Stepping outside of her comfort zone, student seizes opportunities to excel

Camila Treptow studied biology and Spanish at the University of Miami.

By Ashley A. Williams

Camila Treptow studied biology and Spanish at the University of Miami.

Stepping outside of her comfort zone, student seizes opportunities to excel

By Ashley A. Williams
Camila Treptow, a Miami native and aspiring doctor, discovers new passions and career goals in just two years at the University of Miami.

As Camila Treptow receives her bachelor’s degree in biology and Spanish from the University of Miami College of Arts and Sciences this week, she takes one step closer to achieving her dream of becoming a pediatrician. 

Before Treptow enrolled at the University, the Miami native was an honors student at Miami Dade College, where she earned her associate’s degree in biology. Treptow said she chose to continue her studies at the University after visiting the Coral Gables Campus. “I chose UM because I love the vibe of the campus,” she said. “I loved it.” 

Upon enrolling, Treptow was enthusiastic about one thing: medicine. However, she quickly learned how keeping an open mind and taking chances could lead to success outside of her usual ambitions. 

As a transfer and commuter student, Treptow was aware that she had two years to make the most of her college experience at the University. Whenever an email was sent from the College of Arts and Sciences regarding a new opportunity, she leaped at the chance to see where it would land her. 

“When I entered UM, I was stressed about making all the right decisions and unsure of what my future would be,” said Treptow. “But I realized that not sweating the small stuff and stepping outside of my comfort zone have been the biggest lessons for me.” 

Treptow encourages other transfer students to take full advantage of their time and explore all their options, both within and outside of their career goals. 

“I would receive emails all the time about things happening on campus and even if I wasn’t interested in them at first, I would just go,” explained Treptow. “I advise others to just take advantage of every opportunity.” 

This mindset led her to attend business and finance events and discover entrepreneurship. Inspired by the tragic death of Miya Marcano, a college student who attended Valencia College and was kidnapped from her Orlando apartment in September 2021 by a maintenance worker, Treptow wanted to do her part to ensure other young, college-aged women were protected. She is currently developing a mobile application that will help deter break-ins, abductions, or sexual assaults by informing people that the door to their apartment, dorm, or hotel has been opened or that someone has tried to access their key fob lock. 

“This case really upset me, and I wanted to invent something that would prevent this kind of thing from happening to someone else,” said Treptow. 

Prompted by a post, she recently participated in UM Hillel’s UDisrupt Pitch Competition, a “Shark Tank”-style competition funded through the Women’s Impact Initiative of the Greater Miami Jewish Foundation. She took home second place and a $1,500 prize to help with the development of her idea. 

Treptow’s concept also earned her the College of Arts and Sciences Beyond the Book scholarship, a summer research-based learning opportunity for undergraduate students to pursue special intensive learning experiences beyond the traditional classroom setting. After submitting her application, a short essay, a letter of recommendation, and a project budget, she secured $4,000 for her business plan.

“I chose to apply because I knew that I needed as much guidance and financial help to make my project come to life,” said Treptow. “I plan to use the prize money to create the first prototype and app.” 

Caleb Everett, senior associate dean for academic affairs in the College of Arts and Sciences, oversees the selection committee for the Beyond the Book scholarship. More than 20 students applied and Treptow’s ultimate objective to help deter break-ins, abductions, and sexual assault is what impressed the committee.

“Treptow’s project struck the committee as extremely important,” said Everett. “Many past recipients had their career or academic trajectory changed in remarkable ways through the award.” 

This summer, Treptow plans to continue working on her mobile app as she takes a gap year to gain additional research skills by working as a lab technician before applying to medical school. 

“One day, I hope to become a doctor who cares for people in underrepresented communities,” she explained. “My dream job would be to open my own practice. I would bring together other doctors who believe in using integrative medicine before pursuing invasive care.”