he has been working as a volunteer to improve, and train others ASI members to maintain the ASI portal after he graduates this semester.

Staff Awards


Best Technical Staff

Catherine Hernandez

  • For her outstanding job working on the MERIT lab .
  • Selected and Coordinated all furniture and lab equipment purchases for the lab renovations on the second floor.
  • Ensured student access as well as Distinguished Lecture series presentation space
  • Assisted with ShellHacks
  • And a host of other activities she does behind the scenes

Best Advising Staff

Jeanely Guzman

  • In her role as an academic advisor, she consistently cares and helps her students overcome obstacles and helps them find solutions. She follows-up with her students and genuinely cares for their goals as well as their holistic well-being.
  • On the other hand, her role as a program coordinator for the Flit-Path scholarship program has helped the program grow and has promoted students to engage through a cooperative and productive environment.
  • Overall, Jeanely has engaged in a variety of activities that do not primarily and/or pertain solely to her primary role as an academic advisor with ease which are indispensable to student development.

Best Administrative Staff

Donaley Dorsett

For her continuous great contribution to school, and outstanding work under tight timelines and across competing, multiple daily number one priorities.

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