What year are you?
Clearwater Central Catholic
What is the one innovation you can’t live without?
My cellphone is the most important innovation. It is the easiest way for me to communicate with everyone around me. I download specific apps on my phone that make business and communication easier and allow me instant access to any information I need to obtain. Plus, the music apps on my phone allow me to jam all day.
It is 2 p.m. Saturday. Where are you, and what are you doing?
If I am home in Clearwater, Florida I am either at the beach or on a boat tubing, wake boarding and enjoying the day. In Gainesville, I like to hangout with my friends outdoors either at Bob’s River Place or at one of the springs.
What are your goals at UF?
My goals at UF are to stay involved on campus, maintain a decent GPA, and to connect and network with those around me. I want to be able to bring something new and exciting to campus that benefits the students.
What innovative projects are you currently working on or want to work on?
The two main projects I am working on would be my company Fluid Florida and creating the Entrepreneurship Development Program here on campus. My company Fluid Florida is an apparel brand that sells UV protected t-shirts that give back to the environment by sponsoring beach clean-ups and donating a portion of proceeds to the Ocean Conservancy.
I am also working with Dr. City, the director of the MSE program Parker Van Hart, and EClub to create a weekly hour dedicated to entrepreneurship. This program serves as a friendly environment for students that have a creative idea or their own venture to come to our program to collaborate with other students and to gain the tools to help bridge the gap between an idea and a successful launch. I am super excited about this project because our vision is to connect all students from every different college together in order to create innovative ideas.
Why did you choose to attend UF IA? How has it enhanced your college experience so far?
I chose IA because I wanted to be at a University that motivates students to think creatively. I love the great resources and people that are in the Innovation Academy. The small number of students in each class helps to make UF not seem so large. IA has given me the tools to branch out and network as well as become stronger academically.
What are you involved in here on campus? (Clubs, organizations, hobbies, interests)
Innovation Leadership Program. I am also a resident at the Gator Hatchery working on my venture Fluid Florida. I was previously involved in Heavener Leadership Challenge which I recommend all students apply for. In my spare time, I’m either listening to music or hanging out with friends. I try to stay active by working out but I also love food, so sometimes that doesn’t pan out too well.
What is one piece of advice you would give to incoming IA freshmen?
My biggest piece of advice would be to take a risk and jump out of your comfort zone. When I was a freshman I was a little timid about joining organizations and unsure about how to find my voice on campus. The University of Florida is filled with some of the smartest people and that can be intimidating especially when you want to start an idea, because a few times I was unsure if my idea was good. However, I learned that it is okay to take risks and college is the perfect time for doing whatever you want. I would also say to surround yourself with positive people. That may seem lame, but it is important to have a strong support group to help build you up and encourage you to chase a dream.
How do you plan to spend your fall semester(s)?
This upcoming fall I would like to intern somewhere out of the state of Florida. I have a few companies in mind that I am interested in because they are unique companies that don’t necessarily follow the rules of a typical business. My search is still ongoing but I want to intern for either a nonprofit or a green energy based start-up. If I don’t intern, I would like to study abroad.
How have you contributed positively to the Gainesville community?
Developing the workshop on campus would probably be the biggest positive impact I have made in the community. I also reach out to local non-profits in Gainesville to find a way to help out. I recently participated in Innovation Week by presenting Fluid Florida at the One Million Cups event. This was a great opportunity to hear great feedback and meet some local entrepreneurs.