Degree: Bachelor of Science in Computer Science
College: College of Engineering and Computing
As the founder of ShellHacks, Florida’s largest annual student hackathon hosted at FIU, Christopher Rodriguez has significantly given back to the university he credits for launching his career. With ShellHacks, he wanted to create an event that would interest and unite students, faculty and industry sponsors. And it worked. In the first year, more than 300 students and 20 sponsors attended. Today, ShellHacks has grown to average more than 1,300 attendees and 40 sponsors.
Christopher developed a fascination with computers as a child when his mother purchased a laptop. It was not long before he was learning about computer programs and building websites. When it was time to head to college, he knew exactly what he wanted to study.
But he faced a significant hurdle – finding a ride to and from school. Since he could not afford a car, Christopher’s father would drop him off on campus early in the morning and pick him up late at night, which meant Christopher had time to get involved and find ways to give back.
During his first semester at FIU, he was inducted in to Upsilon Pi Epsilon (UPE), FIU’s largest technology-focused student organization, and served on its executive board for three years. He served as the organization’s webmaster, vice president and ultimately became its president. While serving as president, FIU’s UPE chapter won the organization’s outstanding chapter award. Christopher also helped FIU host UPE’s national convention at MMC two years in a row.
In 2018, he was awarded the Outstanding Service Award from the Knight School of Computing and Information Sciences for his work on ShellHacks. That same year, he received the UPE Academic Achievement Scholarship Award from the organization’s national honor society. He also worked as a student grader and interned with JP Morgan Chase, Express Scripts and Microsoft.
After graduation, Christopher is headed to Seattle, where he has been hired by Microsoft as a
By Elizabeth Calzadilla
Director, Marketing and Communications
College of Engineering and Computing
Nominated by Peter Clarke