Cuban-american Engineers To Hold Cuba Infrastructure Scholarship Competition

1st-placeGrowing By Leaps and Bounds, Event Taking Place at Casa Bacardi on Saturday, March 4th

Reaching unprecedented growth in its eighth edition, the Cuba Infrastructure Scholarship Competition comes back to town at Casa Bacardi (1531 Brescia Avenue, Coral Gables) on Saturday, March 4th, under the auspices of the Cuban-American Association of Civil Engineers (CAACE) and the Association of Cuban-American Engineers (ACAE).  This year, the event has drawn a wide variety of state and out-of-state universities with 15 teams totaling 52 engineering students, all vying for a total of $12,000 in cash prizes plus non-tangible incentives like mentoring and networking.

“We are extremely proud of the significant growth experienced this year,” says Roger R. Puerto, a retired telecommunications senior manager who chairs the Scholarship Competition Committee. “First designed as a Florida-centered event, it has evolved into a multi-state competition featuring an impressive roster of national and international students. This is our largest growth since the inception of the competition.”

First held in 2010 with three teams representing Florida International University (FIU), University of Florida (UF), and University of Miami (UM), the competition has grown not in number of participants and sponsorship commitment with cash prizes increasing from $1,750 in its first edition to a total of $12,000 this year thanks to the support of Bulla Gastrobar, a Florida restaurant.

Growth comes with time and experience, student outreach efforts and perseverance from organizers who strongly believe in leaving a legacy with the next generation of professional engineers.  “As Cuban-American engineers, we want to contribute to the eventual reconstruction of our native country,” says Puerto. “And to do so, we must empower students with challenging projects that may be used one day in Cuba to improve its failing infrastructure.”

This is a sentiment shared by both older and younger organizers. Regina Rodriguez, a PhD candidate in environmental engineering at University of Florida who co-chairs the event with Puerto, says: “I feel fully committed to giving back by participating in the future reconstruction of my birth nation through this event.” 

Fifteen teams representing 10 universities and totaling 52 students will present projects to improve Cuba’s failing infrastructure in the following engineering areas: agriculture, environment, construction, transportation, wastewater and water resources. These projects will be judged by the following team of experts:  Vladimir Cruz, Mario Golab, Eduardo Infante, Rafael Palacios, Javier Rodriguez and Eduardo Vega.

In addition to Bulla Gastrobar, the event is sponsored by the Institute for Cuban and Cuban-American Studies. “We are very thankful to our sponsors and aim to keep working hard toward increasing our overall contribution to society and get more students motivated to improve the future of Cuba.”    

The Cuba Infrastructure Scholarship Competition, which includes a light breakfast and lunch, is free and open to the public, but reservations must be made in advance by going to

The Cuban-American Association of Civil Engineers Inc. (CAACE) is a non-profit corporation organized under the laws of the State of Florida on March 4th, 1961. The purpose of the association is to assist members in the maintenance of the highest professional engineering skills; to support the highest principles of professional engineering achievements and to obtain the advancement of the science and profession of engineering. Community involvement includes local government technical boards and committees, social services and charitable organizations. Guest speakers at monthly meetings present talks on technical, cultural or other topics of both national and local importance.

  The Association of Cuban-American Engineers (ACAE) was founded in January 1961 through a gathering of Cuban exiles in Miami who set out to help those in their profession. Currently the ACAE fulfills its mission to help those in their profession by promoting engineering education, providing networking opportunities, and most recently addressing engineering-related issues in Cuba’s future, specifically with respect to the physical infrastructure. The ACAE promotes engineering education by encouraging student chapters of ACAE at local universities, and by promoting scholarship programs that award thousands of dollars in scholarships yearly to students of Hispanic and/or Cuban heritage. Networking opportunities are facilitated by the organization through its annual gala, which brings together over 300 engineering professionals to celebrate achievements of local engineering professionals and to be a part of an awards ceremony.   


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