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Excellence and determination take center stage at FIU’s summer commencement

Excellence and determination take center stage at FIU’s summer commencement

July 27, 2022 at 2:35pm

FIU Summer Commencement is returning to the Ocean Bank Convocation Center for the first time since December 2019 to celebrate the graduation of nearly 5,000 new Panther alumni.
Commencement ceremonies will take place from Sunday, July 31 through Wednesday, Aug. 3, 2022 at FIU’s main campus in west Miami-Dade.
Florida Lt. Gov. Jeanette Núñez -- an FIU alumna -- will speak on Monday, Aug. 1 at 10 a.m.
Among the graduates are outstanding students who have accomplished extraordinary things during their time at FIU. These Real Triumphs Graduates have shown an unwavering dedication to their studies and given back to their community by sharing their knowledge and problem-solving skills.  
“Our graduates embody excellence and determination. They are smart, entrepreneurial, and committed to having an impact on their community,” said FIU Interim President Kenneth A. Jessell. “Our newly minted Panther alumni make us proud.”
This summer’s Real Triumphs Graduates include:

  • Following several high-profile deaths of black men involving police, William T. Jackson, 39, saw a growing distrust between law enforcement and communities of color. Always giving back to the community and empowering others to do the same, Jackson started his own community action task force that eventually grew to become The Justice Project of South Florida. Working closely with police departments and social service agencies, the organization helps reduce youth arrests and incarcerations, while also improving interactions between law enforcement and communities of color. The Justice Project – and Jackson, as its founder and first board president – have received national recognition for their work. On Monday, Aug. 1 at 10 a.m., Jackson graduates with a Ph.D. in public affairs from the Steven J. Green School of International and Public Affairs. He will continue his academic career as a postdoctoral fellow at American University’s School of Public Affairs.
  • Oscar Guzman, 45, has spent his time at FIU studying and quantifying the amount of rain produced by nearly 2,000 hurricanes dating back to 1998. He found precipitation had increased one percent a year, which raises concerns of dangerous storm surge on coastal cities like Miami. His research has been published in high impact journals such as Nature Communications and Journal of Climate Impact. While at school, Guzman also made time to run his business, a geospatial services company that creates maps, like those on a cell phone. OnTuesday, Aug. 2 at 3 p.m., Guzman graduates with a Ph.D. in Earth Systems Science from the College of Arts, Sciences & Education.
  • Arlyne Frankel, 85, began her college career like most, at 18. She attended Boston University and dropped out after two years. She ventured into various roles in finance, clerical work, home design and public relations and ended up settling down and starting a family. Years later at 80 years old, Arlyne decided she wanted to finish what she started and enrolled at FIU. With help from Academic Support Services and the Disability Resource Center, she made the most of her experience at FIU and graduates with a bachelor’s in interdisciplinary studies from the College of Arts, Sciences & Education on Tuesday, Aug. 2 at 3 p.m. Arlyne plans to explore her creative side and take up a few art courses.
  • The youngest black belt in taekwondo in her native Denmark, Sarah Malykee, 25, was a gold and silver medalist at the European Championships and was ranked No. 1 in the world as a junior athlete at age 14. At 19, Sarah was on track to live out her dream as an Olympic athlete. She moved to Miami to train with the U.S. National team but ultimately retired before the Tokyo Olympics. With time to reflect on her own experiences, she wondered why athletes often fail to perform when the stakes are highest. At 22, she returned to school to find answers to this question. Through the Advanced Research and Creativity in Honors (ARCH) program in the Honors College, Sarah completed a thesis focused on cognitive control, error monitoring and neural impact of social observation in the context of sports, which has potential implications for understanding why athletes “choke under pressure.” She graduates with a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the College of Arts, Sciences & Education on Wednesday, Aug. 3 at 3 p.m. She will pursue a Ph.D. in cognitive neuroscience at George Washington University.
The Ocean Bank Convocation Center is located at 1180 SW 113th Ave, Miami, FL 33174.