FIU Real Triumphs Graduates Overcome Adversity and Reveal Ambitious Post-Graduation Plans – WSVN 7News | Miami News, Weather, Sports

WEST MIAMI-DADE, FLA. (WSVN) – Graduating from college is a triumph for anyone, but for a group that took the stage at Florida International University this weekend, their accomplishments reached a different level.

Real Triumphs graduates are described on the FIU website as “a diverse group of men and women in background, nationality, interests, and ambitions, shining examples of what makes FIU students so special.”

Many of these students have had to overcome difficult obstacles to get to this point. Now they hope to make a change in the world.

Among the Real Triumphs graduates who collected their diplomas at this weekend’s spring commencement ceremonies, held at FIU Stadium, was Asadullah Khalid. He has a job lined up after earning his Ph.D. in electrical and computer engineering.

Khalid said he already has a patent for his algorithm that predicts battery performance.

“The company I am addressing, that company focuses on the development of electric vehicles and large-scale motor vehicles based on hydrogen fuel,” he said. “I will be working as a battery management system control software engineer there.”

Tiffany Calestina’s health problems sent her to the hospital for months, but she still earned a master’s degree in hospitality management with a 4.0 GPA.

“Being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, having a brain tumor that needs a craniotomy and not being able to remove it, so I still have the brain tumor, which causes seizures and prevents me from walking,” she said.

Part of Chantrell Frazier’s job is to study how human scent is related to mosquito attraction. She is the first black woman to receive a Ph.D. in biochemistry from the FIU.

“It’s special, but as I tell people, it’s a need for change,” he said. “More people of color, specifically women of color, need to get into these spaces and understand that we can be here, too.”

María Segura is getting her master’s degree in interior architecture, but said it was her time at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital, where she underwent surgery for congenital heart disease six years ago, that fueled a passion project: a toy that explains the procedure to children.

“We use 3D printers to help people who have disabilities,” he said. “[This is] a very good opportunity to give back to the hospital.”

The latest of this spring’s Real Triumphs graduates, Amelia Rudales, hopes to become a human rights lawyer focusing on women involved in human trafficking and domestic violence.

“As a survivor of sexual assault, this definitely launched my initiatives that I took in my undergrad. [years]whether it’s raising money for non-profits focused on human trafficking or doing the research,” he said, “and I hope to continue doing the same with my graduate studies.”

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