Dani Rojas, a former engineering student, received a national honor for her work. FIU News | Jobs Vox


by Adrienne Silver

At the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, Dani Rojas was under immense pressure at work. The young engineer at Abbott Laboratories was charged with keeping the company’s Covid diagnostic equipment up and running 24/7.

As the subject matter expert on the equipment, he was called upon whenever it went down. “It didn’t matter if it was 3 a.m., I was there,” she said. “I had T-minus two hours to fix whatever was wrong or the CEO would be reported.”

Rojas, 29, who graduated from FIU in 2018 with a BS in Biomedical Engineering from the College of Engineering and Computing, recently received the Outstanding Achievement Award in the Technology Rising Star category at the annual Women of Color STEM conference. The awards reflect excellence and innovation in scientific and technological fields and the under-representation of diverse women.

“The industry is still very male dominated and it makes you feel like you have to work twice as hard to be successful,” Rojas said. “It was a great pleasure to be nominated for the award, and it was awesome to receive it.”

Rojas credits the lab environment at FIU for fostering him when he began his career.

“The lab experience taught me a lot,” she said. “I learned how to build networks, conduct experiments and use simulation software like SolidWorks. That skill became my golden ticket. I always tell people it’s not just about the classes you take. Talk to professors and graduate students about their research. See what interests you.

His work in FIU’s Adaptive Neural Systems Lab, in particular, enabled him to land an internship with Beckman Coulter Inc. in Miami, which turned into a permanent position upon graduation. Rojas was a manufacturing engineer at Beckman Coulter until her departure in December 2020 for Abbott Laboratories in Illinois.

At Abbott, she first served as a project engineer, where she was assigned to the Rapid Diagnostics business unit. Most recently, she became Project Manager for the capital planning division of the company.

“It is a very different role, but it allows me to use my engineering background while learning more about the business and finance aspects of construction,” Rojas said. The division develops and implements large scale construction projects and regularly works with teams around the world, including groups in Germany and Ireland.

As a sports-loving young man growing up in Colombia, Rojas never saw himself as an engineer. She moved to New Jersey as a young teen and then moved back to Colombia, where she completed high school. Eventually, she moved to South Florida. Still unsure of her future, she started community college with the idea of ​​pursuing journalism or nursing.

“I was good at math and chemistry, and after I took some basic engineering classes, a professor encouraged me to think about biomedical engineering,” she said. After transferring to FIU, Rojas started a biomedical club with another student and looked for lab opportunities.

She strongly believes that there is a lot of pressure on teenagers to decide what they want to do for the rest of their lives. “It’s okay not to know what you want to do at 18,” she said. “Take the time to find and take random classes that sound interesting. Talk to professors. They cheer when you ask them about their work or their labs. Ask if they need help with the lab.” You’d be amazed at the opportunities you have.”

It is always a pleasure to see FIU alumni excelling, said John L. Volakis, Dean of the College of Engineering and Computing. “And when one of our graduates like Dani is recognized on a national stage, we are proud that a Panther is making a difference in the world today.”

Rojas, who has recently taken up painting as a hobby, said she is regularly asked about her future plans. When she answers, she sounds like a college student from a while ago. “I’m not really sure,” she admitted. “My boss asks me this all the time. I would like to be a project owner on these million-dollar potential projects one day. But I’m still learning something new every day.”


Source link

Implement tags. Simulate a mobile device using Chrome Dev Tools Device Mode. Scroll page to activate.