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Computer science grad offers dynamic input

While working at Hertz, Felipe Velosa mentors FGCU students in the art of the hack

Felipe Velosa (’14, computer science) left FGCU in the rear-view mirror two years ago after graduating, but the university appears to have been tailgating him ever since – and he is happy about it.

Not only did he “move” just six miles away to Hertz’s global headquarters in Estero to become a software engineer and now manager of the User Experience team, but he’s still integrally involved in FGCU’s computer science program.

He has piloted and directed a mentorship program involving 10 students from the software engineering team. He also helped organize and stage regional hackathons – coding marathons, with “hacking” in the sense of exploratory programming, not computer crime – at FGCU in 2014 and 2015, bringing together surrounding universities and high schools and partnering with the Estero community.

“It’s something this region desperately needs,” he says, “and it’s that innovation and that drive for technology that we don’t have in the area. Hertz had the resources. And resources are not just financial resources, but the know-how and knowledge to be able to create marathons and competitions in technology while infusing some business into it.”

Velosa pauses, then adds, “It’s been a lot of work in two years.”

And he’s not finished.

“We’re looking to grow an innovations lab as an extension of the partnership we had,” he says. “It would be making use of the Emergent Technologies Institute that Florida Gulf Coast just opened on Alico Road. That institute is specifically designed to attract business – not just technology, but also partnering with local businesses. Hertz is one of the larger companies around here, so as soon as I saw that the institute opened, I spoke to the chair of the software engineering department (Associate Professor Dahai Guo), and we’re working to see if we can accomplish that.”

So when Velosa says, “I’m a technical nut,” he’s selling himself short. He’s much more.