School: Florida State University

Year: Fall 2014 – Current

I’d like to begin by introducing myself. My name is Shaina Montalvo and I am one of the few lady graduate students or as we like to call ourselves, the “Foxy Ladies”, living in the Southern Scholarship Foundation in the North Florida Campus. My favorite fun fact about myself is that I am one of ten siblings. I know what you are thinking, “ONE OF TEN? WOW!”. I love seeing people’s reactions when I say that. Coming from a huge family has been one of the many experiences in my life that has led me to love communal living here at SSF. On the other hand, having that many siblings is not the easiest of situations. They push every button imaginable, they see you at your worst, and are always there to laugh at you when you fall on your face. Throughout it all, I know I can always count on them to love me unconditionally.

I have always been a goal driven and passionate person when it has to do with things I truly love. My mother drilled in our minds that having an education is the most important thing to have besides your faith. She always encouraged us to do what we love and was always our number one fan. So with that mentality, I know that I have to work hard for things and continue persevering. I have always had a thirst to learn and keep growing. I have worked since the age of fourteen by babysitting the neighbor’s kids or bagging groceries at the local supermarket. Do not get me wrong, there have been moments where I have wanted to throw in the towel. Life does get hard and obstacles did get thrown my way, but I knew I had to keep going. I knew that having an education would take me somewhere.

Once I started my undergraduate degree in Miami, I knew that I wanted to pursue a major that worked with children. I quickly decided that I wanted to study psychology. As soon as I finished that degree, I planned to go away for my masters program at Florida State University. I would visit my younger brother (Alex) there almost every semester, and he would show me how much he loved SSF, along with all the perks of being part of this amazing program. So once I was accepted into the Social Work program, I immediately applied for SSF. The interview and review process felt like it was so long, but I know it was because I was so anxious for the results. The day finally came when I found out I got accepted! I was so ecstatic and could not contain my happiness. I was finally going to be a Florida State Seminole and have the pressure of where to live off of my shoulders.

Shaina Montalvo3

(Pictured: David Mica, SSF Board Chairman, and Grace Fox house residents Kelly Croy, Amanda Trippensee, and Shaina Montalvo)

Since then, I have never been happier with my decision to be a part of the Southern Scholarship Foundation. It has brought me opportunities and blessings. It has given me so much, and I am eternally grateful for it. I tell everyone around me how much I love SSF and my adoration for it only grows stronger.

Sponsorship opportunities are available for you to be a part of Shaina’s, and many others, Education for Life journey.

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