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My name is Avalon McNay and I am a second-year biology and mechanical engineering major. In 2022, I graduated from Lake Brantley High School in Altamonte Springs, Florida. One of my favorite classes is Biology II because my favorite teacher, Mrs. Yeargain, teaches this class. She teaches with many real-world examples so I can tell how the material we’re learning applies to what I might want to do in the future. Going into the GEMS program, I expected to do classes with professors like Mrs. Yeargain and just focus on academics. The reason I joined was to get smaller class sizes so that I could have interactions with my peers and professors, but I soon I realized there was so much more to the program. In GEMS, I have made friends that are always pushing me forward and an amazing mentor that has already gone through everything I will go through and can help me push through rough patches. Outside of school I help rehabilitate birds of prey, build remote control vehicles, and drawing.

Words of Wisdom: If you’re not happy during college, you won’t be happy after college. Have fun and enjoy what you are doing!