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Mariana is double-majoring in Mechanical Engineering and International and Global Studies. She has expressed that Engineering has always been a huge interest of hers which is one of her biggest reasons for coming to UCF. As a member of the EXCEL program, she has received a lot of guidance as a female entering a STEM field and feels very fortunate to be able to pay that back by providing guidance to others through participating in the GEMS Mentoring program as a mentor the last two years. As a GEMS mentor, Mariana strived to remind her mentees that even though STEM can be challenging, it is also very rewarding and they are more than capable! She encourages students to push through the difficulties and to remember that even though being a student (especially a female) in STEM can be rough, they are tough! EXCEL has also helped her with networking, such as leading her to participate in Fairways to Leadership, where she learned how to play golf and gained additional leadership skills. Through her relationships with those leading the EXCEL program, she received assistance to become an ambassador on the President’s Leadership Council and on getting an internship with the Minority Serving Institution Internship Program. From 2021-2022, she supported the National Nuclear Security’s Administration Office of Nuclear Smuggling Detection and Deterrence and she is currently supporting the Office of Radiological Security; these are both offices that do work to protect people from nuclear and radiological threats both domestically and internationally. Mariana has additional involvement such as being a campus ambassador, a STEM ambassador, serving on the student code of conduct board, and volunteering at a local animal shelter. She hopes to continue contributing to EXCEL and expresses being immensely grateful for the positive impacts this program has had and continues to have on her life and career!