Editor’s Note: This story is part of a series of feature stories that highlight diversity on Florida Poly’s campus and celebrate Black History Month.
When Travis Hills came to Florida Polytechnic University as a freshman in the fall of 2015, he had his eyes on the prize: a bachelor’s degree in computer science. But he never imagined how broad his college experience would be, expanding his knowledge not only in the classroom, but also as a leader. Now, a senior and president of the Student Government Association(SGA), the prize seems even more valuable.
“The SGA has given me opportunities that I never thought I would have. I’ve learned so many skills that will be useful to me in the workplace,” said Hills. “I’m now able to work with people and actively listen to them so we can meet their needs. I enjoy using mediation for problem solving.”
Hills’ path to student body president last year felt natural to him. He was first elected to the senate, then became chair of the student organizations committee as a sophomore, and senate president in his junior year. When it came time to elect a new SGA leader in 2018, his candidacy was so strong that no one ran against him.
“What I enjoy the most about being president is working the connections between the university’s administration and the SGA to find creative compromises in order to improve student life and Florida Poly as a whole,” said Hills, who plans to graduate this spring with a bachelor’s degree in computer science with a concentration in cybersecurity and information assurance.
In the midst of his Florida Poly classes and his SGA responsibilities, Hills is also an intern with Saddle Creek Logistics Services in Lakeland, Florida. He says he’s been able to maintain that opportunity for two and a half years, because “everyone needs a problem solver on their team.”
Hills love for computers and problem solving bloomed early in his life. He got his first computer in middle school and spent endless hours on it.
“I enjoyed the puzzle of not knowing what’s going on and figuring it out,” he said. “That’s when it started.”
By the time Hills was in high school, he was already working as a network administrator for a private school, setting up their computers and developing their network system. He was certain his professional career would be in computers, and when a representative from Florida Poly came to his school, he saw a new door opening with unexpected possibilities.
“The school was new, with plenty of room for people to come here and make their experience whatever they wanted it to be. I was sold,” said Hills.
Once at Florida Poly, he realized quickly as a black man that he was in the minority. However, he said that the University is a welcoming place where everyone is unique in some kind of way, and he’s never felt pressured.
“Whatever your nationality, race, background, your passions, and all of that stuff – you can bring it here, share it, and feel just like the person next to you,” said Hills.
Assistant Director of Communications