MBUS LEADS Participants2024-02-05T11:45:57-05:00



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 members.


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.

MBUS LEADS Strategies

  • Current Students: Shadowing, Videos of LAB members, Meet leading professionals
  • Graduating Students: Networking, Resume workshopping then Mock interviews, Advice on job offers
  • Alumni: Networking/Chambers, Workshop on a variety of job opportunities, Workshop budget and tax forms, Stay in touch with faculty members
  • For All: Negotiation skills/strategies, Management skills, Presentation skills, Self-branding skills, Financial success strategies, Work/life balance strategies

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

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.


 2024 Cohort


James Aaseng

Master of Architecture

James is an architecture student who is passionate about creating memorable experiences through architectural design. He specializes in anything design related, including modeling, rendering, building, and drawing.

Tijonne Allen MBUS LEADS 2024 cohort

Tijonne Allen

 Art & Art History Visual Arts

Tijonne is an artist well-versed in exhibition planning, installation, and museum maintenance. With a robust skill set, Tijonne brings a combination of artistic flair and practical expertise to ensure impactful presentations and the smooth operation of cultural spaces.

Maria Sophia Baier headshot LEADS 2024

Marie Sophia Baier

 Global Strategic Communications

Marie has a diverse background and practical experience in event planning, Content Management Systems, Adobe Creative Cloud, and more. She is passionate about traveling, gaining new experiences and connecting with different cultures.

Nicole Cater MBUS LEADS 2024 cohort

Nicole Cater 

Master of Architecture

Nicole is a freelance designer who uses her skills to create innovative and sustainable solutions. Nicole is passionate about architecture as a way of improving the quality of life and the environment, and utilizes skills in digital art to enhance her work.

belkis headshot

Belkis Gonzalez

 Art & Art History Visual Arts

Embracing the power of art, Belkis crafts authentic perspectives that articulate her passions, culture, and identity. Her work serves as mirrors to the realities of our times, spanning both past and present.


Emily Mayorga 

Master of Architecture

Emily is an architecture student who is passionate about serving people and creating spaces that encourage experiences and joy. She is skilled in many applications such as AutoCAD, Revit, Rhino and more, and she also serves as the Philanthropy and Social Chair for Alpha Rho Chi.

Karim Nishida MBUS LEADS 2024 cohort

Karim Nishida 

Master of Architecture

Karim is an architecture student based in Miami Beach with an affinity towards exploring and studying the surrounding environments especially through walking. Karim is particularly interested in the merging of architecture and art through the design of installations and experiences in audio-visual practice.

Yenifer Padron MBUS LEADS 2024 cohort

Yenifer Padron 

Graphic Design

Yenifer, a Miami-born multidisciplinary artist, has spent 6 years developing her diverse artistic skills and creativity. She has worked as a creative director, collaborated with businesses and musicians to enhance brands, and created visually striking artworks. She is interested in modern branding for clean and appealing advertisements and packaging.

Marina Rivera MBUS LEADS 2024 cohort

Mariana Rivera 

 Art & Art History Visual Arts

Mariana is an Art History major, fueled by a lifelong passion for art. She seamlessly transitions between painting, drawing, and crocheting, finding a therapeutic and relaxing outlet in each medium. Her deep connection to the creative process not only shapes her artistic pursuits but also serves as a guiding force in making life-altering decisions, defining her journey and identity.

Jadayne Smith MBUS LEADS 2024 cohort

Jadayne Smith

Master of Architecture

Jadayne is in his final year of the Master of Architecture program and is committed to employing creative problem-solving and practicing conscientious design. He is interested in visual arts, handcrafting, and digital fabrication.


Justina Vaicelionyte

Master of Architecture

Justina’s academic background is in sustainability and the environment, and she is currently pursuing a master’s in architecture. One of her goals is to bridge the two and come up with sustainable solutions for living, materials and create with no carbon footprint.


 2023 Cohort


Chelsea Julia Abella

 Interior Architecture / Honors College

As an artist and freelance designer, Chelsea’s works to connect her local communities by translating music culture into hand-drawn promotional posters for creatives and their independent events. She is studying multiple dimensions of design as a graduate student in the Interior Architecture program, and she combines physical space and illustration to create projection animation that functions as both set design and promotional graphic design.

Untitled design 4

Keisha Dailey


Once she graduates, Keisha aspires to start her PR, Marketing, or Event Coordinating career utilizing the skills she has learned at FIU. She currently works full-time as an Executive Assistant at a leading marketing agency, Tinuiti.

karen dorra

Karen Dorra

 Landscape Architecture

Karen’s work focuses on creating walkable cities with a wide range of housing and job opportunities. She is currently an intern at DPZ CoDESIGN.

Nicole Giraldo

Nicole Giraldo

 Art & Art History Visual Arts

Nicole works in a variety of mediums such as painting, drawing, and ceramics. Her work focuses on her environment and upbringing and she explores her childhood interest of birds.

Zoë Gonzales

Zoe-Ananda Gonzales

 Art & Art History

Zoe-Ananda realized her passion for the Arts while working at the Perez Art Museum. She is currently working at Contemporary Nail- Art Salon, Vanity Projects (VP), a non-conventional salon environment modeled after an art gallery. She aspires to be an art curator.


Mariantonia Gutierrez

 Interdisplinary Studies & Art History

Mariantonia is a multidisciplinary artist. Her artwork takes on critical views of consciousness, spirituality, nature preservation and the interconnectedness of it all.


Marianne Kamhazi

 Global Strategic Communications

Marianne’s interests include Marketing, Social Media, and Public Relations. She also enjoys participating in volunteer service, learning about new languages and cultures, as well as doing in-depth research on topics such as psychology and real estate.


2022 Cohort

Dalia Green

Dalia Berlin
Art & Art History Visual Arts

Dalia is both an Interior Designer and Visual Artist who works in painting and fiber. Her work seeks to continue the legacy of Velazquez’s “Las Meninas”.

Stephan Celesting More cropped

Stephan Celestin
Art & Art History Visual Arts

Stephan works in drawing and painting. His work addresses the political and social climate, from a satirical perspective.

Ana Paula Headshot

Ana Paula Leal

Ana’s architectural work encompasses functionality while also focusing on the emotional and physical wellbeing of the public. She also enjoys working on traditional and digital art.

Veronica Loli

Veronica Loli
Communication Arts

Monia Meluzzi 1

Monia Meluzzi
Art & Art History Visual Arts

Monia utilizes pen, pencil, and even found objects to portray her view of global disastrous events. Her use of materials is significant, as she hopes to express herself without contributing to the damage of the environment.

Kayla J. Montizaan Headshot

Kayla J. Montizaan
Art & Art History Visual Arts

Marco Ordonez 2019

Marco Ordonez
Art & Art History Visual Arts

Debora Rodriguez Dominguez

Debora Rodriguez
Art & Art History Visual Arts

Lauren Pedersen headshot

Lauren Pedersen
Art & Art History 

Lauren is passionate about Art History, with a focus on Contemporary and Modern Art. She is currently a substitute teacher and aims to become an Art History educator.


Daniel Serrano Mateo
Interior Architecture 

Daniel is currently an Interior Design Intern at Starwood Capital Group.

Surayah Taibi Headshot

Surayah Taibi-Briz
Art & Art History Visual Arts 

Surayah, also known as Saya Ritz, often employs hand dyed fabrics, textiles, and printmaking in her work to portray memories and stories from her perspective.

Jose Toro

Jose Toro


2021 Cohort

Rosangela Bruno
Public Relations Advertising & Applied Communications—PRAAC

Rosangela is a professional digital marketing and social media freelancer with a passion for technology and design. She is also interested in optimizing websites and is working towards a UX/UI Design certification.

Miguel Camacho
Graphic Design

Miguel is a designer whose work emphasizes diversity. His projects include digital art and illustration, photography, advertising, tattooing, and more.

Batir  Carerra
Master of Architecture

Batir is an architectural designer whose company, Obelisk Architecture, focuses on providing fast, high quality CAD plans for any projects.

Emily Chavez

Emily is currently working towards her Master of Arts in Live Entertainment Management. She is affiliated with Area Stage Company here in Miami, FL.

Angeline Esperance

Angeline has a passion for storytelling and uses her background in qualitative and ethnographic research to do so. She is currently a strategy intern at R/GA in New York.

Paula Fleites Villasol
Art History and Natural & Applied Sciences

Paula is a Research Assistant for I-Interview Lab at FIU and an Assistant Art Appraiser at Anubis Appraisal & Estate Services.

Danika Green
Art + Art History Visual Arts

Danika is a photographer who works with both analog and digital photography. Her photography captures personal moments and what she describes as “spontaneous reminiscing.”

Claudia Hernandez

Claudia is a Public Relations Coordinator at RockOrange with an interest in keeping busy. She also maintains a personal blog to capture moments at the PR events she attends.

Brea Jones

Brea is a strategic leader and journalist who is working to stop the spread of misinformation for FactCheck.org. She utilizes her skills as a journalist and her interest in art to convey her experiences through storytelling.

Elyssa Llanso
Art + Art History Visual Arts

Elyssa works with drawing and painting and is interested in depictions of people of color, particularly women, and the challenges of identity and race.

Viviana Nunes

Viviana is currently the Director of Marketing at FIU Public Relations Student Society of America. She has a special interest in Social Media and E-Marketing.

Naomy Peralta-Gomez
Master of Architecture

Priscilla Pozo

Priscilla works as a Dance Instructor at South Florida Ballet and has a passion for dance and photography. She combines her skills in communication, photography, and dance to create content for the dance studio.

Ray Reina
Master of Architecture

Ray is an Architectural Designer whose work reimagines overlooked, underutilized, and unevolved spaces to be more activated and sustainable.

Ivo Rondinoni
Master of Architecture

Emily Silverio-Williams
Art + Art History BA in Art

Emily is a Digital Artist who is trained in both digital and traditional art. She has flexibility in working with different mediums.

Liudmyla Stasiv
Master of Architecture

Liudmyla is an Architectural Designer and Urban Enthusiast. She is most interested in sustainable urban design and city planning.

Shira Zeller
Global Strategic Communications

Shira is interested in the ways communication sparks connectivity and focuses on storytelling through media and public speaking.


2020 Cohort

Angela Anzola
Master of Architecture

Angela is an Associate at William Hamilton Arthur Architect, Inc.

Stacy Argueta
Psychology and Public Relations, Advertising and Applied Communication

Camilo Arteaga
Music Composition

Camilo is a composer who has worked alongside many accomplished musicians. He is interested in many unique styles of music and continues to fine-tune his creativity and craftmanship, all while educating students on Piano, Electric Bass, and Music Theory.

Claudia Benoit
Communication and Psychology

Claudia has an interest in Public Relations, and uses her skills to write for the FIU Lambda Pi Eta chapter newsletter. She is also a student Administrative Assistant and Event Planner at The George Washington University.

Warner Chisholm
Master of Landscape Architecture

Shirley Chong
 Art + Art History

Shirley is an artist who has a special interest in ceramics and fiber art. Her work often explores themes of ceremony and mindfulness.

Grace Cox
Art + Art History Education

Grace works in a variety of materials as a way to express the signs of life in the background noise and the beauty in what is often missed.

Dominique Dawson

Dominique is the President of the nonprofit organization, Blogionista Travels Foundation where she aims to assist citizens of Jamaica and underprivileged minority youth through traveling experiences, mentorships, and education.

Stanley Evans
Master of Architecture

Stanley is a Junior Project Coordinator at Humphreys & Partners Architects. He aspires to be a Real Estate Developer.

Sofia Fascia
Art + Art History 

Sofia is a Photographer, Graphic Designer, and Creative Director. Currently she is the Full-time Social Media Manager at Woxer.

Marthylda Francois
Master of  Architecture

Marthylda has an interest in digital design and experience in providing creative concept solutions in architecture. She is currently an Architectural Designer at ODP Architecture and Design.

Neil Mayorga
Master of Architecture

Neil is an Architectural Designer whose large-scale designs emphasizes the importance of community.

Joshua Gibson
Theatre Scenic Design

Josh is a Scenic Designer, Artist, and Technician who has experience in scenic painting, props, carpentry, stained glass, drag makeup, costume construction and more. He is a resident Production Designer at New York Film Academy and is designing shows for NYU’s New Studio on Broadway.

Arisel Hughes
Master of Architecture

Arisel is on track to Graduate with her Master’s in Architecture in 2023. She discovered her passion for architecture after watching a documentary about Maya Lin in high school and is currently an Architectural intern at Nichols Architects in Miami.

Arianna Maxwell
Digital Communication

Arianna is skilled in Analytical Decision making, Communication, Data Analysis, and Business Operations. She is currently a Community Manager at Buro Miami.

Amanda McKenna

Amanda is a creative marketing and communications specialist whose mission encompasses her values of solving problems and serving people, creatively and ethically. She is also interested in website building, NFTs, sustainable living and more.

Matthew Nuzum
Master of Architecture

Matthew’s work focuses on finding sustainable material to rethink adaptability in architecture. He also has a passion for traveling.

Fabian Osorio

Fabian is a Multimedia Journalist whose experiences in living in four different countries (Colombia, Panama, Canada, and the USA) has provided him insight on understanding and respecting diversity, which he applies in his work.

Claudia Ruiz
Art + Art History

Claudia is an Artist who is passionate about gallery shows, museums, and books. She’s found an interest in art history, and especially Asian history.

Sue Salarrayan
Master of Architecture

Sue is an Architectural Designer at Kobi Karp Architecture & Interior Design and is skilled in marketing strategy, model making, art, and more.

Sarah Sassen
Master of Architecture

Sarah is a Designer, Entrepreneur, and Architect who specializes in 3D printing, 3D modeling, and 3D prototyping. She is currently working on building a Delta Ceramic 3D printer.

Tori Scott
Art + Art History

Tori is a multidisciplinary artist whose work revolves around the idea of black liberation and existence.

Brett Serfozo
Master of Architecture

Brett is an Architectural Designer who has experience with technologies such as Autocad, Rhino, and Revit and has previous experience with 3d design and product prototyping.

Matheus Stancati
Master of Architecture

Matheus is a Co-founder of Sunken Blimp, an interdisciplinary design exploration company. His passion lies in the intersection between Design, Neuroscience, Robotics, and Industrial Design.

Alexander Stauber
Master of Landscape Architecture

Alex is an Architectural Designer who is currently working as a Design intern at Dixie Landscape LLC.

Ramses Terrero
Master of Architecture

Ramses is the Founder and Creative Director of Studio Nobody LLC, a multi-disciplinary design studio. He is also a Project Engineer at BThree Endeaver Development International, and professor at FIU SOA.

Mishelle Wade
Art + Art History

Mishelle is the Owner and Artist at The Henna Witch. She provides Miami a VIP service and ceremonial body art for events, retreats, and private parties.


2019 Cohort

Alexandra Del Canto 
Master of Fine Arts

Alexandra is a Photographer who specializes in Black and White and Color Film Photography, Digital Photography, as well as Adobe programs.

Bryan McNeil, PhD
Master of Landscape Architecture

Bryan is a Designer at Urban Robot Associates, Inc. He is interested in exploring how the spaces we inhabit influence how we interact, both individually and socially.

Carrington Ware
Master of Fine Arts

Carrington is a multidisciplinary artist whose work relearns and explores narratives, stories, and stereotypes of black people with a deeper interest in black women/black identifying women.

D. S. Diez
Master of Architecture

David has been a student mentor for the University of Michigan’s Architecture program for highschool students and Dream in Green at Miami Sunset Senior High. His interest in healthcare and well-being design has led him to work for Bermello Ajamil Architects in their healthcare design studio.

Dillon J. DiBartolomeo
BA in Organizational Communication

Dillon is an Account Manager at WOW MKTG, a full-service marketing agency in Coral Gables, FL, where he works with multiple clients, ranging from the healthcare sector and non-profit organization to automotive and sports industries. He has a passion for cooking and comedy and fulfils his passions by participating in cooking competitions and performing stand-up comedy.

Joaquin Stacey
Bachelor of Fine Arts

Joaquin’s work deals directly with nostalgia, the fragility of memory, and how fast time can pass. He often erases, destroys, and covers up parts of his work to challenge his attachment to objects.

Kareem Alashi
Master of Architecture

Kareem is a Project Coordinator at Building Envelope Contractors and an Associate Member of the American Institute of Architects (AIA).

Kiara Pajon
BA in Public Relations and Advertising

Kiara is a Social Media and Public Relations Coordinator at Soto Agency, with a background in brand development, strategic planning, and influencer management.

Ligia Filgueiras
Master of Architecture

Ligia is a Junior Architect at Pininfarina with an interest in emerging technologies and their influence on the design field.


Lutaban Janea
Master of Architecture

Lutaban is an Architectural Designer at LEO A DALY , with a background in Architectural Drafting. She’s skilled in Adobe Suite, AutoCAD, Revit, Rhino, Lumion, Bangla, English, project management, and more.

Melissa Cancio
BA Advertising

Melissa combines her marketing, advertising, and public relations skills with her passion for social responsibility to communicate through storytelling. She is a Sales Consultant and Leasing Agent at Albion Evanston and Village Green.

Gabriela Monica Dragalina
Master of Architecture

Gabriela is an Architectural Staff II at BRPH with an interest in Architecture and Planning. She is experienced in Revit and other programs.

Patricia Matamoros
Master of Landscape Architecture

Patricia is a landscape designer and associate/project manager at Savino & Miller Design Studio with a background in both landscape architecture and architecture. She is an active advocate of resiliency, bringing five years of experience working on large-scale resiliency public space projects in Miami, engaging in public speaking opportunities, and volunteering in efforts to raise awareness and take action to adapt to climate change.

Sabrina Chi
BA in Public Relations and Applied Communications

Sabrina is a Product Support Specialist at Merkle. She is a creative with a background in business.


2018 Cohort

Nikolas Arvanitopoulos 
Masters of Architecture

Nikolas is a Partner and Project Manager at Arvani Building Works and Assistant Project Architect at Lizardo Architects Inc. He is passionate about creative processes and building efficient systems.

Devin Bess
Graphic Design & Communication Arts

Devin is a Senior Computer Science Student at FIU with an interest in providing user-centric solutions that highlight HCI and implement protections of consumer privacy and data.

Sarah Bossa 

Maria Camila Costantini 
Masters of Architecture

Maria is a Designer and Apprentice at Gehl. She is passionate about improving the well-being of people through design, and explores different technologies such as extended reality to do so.

Christopher Crocitto
Masters of Architecture

Christopher is an Architectural Designer at TJJA Architects P.A, and the Founder and Editor in Chief at Clique the Mag Collaborators.

Kevin Cuellar
Communication Arts 

Kevin is a Human Resources Specialist at Miami-Dade County who is passionate about people, whether that be helping employees feel safe and articulating meaningful visions to help employees go above and beyond their capabilities.

Marian Diaz
Masters of Architecture

Marian is an Architectural Associate at Dingwall Architecture.

Mylene Feng
Masters of Architecture

Mylene is an Architecture and Interior Design Manager at White Steel LLC, and a Student at Law Ontario.

Marjorie Gault
Masters of Architecture

Sonia Gonzalez-Park
Masters of Architecture

Sonia is a filmmaker, currently working in Japan. Her work deals with the ideas of Japanese kabuki traditions and masculinity by reimagining them in a South Florida landscape.

Iman Hassan

Karla Kantorovich

Karla is a Teaching Artist at the Jewish Museum of Florida. Her work is mixed media, and she is passionate about being involved in the community.

Van Le
Masters of Architecture 

Camila Lohezic
Masters of Architecture 

Camila is an Architectural Designer whose goal is to use her strong concept development and design skills toward experimental and provoking undertakings. She also has an interest in playing the electric guitar, cooking Italian food, and traveling.

Marina Mikhaiel
Masters of Architecture 

Marina Mikhaiel is and Associate Architect at GarciaStromberg |GS4studios.

Marie Mondiere
Masters of Architecture 

Abigail Morales
Art + Art History  

Abigail is a Contemporary Artist whose work details her fascination with the human body and mind in relation to societies everyday complexities. She often combines figurative with abstract in her work.

Arina Polyanskaya
Art + Art History  

Arina is an Artist and Research Assistant at the Neural Dynamics of Control Laboratory at FIU. She combines her knowledge of Psychology and Fine Arts to create her work.

Denis Rovinsky
Art + Art History  

Denis is an artist whose work exist at the intersection of science and art, by blending light and color theory with sound technology and scientific factors of space and time, dispersion, and acoustics. His work creates a multi-sensory experience.

Maria Serrano
Journalism + Broadcast Media 

Maria is a Television News Reporter at WWMT-TV News Channel 3. She is a member of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists.

Gabriela Soto
Masters of Architecture

Gabriela is an Architect at HKS, Inc. who is skilled in Revit, Rhino, AutoCAD, Lumion, Enscape, and Adobe Creative Suite.

Aria Tsiomakidis
Graphic Design

Aria is a Creative Director at Romain Berg with an interest in generating conversions and traffic for clients through proven methodologies and refined techniques. She is proficient in the creation and development of Facebook/Instagram and Google ads, content design, site and SEO development, e-commerce and more.

Diana Vazquez
Masters of Architecture

Diana is an Architectural Designer whose work focuses on creating inclusive architecture for all living beings. She aims to amplify unrecognized voices by empowering marginalized communities through participatory design activities that allow undervalued communities to lead a life filled with opportunity.

Ronald Vidal
Communication Arts

Ronald is a Site Activation Partner II on assignment to Pfizer at ExecuPharm. He is skilled in GCP, informed consent, clinical research, and technical writing with experience in clinical trial activation, IRB, FDA, NIH, NCI regulatory processes.


2017 Cohort

Albert Elias
Architecture ’17
German Montoya, Mentor

Albert is an Information Architect and Design Technologist that intersects science, art, and technology. He is the Founder, CEO, CTO, and Creative Director of Aberrate LLC, a creative tech agency; a Co-Founder of JM Studios, Real-Estate Innovation lab; and an Assistant Teaching Professor of Technology in Architecture at FIU.

Angelica Guiterrez
Adelee Cabrerra: Mentor

Angelica is an Emergency Response Agent at Titan Technologies INC where she provides customer service for COVID reemployment assistance. Prior to this, she worked as a Flight Attendant for Swift Air in Miami.

Brian Rivera
Architecture ’17
Michael Larkin, Mentor

Brian is a Designer II at Pivot Interiors and a Co-Founder of Roberts Rivera Studio, a foundry for the modern aesthetic. He focuses on innovation and novel building systems, and is an advocate for future sustainability and technology. Immediately after graduation he 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 an Assistant Location Manager at ARTECHOUSE where he utilizes his skills in team management, customer service, and visual arts and design to ensure positive experiences for every guest that visits.

Chris Gongora
Architecture ’17
LinkedIn Profile

Chris is a self-described “Architect by trade; anthropologist at heart.” He is currently an Architecture Designer at McIntosh Poris Associates in Birmingham, Michigan Shortly after graduating, Chris wrote “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.” It seems he is already accomplishing his goals.

Darren Ockert
Chad Oppenhiem, Mentor

Darren is a Sustainable Architectural Designer and Educator, and the CEO and Founder of ArchiNEXT, an Architecture and Planning company that explores the innovations, tools, people, and companies striving for a sustainable built environment, and shares inspirational stories of architects, students and more who encompass these ideals on YouTube.

Gianna DiBartolomeo
Art + Art History 
Pablo De Ritis, Mentor

Gianna is a mixed-media artist, who owns Gianna D, a contemporary art business where she makes, exhibits, and sells fine art for commercial, personal, and special event use. Her work focuses on the idea of measuring life between points instead of solely at milestones, because much of life happens between these points.

Hanah DavenPort
Michelle Kucharczyk, Mentor

Hanah is a Director of Programs at Markeim Arts Center in Haddonfield, New Jersey. She is focused on the intersection of public space, arts, and events as a means of creating meaningful experiences that provide common ground, cross socio-cultural barriers, and connect and elevate communities.

Jaury Jean-Enard
Deborah Briggs: Mentor

Most recently Jaury was the communications Manager at Universite Quisqueya – Lakou Kajou in Haiti where he led communication and digital strategies, published monthly newletters, and coordinated both media and community relations.

Jessica Mendez
Thomas Camy, Mentor

Jess is a Corporate Development Associate at Chiper, where she serves as a right hand to the CEO And Director of Corporate Development of a startup. Her work focuses of driving projects related to web design, rebranding, C-Suite recruitment, investor relations, and internal communications.

Jessica Suhr
Asi Cymbal, Mentor

Jessica in interested in activating a team of designers, engineers, and planners to engage the challenge of realizing urban, mixed-use development. She is currently an Architectural Designer at [STRANG] Design.

Karl-Eric Valcin
Jeff  Weinstein, Mentor

Karl is currently an Architectural Project Manager at CM Design & Development. He notes that understanding and why certain projects get built while others fail to survive is an invaluable insight. He 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

Marcus is a Composer-in-Residence at the Chicago Philharmonic, and the Founding Director of South Side Symphony in Los Angeles, whose mission focuses on “Our Music in Our Time” with an emphasis on Black Music. His original score was featured in the 2022 film “Honk for Jesus. Save Your Soul.” For more information on Marcus and his music visit www.MarcusNorris.com

Maria Flores
Architecture ’17
Chad Oppenhiem, Mentor

Maria is an Architecture Partner at Ambito LLC, Founder and Director of The Archi/ologist, and Professor at the University of Miami and Miami Dade College. She had a passion for drawing that developed into a passion for design and architecture and desire to help people, companies, and organizations capture their visions.

Robby Peña
Chad Oppenhiem, Mentor

Robby is a creative and goal oriented aspiring architect with well-driven passion for architecture. He is currently a Job Captain at ODP Architecture and Design and Building Information Modelling Coordinator.

Shari Gayle
Interior Architecture
LinkedIn Profile

Shari is currently an Interior Architect and Senior Designer at Atelier Honnete. She 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.

College of Communication, Architecture + The Arts
Modesto A. Maidique Campus
PH: 305-535-1463 |
E-Mail: janthomp@fiu.edu