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 How do you feel that your faculty mentor(s) have helped you in finding your path and succeeding?

“During my first semester, Dr. Dove had a huge impact on my decision to remain a physics major. There was a time when I was struggling in my courses and questioning whether or not I would be able to take on even more challenging upper division coursework. One or two open and honest conversations with Dr. Dove reinstilled my self-confidence and gave me the push I needed to power through the initial challenges. Dr. Fisher helped me find my path through conversation and consistent check-ins. During tutorial sessions and his Windows to the World course I was taught to be intentional about my approach to taking on challenges and selecting opportunities; these lessons became an essential piece in my decision-making process. Dr. Bennett has facilitated many opportunities to try out various types of research and discover what I prefer to work on and how I prefer to employ my skills.”

How important is/was having a mentor and how did you find ones that were right for you?

“Having mentors is arguably one of the most important things for a student at any stage to do and should be something that you approach with intention. Finding the right mentors can be accomplished with patience and persistence. I found my mentors by talking to my peers and being active in my communities; the power of networking and relationship building during undergrad should not be underestimated.”

What doors has your mentor opened that you feel you wouldn’t have had access to otherwise?

“Many of the opportunities I have had were brought to my attention by my mentors. Since freshman year, Dr. Fisher and I have been discussing different post-bac options and prestigious awards such as Goldwater, Astronaut, DAAD RISE, Marshall, Rhodes, and Fulbright. He opened the door to these opportunities simply by exposing me to them and by working with me on curating a cohesive narrative for these applications.

Bennett and Dr. Dove have opened doors to research and leadership opportunities in my physics community. Dr. Bennett was instrumental in helping me find and apply for my Summer 2020 internship at NASA Goddard. His connections with the astrobiologists, and the work he had done with me at UCF, helped make me a strong candidate. Dr. Dove has been my role model for community involvement and has always encouraged me to engage with my community. Because of the leadership roles I took on, and with her guidance, I have been able to develop leadership skills that have prepared me for future job opportunities and graduate school.”

What words of appreciation can you share about your mentor(s)?

“Dr. Fisher, thank you for taking me under your wing and being a constant source of motivation. I’m not sure that I would have been as excited for the possibilities that the future holds without your enthusiastic and encouraging perspective.

Bennett, thank you for helping me become the researcher that I am today and broadening my view of the researcher that I can become in the future.

Dr. Dove, thank you for being a great role model and setting an example of how I can impact my community through my actions.”