Service to the community is an important mission we strive to fulfill. Our school seeks to have both a global scientific impact and an engaged and relevant local impact to technology-related industries in Miami and South Florida. Whether we are providing advanced workshops for teachers, demonstrating the state-of-the-art technology at an event, or providing at-risk students with opportunities to learn about technology, our faculty, staff, and students are committed to sharing our knowledge and talents for the betterment of society.
Saturday, April 14th, 120 amazing high school computer science students and their teachers participated in our 13th Annual FIU High School Programming Competition. They were amazing in every way. I know many of you graduated from South Florida high schools, and you might find your school among them.
Here is the scoreboard: https://users.cs.fiu.edu/~irvinek/hscomp/2018/summary.html
It’s really amazing that Cypress Bay High School’s team was able to solve 10 difficult problems in only 4 hours. And Doral Academy solved 9 problems. The problems required the kinds of algorithms taught in Data Structures here at FIU (weighted shortest path, spanning trees, dynamic programming).
I want to give my most generous thank you to our fine group of dedicated judges let by Giuseppe Vietri, Wendy Martinez, Jesus Cabrera and former members of the FIU programming team; Dr. Mark Weiss, the keynote speaker; and the amazing group of volunteers who made this all possible.
Kierstin Matsuda, Volunteer supervisor
Each year for the last 13 years, FIU has offered this programming competition to the South Florida Community. In addition to sponsorship by Ultimate Software, the contest is supported by the School of Computing and Information Sciences at Florida International University.
The hackathon was the third and last spring event organized by middle school girls from the FIU Coding Clubs. Thirty students participated: 18 from the FIU Coding Clubs and 12 from our partner Code/Art, a local nonprofit organization. Four SCIS female students facilitated the event. The hackathon had the goal of creating a website showing event pictures and the group projects/games created in Scratch. All participants will be able to access the website during their free time at home to improve their projects and to play the games created by their peers. Out of four choices dealing with global warming and pollution, the participants selected eliminating ocean pollution as the theme of the hackathon.
- Fish dodging water pollution (3)
- Distinguishing between recyclable and non-recyclable trash on beaches (2)
- Divers collecting ocean trash (2)
- A modern world without ocean pollution 100 years into the future (1)
- Community service to help ocean animals in need (2)
See more information about the event here: https://tinyurl.com/betaHackathon
FIU SCIS collaborated with FIU CASE in the design of STEM activities for the FIU CASE Spring Break Mini Camp. SCIS students Cristina Alonso and Lissett Munoz implemented coding, robotics and encryption activities with 25 of the 35 Miami Dade County Public Schools elementary students who participated in the event.
Coding with Scratch
Tuesday, 3/27 and Wednesday, 3/28
– Coding loops, conditionals, and variables
– Coding games in Scratch
Robotics and Encryption
Tuesday, 3/27 and Wednesday, 3/28
– VEX Robotics Mechanics and Programming
– Binary Encryption and Computational Thinking
FIU SCIS and the Sculptures Lab, under the supervision of Mario Eraso and Robert Chambers, partnered to provide a site on the FIU campus to high school students who during 6 weeks (January 6 – February 17) built and tested a robot in preparation for the FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC). The students are juniors and seniors in the FIU AAA Program and the Miami Dade College SAS Program, both of which are full-time, dual-enrollment programs.
Founded in 1989, FIRST is a not-for-profit public charity designed to inspire young people’s interest and participation in science and technology, and to motivate them to pursue education and career opportunities in STEM fields. Impact: Over 88% participants have more interest in doing well in school and 92% are more interested in attending college. Projections for the 2018 FIRST Robotics Competition: 3,650 teams and 91,000+ participants, ages 14-18 in Grades 9-12. For more information on FIRST: https://www.firstinspires.org/
The FIU Coding Clubs Showcase is a family event in which the club members present to the community games and projects they have coded using Scratch. The more advanced students present educational slides on the fundamentals of coding and discuss achievements by prominent women in the history of computer science. The event was attended by 45 family members, out of which 19 were FIU Coding Clubs members. Three SCIS female students facilitated the event.
On Friday, February 23, 2018, FIU’s College of Engineering and Computing hosted its 17th annual Engineering Expo. The event attracted over 1,500 students from Miami Dade County Public Schools and Broward County Public Schools, two local school districts. During the event, students were exposed to science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects and how they overlap in projects, experiments, and research applications. Visitors engaged with college students and faculty and learned that possibilities in STEM are endless. SCIS showcased an autonomous car-like robot that followed an algorithm to go around obstacles and provided visitors with a virtual reality experience in which the users created virtual whiteboards and wrote on them.
Bring Your Parent to Code Day is a community event where participants of the FIU Coding Clubs share their coding abilities with parents and siblings. On Saturday, February 17, 2018, the event was held at FIU SCIS Tech Station. These are some interesting numbers about the event:
- 45 family members attended the event.
- 17 middle school girls who are members of the FIU Coding Clubs attended the event.
- 5 FIU CS/IT majors, of which 4 are female and 1 is a female graduate student, facilitated learning.
- 10 of 15 FIU Coding Club girls brought their fathers to the event and coded with them a replica of Galaga, a great arcade game from the 1980s. Research shows that when fathers promote the enjoyment of STEM subjects, integrate math into everyday life, and provide positive and challenging academic experiences to their daughters, it can lead girls to higher levels of STEM course-taking and career choices.
Gulliver Prep School is a private co-educational school right here in Miami. The Computer Science department gave 7 outstanding students the opportunity to present their app at FIU SCIS. Graduate and Undergraduates students welcomed them to FIU and gave the students feedback on the apps in preparation for the Congressional App Challenge deadline.
Some topics were on services for Color Blindness, Natural Disasters, Allergies and Hearing Loss. As part of their CS program, Gulliver students have implemented an online platform that not only provides assistance in the process of creating an app to their fellow students, but also to students globally.
CodeFest Miami (go.fiu.edu/codefest) is a computer science education outreach program created in 2014 by FIU’s School of Computing and Information Sciences (SCIS) with generous assistance from industry partners and the organizing team Cristy Charters, Mario Eraso, and Steve Luis. This year there were 117 elementary and middle school children that attended, and the 9 “little sisters” from SCIS Big Sisters/Little Sisters initiative.
At the start of the fall semester, 10 elementary/middle schools are visited weekly by 40 FIU CS/IT student mentors, who teach computer science principles and coding through an engaging curriculum designed to introduce 200 students to the computational skills that are essential in the 21 st century, but are currently missing from the K-5 and K-8 curriculum in Miami-Dade County Public Schools.
SCIS, a Code.org partner, uses Code.org’s K-5 curriculum. After teaching the basics in computational thinking such as “What is an algorithm?”, “What is abstraction?”, “How to make functions?”, “What is a conditional statement?”, and “What is a loop?”, the FIU volunteers begin teaching Scratch to their group of students, showing how to apply many of the concepts that have been covered.
The culmination of this outreach is a half day event held during CS Education Week called CodeFest Miami hosted in FIU’s TechStation, an advanced CS/IT training facility. Volunteers, students, and special guests participate in a “hackathon styled” an activity where students with newly learned coding skills are challenged to solve an important societal a problem such as urban transportation, fighting disasters, using technology to help the sick and elderly.
Students must work as a team to brainstorm, design and code a Scratch program that demonstrates a narrative through animation, which realizes their solution to the challenge. FIU mentors circulate the floor of the event providing encouragement to the teams and answering coding questions.
The best teams are selected to present their Scratch creation to the rest of the teams, while a group of judges decides which Scratch creations meet the highest standards. The final teams receive recognition for their great work and the participants are encouraged to keep learning so they can apply computational thinking to solve any problem in the future.
The four winning team featured animations of conceptual devices to help the disabled improve their lives. Their ideas ranged from apps that help the blind send and receive text messages via speech-to-text functions to using technology to replace damaged nerves to improve movement. CodeFest Miami was also able to buy prizes for the four teams of 3 students each and to award the top 4 apps created by the middle and high school students from the community.
After CodeFest Miami is over, FIU students continue to mentor their group of elementary students on a weekly basis, to keep teaching them more advanced computer science topics, and apply them in different coding environments such as Code.org’s App Lab.
FIU SCIS invited 25 young ladies in IT and CS to attend the 2017 Grace Hopper Conference in Orlando, Florida. The girls attended all 3 days of the conference, starting each day with the keynote speeches by some of the most inspiring and leading women in technology, including Dr. Telle Whitney, the co-founder of the Grace Hopper Conference. The speakers presented their life stories, of how they got involved in Computer Science, some of them in spite of overwhelming odds against them. The overarching theme in all the speeches was the triumph of the human spirit, and the necessity to give back to the community in appreciation for one’s successes.
After the keynote speeches each day, the girls attended diverse sessions on current topics in CS such as Artificial Intelligence, IoT, Cybersecurity, Data Science, and more. Then, they attended the Career Fair at the conference, where they had a chance to talk with many recruiters and representatives of tech companies, including Amazon, Microsoft, and Google. In total, the 25 girls went on 50 interviews, and 5 of them got internship offers on the spot. Many more follow-up interviews also resulted.
Our FIU students expressed tremendous gratitude to SCIS for the privilege to have attended the Grace Hopper Conference, which made such a tremendous impact on all of them. They arrived at the conference shy, and a bit hesitant, but left the conference inspired, aware of the many opportunities awaiting them, and confident that they had a role to play in the world of Computer Science and the many fields that it affects. The conference was life-changing for all of them!
Watch the video of WiCS Panel about their trip to the Grace Hopper Conference.
Dr. S. S. Iyengar, Jerry Miller and Ph.D. student Thejas Gubbi Sadashiva, a former Assistant Professor at Siddaganga Institute of Technology (SIT), brought five outstanding final year undergraduate students from the Dept. of Computer Science & Engineering at SIT to Florida International University (FIU) Discovery Lab for a two month summer research program. This was the one of the activity carried out under the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between FIU and SIT.
The Verizon Innovative Learning program is a popular summer program designed to encourage minority males in middle school to pursue studies in STEM disciplines operated this summer at two historically Black universities—Tennessee State University and Dillard University—and two Hispanic Serving Institutions—Florida International University (FIU) and California State University, Los Angeles.
Minority males in middle schools near these universities were recruited to participate in the program. Throughout the summer, the young men had the opportunity to expand their knowledge of the varying science, technology, engineering, and math fields by engaging in mobile app development, 3D design, and building flying drones.
“We built a curriculum around engineering habits of mind and were explicit in our connection to their everyday interests. It was our intent that with this exposure, engagement, and integration into a STEM community, they would choose to pursue a STEM field, and perhaps, choose FIU.
~ Dr. Monique Ross
The Marino Campus, had a 10-month post-secondary educational program to help young adults with autism or other developmental disabilities bridge the gap between high school and employment. Students, who range in age from 18 to 30, may participate in the program at two locations – FIU, or another one in Fort Lauderdale. They can pursue one of two tracks – hospitality or computer technology.
Students in the School of Computing and Information Sciences (SCIS), part of the College of Engineering & Computing, worked with the Marino Campus visitors to teach them how to assemble hardware, create websites, code and make cables.
“We’re helping the students gain independence at their own level, get a job, be happy and be part of a community, in general,
~ Michael Robinson, founder of the Hardware Lab, and instructor at SCIS.
Girls Who Code, the national nonprofit working to close the gender gap in technology, kicked off its 2017 Summer Immersion Program today in Miami in partnership with Citrix and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. Florida International University and the Idea Center at Miami Dade College serve as program hosts in the region. The Summer Immersion Program began in 2012 in New York City, offering rising 11th and 12th-grade girls 300+ hours of immersive instruction in web development and design, robotics, and mobile development with mentorship and exposure to top female engineers and entrepreneurs. 2017 Summer Immersion Programs will reach 1600 rising 11th and 12th grade girls this summer across 80 programs in 11 cities, including: Atlanta, Austin, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, Newark, New York, the San Francisco Bay Area, Seattle and Washington, D.C. Girls Who Code Summer Immersion Programs will run in Miami this year from June 19 – August 4, 2017.
Click here to read more about Girls Who Code Summer Immersion Programs Return to Miami.
Read the Miami Herald article “Tech groups encourage kids to code — especially girls” to learn more about SCIS involvement with Girls Who Code and other kids tech education.
Citrix has sponsored Girls Who Code, a summer immersion program dedicated to teaching 19 female high school students about the fields of technology and engineering. We brought some of our brightest female Citrix engineers to meet up with Girls Who Code to share their advice and love for coding. Even Juan Rivera, VP of Cloud and Server Engineering shared his insight for being prepared for a career in technology.
The Girls Who Code club, a two-hour weekly meeting that occurs every Tuesday on FIU’s MMC TechStation. The program started during the Fall 2016 semester and now offers the second club this spring to middle school students.
The objective is to teach the girls coding, robotics, web and app development, and computational thinking such as abstraction, algorithms, and binary systems while also helping develop communication and teamwork skills in a safe and comfortable environment where the girls feel like they can be themselves.
“Based on teaching best practices, this course is about more than just teaching the girls to code, the STEM/internships coordinator at the School of Computing and Information Sciences. “It is about allowing them to build the necessary soft skills as well as the deep relationships that may further inspire them to pursue a career in computer science.”
~ Mario Eraso.
Mario Eraso helps coordinates the Girls Who Code Summer Immersive Program. This program is a seven-week program for 20 junior and senior high school girls. FIU will host its fourth summer intensive this year.
The Miami Maker Faire was held on April 8th and 9th at Miami Dade College Wolfson Campus. At the event attended by thousands, FIU featured several exhibits including ICAVE VR experience, Hardware Lab, Coding Fun, and the very popular Soldering Workshop where over 300 attendees learned about electronics and soldering. The Miami Herald highlighted Skill Court is a Vertically Integrated Project lead by local entrepreneur Gudmundur “Gummi” Traustason. Skill Court is the product several College of Engineering and Computing students who have used the fitness tool to test software and hardware designs. The Skill Court team is also participating in Startup FIU’s cohort and will be presenting a pitch to investors on May 9th.
Read more about FIU’s involvement at the Miami Maker Faire: http://www.miamiherald.com/news/business/article143543949.html
At the event, the FIU Girls Who Code (GWC) Club members presented on the lives of pioneering women in computer science, explained coding concepts to the audience and played their own game creations in Scratch. The Club is made up of middle school girls who meet once a week for two hours in Tech Station. Kierstin Matsuda, Club facilitator and SCIS student, is certified by the national Girls Who Code Club. GWC is a national nonprofit working to close the gender gap in technology, and has announced that it is expanding its free after school Clubs program to all 50 states this year, making it the largest computer science program for girls in the United States! GWC announced this milestone as part of the 2016 White House Summit on Computer Science for All. The organization will have reached a total of 40,000 girls across the country by the end of this academic year, more than tripling the size of their current footprint. The FIU GWC Club is sponsored by The Ultimate Software Academy for CS Education. Read more about GWC here: https://girlswhocode.com/girls-code-expands-50-u-s-states-free-clubs-program/
This past weekend SCIS hosted another great year of MangoHacks, a 36-hour hackathon that encourages learning, collaboration, growth, innovation, and fun. A hackathon is a creative coding and invention marathon. Students come together with an idea or a passion, get into teams, and build that idea into something tangible in 36 hours. At the end of the hackathon, the teams will show what they built to judges and other participants. A hackathon is an awesome place to push yourself, learn new skills, and meet amazing people.
This year there were a lot of awesome projects hacked together and they were shared through Facebook Live and Periscope. Which you can see below:
— FIU SCIS (@FIUSCIS) February 25, 2017
Here is a Photo Gallery of the weekend:
Read more on Hacking your way into the job market on FIU News
In celebration of Computer Science Education Week, Code.org’s “Hour of Code” initiative to introduce millions of young people to computer programming, and in partnership with Miami-Dade County Schools, FIU School of Computing and Information Sciences (SCIS) held CodeFest on Sunday, December 11th in FIU’s Tech Station.
This was a fun and exciting event will allow young people attending elementary through middle school an opportunity to experience coding by working in a team to develop a computer game or animation that solves our mystery challenge. Prizes were awarded and there was special guest appearance.
It was a community effort, to motivate 138 elementary and middle school students to use technology to make the world a better place!
Thanks to generous donors, including SCIS, Ultimate Software & the CS Academy for Teachers, UDT, and Google Ignite, who funded the food, prizes, and t-shirts.
Thanks also go to the many CS & IT students that participate in the elementary school outreach program each Wednesday, since they regularly teach many of the students that attended CodeFest, and then volunteered today by blowing up balloons, organizing students, and mentoring them during the competition.
The Ultimate Software Academy for Computer Science Education inspires and cultivates the advancement of a community of K-12 teachers and students who continuously rediscover computing and apply its principles to creatively solve problems and engender innovation. We offer workshops for teachers and students, which include hands-on demonstrations of research by FIU computer science professors, problem-solving techniques, and game programming.
Under the coherent theme of cyber-enabled technologies, the proposed site offers an effective research experience for teachers on state-of-the-art, high-quality research in fields such as social networks, cloud computing, privacy, and security. The new activities implemented in the schools during the academic year is expected to provide important insights for developing computational thinking competencies in schools to prepare students to join the 21st Century workforce.
Read more here: http://it2.fiu.edu/IT2_RET.php
The Hispanic Heritage Foundation Loft STEM Leadership Symposium was held at the FIU GC Ballroom with 200 Dade/Broward HS students in attendance. Panelist Dr. Leonardo Bobadilla, FIU SCIS Faculty, discussed his career preparation for working in the area of robotics. Students performed role-playing exercises to further grasp the seven Army values: Loyalty, Duty, Respect, Selfless-Service, Honor, Integrity, and Personal Courage.
CodeFest Miami 2014 and the Hour of Code — 100 elementary/middle/high schoolers attended a coding challenge session with prizes provided by local tech companies. Many attendees coded for the first time with the help of our CIS Students who mentored participants. http://codefestmia14.eventbrite.com
The Miami Mini Maker Faire was held in Wynwood to the delight of almost 4,000 attendees and 100+ exhibitors. The Faire is held in creative communities around the world and is a celebration of imagination and innovation. FIU CIS co-produced the event that featured FIU student exhibits and workshops: Deon Wilkins and Fernando Campo presented the Unmanned Aerial Vehicles developed in the FIU Discovery Lab; Charleotte Farolan, Women in Computer Science President and WICS members hosted a day long soldering workshop where they taught hundreds of kids to assemble and solder a small robotic bug or a USB LED Flashlight; Diego Bracamonte worked with Microsoft to demonstrate 3D printing tools and integration; and Adam Manoussakis and members of the Miami Northwestern Bicycle Blenders demonstrated and distributed hundreds of human powered smoothies.
Florida International University School of Computing and Information Sciences, the Miami-Dade County Office of Commissioner Juan C. Zapata, LAB Miami, Miami-Dade County Public Schools, Miami-Dade College, and the Beacon Council, inspired by Code.org, hosted “Code Fest Miami” during Computer Science Education Week, December 9-15, 2013. Code.org, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting computer science education, created a nationwide campaign calling on every K-12 student in America to participate in an “Hour of Code.” The initiative engaged schools, teachers, and parents across the country to help introduce more than 15 million students of all ages to computer programming during Computer Science Education Week.
The Miami Maker Faire was held on Saturday, Nov. 16th, 2013 at the Lab Miami, located in the Wynwood Arts District of Downtown Miami. The Faire featured over 80 exhibits, presenters, and workshops and was attend by well over 1,000 people of all ages and interests. Maker Faires are known for their eclectic blending of arts and technology in celebrating innovation, creativity, and the Maker movement. Continue reading The Miami Maker Faire shows Miami’s growing Maker Movement
SCIS hosted the second annual FIU STEM Teachers Workshop in June 2013. The workshop, supported by a grant from Ultimate Software and attended by high school teachers from Broward and Miami-Dade counties, introduced computational thinking concepts, object-oriented visual programming skills and concepts, and basic Python programming skills. For more details, go here.
SCIS hosted the Computer Science for High School, a Google sponsored, three-day hands-on workshop for High School educators to promote computer science and computational thinking in high school curriculum. Topics include Embedded Systems and Robotics, Raspberry Pi software development, and programming with Python.For more details, go here.
Coderdojo Pembroke Pines, FIU sponsors Coderdojo, an international, coding club for kids. FIU students and staff volunteer their time to mentor students from 8-17 years of age in programming languages and robots like Scratch, Lego Mindstorms, and Sphero. The club meets twice a month at Broward County South West Regional Library and the Miami Science Museum. For more information, click here.
We provide an open house to area K-12 students in the FIU Discovery Lab. Undergraduate students demoed their latest projects in a variety of areas such as embedded controllers, mobile apps, robotics, sensor networks, 3D printing and design tools. We featured our renowned Telebot project, a telepresence robot design to help disable veterans and police work again. Read more…
FIU Annual High School Programming Competition hosted teams from schools throughout Florida. The competition is modeled after the ACM International Programming competitions- the team solving the most problems in the least amount of time with the fewest attempts wins! For more information, click here.
Over 1,500 Miami-Dade and Broward elementary and middle school students visit our Engineering Center Campus where many participated in robotics demonstrations and activities provided by faculty and students of the FIU Discovery Lab.