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Kazue Orikasa Lopez


Degree: Bachelor of Science in Mechanical and Materials Engineering

College: College of Engineering and Computing

Kazue Orikasa Lopez likes to think big. While her immediate interest is to pursue a master’s degree in materials science engineering at FIU, her long-term vision is to work for NASA on Space X and futuristic spacecraft. She is not far from her dream.

Kazue, a native of Mexico and born to Mexican and Japanese parents, started her academic career at Miami Dade College but soon found herself at FIU as the recipient of the Eduardo J. Padron Scholarship, which includes full tuition, and was also admitted into the FIU Honors College.

As an undergraduate student, Kazue became part of a National Science Foundation (NSF) Nanosystems Engineering Research Center Cellular Metamaterials project, which seeks to transform cardiovascular care by developing new ways to create artificial cells to repair the heart. The magnitude of the project – a collaboration between FIU, the University of Michigan, and Boston University – impressed her and her involvement helped develop novel instrumentation.

As a result of her work on the Cell Met project, Kazue became a co-inventor on the patent, has published a journal article, and has made a presentation at a national conference.

Also as an undergraduate, Kazue landed a NASA internship, where she worked on developing advanced materials for aerospace applications such as composites with superior properties using tubing materials. She is a co-inventor on a patent related to this research. Kazue has her sights on a master’s degree in materials science engineering, and hopes her future extends far beyond pure academic research to play a role in spacecraft development.

Kazue Orikasa Lopez in front of the NASA logo

Always with her eye on the big picture, Kazue has demonstrated her passion for learning and service beyond the classroom. She assists medical doctors with Spanish translations for preventive medicine and medical screening in the community. She also is a volunteer at the Miami Pan American Round Table, a Hispanic women’s organization that focuses on education and unity.

Debra Jacob
Account Manager
College of Engineering and Computing