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My name is Jayna Brunner, and I am a Biology major on the pre-Veterinary track. This will be my second year here at UCF. I graduated from Pembroke Pines Charter High School in sunny South Florida. One of my favorite classes at UCF so far is Biology 1. As a Biology major, it’s something you will have to take, and it is the first step into the rest of your degree. I love learning about the systems that make things work in your body. The thought that all these tiny organelles know exactly what to do to make our bodies work is super interesting. One of my favorite professors at UCF is Matthew Tye. He taught my Biology 2 class and he is so passionate about his field. Listening to someone who loves what they do makes the class so much better. He is also a super funny person, each morning before class starts, he walks in with his headphones jamming out and my friends and I always try and guess what he is listening to. His tests are also usually straightforward, and if you pay attention and study, you will easily pass. I decided to get involved with GEMS program because of the impact it had on me my freshman year. Having a group of girls that have your back is super helpful when you need that extra push to get through a hard day. The community I built within GEMS is great, there are girls that are in my classes, and we have formed study groups and usually end up in the EXCEL center together for hours. I hope the mentees feel this same connection to their peers and use their mentors the same way I did, to get an insight into life in the future. My mentor is taking classes that I will take in the future, so I often ask what she thinks of them and the professors. Also, the first few weeks of college, it was helpful to know someone who knew more than I did. My mentor was a great resource for me to ask any question that came to my mind, which ranged from where a building is to the best place for a sweet treat (which I quickly learned is Toppers). Outside of class I am involved in a few on campus organizations including Relay for Life and STEP. In my free time I like to hang out with my friends on memory mall. A group of people, picnic blanket, and some snacks go a long way!

Words of advice I have for the incoming GEMS students is to get involved. It doesn’t matter what you are involved in, just something on campus where you can go and meet new people and have fun. There are so many organizations on campus, and so many events that there is literally something for everyone. Whether you join a club or go to a football game, make sure to do something each week that lets you forget about your classes for a few hours and you can just enjoy the college experience!