By: Barmel Denisha Lyons
University of Central Florida student Milka Derisma, a 25-year-old human communications major, started at the bottom with a 1.8 GPA; now she’s here, in a position as a CEO in her own formulated company: Build Your Goals Shift.
As a transfer student, Derisma explains how the UCF Blackstone LaunchPad acted as the foundation of her academic success supplying her with the knowledge to formulate her own company BYG Shift.
Derisma transferred to UCF in fall 2014. She choose UCF because of the opportunities UCF offered, in particular, the Blackstone LaunchPad. The Blackstone LaunchPad is a student-serving organization which provides mentoring and support on the creation of innovative products and ideas.
Derisma’s background significantly impacted her initial academic success.
“I am an advocate for the ghetto, It was a struggle growing up on Sistrunk Blvd., Fort Lauderdale, a place where people were automatically perceived as criminals, but in reality those same skills they are using to commit crimes just aren’t being cultivated” Derisma said.
When it comes down to inner cities Derisma explains that yes there is crime but there are also talented people who arise from these rough situations who get overlooked. With this in mind, Derisma said UCF was her opportunity to do better than what was expected of her.
In 2009, Derisma attended Valencia College East Campus.
“I wasn’t as focused as I should have been… Academically it was great if I could even get C’s or D’s,” Derisma said.
Derisma was not academically driven and was placed on academic suspension, losing her financial aid. With the lack of financial support from her family or school, Derisma contemplated dropping out.
Derisma transferred to Seminole State, then to UCF with a 1.8 GPA, and with this transition came the start of a new beginning. Derisma was determined to get an education for herself rather than the purpose of proving others wrong.
“At first Milka didn’t know what she wanted to do in life, but once she transferred to UCF she began to motivate herself.” Said Natiria Vasquez a 25-year-old junior at UCF who has known Derisma for 7 years.
After a year of growth and development at UCF, Derisma went to Blackstone LaunchPad for advice on how to create her own business. What started as a website transgressed into much more.
Derisma created her own business entitled BYG Shift, a business which helps transfer students acclimate to new universities, giving students the opportunity to build their own goals. Her own goal was to make students feel like they are in a major that is not difficult but still challenging them to reinforce their ability to become more active in the university community.
“I sought to make a website which allows students to get everything in one place, a transfer HUB which facilitates easier communication between advisors, schools, and students.” Derisma said
Derisma recently participated in the new faces of UCF Business Model Competition winning third place against 28 other student business.
Today, she continues to manage her company in hopes of creating a business which is scalable and acts as a main line of communication between colleges and universities. In the near future, she aspires to take her business to Shark Tank.
Dr. Chanda Torres, the assistant vice president of Student Development and Enrollment Services here at UCF, commented on Derisma’s progress as a transfer student.
“She has incredible initiative and passion for helping transfer students succeed. She is a pioneer and advocate for student success at UCF and nationally. She is a role-model.”
This roaring determination to succeed her circumstance was noticed by her peers. “Derisma pushes me to want to do better, with two children it gets difficult but she motives me to continue with my education,” Vasquez said.
What Derisma aims to demolish is the idea that her past will define her future. Derisma believes that in order to be successful you do not need to follow the rubric of extreme poverty or extreme greatness.
Derisma has exceeded people’s expectations of academic failure and has become her own success story.The young entrepreneur hopes to expand her business in the future and become a pioneer for transfer student who like her want an opportunity to overcome their circumstances.
Photo credit: Milka Derisma