Ena Barisic

Major/Year: Political Science/ First Year
Hometown: Bosnia & Jacksonville, Florida

Ena is the first and only person in her entire family to attend college. She and her family moved from Bosnia in 1999. Ena has broken the family mold of marrying early and studying for a medical career in high school. She is proud to be the one setting the standard for the younger members of her family back home in Bosnia. “Since no one has went to college to give me tips on how to go through it; whenever I accomplish something it means more.”

Ena is already giving back to the first generation community. She is a UF Mentor, a mentoring program for high school students. She meets with her mentee once a week giving tips and encouragement on how she too can go to UF one day. UF. Ena thinks her first generation identity is “cool”. She enjoyed giving her family the “college experience” during Family Weekend and filling them in on everything that happens at a university, like the football games and Greek Life.

Ena’s future goal is to be a diplomat. She wants to be the US ambassador in Bosnia making her mark as the “Obama of Bosnia”. Being first generation, she has always worked hard for what she wants to do academically, so she is ready for the challenge of becoming a foreign ambassador. “If I can graduate from UF, then I can do [anything].”

The MFOS program has given Ena the opportunity to attend college and not have to worry about how she will fund her education. She also loves the staff and is thankful for her First Year Florida instructor (and MFOS assistand director), Will Atkins. Will actually inspired Ena to become a peer leader for First Year Florida. Additionally, Ena is an active member of Youth and Government of which she is the Vice President of Internal Affairs, College Democrats, and the European Gators. She is working along with the other members of European Gators to develop a model EU (similar to the model UN already in place at UF).

Closing Remark: “If you are going through hell, keep going.” [Winston Churchill]