The Florida International University chapter of Upsilon Pi Epsilon (UPE) had an incredibly successful year, establishing itself as the premier organization for students majoring in the computing and information disciplines. As the only honor society in these fields of study, UPE’s mission is to provide these students with a community that recognizes their academic achievements and promotes career development. The organization accomplishes this mission by offering a variety of programs and activities, through which students can gain knowledge, develop their skills, and kick-start their professional career. Under the leadership of Chapter President Cesar Villa-Garcia, UPE has become home to the largest and most active group of students in the School of Computing and Information Sciences.
In the past year, UPE hosted activities such as information sessions, technical workshops, social events, outreach, and more. The first includes presentations from renowned companies such as Google, Microsoft, Amazon, State Farm, and Progressive Insurance. Through these information sessions, students learned about their career opportunities and networked with company representatives.
As part of its Software & Hardware Development Program, the organization also hosted many of its popular technical workshops for students. These workshops covered a wide range of topics, including:
Database Management – Designing a database and using SQL to retrieve its data
Mobile Application Development – Creating mobile applications for the iOS and Android platforms
Hardware Development – Assembling hardware modules to create digital devices
Graphic Design – Creating graphics for websites and mobile applications using Adobe CS
Through each of these workshops, hundreds of students were exposed to new technologies and used them to develop their own projects. These projects served as resume experience for internship and job applications.
UPE also hosted other signature events such as the Google Product Showcase, Tech of the Future, Gaming Tournament, Town Hall Meeting, and Induction Ceremony. The organization participated in major campus events such as MangoHacks, Relay for Life, Engineering Expo, and CodeFest Miami as well.
Additionally, UPE’s Google igniteCS Program gave students the opportunity to promote computer science education and reach out to the community. Through the program, students teach computer science fundamentals to grade school students. Funded by Google, the program is composed of 30 mentors and serves eleven grade schools in Miami-Dade County.
All the aforementioned programs and activities have propelled UPE to the forefront of our school, gaining recognition both at the local and national level. Below are the many accomplishments and awards that the organization has earned over the past year:
Outstanding Chapter Award – This award, given by UPE National, is presented to the top UPE chapter in the nation. FIU’s chapter was chosen out of over 200 chapters from some of the top schools and given a cash reward for its accomplishments.
Best Engineering Club Award – Given by FIU’s Council for Student Organizations, this award is presented to the top engineering organization on campus. UPE received this award out of over 20 other student groups in the engineering community.
Special Recognition Awards – Cesar Villa-Garcia (2015) and Manuel Contreras (2016) both received this award from UPE National for their academic achievements and extracurricular activities. They were both presented with a $2,500 scholarship as part of the award.
Google igniteCS Awards – UPE received an $8,000 award from Google for its igniteCS Program. All igniteCS mentors also received scholarships from Google. Jose Maldonado, UPE Vice-President and Discovery Lab Researcher, received a $6,000 award from the company his contributions to the community as well.
Outstanding Student Service Award – The School of Computing and Information Sciences presented this award to UPE for its commitment to serving the student community. The organization was recognized for its active community and signature programs and activities, which have been gotten hundreds of computing students involved on campus.
Internships – Many of UPE’s members have interned at some of the top companies, including IBM, State Farm, Progressive Insurance, Royal Caribbean, Ultimate Software, Citrix, Amadeus, and more.
E-Board & Committee Interns – UPE members elected an accomplished group of student leaders to drive the organization into next year. A group of fifteen outstanding students were also selected as interns, and will be involved in event planning, marketing, and outreach initiatives.
Membership – Over three hundred students became chapter members of UPE in the past year. Of these, more than a hundred were inducted into the honor society. This makes UPE the largest engineering organization and puts it alongside the largest fraternities on campus.
Programs & Activities – UPE’s programs and activities attracted hundreds of attendees this past year, breaking all previous attendance records. Of note were our Web Development Workshop, Town Hall Meeting, and Gaming Tournament, which were all attended by over a hundred students.
Collaborations – In the past year, UPE has collaborated with many of the top student programs and organizations on campus, including the Academic Success Initiative, Women in Computer Science, Association for Information Systems, IEEE, Society for Women Engineers, StartUP FIU, and more.
As a new semester approaches, UPE remains committed to providing students with an active community that recognizes their achievements and promotes career development. The organization has prepared a lineup of new and exciting activities for next semester, and can’t wait to share all the details with students.
UPE will start the semester by having its Spring Kickoff Week, which begins on Monday, January 9th. During this week, the organization will provide information to students and give away lots of cool swag and prizes. The week will conclude with UPE’s Spring Kickoff Meeting, taking place Friday, January 13th from 1pm to 3pm in PG6 112. At this meeting, the organization will share more information and details regarding its programs and activities.
As the year comes to a close, UPE would like to thank all students, faculty, and staff for their continued interest and support of its programs and activities. These were all a success thanks to contributions made by everyone in our community. UPE would like to wish everyone happy holidays and a prosperous new year!