Engineering alumna Dani Rojas receives national honor for her work | FIU News

Engineering alumna Dani Rojas receives national honor for her work | FIU News

By Adrienne Sylver

At the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, Dani Rojas was under remarkable strain at get the job done. The younger Abbott Laboratories engineer was billed with keeping the company’s COVID diagnostic gear up and managing 24/7.

As the issue issue professional on the equipment, at any time it went down, she was referred to as. “It didn’t make any difference if it was 3 a.m., I was there,” she claimed. “I experienced T-minus two several hours to fix no matter what was wrong or the CEO would be notified.”

Rojas, 29, who graduated from FIU in 2018 with a B.S. in Biomedical Engineering from the Higher education of Engineering and Computing, not too long ago acquired the Fantastic Accomplishment Award in the Technologies Soaring Star category at the once-a-year Gals of Color STEM meeting. The awards showcase excellence and innovation and the beneath-illustration of varied women of all ages in scientific and complex fields.

“The market is even now quite male-dominated and it tends to make you sense as if you have to perform twice as tough to do well,” Rojas reported. “It was gratifying just to be nominated for the award, and getting it was great.”

Rojas credits the lab setting at FIU for giving her a raise when starting her career.

“The lab encounter taught me so substantially,” she explained. “I discovered how to community, how to carry out experiments and how to use simulation application like SolidWorks. Those people expertise became my golden ticket. I generally tell men and women it’s not just about the lessons you consider. Communicate to professors and grad college students about their analysis. Look for what interests you.”

Her work in FIU’s Adaptive Neural Programs Lab, in distinct, enabled her to get an internship with Beckman Coulter Inc., in Miami, which turned into a lasting position when she graduated. Rojas was a production engineer at Beckman Coulter until finally she left for Abbott Laboratories in Illinois in December of 2020.

At Abbott, she first labored as a venture engineer, exactly where she was assigned to the rapid diagnostics small business unit. Lately, she turned a venture manager for the company’s capital planning division.

“It’s a incredibly different part, but it will allow me to use my engineering history although finding out far more about the company and finance areas of production,” Rojas explained. The division develops and implements large-scale manufacturing initiatives and she performs routinely with teams all over the environment, like teams in Germany and Eire.

As a sports-loving youngster developing up in Colombia, Rojas never pictured herself as an engineer. She moved to New Jersey as a young teen and then again to Colombia, exactly where she concluded significant college. At some point, she moved to South Florida. Continue to unsure about her long term, she commenced local community university toying with the notion of pursuing journalism or nursing.

“I was great at math and chemistry and when I took a couple of simple engineering classes, a professor encouraged me to believe about biomedical engineering,” she mentioned. Immediately after transferring to FIU, Rojas hit her stride, commencing a biomedical club with an additional university student and seeking out lab alternatives.

She strongly believes that there is much too substantially pressure on teens to make a decision what they want to do for the relaxation of their life. “It’s ok to not know what you want to do at the age of 18,” she mentioned. “Take the time to check out and get random courses that appear to be appealing. Chat to professors. They are delighted when you ask them about their get the job done or their labs. Talk to if they have to have help in the lab. You will be amazed at the possibilities you have.”

It is usually gratifying to see FIU alumni excel, reported John L. Volakis, dean of the Higher education of Engineering and Computing. “And when a person of our graduates, these types of as Dani, is acknowledged on the nationwide stage, it would make us proud that a Panther is building a big difference in the environment currently.”

Rojas, who has lately taken up portray as a pastime, claimed she is regularly requested about her foreseeable future designs. When she responses, she sounds a bit like the university university student she was not extended ago. “I’m not genuinely guaranteed,” she admitted. “My manager asks me this all the time. I would like to be the challenge owner of these million-dollar ability initiatives one day. But I’m nonetheless learning something new every single day.”