What year are you? Sophomore
Hometown: Hollywood, FL
High school: McFatter Technical High School
Minors (Besides Innovation): Anthropology
What is the one innovation you can’t live without? My camera! Whether it's on my phone or my DSLR, I'm always taking a picture or a video. I do love to live in the moment but I LOVE to share my experiences with others. When they say a picture is worth more than a thousand words, I always find every picture holding a story waiting to be told.
It is 2 p.m. Saturday. Where are you, and what are you doing? I'm either walking or already taking a student's headshots somewhere on campus!
What are your goals at UF? One of the many things I would like to accomplish at the University of Florida is being able to leave my mark through this new organization, IA Health. I would love to see our own students flourish and develop into amazing professionals! Their success is our success and they have to keep pursuing as they are our future, especially in healthcare. Another thing I would like to accomplish is to one day have my name and work published in research before going off to medical school.
What innovative projects are you currently working on or want to work on? Currently, I am working as a research assistant under Dr. Hoffman in the Hoffman Lab under the College of Medicine. Our work is focused on gene therapy in re-regulating immunological self-responses. It's innovations and approaches like these that can aid towards learning more of the causes and possible treatments for autoimmune disorders such as Multiple Sclerosis!
Why did you choose to attend IA? What skills have you gained or expanded upon through the program? I love the small community feeling of IA within such a large institution such as UF. The overall opportunity to be in a classroom where you're surrounded by various majors different than yours really amplifies your mindset within your field. It wasn't until Catalyst that I saw how important it was towards developing our prototype and pitch.
What are you involved in on campus? (Clubs, organizations, hobbies, interests) In my first semester, I got involved with the Latino Medical Student Association here at UF where I have found a family of students who share the same goals as I do, which has been refreshing and empowering within a minority's perspective. As well, I am currently involved with IA's newest addition, IA Health where our mission is to make our students competitive candidates in their respective healthcare field. Last summer, I volunteered with UF Shands Cancer Hospital in the Radiology department where I helped the radiographers in placing patients on the X-rays with training, processed/digitized images. As well, I was able to work in the trauma unit and observed both patient and treatment care prior to OR instructions. Some interests of mine don't always revolve around healthcare but I've picked up my camera quite some time and love taking still frame pictures such as headshots!
What is one piece of advice you would give to incoming IA freshmen? Never be afraid to say hello! You'll never know who you'll end up meeting but most importantly you'll never know how far that hello can take you. You'll be amazed at how much you can learn from every person you meet, especially about yourself. Don't be afraid to ask and meet your advisors and professors, they're here to guide and mentor you on your journey! You made it here this far, now keep going!
How do you plan to spend your fall semester(s)? My last fall semester I shadowed Dr. Alberto Kriger in South Florida in the primary care setting in Pediatrics. During rounds, I was able to see the need of an improved preventative healthcare in our country. I was able to grasp onto many overlooked behaviors as his specialty is in Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics. After 40 years of practice, I was able to learn of many common natural remedies as well as distinguishing between viral and bacterial infections, and its approaches. A lot of what I learned during shadowing is what I currently am now studying in my organic chemistry and anthropology courses. This Fall, I will continue to work as a research assistant in the Hoffman Lab as well as taking a few courses!