FIU graduation: a springboard to dream jobs

With an eye on their futures, more than 5,000 students will graduate this week from FIU. For many of them, the future has arrived in the form of jobs that change and help define their lives.

“We live in an age of rapid acceleration and now more than ever FIU is focused on staying ahead of this change and preparing our students to succeed in the 21st century workforce,” said President Mark B. Rosenberg. “These students will cross the commencement stage knowing they have the knowledge to get or create a job and make a good life for themselves and their families.”

Celebrating each graduate’s achievement and the start to what lies ahead, FIU will hold 10 fall commencement ceremonies from Dec. 14 – 17 at the Ocean Bank Convocation Center, 11200 SW 8th Street in West Miami-Dade.

During the ceremonies, some standout students will already have their dream jobs lined-up:

  • Daniella Bernal, a mechanical engineering major, entered FIU at the age of 16 with an FIU Presidential Scholarship and dreams of working for SpaceX CEO Elon Musk. As a founding member of FIU’s Aerospace Engineering Club, Bernal kept her goal top-of-mind and has already moved to California after accepting a job at SpaceX. Bernal will graduate on Saturday, Dec. 16 at 3 p.m.
  • Ryan Carson had a lifelong dream of working with animals and spent the last six months working at Busch Gardens in Tampa as a chimpanzee and gorilla zookeeper. That experience led her to get her dream job as a dolphin trainer at the Miami Seaquarium. She hopes to use her degree in international relations and on-the-job experience to become an advocate for animal rights. Carson will graduate on Sunday, Dec. 17 at 10 a.m.
  • Shane Mosko turned misfortune into an opportunity. Mosko spent 30 days in a coma after a car accident left him paralyzed from the waist down. He regained the ability to walk thanks to an exoskeleton – a robotic suit powered by a small backpack with motors in the knee and hip joints to direct movement and two walking sticks to aid his balance — developed by Ekso Bionics. Mosko has defied expectations and graduates with a marketing job at Ekso Bionics. Mosko will graduate on Sunday, Dec. 17 at 7:30 p.m.

Bernal and Mosko are among FIU’s fall Worlds Ahead graduates who have overcome challenges in pursuit of their dreams. They join entrepreneurs like Jefferson Noël, founder of BarberShop Speaks, Jose Maldonaldo, inventor of Pilot VR and others who turned their internships and part-time jobs into full-time career opportunities.

On Saturday, Dec. 16 at 7:30 p.m., the Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine will graduate 44 students in the inaugural class of the physician assistant studies program. According to The Bureau of Labor Statistics, there is a 10-year projected growth of 30 percent in the physician assistant field, considerably faster than the average. Most graduates expect to have job offers as soon as they take and pass the national certification exam.

During the commencement ceremonies, the following community members will be honored:

  • Nick Day, an FIU baseball player who saved a stranger’s life after a car accident, will receive the FIU Medallion of Courage at 10 a.m. on Friday, Dec. 15.
  • Jorge M. Pérez, chairman and chief executive officer of Related Group, will receive an honorary doctorate of fine arts degree at 10 a.m. on Sunday, Dec. 17.

Commencement speakers:

  • Francis Suarez, newly elected mayor of the City of Miami, Friday, Dec. 15 at 10:00 a.m.
  • Billy Joel, commissioner for the city of Aventura, Saturday, Dec. 16 at 10:00 a.m.
  • Sue Desmond-Hellmann, chief executive officer of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Saturday, Dec. 16 at 7:30 p.m.

For the full commencement schedule, please click here.