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So You Got into Innovation Academy… Now what?

So, the day finally came! You refreshed your University of Florida admissions decisions page, and the words you had been anxiously anticipating finally appeared on your screen: “Congratulations!” Then, you see it mentions something about an Innovation Academy (IA). This was definitely my experience when I was a prospective student. I was so excited, but also nervous and a little confused about what all IA entailed.

Whether you’ve done research on the program, or you have no idea what it is, your acceptance into the University of Florida and the cutting-edge Innovation Academy Program is something to be celebrated!

Here’s a few reasons why:

1. It’s a living-learning community

“Innovation Academy pulls unique students from more than 30 majors into a spring-summer cohort filled with energy, collisions that become ideas, and one common minor: Innovation.”- Innovation Academy

As an IA Student, I got to live in a dorm with other IA students in the fall while we took online classes and got involved on campus and in Greek life. We immediately became a big and diverse family! Having my #BeatyFam truly shaped my first-year experience and IA Pride. Below is a shot of me and my Innovation Academy roomies! We spent all of fall, spring and summer semesters together, and we still keep in touch as great friends today.

2. Catalyst Competition

In my personal opinion, as a student in this program, Catalyst is one of the coolest ways to learn and grow as a student and a leader during college. With your group, you get to develop a product or service that provides a solution for a world problem!

My group developed a phone application to help reduce food waste, and now my teammates and I are best friends to this day. Getting to innovate and collaborate for a cause that is so much bigger than ourselves really taught us more than any textbook could have.

Here is the hype video featuring last year’s competition!

3. Speaker Series

“Innovation Academy invites various professionals from the innovation community to speak to IA students as guest lecturers. These presentations are fantastic opportunities to network and learn more about what it takes to be successful in a very competitive economy.”- http://innovationacademy.ufl.edu

The speaker series is one of my favorite perks of being an IA Student. Getting to learn from established people in various fields has opened my mind up to new ideas and gotten me excited for the future ahead!

4. McGrogan Active Learning Center

This modern location takes study sessions to a whole new level. The new McGrogan Active Learning Center on campus is a special place for Innovation Academy students to thrive, create and collaborate. It is equipped with top-notch technology to ensure students have an amplified learning experience, and it even has a Starbucks coffee machine!

Here’s a glimpse at part of the room:

5. Internship Opportunities and Venture Partnerships

IA sets you up for success in and out of the classroom. Innovation Academy has partnerships with many companies that give IA students a special opportunity to get involved. Here is a photo of some of the internship opportunities offered to IA students this past year:

These are just five of the many awesome reasons to go the Innovation Academy route when making your college decision. As a student in this program, I feel like I have gotten so much out of my college experience already, and it’s only my second year! I have grown as a person by being around diverse student, I have grown as a leader through the variety of involvement opportunities, and I have grown as a professional through the networking opportunities. Oh, and not to mention, I have met my absolute best friends.

I hope this post gets you extra excited to come to the Gator Nation for the best four years of your life. It was the best choice I ever made, and I hope you choose IA, too!

Photo credits: Brooke Garrison


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