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Accelerated Collegiate Experience

Accelerated Collegiate Experience

2015-2016 Mentors


ACE Peer Mentors
2015 - 2016

ACE Mentor II

ACE II Mentors are former ACE Mentors who have graduated from high school and continued their baccalareate studies at FGCU.  They are typically honors students, campus leaders and have had extensive leadership development.


Shanley Mastin - Mentor II

Shanley  graduated from Riverdale High where she played Powder Puff Football and participated in Fellowship of Christian Athletes.  She is continuing her bacalaureate studies at FGCU where she is a pre-vet major (biology).  She loves horses and in her spare time rides and barrel races. She also volunteers at Special Equestrians and shadows a local veterinarian.  Shanley is in FGCU Honors and participated in the FGCU Leadership Academy.  She was inducted into the National Society of Leadership and Success.  She volunteers at Tortuga Preserve Elementary School and is a member of Ignite, a youth group at her church.  She loves volleyball and will play any sport with her friends (she particpated in the 50-mile relay Fly By Night at FGCU). 

Shanley's Advice:  Learn to study as soon as possible; do not wait until it is too late.  Meet your professors because building connections early is important for oportunities in the future. 

Arnold Morales - Mentor II

Arnold  graduated from Golden Gate High where he has participated in Key Club and Varsity Soccer. He is a full-time FGCU student majoring in Exercise Science and plans to attend medical school.  At FGCU he is actively involved with the FGCU Dirty Birds (athletic pep club) and is in FGCU Honors.  He plans to be interning with a favorite professor this fall.  In his spare time Arnold LOVES to play soccer but he also enjoys reading (non-fiction mostly) and spending time with his family. 

Arnold's Advice: Enjoy the experience, get involved and reach out to make new friends.  College is also about expanding your network!  Always remember you are here to learn and challege yourself!


Rachel Walter - Mentor II

Rachel graduated from Palmetto Ridge High School and the ACE Program in spring 2014.  While in high school she played varsity soccer for 4 years.  She is currently a full time student at FGCU working on a BS in Biology and conducting research in virology with Dr. Sharon Isern.  Rachel presented her research at serveral conferences including the 2014 Florida Life Sciences Conference.  She is an FGCU Ambassador as well as a Teaching Assistant (TA) for the FGCU honors course, Virus Hunters.  She recently returned from Nicaragua where she volunteered with Global Medical Brigades in providing sustainable healthcare to rual communities. When she finds the time, she loves going to the beach, shopping and hanging around with family and friends. 

Rachel's Advice:  DO NOT bite off more than you can chew with classes or work.  You will end up regretting it and possibly doing damage to your academic record.


ACE Mentor I

ACE I Mentors have participated in the ACE program for at least one year and have completed training for the peer mentor program.  They are successful students who are engaged in university life.

Stephanie Abreu - Mentor I

Stephanie's home high school is Golden Gate High. She has received a Take Stock in Students Scholarship.   She is majoring in English at FGCU with a minor in Education.  Stephanie is highly involved in FGCU activities including service projects such as FGCU Make a Difference Day,  the Week of Welcome (WOW) Beach Clean Up, FGCU Earth Day, FGCU Plant A Tree USA.  She is planning on participation in the Dominican Republic Outreach Program (DROP) this year.  Stephanie is a algebra tutor for the Center for Academic Achievement at FGCU and is the inagural co-president of the Make a Wish club at FGCU. 

She loves Pinterest and is a DIY fanatic.  She also loves to read and if she's not playing with Mod Podge, she'll have her nose in a book.

Stephanie's Advice: It's really fun to be in a university where you can make your own schedule, start all over again, and meet incredible new people, but do not let that consume you. There is still work to be done, and it's important to remember that this work is counting towards your future ten times more than it was in high school. Get all the help you can get and use the amazing resources here at FGCU! Or get yourself a cool mentor, like me!

Chelsea Atkins - Mentor I

Chelsea's home school is Lehigh Senior High where she was an active member of the AICE Cambridge program and Center for the Arts of Digital and Media Design. She participated in science fair and National Novel Writing Month in high school. She is currently working on a degree in Software Engineering at FGCU and plans on also going into Computer Programming. Chelsea enjoys revisiting her high school by attending the plays and productions put on by her school's theater group. She volunteers regularly with CREW Land and Water Trust and has done many activities with them. She is part of the ACE Honors Program and in her spare time enjoys writing, reading, and building webpages.

Chelsea's Advice: Set goals for yourself in and out of the classroom, but don't be discouraged if you don't reach them right away. Pace yourself, put your best foot forward, and use your resources!


Kaylee Cliffford - Mentor I  

Kaylee’s home school is Palmetto Ridge High School, where she took part in Varsity Lacrosse, Varsity Swimming, Mu Alpha Theta, and French National Honor Society. She is a full-time student at FGCU and working on a BS in Biology at FGCU. With her BS she plans to go to dental school and become an orthodontist! She has already had some great opportunities shadowing dentists, such as Dr. Shaw Terrence.  She is also a member of the National Society of High School Scholars, and the American Student Dental Association and is an ACE Honors Student.

For summer 2015, Kaylee was selected to become a student ambassador, through a program started by President Eisenhower. She will spend a month of summer traveling in Austria, Switzerland, Belgium, Germany, France, England, and the Netherlands, where she will be volunteering, meeting with diplomats, and learning new cultures! After her return, she will be volunteering at the Naples Art Association, as a summer camp leader. Kaylee has been volunteering with the Naples Art Association for a little over a year now! She has also volunteered with the American Heart Association, Red Cross, Collier County Sheriff’s Department, and Corkscrew Elementary.

Kaylee loves to spend her time outdoors, but when you cannot find her outside, she is likely knitting, baking, or reading. She also loves her family, and visits them frequently in New Brunswick, Canada. One random fact about Kaylee is that she likes corny jokes. For instance, her favorite joke is: What is below a tree with square leaves? Square Roots!

Kaylee’s Advice: Get involved! Ask questions! Talk to your professors! Don’t be afraid to be exactly who you are! Also, if someone tells you to park in garage two make sure you know how to find the bridge before the first day of your eight AM class. Otherwise, you may end up wandering the parking lot for a good hour before a senior parks his car and offers to show you where the bridge is, while simultaneously asking if you are a freshman!


Samantha Coury - Mentor I  

Samantha is a senior in the ACE Honors program and at Estero High School. She is currently working on a BS in Biochemistry at FGCU. At Estero High, Samantha participated in multiple academic clubs and was secretary of the National Honor Society. At FGCU, she enjoys being a Teaching Assistant for both Dr. Davies (General Chemistry I) and Dr. McManus (General Chemistry II) and likes spending her weeknights working in an organic chemistry research lab with Dr. Boyce.  Samantha is in the ACE Honors Program. 

Aside from academics, Samantha has played the violin since the age of five and actively participates in the FGCU Symphony Orchestra and Southwest Florida Youth Symphony. For fun, she enjoys reading classic novels, going to the beach, and jamming to the Thor and Avengers movie soundtracks by Brian Tyler while driving.

Samantha’s Advice: Your time in the ACE program will be one of exponential growth! Get involved in activities and clubs that interest you and utilize the campus in a way that best benefits you. The greatest academic resources
are professor’s office hours – go to them as frequently as possible, you will learn the answers to questions you never knew to ask!

Kayla Crain - Mentor I

Kayla graduated from Palmetto Ridge High School and the ACE program in spring 2015.  She is a full-time FGCU student and is working on a B.S. in Resort and Hospitality Management with a concentration in Event Management and a minor in Marketing.  While attending Palmetto Ridge High, Kayla played volleyball and was in chorus.  In addition, Kayla was the vocalist for her worship group band for several years and performed weekly as well as at special events including the Naples Strawberry Music Festival, The Collier County Battle of the Bands and the Collier County Fair.  Kayla loves to sing, bake, travel and spend time with her family and friends.

Kayla has completed over 110 service learning hours while in the ACE program and has participated in the FGCU Make a Difference Day. She graduated from the Emerging Eagles program, is a participant in the FGCU Presidential Leadership Certificate Program, a member of the FGCU Red Cross, and is the 2015-2016 President for The National Society of Leadership and Success FGCU Chapter. She was awarded the “Best in Leadership” award at the 2015 ACE graduation.

Kayla’s Advice:  Get involved!  Join clubs, programs, go to events and meet people. As you connect more, you grow more!  Participate in class, stay ahead of assignment deadlines, and find study partners for your toughest courses.

Victoria de Laney - Mentor I

Victoria (Tori) graduated from Gulf Cost High School and the ACE program in spring 2015.  She is currently completing her baccalaureate degree at FGCU and is a psychology major.   She plans to intern with a psychology professor during her tenure at FGCU.  She spends most of her spare time listening to music or reading.  She has played clarinet in her school band and practices with piano and guitar at home.  She has aquired over 150 service hours assisting teachers at a local high school.   She has been on the Dean's List while at FGCU and plans on tutoring psychology in the Center for Academic Achiviement at FGCU. 

Victoria's Advice:  My advise for incoming ACE students is to try not to be intimidated and always talk to your professors.  They love to have a connection with students and it will open many doors and possibilities for the future.  



Alyssa Emery - Mentor I


Alyssa graduated from Riverdale High in Fall of 2015, where she was a part of the Marching Band, National Society of High School Scholars, and the National Honors Society. She started the ACE program in fall of 2014, after doing two semesters of the International Baccalaureate Program. She will be continuing her baccalaureate studies at FGCU where she is dual majoring in Economics and Finance.  Her dream career is an actuary.  Alyssa is treasurer of both the FGCU Make a Wish Club and the Republican Club.  She is persuing completion of the Emerging Eagles leadership program at FGCU and will soon be inducted into the National Society of Leadership and Success.  Alyssa has a love for animals, and spends lots of time with her two cats, two dogs and geckos. She actively volunteers at Gulf Coast Humane Society and her local church. 

Gavin Piasky - Mentor I

Gavin graduated from Cypress Lake High School in Fort Myers and spent  2 years in ACE, what he considers a truly rewarding experience.  Gavin is an Accounting and Economics double major, and has found FGCU really facilitative to his immersion in his chosen field.  Being an ACE student has allowed him to become involved in the FGCU Accounting Society, and through the society he has become involved in numerous state and national accounting organizations.  He is currently a financial planning and analysis intern at General Electric- a value-adding experience that would be entirely unavailable to him if not for the ACE Program.  

At FGCU Gavin is also involved in Eagles for Liberty, a registered student organization that serves as a sort of medium for the exchange of ideas regarding civil liberties, economic freedoms, and public choice.  He also enjoys participating in ACE functions- "they’re really a good time".

 Gavin likes diversification in the fillers of his free time.  He likes bowling, going to movies, going to the beach, and other somewhat mindless activities.  He is also a big reader.  Dystopian fiction is probably his favorite, but he's definitely not exclusive to that genre.  A few choice authors that he enjoys are Kurt Vonnegut, Ayn Rand, and Albert Camus and he always liked the poetry of Sylvia Plath.  He reads a lot of business related periodicals, including The Harvard Business Review, The Wall Street Journal, and The Journal of Accountancy.  He is looking forward to meeting the new ACE students and working with his mentees. 

Gavin's "Penultimate Words of Advice":

  • You are not below any of the students at this school because of your age in any way (besides your age); keep this in mind when considering opportunities and experiences- you’re just as entitled to all FGCU has to offer as anyone else.
  • Your professors aren’t going to think less of you if you tell them you’re an ACE student.  Quite the opposite.
  • Park in Garage 2!!!
  • Every choice has costs and benefits- consider them thoroughly while making any decision.


Cameron Taylor - Mentor I

Camerion graduated from The Oaks Private School.  At FGCU he is an Instructional Support Leader (math tutor) in the Center for Academic Achievement.  He is in the FGCU Honor's Program and was on the Dean's List for fall 2014 and spring 2015.  He was inducted into Phi Eta Sigma National Honor Society at FGCU and serves as inagural co-president of the FGCU Make a Wish Club.  He loves going to the beach, the gym and is an avid basketball player. 

Cameron's Advice:  I think the most important thing for new ACE students to know is that if they read their emails frequently, check canvas often, and manage their time well success will come easily. Being an ACE student can be a lot of fun provided you are responsible enough to keep up with the work. Study hard, get involved in activities, make friends, and most of all enjoy yourself.