Hello everyone! My name is Gianna Fanelli, and I am a sophomore here at UCF. I am currently pursuing a degree in Biology, more specifically the Marine and Aquatic Sciences track, as well as a minor in Chemistry. In 2016, I graduated from a high school in Philadelphia, PA, and that same year I moved down here for college. I definitely enjoy my science classes here at UCF, but I have to say my favorite course so far has been Honors Introduction to Philosophy. It covered a lot of interesting topics, and I loved participating in the discussions; I think by the end of the semester my friends and family were tired of hearing about my philosophical ideas. I also really liked my math courses, and my favorite professor is Arielle Gaudiello. She is a graduate student, so I feel like she understands our struggles, and the work she assigns gives great practice for the exams. I have had professors in the past who were unclear with their teaching, but she always explains everything and writes out the notes, which I found extremely helpful. I have taken all my math courses with her so far, and I would highly recommend taking her EXCEL sections! I chose to get involved in GEMS because I wanted to surround myself with students who had the same interests and goals, and I wanted to find more opportunities pertaining to my major. Being an out‐of‐state student, I didn't really know anyone when I first came to UCF, so it was nice to just have a group of people to meet up with and talk to. It helped me get more involved on campus, and encouraged me to become a mentor myself! I want to help my mentees the same why my mentor helped me, and make sure they have someone who has been through the same courses and experiences. I definitely encourage you all to take advantage of everything offered by EXCEL/GEMS, because it really will come in handy as you progress through your major. The TA's from Stem Seminar have helped me find some great resources, and even encouraged me to apply for opportunities that I wouldn't have had the confidence to do otherwise. No matter how sure you are about what you want to do, there is always so much to learn, so don't miss out!! When I am not involved with classes and GEMS/EXCEL, I enjoy sleeping, shopping (probably too much), photography, and going to the beach or theme parks. I am excited to meet all of you, and good luck as you start your first year at UCF!