Saint of Santa Fe | Andy Sakalla

Saint of Santa Fe | Andy Sakalla

Santa Fe College student Andy Sakalla photographed for the Saints of SF series on July 22, 2021 in Gainesville, FL. (Photo by Matt Stamey/Santa Fe College)

“I received multiple scholarship opportunities to attend other Florida universities. I chose Santa Fe College because of the reputation for building strong connections between students and professors, I wanted that personalized experience.

When I started at SF, I was surprised by the small class sizes and the professors knew me by name. In this environment I gained the confidence to ask questions and become more engaged in class. I’ve noticed even now at UF, this has given me a voice in online breakout sessions, and I’ve become a leader in many group situations. Aside from the additional scholarships available to honors students, Mr. Hom – Honors Program Advisor, does a great job of helping plan customized class schedules that promote learning opportunities and fit your lifestyle. For instance, if you want to take more than four classes, he recommends class combinations that will maximize your opportunity for success. If you want to take summer classes, he will help you with that as well.

Last year, at the start of the pandemic, classes at SF transitioned from on-campus to online. Initially, I had difficulty staying motivated. Some of the instruction lagged because the curriculum had to be modified on the spot for an online format, but the students and instructors adapted quickly and thankfully I had relationships with professors and other students, so I didn’t worry about falling behind. I attribute much of my success at SF to the relationships I made and how the faculty and staff prepared me to transfer to my university of choice.

I’m thankful for my time at SF and looking forward to the remainder of my time at UF in pursuit of my goal to become a dentist. “

Andy Sakalla, Gainesville, FL

A.A. Biological Sciences, SF 2020 and current UF Student