My name is Rachel Popkin and I am a Biomedical Sciences major and Psychology minor.  I will be entering my Junior year in the fall of 2018.  In 2016, I graduated from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.  I started at UCF in the summer of 2016 with the COMPASS program.  I knew that I wanted to do something involving math or science but I wasn’t sure exactly what.  I also wasn’t sure what to expect from the program at first, but as each day passed and I got to know my professor, mentors, and classmates better, I knew this was the program that would help me the most in college.  By the end of that summer, I had learned so much about my strengths and interests, that I decided to pursue a major in Biomedical Sciences.  From there on, I was a part of the EXCEL program at UCF.  This program allowed me to discover myself and plan for my future.  It provided me with the tools I needed to succeed.  One of my favorite professors at the university is Arielle Gaudiello, who is an EXCEL math professor.  I had the pleasure of learning College Algebra, Trigonometry, Pre-Calculus, and Calculus with her.  Arielle has been more than just a professor to me, she has been a mentor that I could go to (and still go to) with anything I have on my mind.  I truly enjoyed each of the classes that I took with Arielle and enjoy speaking with her about math and everyday life.  I believe that the EXCEL/COMPASS Program has helped me and so many others transition into the college lifestyle by providing more personal classes, and a close-knit group of people that have very similar, if not the same interests as you.  This program has always been there for me, and am very excited to be there, and share my knowledge and experiences to new members of our community.  I have also been a member of the UCF Club Women’s Water Polo Team since I started at UCF and have met many new friends from that as well.  I encourage all the new members of COMPASS/EXCEL to try out as many clubs or sports as you can in the first year at this university.  You never know what you’ll like until you try it!  One of my favorite quotes is “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take” by Wayne Gretzky.  I’m very excited to meet you all and be a part of your college experience!