Meet Our Student Member Officer Pals
Splash Pals Adapted Aquatics has outstanding student member officers with a wide variety of backgrounds and leadership skills. We are here to assist you in every way possible and retain Lifeguards and CPR Certified individuals at all times to provide a fun AND safe environment.
Brianna is a Florida native who grew up in Winter Haven, FL. She was a competitive swimmer for eight years. She is an American Red Cross certified lifeguard and water safety instructor. She is also certified in CPR/AED and First Aid. She currently attends USF where she is beginning her junior year studying Health Sciences with a Biological Concentration. Following her undergraduate studies, she hopes to become a Doctor of Physical Therapy.
During her undergraduate career, she has been involved in several extracurriculars. She served as an undergraduate research assistant in the geosciences lab studying hurricanes and climate change. She is a member of the Golden Key International Honor Society. In addition, she has been a member of Splash Pals and served on its planning committee which hosts events for the splash pals participants for two years. She is extremely excited to serve as Splash Pals USF President and is passionate about continuing to improve the club for the children.
Sarah Billiris was born and raised in Saftey Harbor, Florida. She enrolled at USF in Fall of 2018 and is currently a junior as a Health Sciences Major. In the future, Sarah wants to be a Physicians Assistant and hopes to be able to work in the operating room. Sarah has a lot of experience with mentally handicapped children and loves to watch them experience joy in a safe and caring environment. Sarah is certified in CPR, First Aid, EKG technician and as a CNA through a medical magnet program at her high school. She currently works as a CNA in a nursing home in Tampa. Sarah’s main goal in life is to help people achieve a happy, healthy, and safe life. She strives to make someone smile every day. Through Splash Pals, Sarah can help children find a reason to smile in a safe but fun environment!
Maria Belen Fraija
Maria Belen Fraija was born and raised in Santa Cruz, Bolivia. She is a senior student at the University of South Florida majoring in psychology with a certificate in general business. She moved all the way to Florida from Bolivia to learn English and pursue her bachelor’s degree. She is currently finishing her BA and is planning to stay in Florida to work while gaining experience in her field and later on get a master’s degree. She started to work with children in her home country and realized that working children is one of her biggest passions. Being part of the organization has been her first involvement with mental health disorders. The experience that Splash Pals gives her is a chance to grow intrinsically while helping children make a difference in their lives. Once a week she feels rewarding when playing with the children and teaching them how to swim. She truly enjoys a smile from a kid after a pool session.
Makayla Hodges is from Clearwater, Florida. She began studying at the University of South Florida in the Fall of 2018. She is majoring in Psychology and is minoring in Literary Studies with the hopes to pursue a doctoral degree in Pediatric Neuropsychology. Working with children is a passion of Makayla’s and being apart of Splash Pals gives her a great opportunity to not only gain experience that is necessary for her career, but allows her to participate in something so rewarding and fulfilling. Makayla was the Vice President of service in her high school's National Honor Society as well as the Vice President of HOSA. Being a part of these organizations allowed her to be an active member of her community as well as raise awareness for issues revolving around the medical community. She is certified in CPR, BLS, EKG, and CNA and completed the Medical Magnet Program offered through her high school. Making a positive impact on the community as well as children’s lives is very important to Makayla and something she strives to do everyday.
(Best Pals Coordinator)
Alexa was born in St. Louis, Missouri and moved to St. Petersburg, Florida to attend school and play tennis. She is a senior at USF majoring in Psychology and minoring in Behavioral Healthcare. She plans to continue her education in Rehabilitation and Mental Health Counseling and work as an Addictions and Substance Abuse Counselor. She is certified in Mental Health First Aid and is a member of Phi Sigma Theta National Honors Society.
She has a strong desire to help others and assist people in living up to their full potential. Everyone deserves to live their best life! She also loves skiing and the mountains. Splash Pals is her first hands-on experience working with children and she instantly fell in love with the program. She feels blessed to have an opportunity to work with such a genuine organization and help make a difference in the lives of children.