Hi, my name is Elena Triantafyllopoulou, but people call me El (yes, like in Stranger Things, if you’ve watched it)!

Before UCF, I went to Cypress Bay High School in South Florida and graduated in 2015. I’m currently a senior, majoring in Biology and minoring in Psychology. Some of my favorite classes here at UCF are Evolutionary Biology, Genetics, Genomics, Developmental Psychology, and Physiological Psychology. All of them are a little material-dense but extremely interesting and valuable in their respective field! Each one of them helped me narrow down my interests to human evolution, human development, and psychosomatic causes and treatments to disease. My favorite professor at the University is Dr. Anna Savage, who also happens to be the Principal Investigator in the lab which I am part of! She teaches Evolutionary Biology as well as Genomics Core Lab & Research, which is a new course at UCF that Dr. Savage introduced. It is all about the developing field of genomics, genome sequencing and analysis, and bioinformatics (I highly recommend taking it!).

I decided to become a part of the COMPASS program because, most of all, I love helping people and being someone people could rely on for anything – advice, general questions, or just a second opinion. I expect and hope to impact the people I’ll have the honor of interacting with through this program – mentees, co-mentors, and lead mentors – in the most positive of ways, as well as learn from them. UCF is a great community with a lot of diversity and opportunities, and when people from it come together, good things are bound to happen!

A few more things about myself is that I love to learn from my classes but also try to learn from books, other people, even from shows and movies. My favorite book is The Untethered Soul, about self-development, and my favorite activity is yoga and one day I wish to become yoga-certified myself! Finally, I’d like to end this with a nice and mushy quote: “You do not become good by trying to be good, but by finding the goodness that is already within you, and allowing that goodness to emerge.” – Eckhart Tolle

Trust in yourself and in your path as a student. Don’t worry so much about what you’ll be doing way in the future, just focus on being present and good at what you are doing here and now.