Hi!!! My name is Kaila Peeples and I am a Photonics and optics engineering major. This will be my second year at UCF. In 2021, I graduated from Douglas Anderson School of the Arts which is in Jacksonville, Florida. My favorite class thus far has been French II. It’s been really fun and it’s a nice break from all the math and science. Mme. Giltner is such an amazing professor and really cares about her students. I definitely will continue to take more classes with her and hopefully will go on her study abroad trip to Paris. I joined GEMS because I know how important it is to have a strong support group and I wanted to meet other women in STEM. GEMS has helped me meet new people and learn about different things on campus. I decided to become a GEMS mentor because I really want to help incoming students in anyway I can. I want to be able to provide support and resources that will help everyone succeed in their transition into college. In my free time I usually workout or do anything creative like customizing shoes, drawing, writing, etc. I also really like to read. Words of advice for the GEMS Freshman students: Don’t struggle in silence!!! Always use the resources that are available to you and try not bottle everything up. Your friends, advisors, and family, may be able to help you find a solution. You are not alone in your circumstances and there will always be people(including me J) that are willing to help in any way they can.