Hi! My name is Catalina Caramaschi Ratto and I am a sophomore majoring in Mechanical Engineering at UCF. I am from the South Florida area and graduated from College Academy at Broward College in Davie, Florida. My favorite class so far has been Intro to C Programming with Professor Leinecker because we did a lot of cool projects which have made me less intimidated to start learning new coding languages. I initially joined the EXCEL program to make friends within my college and major and GEMS for the mentoring and small group aspect. I was a GEMS mentee my freshman year during which time my mentor always encouraged me to take the initiative and use all resources to my advantage. The guidance I received during this past year has helped me adapt to both college life and remote learning. Being a STEM major is difficult and time consuming, so it definitely helps to have a support system and that sense of community within the program. I’m excited to switch the roles and give other women in STEM the confidence my mentor gave me. During my free time I enjoy woodworking, cooking, and gaming. I’ve also been practicing my coding skills by working on some solo projects!