The Excellence in Teaching for Tenured Faculty
Dr. Hadi Amini
This year Dr. Amini taught two courses; COT 3100 Discrete Structures (a computer science required course) and COT 5993 with an overall Instructional Average of 4.80.
He strives to make the learning of the content much easier and exciting.
The Excellence in Teaching for Non-Tenured Faculty
Dr. Richard Whittaker
This past year, Prof. Whittaker taught over 1,000 students in a total of 11 courses, including CAP 4506, CAP 5507, COT 3100, COP 3337, COP 3530, and COP 2210. He has received very good evaluations from his students and the administration.
Excellence in Fundamental Research
Dr. Liting Hu
Since 2019 she has maintained an excellent publishing track record with her FIU students and research team, as she has published more than nine articles in top journals and conferences.
Her passion in advancing new concepts in research has gained the attention of NSF scientists, resulting in more than $800,000 in NSF fundamental research awards in computer systems, including a prestigious NSF CAREER award. Dr. Hu is well on her way towards an outstanding career in research and representative of the excellence of our SCIS top-50 faculty.
Excellence in Applied Research
Dr. Fahad Saeed
Dr. Fahad Saeed is being awarded the SCIS Applied Research Award for his work in the area of computation proteomics, genomics, connectomics, and big data problems in computation biology and bioinformatics. His work has already led to a number of successful grants bringing in over $1.5 million in funding for the School.
Excellence in Service
Dr. Nagarajan Prabakar
Dr. Prabakar serves as the chair of the Undergraduate Committee, and has restructured the CS curriculum, submitted 26 proposals, and prepared recommendation on the CS Assessment Report. One significant success story for SCIS has been his work in building and gaining approval of the new Bachelor of Science degree in Cybersecurity. In this role as the Undergraduate Program Director, he resolved several advising issues with the Advising team and the School’s Assistant Director, updated the annual undergraduate catalog, and maintained the course flowcharts for all SCIS undergraduate programs. His contributions have significantly helped SCIS to lead the college in undergraduate graduation rates. He is also the Subject Area Coordinator of the “Computer Systems and Organization” area for the course assessment which is leading to excellent results. He established the collaboration between FIU and AWS Academy, and initiated a training session for FIU faculty on cloud-based courses.
Excellence in Mentorship
Dr. Giri Narasimhan
Dr. Narasimhan has been the Coach of the FIU SCIS Programming Team for several years now. As coach, he mentors our talented undergraduate students, imparting advanced training in algorithms and problem solving. Towards advancing SCIS’s research efforts, Dr. Narasimhan supervised 6 PhD students and co-supervised 2 PhD students. He was in the Dissertation Committee of many SCIS and Biology students. He also supervised and provided outstanding mentorship to 4 FIU MS students.
Overall Outstanding Graduate Student
- Daniel Ruiz-Perez is one of our most outstanding PhD students. He maintains an academic GPA of 4.0.
- During his period here at FIU, he won the best graduate teaching award from SCIS in 2019, and earned a Dissertation Year Fellowship (DYF) from the University Graduate School.
This work has resulted in two major conference publications and one journal article in preparation.
- He is also a recipient of the Charles Perry Graduate Scholarship from FIU, the Golden Key Best Project Award in 2018, the Biomedical Research Initiative Award in 2017, and he has garnered 5 competitive conference travel fellowships.
- As a PhD student he completed an internship with Assurant in the Summer of 2019 and with FaceBook in the Summer 2020.
- He has published 5 journal papers, which were accepted or are currently in press, and has 3 more under review. In addition, he has authored 6 conference papers, completed 10 conference presentations, and 9 posters, as well as authoring many abstracts.
- His best paper was published in a journal with an impact factor of 10.35. A second paper of his, titled “So you think you can PLS-DA?” has an Altimetric attention score that puts it in the 89th percentile from among 16.1 million publications.
- He will be joining FaceBook as a research scientist in early Spring 2021.
- Congratulations Daniel!
Best Graduate Student Research
- Qi Li has made tremendous progress in her research work since joining the SCIS Ph.D. program in 2019.
- During her first year, Qi has published 3 papers in top-tier annual conferences, such ACM BuildSys’20, ACM/IEEE IPSN’20, and IEEE IGSC’20, and 1 journal paper in SusCom.
- In particular, her ACM BuildSys’20 paper was selected as the best paper award.
- Qi also received NSF IGSC’20 Student Participation Award. She was also active in multiple service capacities, such as ACM SenSys’20/BuildSys’20 Student Volunteer, and Machine Learning Teacher in FIU NSF Summer 2020 RET Program.
- She was also active in multiple service capacities, such as ACM SenSys’20/BuildSys’20 Student Volunteer, and Machine Learning Teacher in FIU NSF Summer 2020 RET Program.
- In addition, Qi as a female student researcher from the underrepresented group in CS community has made broader impact in her attending, presentation, and research result dissemination at the above-mentioned conferences and Duke University Energy Data Analytics Symposium 2020.
- Congratulations Qi!
Best Graduate Student Teaching
- Tianren has demonstrated the ability to plan and develop classroom management skills and instructional strategies that support all students and faculty.
- He has been teaching several courses, such as COT-4521 Introduction to Computational Geometry, CGS-4285 Application Networking and COP-5614 Operating Systems, and has mentored undergraduates and high school teachers during summer research activities supported by NSF.
- Tianren started using MOSS, a system for detecting software similarity, which not only provides a fair environment for all the students that put hard work into their assignments, but also detects plagiarism.
- He has always exceeded high expectations with his work ethic and attention to detail, and is always willing to help students one-on-one and go the extra mile, which proves his high degree of motivation and discipline.
- Congratulations Tianren!
Best Graduate Student Service
- Sanjeev is an exceptional candidate for this award due to his enthusiasm for service and his dedication to his peers, his research and the School of Computing and Information Sciences.
- Regardless of the task, Sanjeev is always eager to pitch in and help.
- Sanjeev is an excellent teacher and researcher and has showcased his work through many presentations that he has given it conferences, meetings and in working with his peers.
- He’s been actively involved in many professional activities and community services, including organizing weekly seminars, mentoring undergraduate students from both the United States and India, as well as high school teachers during summer research activities supported by the National Science Foundation in our Research Experience for Teachers program.
- He has served as a subject matter expert in technology talks and has actively been involved in reviewing articles submitted to highly reputable journals and conferences.
- His mentoring of students has led to 7 publications in refereed conferences which have brought global recognition for SCIS and FIU.
- Most importantly, Sanjeev always approaches service with a smile, exhibiting a pleasant, engaging personality, strong leadership ability and an innovative mindset.
- He has an excellent capacity for research and innovation and will be a strong research professor.
- Congratulations Sanjeev!
Special Recognition Awards
OVERALL Outstanding Undergraduate Student
- Alexis is a researcher in the Systems Research Laboratory working with Prof. Rangaswami.
- Alexis is currently a PhD student at SCIS, where he is continuing his research in the area of storage.
- He also joined the STARS program in the Spring of 2019.
- At that time, STARS was doing open lab tutoring in PG6-106 and CASE 241.
- Alexis took on the responsibility for tutoring a total of 16 different courses that semester.
- Alexis continued with the program in its transition to fully online tutoring and helped to train each new cohort of tutors through his three semesters there.
- He also recruited several additional talented students to join as tutors for the STARS program, to help maintain our reputation of high-quality tutoring.
- She is a visionary and a leader and is worthy of our acknowledgement.
- The School of Computing and Information Sciences is proud to call Alexis one of our very own!
- Congratulations Alexis!
Best Undergraduate Student Teaching
Hayron Alvarez Garcia
- Hayron Alvarez has always been an outstanding student who has stood out among others, not only for his academic abilities but also for his wisdom and insights in mentoring and teaching his peers. As a student, he mastered programming concepts that he was then able to impart to his fellow students.
- He dedicated himself as a Learning Assistant (LA) after completing his second programming course and continued throughout the remainder of his undergraduate studies. During lessons, he would walk around the classroom and make himself available to assist any student during the hands-on activities and labs. During weekly planning meetings with other LAs, he would make valuable suggestions for exercises that would help students learn concepts better. And, after class, he would make himself available via regular office hours, to mentor and guide students with their homework assignments.
- He significantly impressed Zillow, so much that they extended him a return offer.
- No doubt Hayron will continue to grow academically and professionally as he pursues a master’s degree in Computer Science and continues to serve his fellow students and co-workers. We are proud to recognize Hayron for his achievements.
- Congratulations Hayron!
Best Undergraduate Student Service
- Dyan Celne is a high achieving learner, with strong leadership and a dedicated servant to others within her community.
- She has been both a mentor of high school girls and has been mentored by IT professionals from Ultimate Software.
- As a mentor, she participated in the Big Sisters/Little Sisters program, to try and interest more female students in the field of Computer Science.
- She has shared with her “little sisters” some of the career possibilities that she learned about by attending the Grace Hopper Conference, to which she won an all-expenses paid scholarship to attend.
- She has been a member of various student organizations, including: Women in Computer Science (WiCS), Upsilon Pi Epsilon (UPE), SparkDev, and the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM).
- Congratulations Dyan!
Best Technical Staff
- We all know and appreciate that Eric is one of our top, “go to guys” in the school’s IT department.
- This past year presented far more difficult challenges than most as Eric led the team to deploy our virtual lab solution in response to the Covid 19 pandemic.
- Through his leadership, technical skill, experience, and extensive knowledge, Eric kept us all up and running for our remote teaching and learning experience.
- More importantly, he developed and deployed over 100 virtual machines for senior projects and ongoing research activities.
- He also assisted numerous faculty members by providing timely technology solutions in support of our research grant activities.
- We gratefully acknowledge the extraordinary achievements of Mr. Eric Johnson under arduous circumstances.
Best Advising Staff
- Although she is one of our more novice advisors, Yessenia has shown great dedication and passion for student-centered advising over the last year and a half.
- She serves our diverse student population with service excellence and professionalism.
- During her time with us, she has also taken up the mantle from Ms. Tiana Solis, as the Principal faculty advisor for our university chapter of the National Women in CyberSecurity or (WiCyS) organization, where she has helped coordinate and develop student activities.
- Yessenia dedicated herself to assisting the School of Computing and Information Sciences and this nascent organization by launching the chapters website and creating Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook social media presence for the FIU WiCyS organization.
- Within our advising team, she is always willing to volunteer or join committees to assist our more senior advisors – such as the readmission committee and will soon be working in the transient student application process.
- Overall, Yessenia is a wonderful addition to our SCIS and advising team and we look forward to working with her in the years to come.
Best Administrative Staff
- Rebeca has quickly become the person with the answers for our graduate program community.
- More importantly, she understands the needs of our graduate students and delivers extraordinary customer service to each of our graduate students, working within our graduate team to provide the best advising and rapid solutions to problems many of our graduate students encounter every day. She has provided a variety of seminars in many different venues to promote and enhance our graduate program and recruit a diverse graduate student body to our School.
- She is a model of efficiency, and dedication, often working late into the night to make sure our graduate program reflects our efforts to be a top 50 University program. We gratefully acknowledge her extraordinary contribution to our School, our graduate students and our graduate program.