I’m a 3rd year Mechanical Engineering student who graduated from Wekiva High School in Apopka Florida. Some of my favorite classes I’ve taken have been all of the Calculus classes; Differential Equations, and the Structures and Properties of Materials. Math is one of my favorite subjects and I had some of the best professors for these classes so it made the entire experience very interesting and rewarding. My materials class was very dense and hard to grasp, but once I figured out what I was learning, I could really have some fun with it by understanding the composition of materials and how they are affected by different stresses applied to them. My favorite professor was actually a Graduate Teaching Assistant, Jeff Sharpe. He was my EXCEL instructor for Calculus 2 & 3 and he changed the way I look at Mathematics and brought an element of fun to Calculus. The way he taught and encouraged us students to keep pushing even when it was hard was unlike any other teacher I had previously. Since he was an EXCEL GTA, I decided to become a COMPASS mentor to become a part of the program that helped me out so much and because I truly want to have an impact on younger students to help them push through the inevitable challenges that occur during the first years in college. I was not always someone who was smart enough for a STEM degree, but through lots of work and dedication, I have managed to put myself on the path to success and I think I can encourage others to do the same.

Some words of wisdom I have for all of the younger students to help them through these times is to push through rough times and reach out if you have any struggles in classes or emotionally. At the end of the day, we are all in this together and as STEM students, we all understand the mental burden that comes attached to chasing such a prestigious degree.