CARTA 2020 year-in-review


Amidst a year filled with uncertainty, and one many could not have predicted, one thing remained consistent – the College of Communication, Architecture + The Arts’ (CARTA) ability to create, design, collaborate and inspire.

Here is a look at some of CARTA’s top moments in 2020:

1. Communication expert Aileen Izquierdo shares what companies should take away from the Wayfair conspiracy theory

Earlier this year, rumors surfaced on social media that the home goods retailer Wayfair was allegedly involved in a child sex trafficking operation. While the rumors have long since been debunked, Wayfair left the scandal unaddressed. What sort of repercussions could this have on the company? Izquierdo addresses this and more.


2. CARTA 3D-prints face shields for healthcare workers at Baptist Health

In response to the shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) for health workers treating patients during the coronavirus pandemic, Florida International University (FIU) partnered with Baptist Health South Florida to 3D-print reusable face shields and the College of Communication, Architecture + The Arts (CARTA) was at the forefront of the initiative.



3. Interior architecture student creates hybrid COVID-19 treatment model to aid overcrowded hospitals

After hearing about the toll COVID-19 was taking on hospitals and treatment centers alike, interior architecture student Njood Bokhari created a design proposal called CONT + AID to help provide quick relief to overwhelmed hospitals. CONT + AID is a hybrid structure facility that serves as a COVID-19 testing station and lab facility. The design of the hybrid structure allows space for intensive care units, exam and treatment rooms, quarantine and isolation units and even surge space for non-critical patients.


4. Student team wins first place in national Campus RainWorks Challenge

FIU students earned first place out of 50 teams in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s eighth annual Campus RainWorks Challenge. The competition encourages students from across the country to submit green infrastructure designs and solutions to help address stormwater pollution.



5. The Miami Herald partners with FIU to cover local news around South Florida

The Miami Herald partnered with FIU’s Department of Journalism + Media to offer internship credit to undergraduate journalism students as they cover local news all across South Florida. Under the leadership of Dan Evans and Charles Strouse, students work with the Miami Herald to cover topics ranging from the coronavirus pandemic to city governance.


6. Student-designed 3D-printed model of Hard Rock Stadium helps police prepare for Super Bowl LIV

The College of Communication, Architecture + The Arts’ Robotics and Digital Fabrication Lab (RDF) 3D-printed a model of Hard Rock Stadium to help prepare police for Super Bowl LIV. Officers from the Special Patrol Bureau, which includes the Special Response Team and the Rapid Deployment Force, used the model to get to know the 65,000-seat stadium for tactical planning and training in and around the stadium before the Super Bowl.



7. Journalism students get training through new Univision program

FIU School of Communication + Journalism has partnered with the country’s largest provider of Spanish-language content to create the Univision Students Training & Employment Program (STEP). The program gives students studying journalism and media the opportunity to train with professionals who manage the day-to-day business of Univision and gain on-the-job experience while completing program requirements for their degrees.


8. New STEM-focused doctoral program to prepare architects for leadership positions in design professions

FIU is the first Florida university to launch a Doctor of Design (DDes) degree to prepare architects for global leadership careers in design investigation, industry, applied research and related emerging technology fields. The 60-credit STEM doctoral program will be offered primarily online and will support research in architecture. It will cover the application of the latest computer tools to the design, visualization and fabrication of the built environment.



9. Robotics Academy gains national recognition for construction industry virtual and augmented reality training tools

FIU’s Robotics Academy has won a Dynamite Award in the “Incubator” category from the American Council for Technology and Industry Advisory Council. The academy provides solutions for an industry that currently has minimal tools to provide hands-on learning experiences. It helps create personalized experiences to train and support building industry workers, professionals, business owners, entrepreneurs, educators and policymakers.

10. Are the doors closing on the open office?

The emergence of COVID-19 brings a new reckoning for the open office’s viability, especially with emerging health and safety concerns. FIU chair of the Department of Interior Architecture Newton D’Souza explores whether the coronavirus pandemic has led to the end of open workspaces.


11. Art students debut work at major exhibition

FIU Art + Art History students working in the Academy of Portrait & Figurative Art displayed their work at the Frank C. Ortis Art Gallery in Pembroke Pines in an exhibition titled “The Academy.” “The Academy” – inspired by the intense visual drama of Italian Renaissance masterpieces and the technical precision of 17th-century French académies – featured more than 75 pieces of artwork created entirely by Academy students and its founder and “master” artist David Chang.


12. Theatre students produced the new vlog series “The Class Must Go On” amidst the pandemic

FIU Theatre went behind the scenes and showed the university community how they stayed motivated while working remotely with their all-new video blog (vlog) series, “The Class Must Go On.” With the department no longer having a show to prepare and market for, due to the coronavirus pandemic, Lopez and his team decided to put the focus on theatre classrooms and bring the FIU community along on their adventure as they navigate the transition to remote learning.


13. Sing for Hope Piano uplifts, engages FIU early voters

During early voting in Florida, in what many considered to be one of the most critical elections in a generation, FIU School of Music collaborated with Sing for Hope Pianos to help get out the vote. Sing for Hope Pianos placed one of its iconic artist-designed pianos near FIU’s early voting site to inspire voter engagement, bring joy and create community through the arts.


14. CARTA at Miami Art Week

CARTA students, faculty and alumni displayed numerous pieces, installations and exhibitions – both virtually and outdoors – during this year’s Miami Art Week.



15. Tonkinson Foundation to enhance students’ experience through CARTA Medallion

The CARTA Medallion, funded by the Tonkinson Foundation, bridges the gap between prominent figures in the creative fields and CARTA students. It seeks to enhance their experience by creating unique joint programming with recipients including, but not limited to, lectures, workshops, performances, exhibitions and masterclasses. 


16. CARTA’s Ratcliffe Art + Design Incubator awarded $2.5 million to develop entrepreneurial leaders in the creative sector

CARTA’s Ratcliffe Art + Design Incubator (RA+DI) has received a gift of $2.5 million from the Philip E. & Carole R. Ratcliffe Foundation to develop diverse, entrepreneurial leaders in the creative sector and boost South Florida’s economy. This gift marks the third awarded to RA+DI by the Philip E. & Carole R. Ratcliffe Foundation, which is focused on providing access to education and training for aspiring entrepreneurs and small business owners to grow their ventures, create jobs, and expand economic opportunities in local communities.

17. FIU Theatre’s Pipeline takes the virtual stage

FIU Theatre’s production of “Pipeline” by MacArthur Genius Grant recipient Dominique Morisseau was remarkably adapted to fit the Zoom screen. In this modern-day tale, director Marshall Jones III and the ensemble cast comprised of six FIU Theatre students took a deep look into a family trying to connect with each other and overcome a divided system.


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