Award Ceremony 2019

Faculty Awards


Excellence in Teaching

Dr. Monique Ross

Monique had a fantastically successful year. Her Overall Assessment of Instructor rating was 4.84. Her overall contributions teaching our students in and outside the classroom have been superb this year.

Excellence in Teaching

Maria Cristina Charters

Cristy had a fantastically successful year.

This year Cristy taught 17 courses, all the while maintaining exceptional teaching ratings.

Excellence in Fundamental Research

Dr. Mark Finlayson

Mark had an extremely productive year, with several articles and proceedings published and in progress, plus 1 patent awarded and others submitted and in progress.
Mark has an ongoing NSF CAREER, PERFECTA award, an ONR Funded grant for $400K, and a UCLA funded grant for $230K.
Mark received an IBM Faculty Award, and Edison Fellow for Artificial Intelligence.

Excellence in Applied Research

Dr. Alex Afanasyev

This is Alex second year at SCIS with remarkable progress.
He has 10 articles published in IEEE, MILCOM, ACM, 1 Book in Progress, 7 presented papers/conferences, and 4 Reports.
Alex got Best Paper Award, 2018, IEEE HotICN 2018.
As PI, Alex has 4 grants ICN-WEN: 1 NSF funded for $95K, 2 Intel funded for $200K and one Named Data Networking funded by Ford Motor Co. for $ 100K.

Excellence in Service

Dr. Shu-Ching Chen

In his role as Associate Director, Dr. Chen has played a fundamental role, performing outstanding service for the School this year.
Dr. Chen is a member of the Faculty Senate, University Strategic Planning, CIS PhD Candidacy Examination, Differential Assignment Committee, and Grants/Center of Excellence.
He has many external services (General chair, Program Chair, Program Committee, Keynote, Invited talk, Editor in chief, among others).

Excellence in Mentorship

Dr. Raju Rangaswami

Raju has had a phenomenal year mentoring students at all levels.
He mentored 4 PhD Students, is the Primary Advisor in charge of directing all research activity for an undergraduate student, and is also a PhD committee member.

Student Awards


Overall Outstanding Graduate Student

Deya Banisakher

  • Deya Banisakher’s doctoral thesis has focused on using Natural Language Processing.
  • He has been a participant in FIU’s NSF CREST Center for Aquatic Chemistry and the Environment (CAChE).
    This work has resulted in two major conference publications and one journal article in preparation.
  • He has also developed new techniques for analyzing the document structure, which have been published in the LOUHI workshop, as well as been submitted as a patent application.
  • In the Summer of 2017 he completed an internship at Oak Ridge National Laboratory.
  • Deya is an FIU Dissertation Year Fellow for 2019.
  • He has also contributed his time generously to graduate student governance with the school.
  • Congratulations to Deya!

Best Graduate Student Research

Abdur R Bin Shahid

  • Mr. Abdur Rahman Bin Shahid is the School of Computing and Information Sciences recipient of the “Best Graduate Student Research Award” for the 2018-2019 Academic Year.
  • Abdur’s research into location privacy and permissioned lightweight blockchains led to publications in top-research conferences in IEEE and was the basis for several new proposals and grants for the Department of Defense.
  • Congratulations to Abdur!

Best Graduate Student Teaching

Daniel Ruiz-Perez


  • Daniel quickly stood up from the crowd, demonstrating a high ability to grasp new concepts quickly. His hard work granted him the top grade of the class.
  • Since then, he has been Teaching Assistant for Theory of Computation on several occasions.
  • He has always exceeded high expectations with his work ethic and attention to detail.
  • He has also always been willing to help students one-on-one and go the extra mile, which proves his high degree of motivation and discipline.
  • Congratulations to Daniel!

Best Graduate Student Service

Thejas Gubbi Sadashiva


  • Thejas was instrumental in coordinating and hosting groups of students for the six-week long Technology Without Borders Research Program hosted by Discovery Lab for the past two years.
  • In addition, he was the School of Computing and Information Sciences representative for a high-level delegation from the Indian Embassy and Consulate Office seeking information on collaborative programs between graduate and research programs at FIU and our partner universities throughout India.
  • Congratulations to Thejas!


Special Recognition Awards


OVERALL Outstanding Undergraduate Student

Carolina Uribe-Gosselin


  • Carolina is majoring in the Bachelor of Science in computer Science with a minor in Psychology.
  • She has a 3.62 GPA and has interned with Microsoft, Tesla, Lockheed Martin, Pearl Healthcare Technologies, and Launchcode.
  • She is Associate Director and Co-Founder of SparkDev which started with 40 members and now serves 180 FIU SCIS students.
  • She is a coordinator of the ShellHacks Workshop and has added undergraduate researcher to her resume working with LEARN-CS with Dr. Monique Ross.
  • She is a visionary and a leader and is worthy of our acknowledgement.

Best Undergraduate Student Teaching

Gabriella Drummond


  • Gabriella has risen from the tutor level to navigate between both, the ASI president and marketing director position during the summer of 2019.
  • Gabriella works tirelessly to lead the ASI team, sitting in technical interviews for new tutors and much more.
  • As a tutor, she is effective at teaching; her knowledge and competence had impacted many students in our school passing their courses.


Best Undergraduate Student Service #1

Alexis Gonzalez

  • Alexis is the lead STARS online tutor.
  • In addition to tutoring online for 20 hours per week, he also helps to coordinate reporting and other activities with the other 14 tutors. He assists each semester in training new tutors. He has been a STARS tutor for 3 semesters, and his course coverage list of 8 different tutoring chat groups (for a total of 13 courses) is very impressive.
  • He clearly understands and successfully applies sound pedagogical principles.
  • Alexis is always ready to step up when needed.
  • He is a highly valued STARS tutor!
  • Congratulations Alexis


Best Undergraduate Student Service #2

Astrid Rivera

  • In addition to performing her tutoring job at an exemplary level, Astrid demonstrates an extraordinary commitment to her ASI Team in her role as ASI President.
  • Even while she was interning at Microsoft, she was able to assist in managing the team during the summer term.
  • Astrid takes it upon herself to provide exceptional support and service to new tutors and tutees.
  • Beyond this and during her free time, she works as an instructor for the City of Miami Beach, teaching children in after school care, Logic/Math games.
  • She is actively involved with UPE, WiCS, and ACM activities.
  • Astrid is a wonderful ambassador for our school and university.
  • She exemplified the mission of the university and has positively impacted the people around her.
  • Congratulations to Astrid!



Staff Awards


Best Technical Staff

John Flynn

  • John Flynn is our Systems Network Administrator.
  • John always works diligently with our faculty, staff and students and always projects a positive attitude.
  • The School’s Technology team is greatly enhanced by his presence.
  • Please join me in celebrating John’s accomplishments.

Best Advising Staff

Federico Moscoso

  • In his role as an academic advisor, he consistently cares and helps students overcome obstacles and helps them find solutions. He follows-up and genuinely cares for their goals. Federico is always happy to help, whether it is weekdays or weekends. He represented CEC at the Freshman Convocation on Sunday, August 25th, 2019. As a two-time panther alumnus and an Engineer by training, he complimented the advising team diverse background in our advising CS/IT.

Best Administrative Staff

Olga Carbonell

For her continuous great contribution to the School and the College of Engineering, and for outstanding work under tight timelines and across competing, multiple daily number one priorities.

Distinguished Service Award

Ariana Taglioretti

Ariana’s work in coordinating the Director’s activities along with faculty, staff and student organization activities has been clearly phenomenal. More importantly, her dedication to the success of the School of Computing and Information Sciences has been laudatory.

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