Student and Alumni Blog

Year by Year: 2022 | 2021 | 2020
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Do Not Be Afraid to Be the First

By:Samarah Attie, Innovation Academy Student

My name is Samarah (she/her), and I am from Fort-Lauderdale. I am a biology major on the pre-medical track and am currently serving as the president for the Innovation Academy Ambassadors. In my free time I like to read, spend time with my friends, and travel. One day I hope to be a cardiothoracic surgeon, specifically in pediatrics. Read more

Fusion 360 & Rethinking Failure

By:Alex Kratochvil, Innovation Academy Student

Alex Kratochvil (he/him) is a scuba diver, musician, and UF student majoring in psychology with a minor in innovation. This fall, you can find him running between the Loss Prevention Research Council’s offices at The Hub where he is interning, and Ben Hill Griffin stadium where he plays the trumpet for the UF football team. Beginning in December, Alex will also be working at the Intelligent Critical Care Center and will be joining the ABE Robotics team. Read more

Venture Beyond the Comfortable

By:Jonah Treiber, Innovation Academy Student

Jonah Treiber (he/him/his) is an Innovation Academy sophomore from Panama City, Florida. He is a first-generation student majoring in public relations, and he plans to move to Germany to continue his studies following the completion of his bachelor's degree. During his first year in the Innovation Academy, he jumpstarted his career through numerous accomplishments, and he is eager to continue serving his peers as this year's Innovation Academy Ambassadors historian. When he is feeling inspired, Jonah enjoys doing photo shoots with his friends, exploring new places, and listening to music on long walks (but not on the beach). Read more

Putting Innovation in Action

By:Amulya Nilakanta, Innovation Academy Student

My name is Amulya Nilakanta (she/her) and I am a first-generation student studying Biology with a minor in Innovation. I was born in Hyderabad, India and migrated to Florida when I was one and half years old. I know four different languages: English, Hindi, Spanish and Telugu, and love working in research and serving my local community. I enjoy working with elderly individuals and have started my own service-oriented organization aiding elderly individuals during the ongoing pandemic. In my free time, I enjoy traveling, cooking, and gardening. I have worked as a scribe, medical assistant, hospice healing volunteer, research assistant and tutor, and love using my experiences to inspire other females from rural villages like me. From where I was born, females are restricted in their clothing, access to higher education, marriage, and life choices. I want to inspire many others who have come from small villages like me, to recognize their potential and embrace themselves. Social pressure from conservatives has always tried to hinder my confidence, however, by using Innovation and intrinsic strength, I have overcome their boundaries. Read more

My Disney College Program Experience

By:Caleb Tumbleson, Innovation Academy Student

Caleb Tumbleson (he/him) is part of the 2023 class of Innovation Academy Gators. He is a third-year student studying media production, management, and technology with a minor in innovation. His life at the University of Florida consists of study breaks in Marston and weekly Chipotle runs to power through classes and assignments that come his way. Ways that he has been active in building relationships around campus have been participating in the Maynooth Study Abroad program in the fall of 2019 in addition to being an active participant in the Innovation Academy Ambassadors. More recently, Caleb has taken a position with The Walt Disney Company in Orlando, Florida. You can catch him at the Skyliner cleaning the cabins and making sure that the station at The Caribbean Beach Resort is show ready. Read more

Applying What IA Taught Me to the Corporate World

By:Marianna Gutierrez, Innovation Academy Student

Marianna Gutierrez is a Class of 2025 Innovation Academy student from Parkland, Florida. She is studying Information Systems with a minor in Innovation. Throughout her first year at UF she was involved in the Business Undergraduate Mentorship Program and the Hispanic Student Association. This summer she is doing a tech Internship in Miami working at the Bacardi North America HQ. This coming Fall she will be the Professional and Academic Development Director for the Member Leadership Program and part of the Florida Leadership Academy. Read more

Sneak Peek into My Life

By:Soumia Naeem, Innovation Academy Student

Soumia Naeem is part of the Class of 2024. She is studying Psychology on the pre-med track with a minor in Innovation. Her life at UF revolves around academic and involvement While being an IA Ambassador, she has also served as a cabinet director for Student Government, on the SGP team, and as a member of Delta Zeta Sorority. Read more

Unity Had No Limits

By:Keila Hackebeil, Innovation Academy Student

Keila Hackebeil is a Class of 2024 Innovation Academy student. A first-generation student and a Machen Florida Opportunity scholar, she is studying Journalism while minoring in Innovation and English. As a first-generation student, Keila is a Machen Florida Opportunity Scholar. She is the Content Editor for the Chi Omega Eta Delta chapter, a Features Writer for Her Campus, the Journalism and Communications Ambassadors Social Media Director and in her first year she founded and became Editor-in-Chief of the yearbook program, Tower. Read more

Driven by Challenges, Inspired by Change

By:Aashi Faldu, Innovation Academy Student

Aashi Faldu is an Innovation Academy junior majoring in Biology with a minor in Innovation with a specialization in artificial intelligence on a pre-medical track. Aashi plans to pursue a career in the field of medicine as a physician after completing medical school. Aashi launched a mental health startup during her sophomore year and ran an internship program with 70 interns from 8 different universities and colleges across the nation. Read more

Everything Happens for a Reason

By:Halley Kunda, Innovation Academy Student

Halley is a senior political science major at the University of Florida with a minor in innovation and certificates in political campaigning and public affairs. Halley’s involvement consists of Dance Marathon at UF, Phi Mu Fraternity, Order of Omega, and the Innovation Academy Ambassadors. Halley also holds jobs with UF Levin College of Law and an internship with a United States Senator. After graduation, Halley hopes to attend law school and pursue a career as a lawyer. Read more