Two Civil and Environmental Engineering students, along with four other FIU engineering students, have been awarded a total of $6,000 in scholarships from the Federal Alliance for Safe Homes (FLASH) and RenaissanceRE.                                                                                                        Paola Davalos, a CEE undergraduate student; Javier Palencia, a Mechanical and Materials Engineering (MME) graduate student; Sergio Baltodano, a MME undergraduate student; and Curtis Francisque, an IHRC and Wall of Wind research team member and MME student each earned a $1,500 scholarship for their participation and presentation on hurricane damage mitigation and green energy generation at the 2013 FLASH Annual Conference in Orlando, FL earlier this past school year.

 Advised by CEE associate professor Arindam Chowdhury Ph.D., MME instructor Andres Tremante, Ph.D., and IHRC associate director and meteorologist Erik Salna, the multi-disciplinary group of students (IHRC, CEE, and MME) competed against other teams from the University of Florida (UF) and FIU in a RenaissanceRe sponsored ‘Shark Tan k’-style academic  challenge to create real-world solutions focused on Florida-one of the world’s highest risk areas for catastrophic windstorms.

“It was a great experience to research and present a product to the panel, judges and audience,” said the FIU team collectively. “Our end goal was to test and do further research to validate the results of our innovative product. From this point we will pursue funding to build a full-scale version. We are excited about the future opportunities and proud of what we have accomplished.”