FIU center launches in District of Columbia to advance federal initiatives

Photos courtesy of FIU Governmental Relations

Last week, “FIU in DC” was officially inaugurated, bringing the 305 flavor to the 202.

The “FIU in DC” initiative is a research-driven solutions center that aims to expand partnerships and create greater opportunities in the nation’s capital for students, faculty and the South Florida Community.

“With Washington, D.C. as a significant source of change and action, it is critical that FIU deepen its presence in D.C. to advance FIU’s federal initiatives, create new win-win partnerships, connect students to great jobs and expand research funding,” said FIU President Mark Rosenberg.

The university kicked off “FIU in DC Launch Week”, held in Washington, D.C., with a thematic series of research discussions on national and global issues, networking events and an opportunity for students and alumni to engage with national leaders.  

One of the highlighted conversations was by Susan Goldberg, the first woman editor in chief of National Geographic Magazine, who spoke on “Equity and Equality of the Sexes in Communication: Are women getting there?”, analyzing the role of women in the communications industry.


Susan Goldberg and other panelists speaking on issues concerning equity and equality on Tuesday, June 7.

“As a woman in communications, the equity and equality of the sexes in communication panel was the most influential for me. The panel opened my eyes to a lot of unique realities that women face in the workplace. I took a lot of their advice into the way I now carry myself in my career.  The panelists were incredibly bold and assertive, and I was deeply inspired,” said Natasha Roque, an FIU student and the communications fellow for the FIU Office of Federal Relations in Washington, D.C.

Another highlighted topic of discussion was the role Hispanics play in the 2016 Presidential Election, examining the current Latino voting patterns and the impact of Hispanic voters in the U.S.

Other discussions, in the events throughout the week, included strategies to mitigate cyber threats, solutions on resilience on coastal ecosystems and sea level rise.

PANEL OF Cyber Threats

Panelists gather on Tuesday, June 7, to discuss issues concerning cyber threats in this century.

FIU has established a partnership with The Washington Center in D.C., an organization that places students in internships and academic seminars relevant to their interests, which also provides them with dormitory housing.

Approximately 40 FIU students are now living in the nation’s capital, completing summer internships in governmental agencies, media outlets and corporate offices.

For many students, the months interning in the District over the summer will be their first independent living experience.

“FIU has been able to place so many students at The Washington Center. I feel as though this is a great opportunity that another school may not have been able to provide me,” said Michael Carabello, FIU student and summer intern for the Council of States Government via The Washington Center.

But many other FIU students have also worked to attain D.C. Internships in public and private sectors independently.

Lucius Jackson, an international relations student and delegate of the FIU Model United Nations team, will be working with the U.S Department of State this summer and is excited to put his studies into practice, hoping his internship counts as a steppingstone toward a career in foreign service. 

“The university views this as a time to embrace not only professional development, but also personal growth that will lead to increased confidence, success and skills as a team player,” said Roque.

FIU Governmental Relations has had a strong presence in D.C. for more than 15 years; thanks to members of the FIU family and its community partners, who have contributed in support of student internships in the nation’s capital to ensure that future generations have opportunities.

FIU in DC was made possible by several sponsors and donors, including Maria Elena Toraño, a trailblazer in corporate America, federal government service and the small business sector, who has made a multi-year commitment to FIU’s vision in Washington, with special emphasis on women’s leadership.

Rosenberg and Toraño gather in FIU’s D.C. office suite named the Maria Elena Toraño Executive Suite.

During the launch week, she led a special discussion “Lessons in Leadership: What Washington Taught Me,” where she talked about her years of experience working in corporate America, the federal government and the small business sector.

Funded by Toraño, the university plans to launch the Maria Elena Toraño leadership training initiative in Washington, which will establish new programs to advance Miami’s profile in the nation’s capital and empower students as they enter the workforce.

“Through my partnership with FIU, I am keeping my commitment to be a part of the development of the next generation of leaders among my commitment to be a part of youth,” said Toraño.

This tireless advocate and business leader is now poised to make history by supporting FIU’s mission of being a Worlds Ahead research and leadership center.

FIU and D.C. are intrinsically linked; both places represent bold energy, global connectedness, and rich culture.  
“We look forward to partnering with Washington, D.C. to showcase the energy and vibrancy of Miami. Our dynamic presence in Washington should serve as a two-way access point, bringing a bit of the 305 to the 202,” said President Rosenberg.

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