Skip to Content
Top 20 FIU News stories of 2021

Top 20 FIU News stories of 2021

Alumni success stories, COVID-19 and breakthroughs in research were among the most-read topics on FIU News in 2021.

December 22, 2021 at 9:00am

What a year! As we look back, our most-read stories paint a picture—our university smashed expectations and reached new heights in 2021, all while offering up crucial resources and innovations to fight COVID-19. Through all the action, FIU News garnered nearly 1.8 million views.

Here are the top 20 stories from 2021 that garnered the most attention, according to page views.

Seems we’re not the only ones who missed the student-run bistro operated by the Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management. The restaurant, which closed temporarily in 2020, reopened to massive demand.

19. What companies should take away from the Wayfair conspiracy theory and messaging-gone-wrong

Page views: 5,658

As rumors surfaced on social media that home goods retailer Wayfair was allegedly involved in a child sex trafficking operation, FIU communications expert Aileen Izquierdo shared best brand management tips for organizations.


The university's International Forensic Research Institute applied its decades of experience researching and identifying odors to help train detector dogs to locate COVID-19. The canines went on to detect COVID around the community, including at Miami International Airport.


17. FIU starts COVID-19 vaccinations 

Page views: 6,010

A vaccine rollout began in January at FIU as 2,000 doses became available for health care faculty and staff with direct patient contact—and faculty, staff and students 65 and older. 


Our 2021 mic drop moment: FIU earned the highest score among public universities in the state, according to the Florida Board of Governors performance-based funding scores. That makes FIU the No. 1 school in the No. 1 state university system in the country.


15. FIU climbs 17 spots in U.S. News rankings 

Page views: 7,055

Go big or go home: FIU rose 17 spots to No. 78 among public universities in the nation in U.S. News and World Report’s 2022 National University Rankings, released in September. No other public R1 university has risen faster in the last five years in the survey than FIU. Additionally, FIU ranked No. 5 in social mobility, which assesses how well universities open pathways to the middle and upper classes.

14. Revisions to Spring 2021 academic calendar

Page views: 7,400

As part of COVID-19 mitigation efforts, FIU removed Spring Break 2021 from its academic calendar.


13. 5 Covid-19 vaccine myths debunked

Page views: 7,468

From social media to advice shared by family and friends, misinformation about COVID-19 vaccines has been a constant presence throughout the pandemic.

To help readers decipher what is fact and what is not, Dr. Melissa Ward, an epidemiologist and postdoctoral associate in the Community-Based Research Institute, and Dr. Mary Jo Trepka, professor and chair of the Department of Epidemiology at FIU’s Stempel College of Public Health and Social Work, explained some of the most common COVID-19 vaccine misconceptions.


12. 5 ways to gain control over your emotions

Page views: 7,722

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels.


Feelings of stress and sadness were common as the pandemic lingered. To help FIU News readers listen to their emotions and respond to them instead of just reacting to them, George Buzzell, an assistant professor and neurocognitive researcher at FIU, gave his top research-based techniques for improving emotional regulation.


11. What's happening with GameStop and the stock market?

Page views: 9,185

In February, GameStop—a struggling brick-and-mortar video game retailer—became the center of one of the financial world's biggest news stories. Activity by social media investors pushed GameStop's shares to major heights, forcing Wall Street hedge funds to pay up huge sums of money. 

Flavio Carrillo, director of FIU's Capital Markets Lab, explained what was happening and the wider trend that continues to affect the stock market.


The great outdoors, indoors: Few of us were venturing out during the height of the pandemic, so FIU alumni and faculty artists shared their landscape art with us. This story celebrated the peace and joy of nature during the age of coronavirus.


9. Got questions about COVID-19 vaccines? We’ve got answers.

Page views: 10,229

As more vaccines became available to the public, Dr. Eneida Roldan, CEO of the FIU HealthCare Network and professor at the Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine, answered frequently asked questions—from vaccine efficacy to cost.

8. ‘Just Mercy’ explores racial bias, inequality in U.S. criminal justice system

Page views: 13,678

In July, FIU Law and the Florida Center for Capital Representation hosted a discussion of Just Mercy, a movie that tells the story of civil rights attorney Bryan Stevenson and his fight for justice for Black men not afforded proper legal representation and wrongfully convicted and incarcerated.


7. MacKenzie Scott makes a $40 million gift to FIU that will transform the student experience

Page views: 15,022

No, that’s not a typo: In June, philanthropist and author MacKenzie Scott and husband Dan Jewett announced a $40 million unrestricted gift to FIU in support of student success programs. 

“Higher education is a proven pathway to opportunity, so we looked for 2 and 4-year institutions successfully educating students who come from communities that have been chronically underserved,” Scott wrote in the announcement of the gift.


6. Miami-Dade, Broward counties currently out of the cone of Tropical Storm Elsa

Page views: 19,019

Let it go: Tropical Storm Elsa threatened to make landfall in South Florida in the summer. Lots of folks were interested in learning that Miami-Dade and Broward counties had moved out of the storm’s cone of uncertainty, ultimately making landfall along Florida’s Gulf Coast.


5. FIU and Curative launch walk-up COVID-19 testing on campus

Page views: 24,681

Dr. Roldan in front of the Curative testing station.


FIU partnered with Curative to expand COVID-19 testing by opening an on-campus walk-up testing station for students, faculty and staff. The tests administered at the new station came at no cost to those being tested.


4. Engineers create break-through technology to detect illegal Bitcoin mining on everyday users’ computers

Page views: 25,681

I see you: The news that Faraz Naseem ’18, MS ’20 and FIU’s Cyber-Physical Systems Security Lab created a potential solution to a major cybersecurity issue created plenty of buzz. Naseem and a team of researchers and students developed a novel software to address the issue of hackers sneaking into other people’s computers to mine for cryptocurrencies. The first-of-its-kind product can detect “cryptojacking” in real-time with an accuracy rate of nearly 99 percent.


3. FIU professor: Collapsed Surfside building showed signs of subsidence in '90s

Page views: 46,728

The area where a building partially collapsed in Surfside, Florida, showed signs of land subsidence in the 1990s, according to space-based radar data analyzed by an FIU professor.

In this story, FIU Institute of Environment Professor Shimon Wdowinski identified the 12-story Champlain Towers South condominium as the one place on the east side of the barrier island where land subsidence was detected from 1993 to 1999. But land subsidence in and of itself likely would not cause a building’s collapse, according to Wdowinski.


2. What’s the difference between a COVID-19 booster shot and a third dose?

Page views: 89,319

As vaccine boosters became readily available, many had questions about the new shots. Dr. Eneida Roldan, FIU Health CEO and clinical director of FIU’s vaccine initiative, explained the difference between booster shots and third doses.


1. Three vitamins, minerals to boost your immune system and fight COVID-19

Page views: 416,847

This story from 2020 went viral! Associate Professor of dietetics and nutrition Cristina Palacios discussed the vitamins and minerals that she says are crucial to keeping one's immune system healthy during the COVID-19 pandemic. Palacios shared three supplements people should consider taking, as well as which foods offer great nutrition for people looking to boost their immune systems.