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Rhianna is a Biomedical Sciences major at UCF.  As an incoming freshman to college, Rhianna was very nervous that she would not be able to adjust well to college courses. She is grateful for the EXCEL program as it provided her with many opportunities of guidance and support to help her perform well in her classes. The best part about her EXCEL experience was the GEMS mentoring program. Her mentor was always helpful and supportive and is still very active with her mentees to this day as she arranges various bonding activities for the group to do.

Beginning in the fall of 2019, Rhianna applied for the URE through EXCEL. Since then (even through COVID), her research experience has been so valuable. She says “It was amazing to learn about different lab techniques but designing and presenting a research poster also provided me with oral and written communication skills that I can apply to other fields. Before joining the URE with EXCEL, I was not sure if I wanted to do research. But being in this program has helped me explore the different aspects of research.” Rhianna presented in the Student Research Showcase in 2021 and was chosen as the Undergraduate Judge’s Choice Award Winner.