Mentor Biography

My name is Bhavani Sivakumaar and I am a second-year majoring in Mechanical Engineering. I graduated from Forest High School in Ocala, Florida in 2020. One of my favorite classes at UCF was Intro to Engineering (part 2). It’s a freshmen-level course as part of the engineering track offered in the spring semester and it’s very interesting and enjoyable. One of the most enjoyable parts of the course was having discussions in class about ethics in engineering and how we can develop the skills we already possess to benefit us in our respective professions. My favorite professor at UCF is Professor Christopher Botelho. He is one of the COMPASS/EXCEL professors and I had him for Calculus II. He’s very relatable and a phenomenal teacher. He teaches the material really well and ensures that you understand it by allowing you to ask questions in class and frequently checking in with the class to gauge our opinions on the difficulty level of the material we are covering. The program’s teachers are not the only reason I am involved in COMPASS, however. I joined this program because when I entered, I was very unsure of what I wanted to pursue as a career and I personally did not have the confidence in myself to follow a STEM path but this program and more importantly, the people in this program encouraged me and gave me the tools to follow my dream. I had the opportunity to meet with peers and professionals who have encountered and experienced the struggles I am experiencing now. To hear their stories and get their advice was helpful as well as empowering because it allowed me to see that I too can accomplish my goals. Some things I enjoy in my free time are painting and violin. I also enjoy watching comedy shows with my parents and playing games with friends.

Advice for incoming COMPASS freshmen: The most important piece of advice I share with others now is to follow your passion. Make sure that whatever you decide to pursue, it’s what you want to do and what you enjoy doing. The hard work and long journey will be well worth the while if your goals are truly your own and significant to you.