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FIU leaders advocate for higher education funding

FIU leaders advocate for higher education funding

February 19, 2018 at 12:00am

As the Trump Administration released its federal budget proposal and the Higher Education Act is considered, FIU students and leaders were on the scene to advocate and gain insights during the first Panther Alumni Week in D.C.  The College of Communication, Architecture + The Arts launched a semester course and hosted an national convening on the future of journalism education. 

Federal budget, infrastructure plan released

Earlier this month, the Trump Administration released both its budget request to Congress for the coming fiscal year and a multi-year, $1.5 trillion infrastructure plan. Both of those join DACA and the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act as front-and-center of the legislative calendar. With funding for financial aid and FIU’s preeminent research areas at stake, university leadership was mobilized to advocate on Capitol Hill.

Both President Mark. Rosenberg and College of Engineering and Computing Dean John Volakis were advocating on the hill for FIU’s research priorities.  Volakis focused on research activities funded by the Department of Defense, which are critical to national challenges.

“We are here this afternoon talking about the Higher Education Act. It is going to focus on learning and earning, as well as apprenticeship. We are also looking at the financial aid implications for our students. We know that our students need that financial aid to graduate on time.” said Rosenberg

Although Trump’s budget request is unlikely to become law, the annual budget ritual is telling in understanding the priorities and desired initiatives of the Administration. FIU’s Office of Federal Relations has prepared a summary of certain priority initiatives and programs proposed for elimination. FIU advocates will be busy for the coming months to safeguard FIU’s interests and programs.

Also present at the White House as President Trump rolled out his Infrastructure Plan was Miami-Dade County Commission Chairman and FIU alumnus Esteban “Steve” Bovo, who represented the county’s resilient infrastructure and transportation funding initiatives

“The environmental regulatory process delays our ability to deliver projects. We’re trying to be very aggressive. We created legislation that allows transit-oriented development and addresses resiliency issues,” said Bovo.

Paving the way for students with real-world advice

FIU in D.C. and the College of Engineering and Computing celebrated Panther Alumni Week in Washington, hosting a group of 40 engineering students and alumni from the region. The students were in town for the BEYA STEM global competitiveness conference, a 3-day exhibition where engineers networked, shared technological advancements within their fields and discussed policy issues affecting the STEM community.

Alumni speakers included Javier Oliu of NIKA Engineering, Robert Babayi of Vector IP, David Lagomasino of the University of Maryland and Juan Fernandez a contractor with NAVSEA.

“I gained valuable insight on the opportunities for graduating engineers. I can see that the university is tirelessly working to assist their alumni in their future ventures,” said Fiorella Rivera, mechanical engineering major and president of ECO Engineering club.

In addition to engineering alumni, other participants for Panther Alumni Week in D.C. included Kevin Hernandez of the Libre Foundation, political strategist P.J. Campbell and Ben Utterback of Hinge Marketing.

CARTA convenes a discussion on the future of journalism education


At a time when the value of powerful storytelling is in demand, the  College of Communications Architecture + The Arts (CARTA) coordinated an event earlier this month that explored the underlying issues and potential disruptions to journalism education.

Two alumni – Mel Leonor, who is a higher education reporter for  Politico, and Mike Vasquez, who is a senior investigative reporter for  The Chronicle of Higher Education – participated in the discussion of how to enhance the study of mass communications.

“It is imperative that our graduates gain the expertise necessary to prepare themselves for the competitive, intimating job market,” Vasquez said.

Other participants were in attendance included University of Maryland, WAMU, Duke University, American University, George Washington University,  Scripps Howard News Service, Industry Drive,  National Public Radio(NPR),  Fox News and  The Washington Post.

CARTA course debuts in D.C.

This semester, FIU in D.C. will launch a new course with the CARTA. The internship in communications course is a four-credit course held weekly to complement the student interns worksite experience.

Fifteen FIU students are currently interning in the nation’s capital at various locations in specialized fields. Some of FIU’s intern workforce areas are on Capitol Hill,  The White House,  The Washington Center(TWC),  Woodrow Wilson Center(WWC), The Hill, Congressional Hispanic Leadership Institute( CHLI) and Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute( CHCI).

“The Long Night of the Watchman”

On Feb. 13, the Steven J. Green School of International and Public Affairs, co-sponsored with the Embassy of the Czech Republic, Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation, a book presentation on  The Long Night of the Watchman: Essays by Václav Benda,1977-1989.

Renowned Czech anti-communist dissident and Catholic thinker Václav Benda (1946-1999) was an earlier signatory of Charter 77 and served twice as the association’s spokesperson. Charter 77 is a civic initiative that demanded the Communist government of Czechoslovakia to acknowledge/ administer basic human rights.

His essays delve deeply into life under a communist regime.

Video of the Week

Panthers Spotted:

  • Former Miami Mayor Manuel Diaz
  • Julieta Vallejos, College of Engineering and Computing
  • Richard Montes de Oca, MDO Partners

To learn more about the university’s presence in the nation’s capital, visit  FIU in D.C.’s website.