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Historic week in Washington: FIU in DC Opens, Critical funds raised for Student Internship

From June 6-10, FIU inaugurated its dynamic new hub in the nation’s capital with a series of thematic panels and receptions with alumni, friends and federal partners. Thanks to two very special donors, over $65,000 were committed for student internship stipends while University leadership visited the White House and signed an employment agreement with the Veterans Administration.

FIU officially opened doors to its dynamic hub last week launching a revamped presence in the nation’s capital to further advance faculty research and establish a point of convergence for students, alumni, and corporate/governmental partners on Capitol Hill. Over the course of five days and 12 events, hundreds of alumni, friends and national partners experienced the dynamic nature of FIU in DC.

“Democracy and education are forever intertwined,” said FIU President Mark B. Rosenberg. “That is what makes our presence here so critical – not just to the future of Miami, but the future of our nation.  The good that will be done for our students and our community with this new initiative is unimaginable. But I can imagine a whole generation of students who will be better off because of what we have set forth.”

DCweek1This hub is envisioned as a resource for FIU alumni and faculty all across the United States that might be visiting or doing business in Washington, D.C.  It will also serve as a center for over 100 students visiting Washington for student internships or conferences a year.

Emphasizing the importance of student internships, alumni and friends raised over $50,000 in commitments for student internships, after a challenge was delivered by the University’s beloved Ruth Hamilton, executive director emerita of the Graham University Center, herself making a $30,000 challenge match for the Make A Difference Fund DC.

Other key partnerships announced included those with donor Maria Elena Toraño, who will be launching a women’s leadership initiative; SCI Hispana who committed to fund a paid internship at the US Hispanic Chamber of Commerce; and the US Veterans Administration, aimed at recruiting more diverse candidates from FIU.

DCweek2“Through my partnership with FIU I am keeping my commitment to be a part of the development of the next generation of leaders among our youth,” Toraño said. “I commend President Rosenberg and FIU for providing a national forum for the university to share its multiple accomplishments.”

During the panel, FIU alumna Liliam Folgueira, representing SCI Hispana, accepted Toraño’s challenge to sponsor internships for students by announcing a fall internship with the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

Capping off the week was an electric series of events on June 9 with a rooftop breakfast attended by most of our South Florida Congressional delegation. The day concluded with an evening reception, FIU in D.C.: “It’s So Miami!”, sponsored by the Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau, featuring dancing and speeches from FIU in D.C.’s key leaders—including Toraño, Rosenberg and FIU Board of Trustees Vice Chair Jorge Arrizurieta, among others.

DCweek4“FIU’s presence in D.C. is a reflection of a truly proactive community of diverse students, faculty, and staff dedicated to creating positive change for not only our own communities, but for the nation as a whole,” said Galina Abdelaziz, student at the FIU Steven J. Green School of International and Public Affairs. “Through the connections, space, and opportunities the D.C. office will offer, there’s no doubt in my mind we’ll be nothing short of extraordinary.”

If you missed the #FIUDCLaunch live, catch up on all the action via Storify or the webcast archive. To see photos from the event, click here. To learn more about FIU in D.C., visit, or follow on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

To donate to the Make A Difference Fund DC, click here.

The curated calendar of FIU in D.C. launch week events featured panels and briefings on many of the university’s areas of research strengths—from sea level rise to the STEM Education. Here is a glance of all of the briefings and links to the webcast archive:

  • Connecting the Dots – A Multifaceted Approach to Enhancing Resilience in Coastal Ecosystems And Communities: discussion on how the preservation of the Everglades is deeply entwined in the wellbeing of the South Florida population, the prominence of Miami as a model for other coastal communities facing sea level rise, how FIU’s ecological research is relevant on a global scale, and unprecedented issues national parks and conservationists are facing with new environmental changes
  • Equity and Equality of the Sexes in Communication: Are Women Getting There?: conversation on the status of the woman in the modern workplace with emphasis on their status or role in leadership positions, analyzing results from a 2016 report by the Lillian Lodge Kopenhaver Center at FIU and offering advice for young professional female leaders to achieve success
  • The Dark Side of the Web: Cyber Threats in the 21st Century: panel on the cyber threats and breaches in privacy organizations, companies, and the population at large face with the advent of new technologies, and how to mitigate them as best as possible
  • Insiders’ View: Hispanics and the 2016 Presidential Election: bi-partisan analysis of the results of a study by Adsmovil and FIU’s Dr. Eduardo Gamarra on Hispanic voters and their priorities/candidates of choice in the upcoming election, featuring panelists from both sides of the aisle to highlight issues of interest and the strengths/weaknesses of each party in this election cycle
  • Celebrating Those Who “Turned The Impossible Into The Inevitable,” honored those alumni chapter founders and former FIU interns in addition to various employment partners.
  • Lessons in Leadership: What Washington Taught Me with female Hispanic trailblazer in business and government, Maria Elena Toraño, who attended FIU’s original groundbreaking 45 years ago and has continued to champion FIU’s work ever since.

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