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Hi! My name is Mariana Sorroza and I am double-majoring in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and minoring in Leadership Studies. This is my second year at the University of Central Florida and my first year as a GEMS mentor. I graduated from Atlantic Technical College and Technical High School in Coconut Creek, Florida in June of 2020. I graduated with a technical certificate in machining and with my Associate Degree from Broward College as a dual enrollment student. Aside from being in school, my hobbies include praying and watching church service online, spending time with my family, friends, and dogs, exercising (playing soccer, jogging, etc.), and exploring new places and trying new things. My favorite classes have been “Ethics in the 21st Century” and “Nonprofit Organizations”. “Ethics in the 21st Century” covered multiple topics that I found very interesting such as whether animal testing is ethical and how humans’ ability to have a better memory declined as a result of us being able to talk, compared to chimpanzees, who cannot talk but have excellent memories. “Nonprofit Organizations” was also very enjoyable because I am a huge advocate for people, animals, and the environment’s wellbeing. I got to learn about the behind-the-scenes processes of nonprofit organizations, which helped me with my nonprofit “Anything Works”. Dr. Jonathan Beever had a unique way of making class engaging. The conversations always went into depth and it made me think outside of the box and evaluate my own ethical principles, which is so very important. Dr. Stephanie Loudermilk Krick was also a great professor and she always gave thorough feedback for the nonprofit class assignments. I chose to get involved with the GEMS program because it was a great opportunity to meet other girls in STEM majors and to build positive connections with them and with industry leaders. It feels really nice to know that you have a mentor, other mentees, and program coordinators that care about you feeling comfortable and safe at UCF. It is easier to adjust when you know you are surrounded by people that want to support you. I expect to be a mentor that makes my mentees feel welcomed and comfortable coming to me. And I expect my mentees to be open to making friends, to learning, and to having fun.  Let us be women building up other women. My words of advice for the GEMS freshman students are that everything is what you make it and you will always get as much as you put in! If you step out of your comfort zone, you might be surprised by how much you enjoy it. May God bless you and please never hesitate to reach out! <3