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Hello! My name is Jillian Fortin, and I am set to be a second-year Computer Science student here at UCF! I officially graduated from Astronaut High School in Titusville, Florida, but most of my education was completed through Florida Virtual School. One of my favorite classes at UCF was MAC2147: Mathematics for Calculus with Professor Lori Dunlop-Pyle. This was my favorite class because of how nicely it set up the essentials needed for Calculus – which was a class that I was previously worried about, due to its notorious rigor – and it truly helped to fill the gaps in my knowledge! Professor Lori Dunlop-Pyle, who taught this class, remains my favorite professor, and I hope to take her again in the future. She is very personable and accessible, and the way she taught her classes allowed me to easily grasp the concepts I needed to learn! I decided to join the GEMS program because I was very fond of the idea of women supporting women, especially in such a male-dominated field as STEM. GEMS allows you to reach out and connect with people who are walking the same path as you are, which I think is pretty great! In my free time, I like to read, write, and go to the gym.

For future EXCEL students, my advice to you is this: try to get enough sleep! Although it seems simple, pulling more than one all-nighter a week – if that – is a recipe for disaster. Take care of yourself first, because no grade is worth that detriment to your physical or mental health!