Service to the community is an important mission we strive to fulfill. Our school seeks to have both a global scientific impact and an engaged and relevant local impact to technology related industries in Miami and South Florida. Whether we are providing advanced workshops for teachers, demonstrating state-of-the-art technology at an event, or providing at-risk students with opportunities to learn about technology, our faculty and students are committed to sharing ourknowledge and talents for the betterment of society.



Ultimate Software Academy for Computer Science Education @ FIU.

The Ultimate Software Academy for Computer Science Education inspires and cultivates the advancement of a community of K-12 teachers and students who continuously rediscover computing and apply its principles to creatively solve problems and engender innovation. We offer workshops for teachers and students, which include hands-on demonstrations of research by FIU computer science professors, problem solving techniques, and game programming.

Affiliated Faculty

Dr. Kip Irvine, Co-Director
Dr. Giri Narasimhan, Co-Director
Dr. Leonardo Bobadilla
Professor Cristy Charters
Dr. Debra Davis
Dr. Radu Jianu
Dr. Hien Nguyen, Miami-Dade College
Ruben Balmaceda, Assurant Solutions
Jamie Gant, Miami-Dade County Public Schools
For a list of current workshops, visit:

The Ultimate Software Academy for Computer Science Education is supported by a 10-year $1M grant from Ultimate Software, and sponsored by the FIU School of Computing and Information Sciences.  Students may bring their own laptops or use FIU’s lab computers. Contact email:


Ruben Balmaceda with his June 2016 Python PyGame workshop participants
Ruben Balmaceda with his June 2016 Python PyGame workshop participants



Outreach Summary:

Jan. 2015 — The Hispanic Heritage Foundation Loft STEM Leadership Symposium was held at the FIU GC Ballroom with 200 Dade/Broward HS students in attendance. Panelist Dr. Leonardo Bobadilla, FIU SCIS Faculty, discussed his career preparation for working in the area of robotics. Students performed role-playing exercises to further grasp the seven Army values: Loyalty, Duty, Respect, Selfless-Service, Honor, Integrity, and Personal Courage.

Dec. 2014 — CodeFest Miami 2014 and the Hour of Code — 100 elementary/middle/high schoolers attended a coding challenge session with prizes provided by local tech companies. Many attendees coded for the first time with the help of our CIS Students who mentored participants.

June 2014 – Partnered with the Hispanic Heritage Foundation and Google to present a Coding Jam for Middle Schoolers hosted by our school. 60 diverse students attended and experienced coding for the first time!

July 2014 – We hosted the Girls Who Code Miami Program Summer Cohort of 40 talented female High School students and taught students how to use APIs to develop a simple GIS application.

Miami Maker Faire outreach — FIU CIS Co-Produced the event. 4,000 attendees, targeted K-12 students, focus on robotics, electronics, and coding.

Miami Maker Faire kids soldering computer chips.The Miami Mini Maker Faire was held in Wynwood to the delight of almost 4,000 attendees and 100+ exhibitors. The Faire is held in creative communities around the world and is a celebration of imagination and innovation. FIU CIS co-produced the event that featured FIU student exhibits and workshops: Deon Wilkins and Fernando Campo presented the Unmanned Aerial Vehicles developed in the FIU Discovery Lab; Charleotte Farolan, Women in Computer Science President and WICS members hosted a day long soldering workshop where they taught hundreds of kids to assemble and solder a small robotic bug or a USB LED Flashlight; Diego Bracamonte worked with Microsoft to demonstrate 3D printing tools and integration; and Adam Manoussakis and members of the Miami Northwestern Bicycle Blenders demonstrated and distributed hundreds of human powered smoothies.

Cristy Charters, one of our new Instructors and the Regional Representative presented a workshop on teaching computer programming in elementary schools. At the FIU CIS booth, our advisors challenged attendees to solve a binary sudoku puzzle. Jairo Pava, and FIU CIS Alumni and Developer for Ultimate Software partnered with Miami-Dade County Library System and their Teen Technology Center YouMedia to demonstrate robotics technology and provide a workshop on engineering solutions with robotics.

As you can see from the Miami Herald write-up, this is a great community building and outreach activity to create STEAM career awareness in South Florida.

Many of our students and staff made significant contributions to the Faire’s operations especially Sydney Sheran, Ashley Austin, Joshua Martinez, and Camila Lomanto. The event will be even bigger next year and our School will continue to encourage FIU students, faculty and staff to inspire others by sharing their knowledge and creations.

Hour of Code Challenge! CodeFest Miami Grand Finale

Class Panoramic Picture


Florida International University School of Computing and Information Sciences, the Miami-Dade County Office of Commissioner Juan C. Zapata, LAB Miami, Miami-Dade County Public Schools, Miami-Dade College, and the Beacon Council, inspired by, hosted “Code Fest Miami” during Computer Science Education Week, December 9-15, 2013., a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting computer science education, created a nationwide campaign calling on every K-12 student in America to participate in an “Hour of Code.” The initiative engaged schools, teachers, and parents across the country to help introduce more than 15 million students of all ages to computer programming during Computer Science Education Week.

Throughout the week, Miami-Dade County Public Schools students participated in several in-school activities, online contests, workshops, and a grand coding finale called CodeFest Miami 2013 at FIU, all geared around giving every student the opportunity to write a computer program.

  • Teachers took their students to computer labs in their school, to go through tutorials on Scratch, a kid-friendly programming language created at MIT (
  • Beacon Council members sent their IT professionals to mentor students, at area schools, in programming, and explain to them about the many career opportunities for those who know how to write code.
  • Students of all grades joined an online contest hosted on Edmodo, where they submitted over 500-holiday greeting card animations using Scratch.
  • The top 20 greeting card winners and District students were invited to CodeFest Miami 2013 at FIU, to take part in a team-based computer programming activity, where students were asked to solve a challenge and present their solution to the group.

The Miami Maker Faire shows Miami’s growing Maker Movement

The Miami Maker Faire was held on Saturday, Nov. 16th, 2013 at the Lab Miami, located in the Wynwood Arts District of Downtown Miami. The Faire featured over 80 exhibits, presenters, and workshops and was attend by well over 1,000 people of all ages and interests. Maker Faires are known for their eclectic blending of arts and technology in celebrating innovation, creativity, and the Maker movement. As a sponsor and exhibitor of the Miami Maker Faire, FIU SCIS contributed to the Faire’s success in many ways:

  • The FIU Discovery Lab exhibited its student innovations including the latest advances in robotics and telepresence technologies.
  • Student organizations including the Game Developers Guild and AppDojo held workshops on game programming, Arduino programming, and building websites.
  • CoderDojos, FIU sponsored coding clubs for young people, demonstrated DIY Arduino creatures members built from electronic components and the code to operate these devices.
  • FIU Women in Computer Science conducted a soldering workshop where they trained nearly 200 young persons to build a USB charged LED Flashlight.
  • A small army of FIU SCIS student volunteers helped run registration, information, and event operations.

For more information about the event see:

Miami Herald’s “Miami ‘Maker Faire’ celebrates creativity, draws plenty of future engineers”Go to the article by clicking on this link.

Many thanks to all that participated and helped to make Miami’s first Maker Faire a great success!

K-12 Outreach Summary:

FIU Tapestry Workshop (July, 2013). The goals of the NSF funded high school instructor workshop to attract more and diverse students into your high school Computer Science classes by sharing strategies, research-based practices, and field-tested ideas for teaching computer science in a way that reaches all students regardless of sex or ethnicity.

SCIS hosted the Computer Science for High School (CS4HS, June 2013) a Google sponsored, three-day hands-on workshop for High School educators to promote computer science and computational thinking in high school curriculum. Topics include Embedded Systems and Robotics, Raspberry Pi software development, and programming with Python.

SCIS hosted the second annual FIU STEM Teachers Workshop in June 2013. The workshop, supported by a grant from Ultimate Software and attended by high school teachers from Broward and Miami-Dade counties, introduced computational thinking concepts, object-oriented visual programming skills and concepts, and basic Python programming skills.

Coderdojo Pembroke Pines, FIU sponsors Coderdojo, an international, coding club for kids. FIU students and staff volunteer their time to mentor students from 8-17 years of age in programming languages and robots like Scratch, Lego Mindstorms, and Sphero. The club meets twice a month at Broward County South West Regional Library and the Miami Science Museum. and

FIU Annual High School Programming Competition (April, 2013) hosted teams from schools throughout Florida. The competition is modeled after the ACM International Programming competitions- the team solving the most problems in the least amount of time with the fewest attempts wins!

National Robotics Week (April 2012/13): We provide an open house to area K-12 students in the FIU Discovery Lab. Undergraduate students demoed their latest projects in a variety of areas such as embedded controllers, mobile apps, robotics, sensor networks, 3D printing and design tools. We featured our renowned Telebot project, a telepresence robot design to help disable veterans and police work again.

Engineering Expo Day (Feb, 2013): Over 1,500 Miami-Dade and Broward elementary and middle school students visit our Engineering Center Campus where many participated in robotics demonstrations and activities provided by faculty and students of the FIU Discovery Lab.