Campus & Community

Androff Cesar wins the Palm Beach State student track under the FAU Wave Program

Androff Cesar stands in front of his Mind Check South Florida display.

Palm Beach State College student Androff Cesar is helping high school students access tools and resources to live mindful and organized lives through his award-winning community service program called Mind Check South Florida.

The program was developed through the FAU Wave program, an applied research and entrepreneurial competition that challenges students to develop projects that solve real-world problems.

Mind Check was selected as the winner out of four projects, submitted by PBSC students individually and in teams, from a panel of judges comprised of FAU staff and alumni. As a result, Cesar took home a $1,000 cash prize sponsored by the Foundation for PBSC.

This year, marks FAU’s inaugural collaboration with Palm Beach State College. Now, PBSC students can compete and connect with FAU resources and networks.

“I was shocked to learn that I won and happy that Mind Check was put into action and has the potential to grow,” said Cesar, who initially thought of the idea during the COVID-19 pandemic. “I heard a lot of people talking about the importance of mental health but not enough action being taken to improve it.”

During the project’s development, Cesar, who is pursuing an Associate in Arts degree in psychology, was mentored by Assistant Dean of Student Services Natacha Nettles and FAU Assistant Director of Strategic and Economic Initiatives Regina Thompson.

Natacha Nettles (l) and Matthew Lenihan (r) along with Admissions Advisor Jared Bronstein (green shirt) and professor Stefania Volpe (green shirt) stand with the PBSC students on the honorable mention team.

Through a partnership with the FAU Keep Moving student organization under the Owls Care Health Promotion Program, Mind Check reaches out to local high schools and holds meetings on topics related to stress management, time management and self-care. The project was piloted at Boca Raton Community High School.

Cesar, who hopes to see Mind Check implemented at high schools across Palm Beach County, says peer interaction is its key component.

“By integrating peer-to-peer engagement, students are more willing to share their experiences while learning from each other. This creates a sense of community while fostering an environment where students feel comfortable discussing sensitive topics.”

An honorable mention was also given to the PBSC team of Laura Pulido, John Stella, Neil Olea, Santiago Rodriguez and associate professor Stefania Volpe for their project MicroBioSphere, a digital platform that joins students together to investigate patterns of microbial ecology across the biomes of the planet.

“It was a pleasure working with Palm Beach State College students, and we look forward to expanding this collaboration for the next cycle and impacting more student innovators,” said Thompson. 

The FAU Wave Program competition was made possible through the Foundation for PBSC, Provost and Dean of Student Services Van Williams, and the Dr. Eric H. Shaw FAU Wave Excellence in Innovation Award Endowment Fund. It is also supported under FAU’s Division of Research led by Vice President of Research Dr. Daniel Flynn.

Applications for 2023-24 FAU Wave Program are now open. If interested, please contact Nettles at for more information.

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