Kiona grew up in a single parent home and saw the great endurance her mother had to provide for three rambunctious children. All around her she saw the effects of hunger in her neighborhood. From a very early age she knew that she wanted to help those who suffered from a lack of nutritious food. In high school she discovered her love of science through the Broward County Science Fair. She began to conduct her own scientific research projects, participate in various science competitions and even participated on an engineering team that built an emergency water sanitation station prototype that was presented to President Obama. She is a firm believer in compassion-driven science. Science has the power to provide social change and improve the livelihoods of many. With this in mind, her aspiration is to go into the field of genetically modified crop research in order to develop more productive, sustainable and healthy foods. She is currently a Research Assistant at the UF Horticulture Department under the supervision of the department chairman, Dr. Kevin Folta. Additionally, Kiona wants to educate others of their ability to utilize science. Therefore, she created a student organization called S.T.E.A.M. Academy that strives to innovatively combine science, technology, engineering arts and math with compassion to educate the community on how they can use these disciplines to address world problems. She hopes to use her passion for science and her desire to aid others in order to create a positive impact on the world.