Francisco Febronio Peña

Degree: Ph.D. in Earth System Sciences

College: College of Arts, Sciences & Education, School of Environment, Arts and Society

Francisco Febronio Peña is the first student to take part in an innovative, new dual-degree Ph.D. program between FIU and another international university – in this case, the University of Florence in Italy.  

Francisco first worked toward a civil and environmental engineering Ph.D. at the University of Florence, and then moved to Miami to work toward another doctoral degree at FIU. Francisco is earning two doctoral degrees — in about the amount of time it would normally take to earn a single Ph.D.   

Under the guidance of FIU professor of water resources engineering Assefa Melesse, Francisco has created an innovative flood model focusing on different flood hazards to understand how various flood drivers interact, which could improve the accuracy of flood risk assessments. 

The data from his model can be used for urban planning and by insurance companies, as well as policymakers. It can also help people know where to move or buy property.  

Francisco wants to maintain a strong international focus with his work — not just because he enjoys immersing himself in different cultures and speaks five languages, but because international collaboration has enriched both his life and research. In fact, he’s helping to organize the Water Information Summit XVI focused on the topic of "Cybersecurity for Water Security" that will welcome speakers from across the globe.  

Francisco knows international focus is the only way to solve some of the world’s most pressing problems, like climate change. He wants to use science for good, especially for countries that desperately need it, including his native Mexico. One of his dreams is to rejoin the United Nations — where he worked in 2015 — to advocate for flood risk prevention, mitigation, and adaptations throughout Latin America. 

By Angela Nicoletti 
Account Manager 
College of Arts, Sciences & Education