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My First Year of College

They say time flies when you're having fun...I will agree with that because I am in disbelief at how fast my freshman year has gone by. This year has filled with ups and down, hours upon hours of studying, fun times, and some accomplishments. It's time to look back at this past year and reflect on all that has happened.



The start of my college journey. I was excited, nervous, and unsure of what would be in store for me! I was taking Pre-calculus, French, Psychology, an Honor's Seminar on scientific topics, and my Gemstone class.



I was invited to a reception at the University House where I was able to mingle with the deans of each college on campus, the executive director of the honor program, fellow Banneker/Key scholars, and the president himself. I was lucky enough to snap a quick picture with him too. I was very honored for this opportunity!



After the disastrous hurricane Irma hit St. Maarten I worked with a team of amazing students and the Gemstone Honors Program to collect items to send to the island. I learned a lot from this experience and I was so amazed to see how Gemstone students were so supportive of me and my cause. At this moment, I knew that I had made the right choice by choosing UMD as my home for the next three years. We collected 44 boxes filled with items and shipped them to St. Maarten in December. Through this experience, I was posted on the Gemstone Student Council and the Gemstone Program websites.

Thank you to everyone who donated and who worked to make this possible and special thanks to the Gemstone program staff.



I finished my first semester in college with all As and made it to the Dean's List! I was very proud of myself and promised myself to continue to work hard and get the best grades that I can.



I was awarded the OMES Academic Achievement Award for my first semester grades. This event was so great because it celebrated minorities on campus for the academic achievements.



I came back to campus ready for another successful semesterThis one was definitely more challenging than the last. I took Bio-calculus, Chemistry, Chem lab, Biology, biology lab, and had two Gemstone courses.



This was truly an amazing experience. I was sitting down between classes when I received an email stating that I was chosen by the Director of the Honors college to be showcased at this year's Banneker/Key Luncheon, I began shaking so hard and called my mom right away. I of course accepted the invitation and next I had a personal meeting/interview with Dr. Susan Dwyer, the Director of the Honor's College. During our meeting, we got to know each other and she asked me questions about my experience at the university thus far. It was truly an amazing opportunity to be able to meet with her.

On the days of the luncheons, I arrived early and mingled with the incoming students and their families. It felt like deja-vu as it had only been a year since I was in their place on my interview day for the scholarship.

Next Dr. Dwyer took the stage and spoke about the outstanding current Banneker/Key students. I felt so overwhelmed and proud when my picture was on the screen, she even told the audience that she believed I would be a great doctor one day.

I never expected to have this experience and I am so so grateful, it truly meant a lot to me that staff at this university wanted to acknowledge me and it motivates me to continue to do more in the next years.



One of my favorite parts of this year has been partaking in the Gemstone research program. I have learned so much about the research process and have grown so much academically since the start of the year.

The journey started in Gems 100, here I was introduced into the university and to the program so I knew what to expect. I wrote my first project sheet proposal in which I chose a topic to research on. I decided to research about pre-mature births, as I conducted my research I found that African-American women had a significantly higher chance of having a pre-mature birth. I titled my project sheet "Prevention of Preterm Pregnancies in African American Women".

Next, I started Gems 104. This course condensed the four year program into one semester. I worked with my section as a team to conduct research on our cohorts chosen topic: Mental Health. We created presentations, I practiced my public speaking skills and wrote my first literature review.

We combined our findings and created a research poster which was presented at Undergraduate Research Day and at the Gemstone Thesis Conference.

Finally, we presented our research at our Fearless Ideas Summit to a panel of experts and wrote our final literature review.

In Gems 102, in this course I was exposed to so many amazing research ideas and was able to hear the research proposals from my peers. I collaborated with one of my friends to propose a project on pathogen research on campus, we went through all the proposal steps, met with faculty on campus, and our project made it to the final round of voting. Finally, it was team formation night and I was placed on Team Feat!

Our team name stands for "FcεR1 Examination for Allergy Treatment"

I'll be taking on the role of Webmaster, meaning that I will be creating and updating our team website. All the work this semester has prepared me to contribute to my team's research and I am so excited to get started this summer.

I was also selected to be a section leader for Gems 100 next semester, I am eager to welcome incoming gemstone students into the program by teaching their weekly classes!


I was also nominated for the "Gemstone Rookie of the Year" Award. I am incredibly honored for the nomination! I attended the Gemstone Award and Citation Ceremony where I was acknowledged for my leadership in the "Gemstone Terps for St. Maarten" drive. I was very happy to see my friend who I nominated win the award as she was very deserving for it.

I can't wait to continue in this program, the next three years will require a lot of hard work but the end result shall be worth it.

Thank you to the Gemstone staff for all their support this year!

For more information on the gemstone program please visit:



The first organization I joined on campus was CSA and I am so glad I did! For the first time since leaving St. Maarten I was able to be around a group of people who shared my culture. This organization truly helped me to feel more accepted and it was just so amazing to have people who related to me. As a cabinet member I helped the executive board with their events, from Fall Fete to Jouvert!



This year I joined CRD, a pre-medical society for minority groups on campus. Through this society I was able to listen to amazing lectures from the Dean of Admissions of University of Maryland Medical School to the Former Surgeon General of the United States. At the end of the year I decided that I wanted to take a role in this society and ran for secretary. I am very excited to serve on the Executive Board next year!



At the beginning of this semester, I wrote down a goal in my journal: get a 4.0 GPA. I knew this would be very difficult to achieve as UMD has a plus/minus system meaning I would have to get 93 and above in every single course. I decided that I would simply work my hardest this semester and as long as I did that I would be happy with my results.

This semester took a lot of work! Hours and hours of studying, going to office hours, going to GSS, forming study groups. But it all paid off...I'm happy to say I that I achieved my goal and have a 4.0 GPA THIS SEMESTER!!!

A's in all 7 of my courses! I am so thankful, it is the perfect way to end my first year in college.



I am ending my first year in college by studying abroad in Montpellier, France for three weeks!! It feels like a dream come true and I can barely talk about it without smiling and getting butterflies in my stomach.

Thank you to everyone who has contributed and made this trip possible!


My freshman year was better than I could have ever imagined. I am so thankful for each and every experience I have this year.

1 year down...3 more to go. The sky is the limit for this island girl.



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