might seem strange. I did very well in high school and even achieved a perfect
math score on both my SATs and ACTs, but I didn’t have a lot of confidence in
myself before I came to the University of North Florida.
grew up in Maryland and moved to Florida with my parents when I was in sophomore
in high school. I finished my junior and senior years at Fleming Island High
School with straight As, but I still doubted myself.
when a friend introduced me to Dr. Jerry Merckel, who gave me a tour of UNF. The
University seemed like a perfect fit for me. Small classes and unparalleled access
to faculty seemed like the perfect remedy to get past my struggles with
accepted to the University of Florida and the University of Central Florida,
but it wasn’t a contest. UNF is where I wanted to be.
two years, I’ve had some incredible experiences I’m sure I wouldn’t have had
somewhere else. For example, I took a class on the history and culture of New
Orleans. We studied the city, but we even traveled there and helped in the
rebuilding effort after Hurricane Katrina. It was an eye-opening experience for
me to see the widespread devastation that remains even five years after the
hurricane. Walking through neighborhoods and seeing the high-water marks was a
sobering experience because I realized some residents probably died there. It completely
changed my perspective.
also allowed me an opportunity to travel to Holland. We studied renewable
energy in Holland and compared it with developments in the United States. We
first visited JEA in Jacksonville and then traveled to Amsterdam to study
windmills and second-generation generators. We learned they are making great
strides in producing energy from trash rather than using corn or other
agricultural products like we do here. The trip was also my first experience
out of the country and it gave me confidence about traveling abroad.
UNF internship at Texas Instruments in Dallas, Tex. was a real confidence
booster. During one session, I was with eight other students, four of whom were
from MIT. It made me realize UNF must offer a very good education if our
students can compete with MIT students for prestigious internships. The
internship also illustrated how this country is benefiting from the diversity
of nationalities because many different cultures were represented among the
intern class. We went out to dinner one evening, and, of the eight of us, I was
the only intern born in the United States. Next year, I’m going to try for an IBM
internship to broaden my resume.
of these experiences have transformed me in ways I’m only now beginning to
understand. I’ve switched from mechanical engineering to electrical engineering
and continue to be fascinated with the area of medical innovations. We are
constantly making electronics smaller, especially in the area of sensors. I’ve
had some experience with robotics at UNF and believe it might be a career
concentration for me.
most important takeaway from my UNF education, however, isn’t purely academic. UNF
has given me confidence. I’m no longer intimidated by new situations or new
locations. I’ve grown more confident in my abilities — and myself. When I
graduate, and I know that thanks to my UNF education I will be a much different
person than the unsure student who enrolled just four years ago.