Hi! My name is Maria Urdaneta, and I'm a sophomore studying Mechanical Engineering. A little bit about me: In 2015, I graduated from Wissahickon High School in Ambler, Pennsylvania. I then took a gap year and studied abroad in Germany, and then I started school at UCF in fall 2016. Why did I join GEMS? Well, the great thing about the GEMS program, is that you get a mentor that can answer many of the burning questions that cross your mind when you first enter college. We, the mentors, are already further in our STEM major, and we are a resource that you can use to find out more about your future classes. Furthermore, this program keeps people in the STEM field together. In a University as big as UCF, it makes classes have more familiar faces than they normally would. Many of the like‐minded people you meet will be your best, most indispensable study‐buddies. I'm really glad that I stuck with GEMS, I just love the ladies that are involved in this program, as well as the sense of academic community it creates. When I'm not doing math homework, I love to learn different languages, travel, listen and sing along to loud music, and sleep. This year, I'll also be project chair for ASME, so I'll be setting up some really cool tech‐related workshop. I look forward to meeting and getting to know all of you! My advice for incoming freshmen: Give this program a chance. At minimum, you will meet some amazing people that can help you get through the academic world of college. At most, if you get lucky, you'll meet friends that will make you cookies.