FIU in D.C.: DACA solution in play, hurricane researchers share analysis


FIU is working hard to ensure policy makers receive analysis of the impact of recent hurricanes directly from FIU researchers while continuing to advocate for Dreamers and bridge engineering research.  

On the forefront of hurricane research

Overhead shot of Big Pine Key post Hurricane Irma.

As the impacts of hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria become clearer, FIU in D.C. took the lead last week in ensuring FIU research and impact analysis is reaching relevant policymakers on Capitol Hill.

Congress will soon hold hearings on the best steps to take in the mitigation of and response to natural disasters.  In particular, FIU researchers have now estimated $19.4 billion in wind losses to the State of Florida.

“This is not surprising given the high level of hurricane deductibles and the less intense tropical storm in most of Florida,” said Shahid Hamid of the College of Business and the Extreme Events Institute.

With FIU leading much research on storm surge, wind impacts, sea level rise and environmental resilience, researchers will be translating findings from impacted areas so that lawmakers and organizations will have better data in crafting new policies.

This upcoming week, Director of the Extreme Events Institute Richard Olson will participate in a panel in Washington with environmental resilience stakeholders. At the same time, the Senate will consider funding for the EPA’s South Florida Geographic Initiative, which funds much of FIU’s water quality testing work.  

Discussing RAC ACT with Carlos Curbelo’s team and members of Higher Education Community

Working Congress for the Dreamers

FIU convened a group discussion with members of Congressman Carlos Curbelo’s staff and organizations in the higher education community regarding proposed legislation that will impact nearly 800,000 Dreamers.

Curbelo is the leading sponsor of the Recognizing America’s Children (RAC) Act, a bill proposed to help those who benefitted from the recently terminated Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).

Joining FIU to consider the RAC Act and a Senate companion piece — the SUCCEED Act — were three higher education organizations: the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU), American Council on Education (ACE) and Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU).

Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart was also appointed by the Speaker of the House to a Republican working group on immigration and DACA.

A Senate Judiciary Committee hearing was held at 10 a.m. Oct. 3 to discuss DACA.

Students and staff at the 11th Annual University Transportation Center Spotlight Conference

Transportation infrastructure presentation

Atorod Azizinamini, chair of Civil and Environmental Engineering, presented FIU’s latest research on innovative practices in accelerated bridge construction (ABC) at the 11th Annual University Transportation Center Spotlight Conference. In particular, Azizinamini highlighted the role of coastal environments on bridge structures and addressed how ABC can improve stability.

The conference was organized by the Transportation Research Board with a strong presence from the Department of Transportation and a full contingent of seven Ph.D. students from FIU who presented their latest findings.

Some student research projects referenced the value of ultra-high performance concrete as a new method of ensuring more flexible construction applications and greater longevity of completed projects. The students returned to Miami after visiting FIU in D.C. and learning more of the university’s advocacy for transportation infrastructure in Washington.

STEM Connector 

Kim R. Grimes, director, and Tevin Ali, featured speaker
Image via: StemConnector

On Sept. 27, FIU hosted a STEM Connecter for their STEM Higher Education Council National Leaders Summit Networking.

Education leaders from all over the country came together to bring focused energy to higher education’s leading high impact practices using their unique membership model of colleges, universities and industry partners.

FIU is not only the largest producer of STEM undergraduate degrees awarded to minorities, but also the first university to offer a bachelor’s degree in Internet of Things.

Hemisphere Magazine Launch 

On Sept. 28, the Kimberly Green Latin American and Caribbean Center launched their annual Hemisphere magazine: Perpetual Resistance and Violence in Latin America.

Left to right: Frank O. Mora, Eduardo Moncada, Guadalupe Correa-Cabrera, Jose Miguel Cruz.

The magazine features a series of articles that analyzes criminal violence in the Americas, including LACC’s own research on violence and gangs in Central America.

The launch included a panel discussion regarding perpetual resistance and violence in Latin America, with contributors to the magazine fielding a Q&A session afterwards. Click here to watch the webinar in its entirety.

Panthers in the district

  1. Andres Gil, vice president for sponsored research and professor
  2. Michelle Palacio, vice president of governmental relations
  3. Francisco Valines, director of financial aid
  4. Atorod Azizinamini, chair of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
  5. Frank Mora, director of the Kimberly Green Latin American and Caribbean Center
  6. Jose Miguel Cruz, director of research, Kimberly Green Latin American and Caribbean Center

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