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My name is Katherine Guia and I am a second-year Mechanical Engineering major. In 2023, I graduated from Western High School in Davie, Florida. One of my favorite classes at UCF was Concepts in Computer Science. Apart from being my first collegiate introduction to the world of STEM, it was like a puzzle that forever transformed the more I learned which made it super interesting and fun. One of my favorite professors is Kyle Dencker, who coincidentally was also my instructor for Concepts in Computer Science. He helped break down the concepts into understandable chunks while also entertaining us with stories and anecdotes to connect with the class, not to mention that he also gives his students opportunities to earn rubber ducks throughout the semester—and as every knight student knows, we have a bit of an affinity for ducks at UCF!

I joined the GEMS program to help incoming freshmen students adjust to the process of starting college, much like I was also helped during my first year. It feels nice to have someone to talk to when things seem to go a mile a minute and to have a group of people who are also in STEM to talk with, so I want to give that same feeling I got to experience.

My advice to incoming freshmen is to take one moment at a time. Things can seem to go fast in college, especially when one is only starting to know how to manage so many responsibilities and tasks at once, but the best thing you can do is breathe and focus on each step individually rather than the whole mile looming in front of you.

Outside of academics, I like to read, write, watch movies and visit new restaurants.