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Hello! My name is Lex Yates and I am a Sophomore at UCF studying Mechanical Engineering. I'm an out of state student from Pennsylvania and I graduated from Nazareth Area High School in Nazareth, PA in 2014. My favorite organization at UCF is the Astronomy Society where we hold observing nights to look at the nearby planets and star clusters. I've been able to participate in outreach events at local schools (grade schools and colleges) where we have the opportunity to teach others about our solar system which I find really interesting. A favorite professor of mine is Steve McFarlane who taught Intro to Philosophy. He was a really down to earth professor who knew how to engage with his students and keep the class entertaining so it didn't feel like a chore to attend. I took this class as a GEP requirement and I'm glad I did because I had nothing but positive memories. I chose to become further involved in the GEMS program because I've seen how few girls pursue STEM majors here at UCF when they don't feel confident in their major choice. I love the major I've chosen and I want it to become more common for girls to respond “”engineering”” when they're asked what their major is. The GEMS program gives girls the confidence and aid they need to know they've made the right choice and how to take their next steps in the right direction. In my free time I like to be outside when the sun's shining, play with my cat, go to the beach and just be with my friends. Words of advice for the GEMS freshman students: My dream is to be an astronaut so I've always told myself I needed to be perfect, but last semester when I needed some advice after not doing as well as I'd hoped my mom threw out the phrase “”Even astronauts have issues””. In her own weird way, she told me that no one is perfect and you can't let that pull you back. College is an adjustment, but it's something you can benefit so much from.