The mission of the MBUS Leadership Engagement And Development Students (LEADS) program is to enhance student

success in CARTA through the development of a group of highly-selective and motivated CARTA students. MBUS

LEADS provides its student members with access to special professional experiences, leadership

opportunities, as well as prospects for social, professional, and community engagement revolving around Miami Beach

and members of the MBUS LAB. Applications for membership are open to all full-time students in and graduates of the College of

Communication, Architecture + The Arts with cumulative GPAs of 3.0 or higher. The program will be administered by the

staff of the Miami Beach Urban Studios under advisement from Dean of the College, CARTA Leadership, and MBUS LAB



The vision of the MBUS LEADS is to develop a mechanism to enhance FIU CARTA student experience and grow the

creative economy in South Florida by providing highly-sought after and individually-crafted leadership and creative

research experiences as well as mentoring opportunities that will assist motivated CARTA students to reach the highest

levels of success. The vision includes the development of student leadership within MBUS LEADS and an MBUS LEADS

alumni team.

What MBUS LEADS Offers

MBUS LEADS offers student members a series of possible opportunities that might include:

· Invitations to special events sponsored by MBUS LAB members
· Individualized professional advising from MBUS LAB members related to cv- and portfolio-building, and interviewing skills
· Opportunities to build a leadership portfolio within MBUS LEADS.
· Unique connections to influential professionals in a variety of fields
· An environment to connect to other motivated students in the College
· Invitations to special events, dinners, and mixers
· A terrific award line on the cv that may open new doors to opportunity
· The possibility of additional special scholarship prizes to students for outstanding participation

Outline of MBUS LEADS Selection and Retention Process

During each fall semester, MBUS LEADS will open the call for new members from all full-time CARTA students with cumulative GPAs of 3.0 or higher. Faculty members will be invited to nominate students and will also be asked to be available for a reference, if necessary. Student will be asked to provide a CV and a one-page description of his/her professional goals and aspirations, along with an unofficial copy of his/her transcripts. Applications will be evaluated by a committee comprised of MBUS LAB members, CARTA faculty, staff, and administrators, and selected based upon their cv, professional goals, scholastic achievement, and recommendations.


2019 Cohort

Alexandra Del Canto 
Master of Fine Arts


Bryan McNeil, PhD
Master of Landscape Architecture

Carrington Ware
Master of Fine Arts

D. S. Diez
Master of Architecture

Dillon J. DiBartolomeo
BA in Organizational Communication

Joaquin Stacey
Bachelor of Fine Arts

Kareem Alashi
Master of Architecture

Kiara Pajon
BA in Public Relations and Advertising

Ligia Filgueiras
Master of Architecture

Luciano Romero
Master of Architecture

Lutaban Janea
Master of Architecture

Melissa Cancio
BA Advertising

Monica Dragalina
Master of Architecture

Patricia Matamoros
Master of Landscape Architecture

Sabrina Chi
BA in Public Relations and Applied Communications


2018 Cohort

Nikolas Arvanitopoulos 
Masters of Architecture

Devin Bess
Graphic Design & Communication Arts

Sarah Bossa 

Maria Camila Costantini 
Masters of Architecture

Christopher Crocitto
Masters of Architecture

Kevin Cuellar
Communication Arts 

Marian Diaz
masters of Architecture

Oriana Espinoza
Masters of Architecture

Mylene Feng
Masters of Architecture

Marjorie Gault
Masters of Architecture

Sonia Gonzalez-Park
Masters of Architecture

Iman Hassan

Karla Kantorovich

Van Le
Masters of Architecture 

Camila Lohezic
Masters of Architecture 

Marina Mikhaiel
Masters of Architecture 

Marie Mondiere
Masters of Architecture 

Abigail Morales
Art + Art History  

Arina Polyanskaya
Art + Art History  

Denis Rovinsky
Art + Art History  

Maria Serrano
Journalism + Broadcast Media 

Gabriela Soto
Masters of Architecture

Aria Tsiomakidis
Graphic Design

Diana Vazquez
Masters of Architecture

Ronald Vidal
Communication Arts


2017 Cohort

Albert Elias
Architecture ’17
German Montoya, Mentor

Albert is the founder of a data visualization and design startUP that is developing on augmented/virtual reality application to inform the public on everglades restoration, sea level rise, and their effects on our communities.

Angelica Guiterrez
Adelee Cabrerra: Mentor

Angelica is involved in various organizations on campus such as Lambda Pi Eta, BOLD and the social Media Association.

Brian Rivera
Architecture ’17
Michael Larkin, Mentor

Brian Rivera immediately after graduation  traveled with a group of other recent grads around Asia and the Middle East. They focused on chasing architecture – from designers such as Zaha Hadid, Toyo Ito, Kenzo Kuma, SOM, and countless more. For all those spending 5 long years studying in the architecture track, he recommends doing whatever you can (even on a budget) to see the architecture for yourself, whether its locally or around the world. One can then capture all those global ideas and plug them into personal endeavors, which is what he hoping to do at a sustainable design firm in New York.  Brian says “It was always important to me – and should be to anyone studying architecture – that we pick a firm that not only accepts but enables our ideas and ambitions for architecture.”  “A like-minded firm that appreciates your values to the world but also plans to use them as strategies to benefit the community, not just for business or “profit” – that’s the kind of place MBUS LEADS has helped me find.” MBUS Leads has allowed brian to network with professionals in the field that is well connected, including the developer for Herzog & de Meuron buildings in Miami. His best experience thus far was being mentored by Michael Larkin, zoning lawyer for architects with some of the largest projects in Miami. They offered the best advice going forward at this point in my career, and connections that will last a lifetime.

Carlos Garcia
Art + Art History
Adriano Salucci, Mentor

Carlos is a graphic design student, currently working in a design internship for Dean Schriner of CARTA.

Chris Gongora
Architecture ’17
LinkedIn Profile

After receiving my Master’s of Architecture this Spring 2017, I embarked on a 3 month, 10,000 mile motorcycle road trip across the country.  With a tent, a couple changes of clothes and some canned beans I made my home in America’s most inspiring landscapes: soggy bayous, dark canyon floors, snow capped mountains and white sand dunes to name a few. I am now an Associate Architect at CH Architects a small, but growing architecture firm that is now expanding into a development and construction firm.  We do not just design-build, but develop some of our own projects as well.  We are also working on modifying zoning codes to guide Detroit’s growth.  In the coming years, along with getting licensed, I plan to learn how to acquire and redevelop property using the skills I have learned at Florida International University to design healthy and inclusive neighborhoods.

Darren Ockert
Chad Oppenhiem, Mentor

Darren is interested in aligning architecture and nature to create beauty and harmony. Darren says “as an experienced entrepreneur myself, I would be honored to learn from Chad who has achieved international entrepreneurial success and recognition.

Gianna DiBartolomeo
Art + Art History 
Pablo De Ritis, Mentor

Gianna DiBartolomeo is an MFA candidate (2019). During her mentorship, she was nominated for and won first place — the Velia Sweet Scholarship from The Women in the Visual Arts, Inc. She was selected as a fellow for the highly competitive FIU Ratcliffe Art + Design Incubator. Additionally she was accepted into Vizcaya’s CAP Lab program with her site-specific art installation to be on view during Vizcaya’s Art Basel VIP event.

Hanah DavenPort
Michelle Kucharczyk, Mentor

Hannah is inspired by how the New World Symphony manages to provide accessibility to the arts, as well as create interest in it.

Jaury Jean-Enard
Deborah Briggs: Mentor

Jaury Jean-Enard, recent Communication Arts graduate and landed an account management position with XPLAIN in New York City working on PepsiCo.

Jessica Mendez
Thomas Camy, Mentor

Jessica is self descried curious, dynamic, and passionate self starter, driven by the “whys” and tenacious, to say the least.

Jessica Suhr
Asi Cymbal, Mentor

Jessica hopes to learn how to activate a team of designers, engineers, and planners to engage the challenge of realizing urban, mixed-use development.

Karl-Eric Valcin
Jeff  Weinstein, Mentor

Karl-Eric notes that understanding and why certain projects get built while others fail to survive is an invaluable insight. Karl says “As an architecture student we don’t often get to engage with the real-life pragmatic aspects behind the buildings we examine.”

Marcus Norris
Music ’17
Michelle Kucharczyk, Mentor

Composer and producer Marcus Norris was called a “New Musical Talent in our Midst” by Chicago’s N’digo Magazine in response to his “When Composer’s Lose Composure” concert in 2014. He studied Music Recording Technology at Schoolcraft College in Livonia, Michigan and subsequently earned his Bachelors of Music in Composition at Columbia College Chicago. He earned Masters of Music in Composition degree at Florida International University and has participated in masterclasses with Augusta Reed Thomas and Italian Composer Ferdinando Lazzaro. He expects to earn his PHD in music at UCLA where he was awarded a prestigious Cota-Robles fellowship. For more information on Marcus and his music visit www.MarcusNorris.com

Maria Flores
Architecture ’17
Chad Oppenhiem, Mentor

Architecture has taken maria’s life in an amazing way and she wanted to be able to learn from the very best in the field about this beautiful profession which encompasses all things such as psychology, the future, materials and development.

Robby Peña
Chad Oppenhiem, Mentor

Robby is a recent grad and a creative and goal oriented aspiring architect with well-driven passion for architecture. He is currently an intern at ODP Architecture and Design.

Shari Gayle
Interior Architecture
LinkedIn Profile

Shari is a creative. She is passionate about life, Design, and creating with intention. this is a common thread no matter what pursuit. She aims to give her best at what she does.

Vanessa Correa
Deborah Briggs, Mentor

Along with her passion for communications and writing. Vanessa firmly believes art brings people together and helps create partnerships and a sense of solidarity.