Opportunities for Undergraduate Research and Scholarship (OURS)

Program Description

Through corporate grants from Lockheed Martin and the Motorola Foundation, the Center for Diversity and Student Success in Engineering and Computing (CD-SSEC) launched the Opportunities for Undergraduate Research and Scholarship (OURS) program. OURS’ mission is to foster a culture of research excellence within the College of Engineering and Computing that is committed to promoting opportunities for all students, especially those from underrepresented populations and disadvantaged backgrounds. A multi-leveled program model with financial incentives that encourages curriculum-related work opportunities and greatly reduces the need for students to find off campus jobs that do not align with their long-term career goals. Success will be measured through student retention, graduation rates, enrollment, and post-graduate placement.

Undergraduate students are paid $12 per hour for a total of 15 hours per week throughout the spring and fall semesters. Combined with the hourly wages, students are awarded a budget for lab materials and supplies, conference registrations, and other resources.


Apply Now

The application process for the OURS Program is currently closed. Feel free to contact Andrew Green for further information.

Current Students

Mariana Ontiveros

Bio: Mariana is a senior Mechanical Engineering student with a concentration in Thermo-fluids and a minor in Italian at Florida International University (FIU). She was born in Venezuela and has been living in the US since she was 11. Since she started at FIU, she has been interested in aerospace and materials science. Also, Mariana has focused on building her leadership skills through SHPE FIU and the Eco Engineering Club as President and Vice-President, respectively. Throughout her college career, she has interned with GE Aviation, Boeing, NASA, and she will going back to Boeing as an Industrial Engineering Intern for her 3rd summer with the company. Besides working in the summers, Mariana has worked in the Applied Research Center (ARC) in the Composites group since Fall 2020 while working closely with carbon fiber layups, mechanical testing of materials and nondestructive evaluation of materials using acoustics. During her free time, Mariana enjoys traveling, spending time with family and friends, going to the beach and scuba diving.

Valeria Urbano

Bio: Ever since Valeria started at FIU studying mechanical engineering, she developed an interest in understanding the mechanical processes of machinery. Valeria has interned with Packaging Corporation of America (PCA) being mentored by a mechanical engineer and working with others learning the mechanical process of corrugated equipment. During this internship, she has learned and developed continuously interpersonal skills that have been reinforced through the FIU Honors College.

Rebekah Arias



Alexander Garcia



Nya Martin



Melanie Szytbel



Alumni Students

Gianluca Bacigalupo

Gianluca Bacigalupo is currently a Senior at Florida International University studying Computer Science. He is continuing the term as a research student exploring how the Internet of Things can control how an HVAC system operates. He participates as a member of Upsilon Pi Epsilon and the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers. Gianluca plans to travel Europe before pursuing a Master’s in Cybersecurity in the Polytechnic University of Milan

Eloy Beaucejour

Research Summary:
Eloy’s research experience over the spring and summer semesters at Florida International University’s (FIU) Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering’s was with the Analytics for Cyber Defense (ACyD) Lab. In Eloy’s research, he read, researched, and presented important information from various papers related to smart building security and infrastructure and resiliency. The information he first researched was on smart building security ranged from heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems of occupancy estimation in smart building that impacts various control system significantly like HVAC. He was particularly focused on how sensors related occupancy estimation can be attacked and affect HVAC control decisions.. He then researched CO¬2 related occupancy estimation, and other types of occupancy estimation methods on HVAC systems, and how they can be attacked or comprised.
Furthermore, the other topic that he researched through the summer semester was on smart building controls and resiliency. For example building lighting and ventilation controls. These different building modeling controls and protocols that he researched and presented were integral functions in how smart buildings are managed, self-sustained, and optimized. Additionally, these functions can create an improved quality of life for occupants in a variety of smart buildings management controls like lighting, air quality, cooling, heating, electric, sound, transportation, and network system. These advances result in improved energy management and cost-saving to building managers.

Eloy E. Beaucejour is a senior at Florida International University in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering majoring in Computer Engineering. He was born and raised in Miami. He is a Haitian American first-generation college student, as well as the first U.S. born child in his family. He first came to FIU as a 5000 Role Model Wilson scholar, Multicultural Programs Services (MPAS) scholar, Student Support Services (SSS) scholar, and a Student Access and Success scholar. He hopes to further his knowledge in various disciplines in technology.

Briana Canet

Research Summary:
This summer, Briana conducted research under the OURS program with Dr. Andres Tremante, while simultaneously participating in an internship at Northrop Grumman as a mechanical design integration engineer intern.

As an OURS scholar, Briana was entrusted with writing a technical paper as I acquired new data from my teammates. Wind damage caused by extreme winds are due to high wind uplift forces concentrating on the roof corners and edges of buildings. My team’s study focuses on the application of an Aerodynamic Mitigation and Power System (AMPS) consisting of a horizontal axis wind turbine integrated to roof edges to reduce wind damage and supply power to buildings. Four test configurations on a flat roof low rise building were fitted with an AMPS at different wind directions and loads. Computational fluid dynamic optimization of the test configurations without the static AMPS system was completed. The number of iterations and mesh parameters were optimized to provide both high amounts of nodes and consistent results through the roof surface at a low-processing time.

At Northrop Grumman, Briana supported a missile program by enhancing system requirements using the DOORS management tool. She also designed and modeled a low-cost operational umbilical system using Siemens NX. In addition, she communicated with aerospace suppliers, formulated concept of operations, and commenced reliability analyses.

This summer, she had the wonderful opportunity to explore different mechanical engineering fields: the energy and aerospace field. Briana will continue with OURS this fall 2020, her last semester as an FIU undergraduate student.

Briana Canet is a first-generation Cuban American senior undergraduate student at FIU. Her engineering experience began under a National Science Foundation (NSF) CELL-MET summer internship in the summer of 2018. As a result, she earned a research assistant position under Dr. Arvind Agarwal conducting material science research for one year. She represented this team by attending and presenting this research at several research conferences.

In the summer of 2019, Briana interned at Al-Farooq Corporation as a system engineer intern. There, she coded a calculation and formula directory in Excel Visual Basic Applications (VBA) to improve the organizational flow of the company. She recently completed an internship at Northrop Grumman as a mechanical design integration engineer intern this summer 2020. She was entrusted with modeling numerous components of a missile utilizing Siemens NX.

Briana was Vice President and CSO representative for the material science organization, Material Advantage. She will rise to the role of President for the organization in fall 2020. She is also a member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) and will earn her Level 1 certification.

In the spring of 2019, Briana was chosen to join OURS under Dr. Andres Tremante conducting research in regards to computational fluid dynamics and wind energy generated by wind turbines. She will graduate December 2020 with her B.S. in Mechanical Engineering. She will jump into the aerospace industry upon graduation and later obtain a Master of Science in Aerospace Engineering with Engineering Practice.

Juliette Dubon

Research Summary
In Spring 2020 Juliette was an OURS student and conducted research in the Applied Research Center in the composites lab under the mentorship of Dr. Boesl. Along with her labmates, Juliette wrote a conference paper for the Society for the Advancement of Material and Process Engineering (SAMPE) Summer 2020 conference which was unfortunately cancelled due to the pandemic. Although they were unable to attend and present at the conference she is still proud of what her team accomplished. In the SAMPE 2019 conference they were awarded first place with the poster they presented!

Their research abstract: Adhesive bonding for composite structures offers multiple advantages over fasteners such as creating an even distribution of stress over the entire bonded surface, maximizing fatigue resistance with adhesive flexibility, and providing protection from corrosion. This project focuses on the advancement of a non-invasive field tool that can approximate the quality of an adhesive bond by detecting changes in electric fields at the molecular level of an epoxy-based adhesive doped with magneto-electric nanoparticles (MENs). The tool FIU has developed is based on a B-H looper system where coils are arranged into a noise-cancellation configuration to measure the magnetic susceptibility of the samples with a lock-in amplifier. Epoxy based adhesive samples were doped with MENs to evaluate mechanical properties of the adhesive, the degree of cure, and mechanical damage. Correlations in magnetic signatures were observed, demonstrating the capabilities of the B-H looper system as a bond inspection tool.

During the summer, Juliette interned with The Boeing Company. She first interned for Boeing last summer in 2019 as a Boeing Commercial Airplane Structures Core Engineer and returned to Boeing this summer to intern as a Boeing Commercial Airplane Payloads Engineer. To summarize her work, this summer she worked with the 737 Main Cabin Interiors team on a lavatory accessibility project. She focused on The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), inclusive design, and accessibility for all passengers. She also had the opportunity to join the Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) team on an exoskeleton project. Juliette conducted a market survey on current industrial exoskeletons and analyzed their technology readiness level (TRL), manufacturing readiness level (MRL), and their potential applicability in Boeing.

Hervangelot Lourdes

Research Summary:
During the summer Hervangelot has conducted research on the corrosion rate of additively manufactured stainless steels, with Dr. Tony Thomas. The samples that they use are 316 stainless steel that has been manufactured by selective laser sintering or SLS for short. SLS works by heating a metal powder bed with a laser, layer by layer to get the desired geometry. We have also been comparing the additively manufactured stainless steel with 316 stainless steel that was made with a different manufacturing process that is cold rolled. Dr. Thomas guided Hervangelot on how to polish the samples, and how to use optical profilometry to scan the surface of the samples. Profilometry uses a laser, and depending on the laser intensity it makes a map of the surface of the metal. They have used this to find how deep pits that have formed on samples, after they have gone through corrosion testing and also to calculate the surface roughness of the metal. He was also tasked with collecting corrosion data from journals so we can use machine learning to calculate missing parameters.

Hervangelot Lordeus was born on May 29, 2000 in Haiti. He came to the United States when he was 2 years old. He moved to Naples Florida with his mom Marie Bornelus and his Aunt. Growing up he loved playing sports and playing outside with friends. He started playing pop warner football in middle school, while also doing track. In high school he played football. Now, he is a Junior at Florida International University studying Mechanical Engineering. In the future Hervangelot hopes to work for a space agency like NASA or SpaceX.

Calvin Mark

Research Summary:
Calvin continued his research from the spring semester, “Social Intelligence for Resilient Interdependent Networks: Gaining Insight through Large-Scale Holistic Simulations” discusses probing the resilience of interdependent networks such that catastrophic cascades of failure as a result of social dynamics can be avoided and mitigated. Power grids, for example, can be a complex web of nodes that are dependent on each other. A failure in a single node can create a domino effect, compromising the integrity of the entire network. When considering forms of mitigation, the degree of coupling within a network, or the level of how interdependent nodes are upon each other. Simulating different configurations which include the removal of nodes, we can see nodes and corresponding edges which have the highest risk of causing catastrophic failure. If the construction or reconstruction of a network can reduce this degree, networks such as power grids can be more efficient and more secure against failure due to natural disasters or malicious attacks.

At the time of writing this, COVID-19 has become a global pandemic. We can see a threat against the global economy if the spread cannot be contained. This is due to the fact that across sectors, people are unable to work. This creates a disruption in the supply chain as levels of supply and demand are shocked. Understanding these economic repercussions and the possible long term effects, can aid leaders of government to create policies to best benefit their population until a vaccine or other means of mitigation can be developed. Calvin is also contributing to a research paper on the implications of COVID_19 for the global economy.

Calvin Mark has graduated from Florida International University this summer with a Bachelors of Science in Computer Science accompanied by a minor in Physics. In the beginning of 2020, Calvin was accepted into the Opportunities for Undergraduate Research and Scholarships program (OURS). As an Undergraduate Research Assistant for Dr Hadi Amini and his team at Solid Lab (Sustainability, Optimization, and Learning for InterDependent networks laboratory), Calvin has assisted in research regarding resilience of Interdependent Networks and cascading failures through social dynamics. In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, Calvin has also contributed to its research and studying the long term effects it may have on the economy. Calvin has been accepted into Georgia Tech’s Computer Science Master’s program for Fall 2021. In the future, Calvin aims to pursue a career in the robotics or aerospace industry which are aligned with his interests in DSP(Digital Signal Processing), Artificial Intelligence, Computer Vision and Applied computing.

Susanna Peca

Research Summary:
Susanna’s research focuses in the area of Computational Geometry, which is the study of algorithms, data structures, and applications that pertain to computational problems of a geometric nature. Her main interest concerns implementing a heuristic to construct a polygon with minimum or maximum area (MINAP and MAXAP, respectively) given a set of planar points. Susanna and her research group have implemented programs in Java to calculate the intersection of collinear line segments, polygon operations, and the Graham scan (finding the smallest polygon from a set of points that encloses all points in the set) and currently they are working on an algorithm to merge point polygonizations.

Susanna Peca is a student at Florida International University studying mathematics and computer science. She is passionate about discrete mathematics and theoretical computer science and is currently researching the field of Computational Geometry with OURS.
Susanna is the vice president of FIU’s math club, and she has been working as a learning assistant for the FIU mathematics department for three years, where she holds review sessions outside of class to help students with their coursework. She will be graduating with a mathematics degree this fall and will finish her computer science degree afterward. She hopes to eventually continue her studies by attending graduate school.

Anet Sanchez

Anet is a BME student and an active member in Dr. Joshua Hutcheson’s Cardiovasular Matrix Remodeling Laboratory. This summer, Anet participated in an REU program at Vanderbilt University. During that experience, Anet worked with Dr. Elaine Shelton to test the effectiveness of new drugs on the contraction of the ductus arteriosus. She was selected for an oral presentation at the end of the program and won second place for best oral presentation.

Joaquin Sefair

Research Summary:
In the summer of 2020, Joaquin conducted research for FIU under the OURS program with the guidance of Dr. Andres Tremante. Joaquin analyzed the effects of wind direction and speeds, similar to those of a hurricane on buildings with a focus on the roof.

Our team involved 3 students: two of which, including myself, were focused on the data acquisition through scaled computerized models and simulations and one of which was writing the technical paper to be presented as a conference paper.

Damage caused by extreme winds are due to high wind uplift forces concentrating on the roof corners and edges of the buildings. Using simulation software, namely SolidWorks and ANSYS Fluent, per our modelled Aerodynamic Mitigation and Power System (AMPS), I performed a quasi-2D analysis to acquire the pressure difference, which are directly related to force and thus power generation, on three distinct coordinate planes. The AMPS system will ideally generate power to any structure via an integrated wind turbine.

An elimination process was utilized in order obtain an optimized mesh and also the ideal iteration number for low-processing time but also high result accuracy. I have gained further knowledge on ANSYS Fluent, data acquisition, and energy system through this research. Joaquin will continue his research this fall in hopes of expanding the investigation and gather more defined results and thus conclusions.

Joaquin Sefair is a senior mechanical engineering college student who transferred to FIU in fall 2018. He chose mechanical engineering due to his passion for critical thinking and creativity in his personal and professional life. After graduating, he will search for a full-time position in engineering, although he is also researching graduate school. Before moving to the U.S. from Argentina, Joaquin worked in the manufacturing and product quality department of glass railing systems and aluminum window profiles. He processed detailed construction plans and product designs.

Joaquin is extremely focused on his studies resulting in a near-perfect GPA. He realized that theory was important but hands-on experience was crucial in becoming a well-rounded engineer. In the spring of 2020, he was chosen to join OURS under Dr. Andres Tremante. Having had Dr. Tremante as professor for his thermal fluid classes, he was excited to take on the energy research at-hand. His research is in regards to computational fluid dynamics and energy systems, mostly Eolic. He will graduate this fall 2020 with his Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering with focus on fluid and thermal systems. He desires to apply his skills and abilities to a job that is aligned to his research. He later will to obtain his Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering within the next four years to further enhance his engineering knowledge – a future step he deeply looks forward to.