My name is Gabriela Gagno and I am a Biomedical Sciences major. This will be my third year at UCF and my first year as a GEMS Mentor. I graduated from Jupiter High School in Jupiter, Florida in 2018. My favorite class at UCF was Microbiology Lab. I found myself getting really excited for the days I had lab knowing that I was going to be able to get a hands-on experience. I loved applying what I was learning in lecture to real life situations. One of my favorite professors at UCF is Dr. Frazer for Organic Chemistry II. I found Dr. Frazer to be very personable and very willing to help his students and listen to their concerns. I had the pleasure of having him as a professor during quarantine and he made sure to have plenty of tools we could use to succeed in his class. I decided to get involved in GEMS because of what the program stands for, I enjoy being a part of something that encourages and unites women in the STEM field. My experience in GEMS and EXCEL has always been very positive. I have met some of my absolute best friends in these programs. It was always nice having a familiar face in class and having someone to study with. My advice for incoming freshmen is to become friends with your fellow EXCEL peers and create study groups and group messages. My freshman year my EXCEL orientation group created a group message that we all still use and keep each other in the loop with upcoming events and recommendations on how to study. In my free time I enjoy exploring Orlando, cooking and hanging out with my friends. At home I love being so close to the beach and spending my time in the water. I am so excited to be a mentor, don’t hesitate to reach out!