Young & Driven

From SRQ Magazine, by Abby Weingarten


Photography by Wyatt Kostygan

She built two companies, all before graduation. Colón-Alfonso, an immunocompromised student who has always had entrepreneurial ambitions, is designing health-focused products to help people like her thrive. Three years into her studies at New College studying biological psychology and neuroscience, she has already created two companies: Aleah Wares (a line of patient-friendly sweaters)  with added openings to make it easier to put on or take off during long IV treatments and Stay Safely Away (wearable merchandise—from T-shirts to masks—that allows customers with immune issues to “stay distantly social” during the COVID-19 pandemic). Colón-Alfonso began working on the latter company ( while in quarantine in the spring of 2020.

“I had been noticing the lack of mask wearing and social distancing in Sarasota, and I just wanted to wear a sign around my neck that said, ‘Please, I don’t want to be on a ventilator’ to try to encourage people to have better behaviors,” she  says. “Clothing became my wearable sign.” Colón-Alfonso has small fiber neuropathy, Lyme disease and accompanying secondary illnesses. She received these diagnoses before the age of 18 and was in a wheelchair for much of her senior year of high school. Her illnesses may be inconvenient, but she doesn’t view them as hindrances; Stay Safely Away speaks to that way of thinking. Colón-Alfonso’s website officially launched on July 20 and she has since shipped orders across the globe. Her most popular item is a face mask that asserts “Science Is Real.”  The growth of this company is so much more than I had expected. I made a map for myself to track where the orders were coming from and I quickly outgrew it,” Colón-Alfonso says. “I’m running the company by myself from my dorm, from the beach, anywhere I can. It’s a one-woman show. I already have people telling me that what I’m doing has a possibility of making a real difference. It’s so surreal and exciting.”