Meet GTE Scholarship Winners

We are proud to announce 36 local high school and undergraduate GTE member-students who were awarded a 2017 GTE Foundation $2,500 scholarship. With hundreds of applicants demonstrating active engagement in our communities and outstanding academic achievements, it certainly wasn’t easy to select only 36. We were more than happy to be introduced to all the students we believe will be tomorrow’s leaders.

Thank you to all of you who applied, our Scholarship Scramble sponsors who allowed us to raise the funds for these scholarships, as well as our distinguished judging panel of community leaders who dedicated their time. We’re already looking forward to receiving applications for our 2018 scholarships!

Meet GTE's 2017 Scholarship Winners!

  • Bailey Propps

    Graduate of Niceville High School

    Florida State University / Pre-Med

    "I am beyond thankful to have received the GTE Financial Scholarship. This extra scholarship money will allow me to pursue my education at Florida State University as a student in the Interdisciplinary Medical Science (IMS) Program. It will also allow me to devote my time to University programs such as Presidential Scholars and the Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program (UROP) without having to work part time. In addition to the 17 credit hours of classes I am taking this fall, the UROP program will require me to spend an additional 10-15 hours per week conducting research with a professor, making my available time for part-time work very slim. I am so excited to join the Seminole family, and am extremely grateful that GTE Financial is helping make this possible!"

  • Colby Coats

    Graduate of Sun Lake High School

    University of Florida / Pre-Med

    "Recognition is hard to come by, especially when you are competing against the best of the best. Therefore, it is such an honor to be recognized by GTE. I am so blessed for this award, as it made me believe that I can be the one to make a difference in my community. I am very appreciative toward the people and places that have supported me because I wouldn't be here without them. I will be attending the University of Florida next year to pursue Health Sciences, with plans to attend medical school in the future. This scholarship helps me with the beginning of a new path. It will serve as a reminder of how far I have come and how much further I have to go. Knowing that GTE believes in me, fuels me to be the best I can be which helps guide me to medical school and my dreams!"

  • Daniel Coleman

    Graduate of Keswick Christian School

    Emory University / Pre-Med

    "Beginning in September, I will be a full time student and athlete at Emory University in Atlanta. The GTE Scholarship will help to cover a significant portion of my Freshman year expenses at Emory, and will allow me to really focus on my studies and athletics throughout my first year of college."

  • Erin Martin

    Graduate of Bloomingdale High School

    University of Tampa / Pre-Veterinary Biology

    "The money which I receive from the GTE financial scholarship will be used to help pay for the cost of my tuition and some of the textbooks my classes require. I am quite honored to be receiving this scholarship and am thankful because it will relieve a tremendous amount of stress from my life and allow me to focus strictly on school. Without this scholarship, I would have to be a full time student and work during the semester. Now I am able to take on a heavy workload and succeed in all of my classes without having to worry about how to pay for them. Due to this wonderful scholarship, I can focus on my education and achieve a major degree in biology within three years, for which I am very grateful."

  • Isabel Giovannetti

    Graduate of Robinson High School

    Harvard University / Political Science

    "Thank you so much for selecting me to receive the 2017 GTE Scholarship. I have been so fortunate in the support that I have received while pursuing my education. From my wonderful parents, to teachers and mentors in high school, to the members of the GTE Financial Scholarship Program, countless people have devoted time and resources to ensuring that I have every opportunity to achieve my goals. It is because of this generosity from others that I will use those opportunities to someday make a career out of helping people.
    With the help of this scholarship, I will continue my commitment to public service as I earn a degree in Government at Harvard College. In the upcoming school year, this money will help me pay for books and supplies that I will use in my Government classes.

    Please know that, by investing in me, and all of the other students you have supported over the years, you are investing in brighter future. I greatly appreciate the chance to make that happen."

  • Iy’Rese Scott

    Graduate of Canterbury School of Florida

    Florida International University / Education

    "The GTE Scholarship will allow me to be one step closer in making my dream a reality. This scholarship will help me with my books, tuition, and or housing expenses. My mother being a single parent will be relieved of some stress financially from trying to help me as well. Not to mention LOANS, now I can breathe some and not take out as much in loans that I would have if any at all now that I have this scholarship."

  • Jaimie Widrig

    Graduate of Sickles High School

    University of South Florida, St. Pete / Education

    "Freedom means many things to many people. To Americans, it means you are free to pursue the dream of “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” Freedom is a gift that comes in many different packages. To me, the GTE Financial Scholarship Program is, essentially, a gift of freedom. I equate receiving this scholarship as being granted the freedom to pursue my education without the worry of financial hardship. This scholarship will help me fulfill my dream. A college education is very expensive. I am fully aware of the astronomical cost, not just in dollars but in time spent, to obtain my degree. Being the child of a single mother, I understand the value of a dollar. I also understand the sacrifices my mother has made to help me achieve my educational goals. Winning the 2017 GTE Financial Scholarship will allow me the freedom to focus my attention on my studies instead of worrying about the cost of my education, which can be a huge distraction. I want to have a positive college experience that allows me to blossom into the future educator I want to become. Education, therefore, is an investment in my future. The return on this investment will be great simply because I want to give back to my community by educating their children. I want to be an example and a positive influence in their lives. I want my future students to understand that education equates to freedom. Inventor George Washington Carver said, “Education is the key to unlock the golden door of freedom.” I agree! This statement personifies who I am and the inspiring teacher I want to be. My next step will be helping my students understand “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” by teaching them that an education can set you free."

  • Joaquin Borggio

    Graduate of Steinbrenner High School

    Stanford University / Engineering

    "This scholarship has been very helpful towards furthering my academics. In the following year I will be attending Stanford University, and although the institution is very prestigious, it is also very costly. It is scholarships like GTE's that have allowed me to attend Stanford. Now with this financial support, I plan on studying Chemical Engineering and hope to use this knowledge to positively impact the world around me. Thank you so much for selecting me as a winner for this scholarship."

  • Lauren Daly

    Graduate of Plant City High School

    Florida State University / Digital Media Production

    "This scholarship will help me immensely this coming year because it enable me to pursue an education in something I am passionate about while also allowing me to find new ways to give back to my new school and community. It will lift part of the financial stress and allow me to fully immerse myself in my academics as well as new experiences."

  • Mackenzie Crabtree

    Graduate of Osceola Fundamental High Schoo

    University of South Florida / Pre-Med

    "It is a great honor to be awarded the 2017 GTE Scholarship, and I cannot begin to describe my appreciation for the helping hand GTE has offered. This scholarship has opened up more doors of opportunity for me on my educational journey. With the monumental costs of universities, it is difficult to engage in what more college has to offer. Since I have been awarded this scholarship, I will be able to allocate my reward towards school costs (i.e. classes, labs, books) thus allowing me to push further into my education without the stress of expenses. My aspirations to maintain a high college GPA and become highly involved in the University of South Florida are inspired by my ultimate goal to receive my D.M.D. and Ph.D. in Orthodontics. With this award, and with ample gratitude, I further believe I can reach these objectives thanks to GTE Financial."

  • Maya Dejesus

    Graduate of Boca Ciega High School

    University of Central Florida / Pre-Med

    "This scholarship will help my mom and I tremendously and financially with my tuition cost in the fall at the University of Central Florida (UCF). It will assist with much of the out of pocket cost, and that is truly a blessing. This scholarship will not only bless me financially at UCF, but will help me in reaching my goal in becoming a Pediatrician. Since middle school, my dream was to attend a top university and to become a Pediatrician, and with this scholarship my dream is possible to come true. I couldn't be more thankful and blessed for this scholarship. Thank you GTE!!!"

  • Nicholas Haggar

    Graduate of King High School

    University of South Florida / Pre-Med

    "This scholarship will impact me tremendously. I am very grateful for this opportunity to advance my education and help me to reach my dream of becoming an orthopedic surgeon. I will continue to give back to the community that has given so much to me."

  • Raquel Dume

    Graduate of FAU High School

    Southeastern University / Social Work

    "I am so thankful to GTE Financial for this scholarship, it is a huge financial blessing. In the next academic year, this scholarship will help me to worry less about paying for my tuition, and instead focus on my studies and getting plugged into my community. I am so thankful for this scholarship because instead of spending my weekends at work, I can dedicate my time to local children organizations and make connections that will help me as I pursue the field of social work."

  • Samantha Politano

    Graduate of Wesley Chapel High School

    Florida State University / Natural Science

    "I am incredibly thankful and humbled by being named a recipient of the GTE Financial Scholarship. GTE, being my first savings account, has taught me financial responsibility that will follow me to my university. This scholarship would enable me to offset the costs of textbooks and fees, allowing me to use my personal funds toward a new laptop. Going through high school with a computer nearly as old as myself became stressful, and this scholarship would remove that burden off my shoulders. This scholarship means more than textbooks, though; it means finally having the same tools as my peers. Thank you, GTE!"

  • Sommer Altier

    Graduate of Booker High School

    Florida State University / Music Performance - Violin

    "I am extremely grateful to the GTE Executive Management Team, Scholarship Team, and Scholarship Review Committee, as a proud recipient of this generous merit scholarship of $2,500. It is humbling to know that out of so many applicants, I was chosen to represent GTE Financial in this special way. My career goal is to be a professional concert violinist and I study my craft very hard, spending approximately 4 hours per day practicing my violin; and I will be spending 8 to 10 hours per day practicing as a freshman in college as one of only 10 violinists accepted into the FSU College of Music this year. Playing the violin and making beautiful music has been my passion and calling for the past 12 years. It is as essential to me as the air I breathe! Yet, it is an expensive undertaking. My instrument, bow, strings, maintenance, private lessons and intensive summer camps have been a drain financially on my parents, who fully support my aspirations. My older sister, Casey, a Ewing’s sarcoma bone cancer survivor, played violin for 10 years, but her aggressive chemotherapy treatment gave her permanent neuropathy in her hands, which makes playing the violin very painful – so she was forced to give it up. In many ways, I feel I am carrying on her legacy as well as making my own. Her medical bills were astronomical and my parents will be paying them off for many years to come. This scholarship will help my family tremendously in paying for my college education. Thank you, GTE Financial, for supporting my dreams. I promise I will make you proud!"

  • Sophie Zacharek

    Graduate of East Syracuse Minoa High School

    Xavier University / Undeclared

    "I would first like to thank the GTE Financial Scholarship Program for selecting me to receive one of the 2017 GTE scholarships. I am truly honored and extremely grateful for this award. In the fall, I will be attending Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio. The GTE scholarship will not only help me continue my education, but it will also provide much needed funds enabling me to attend my dream college without the need of a student loan during my Freshman year. What a great feeling to be able to focus less on the financial aspects of continuing my education and more on my studies. I cannot express how blessed I feel to be the recipient of this amazing scholarship! Thank you so much."

  • Viviana Angelini

    Graduate of East Lake Academy

    University of Maryland / Global Studies

    "I am extremely grateful to be selected to receive the 2017 GTE Scholarship. Thanks to this scholarship, I will be able to focus on my studies and give back to the community. This fall, I will be a freshman at the University of Maryland at Baltimore County and a member of their service-oriented Sondheim Scholars Program. Although the Sondheim Program also awarded me a scholarship, I still have a significant amount of tuition, books, and course-related expenses uncovered (over $10,000). The GTE Scholarship aids immensely in meeting these expenses, allowing me to not worry about finding a job to provide for additional funds. With the extra time, I can focus on my studies (I am enrolled in 19 credits) and service to the community. Through the Sondheim Program, I will be volunteering every week— tutoring refugee students, caring for animals at the local animal shelter, or educating elementary school students in environmental sustainability at the nearby nature center. I will also continue serving in Civil Air Patrol, the auxiliary of the Air Force, by responding to emergency situations such as search and rescues and natural disasters. The 2017 GTE Scholarship is valuable both monetarily and for the time it grants me to continue service that benefits the greater community. Once again, I am most grateful to be selected."

  • Alison Lakin

    Pasco Hernando State College

    Nursing / Freshman

    "In order to participate in the full-time structured registered nursing program, I had to leave my current employment and sacrifice two years of income to achieve my dream of caring for others in this noble profession. The gift of this scholarship will greatly assist in relieving me of some of the stress of my educational expenses as I work hard to succeed in this program. Although it is stressful to leave a full time job that you have been working in for the last 15 years, the Registered Nursing program at PHSC is a full-time commitment in classes, clinical sessions, and home study. This scholarship has just relieved a large financial piece of the stress that is created from leaving a secure job to fulfill my dream of serving those in need of care and healing. Thank you for this amazing gift."

  • Alliyah Edwards

    University of South Florida

    Political Science / Junior

    "Receiving the GTE Community Service scholarship has changed my life tremendously. I’ll be able to afford two semesters of school without having to acquire debt these next two terms. It is nice to know that for the longest time I have given back with not wanting anything in return and now I am able to say that I have been recognized for my hard work. Because of this scholarship, I can stay in school and finish my studies. I am looking into possible exchange program in the spring to study abroad at Oxford. I know with this money many things will become attainable because I have the finds to make some of my dreams a reality. I am so grateful. I plan to utilize my future studies so that I can be the next president of the United States. 2036 to be exact!"

  • Anaida Hasan

    University of South Florida

    Accounting and Finance / Sophomore

    "I am currently majoring in Accounting with hopes of becoming a tax attorney. I was brought up in a society where the expectation for every woman is to get married and raise a family. Fighting against the norms, I came to USF as an international student to pursue my dreams. With the help of this scholarship, I will be able to further increase my chances of success and work painstakingly to achieve my dreams. At USF I have developed my passion for the financial markets and politics, which solidified my intentions to attend law school after I graduate in fall 2019. Furthermore, I aspire to run an NGO dedicated to providing education to underprivileged girls in third world countries once I accumulate sufficient capital and sponsors."

  • Athul Abraham

    University of South Florida

    Nursing / Junior

    "I am sincerely honored to have been selected as the recipient of the GTE Financial Scholarship. Thank you for your generosity, which has allowed me to cover the cost of my nursing education for Fall 2017. This would also allow me to have more time to volunteering in my community. I plan to volunteer with USF Community Emergency Response Teams and USF College of Public Health. These are only a hand full of events I plan to attend this fall with the help of the GTE scholarship."

  • Brianna Leone *3rd Year Winner

    University of South Florida

    Pre-Med / Sophomore

    "Receiving this scholarship will be extremely helpful as I continue my education at the University of South Florida in pursuit of a career in the medical field. With this award, I will be able to fully pay for textbooks and tuition without having to take out loans. This scholarship will open more opportunities for me at the University, allowing me to stay on track with my double-major plan as well as continue my participation in undergraduate research with Moffitt Cancer Center. This aid will allow me to focus on giving back to the community through additional service projects and events during the year rather than working full-time to pay for the additional costs of school, and I will be able to join more service-related organizations to have a greater effect on the community. I am extremely grateful for this award and it has taken me one step closer to my dream of becoming a physician!"

  • Brittany Feingold

    University of North Florida

    Exercise Science / Junior 

    "This scholarship will help me in a number of ways not only throughout the next academic year, but also throughout the rest of my college career. By relieving some of the financial burdens of a college education, it will push me further towards making my dreams a reality and will help me to better focus on my studies. My goal is to become an Orthopedic Physician’s Assistant. I believe that this career choice will allow me to help others which is something that I am truly passionate about. The scholarship that I will be receiving will help to pay for the courses that I need to take as well as the textbooks necessary to excel in these courses. It will also allow me to work a little less to be able to focus on my schoolwork. I am very grateful for the opportunities that this scholarship will provide me with and I will pay it forward someday."

  • Cameron Padgett

    University of Florida

    Business / Sophomore

    "I just want to take the time to give thanks for selecting me as a GTE scholarship recipient. I will make sure that I honor GTE in a positive manner and stick to the core value of GTE by being an excellent individual in the classroom as well as in my community."

  • Daniel Valladares

    University of Florida

    Health Science / Sophomore

    "Going to medical school has been a dream since I was in the 7th grade. Winning the GTE Scholarship means I can save money for the costly process of applying, traveling to and interviewing at medical schools. It also means I can continue to research pediatric malignancies rather than work part time during the week. Volunteering and working for children is my calling in life and the scholarship allows me to focus on the kids and less on the financial stresses of higher education. Thank you very much for selecting me as a recipient of the 2017 GTE Scholarship!"

  • Gianna Rhodes

    Howard University

    Pre-Med / Junior

    "I am a senior Biology major and Chemistry minor at Howard University, a small private HBCU in Washington D.C. My school has limited on-campus housing and the large incoming freshman class has forced upperclassmen to move off campus. The apartments surrounding Howard in the Metro D.C. area are very expensive. I received an academic scholarship to assist with my tuition, but get no help with room and board.

    Thanks to the GTE Scholarship, I will now have money to pay for my apartment during fall semester, along with the salary from my part-time job on campus. There is no way I would have been able to afford my rent without this scholarship.

    Again, thank you so much to GTE for awarding me this scholarship. I am sincerely appreciative of your assistance as I work toward my goal to attend medical school and become a physician."

  • Hannah Rutherford

    University of South Florida

    Communication Sciences and Disorders / Junior 

    "This scholarship will immensely help me in the next academic year. I am entering into my Senior Year in USF's Interpreter Training Track program for American Sign Language Interpretation, and this award will go toward tuition, background checks (we are fortunate enough to have internship assignments interpreting in the school system and in various medical settings in the area), and other related costs. We have opportunities to travel to Gallaudet University in Washington, DC this fall, and possibly to Switzerland just after graduation. The Gallaudet trip is invaluable - not only will we be visiting what I refer to as "Deaf Harvard," but we will be immersed in a huge hotspot for American Sign Language and Deaf culture combined, unparalleled by other areas. We have been informed that Switzerland is home to four spoken languages and two signed languages - the trip is aiming to be a linguistic exploration and aids to improve our cultural competency and cross-cultural receptive skills. Even if I am unable to attend either trip, it's amazing to know that this scholarship has made the idea actually viable and attainable; from here, the motivation to improve, work hard to save more, immerse in the language community, and continue learning will ultimately benefit me and my cohort an incredible amount."

  • Leonardo Dulanto *2nd Year Winner

    University of South Florida

    Engineering / Sophomore

    "I am currently a DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) student and it has been rough to deal with the current political climate and financial struggles. I would usually worry and stress out about paying tuition for the next semester or next year. Instead, this scholarship will help me focus only on my academics and community involvement. I will dedicate my time to our new project at Hillsborough Community College, The Bridge Project; which will soon be a non-profit focused on social justice in our local community and educational environments. I am beyond grateful to GTE Financial Credit Union for choosing me once again, needless to say it has made a huge impact in my life and I hope to do the same for others around me."

  • Nicole Gauvey *2nd Year Winner

    University of South Florida

    Pre-Med / Freshman 

    "First and foremost, I wanted to thank GTE Financial Scholarship Program and the scholarship committee for selecting me as one of the 2017 recipients. It means so much to me knowing that my hard work and dedication to my academics and my community are not going unnoticed. As I enter my sophomore year at The University of South Florida, the expenses of tuition, lab fees, and books and supplies are only getting larger. This scholarship enables me to be a full time student and prevents me from having to get a full time job to pay for it. Also, my ultimate goal is to go to medical school so getting this scholarship helps put me one step closer to reaching that goal. As I get older, I am realizing more and more how precious money is. I am forever grateful to be a 2017 recipient of the GTE Financial Scholarship Award."

  • Noah McNair *2nd Year Winner

    Palm Beach Atlantic University

    Cinema Television / Sophomore

    "The demanding rigor of my program at Palm Beach Atlantic University is especially challenging due to my learning differences. Still, I have built a reputation for leadership and scholarship among the faculty and my peers at PBAU, and the award from GTE Financial affirms my dedication to continue pursuing excellence while leading others to invest in the community through service. In the coming year, this award will help me pay to use the industry-standard equipment on campus as I complete film productions, applying instruction to communicate redemptive stories effectively. I genuinely appreciate this encouragement, and will continue to look for ways to pay it forward."

  • Ronit Dastidar *3rd Year Winner

    University of Florida

    Public Health / Junior

    "This scholarship will help me relieve some of the financial worries associated with going to college; I will be able to fully focus on my studies and engage in many more activities that benefit my community. Additionally, I hope to use this scholarship to help pay with some of the costs associated with applying for graduate degree programs, such as the GRE and application fees."

  • Sadie Zacharek

    University of Notre Dame

    Health Science / Junior 

    "I'm so extremely grateful to be the recipient of a GTE Financial Scholarship this year. I'm both excited and honored to receive this award. I'll be entering my senior year at the University of Notre Dame this fall. Since I was a freshman I've held jobs on campus to earn money to pay for my tuition. This generous scholarship will provide me with money toward my education, and also allow me to reduce the number of hours I need to work during the year, which in turn gives me more time to focus on my coursework. I will also be able to take out a smaller student loan because of the financial assistance the GTE scholarship has provided me. Again, I'm very humbled and honored to receive this award. Thank you so very much."

  • Samantha Woolverton

    Johnson University

    Intercultural Studies / Sophomore

    "School is more than just an education. It is a critical time of development mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Particularly in college, school is a period of unprecedented growth and deepened insight into you are as a person and who you are in the world. With that said, I have found an exceptional growing community at Johnson University in Tennessee. I have created lasting relationships with people, both student and professor alike, that grant me the potential to succeed. I am more involved in my education than ever before, which I attribute to the supportive and encouraging people around me. With GTE Financial’s generous scholarship, I am able to stay at the school of my choice while simultaneously maturing into the woman God created me to be."

  • Sara Rich

    University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

    Business / Senior

    "I am extremely honored to have been chosen as one of the winners of the 2017 GTE Financial Scholarship. I would like to express my gratitude to the donors and GTE scholarship team that have made an impactful difference in my life with this scholarship. This award will help lift the burden of my financial obligations as I finish my college education. I can now look forward to focusing on making an impactful difference in my community and less on my financial obligations. I plan to continue the legacy of this community-based scholarship even after I graduate college. Thank you again to everyone who made this possible and for this incredible honor."

  • Stephen Peck *3rd Year Winner

    University of South Florida

    Earth Science / Senior

    "What an honor it is to be selected not one, not two, but three years in a row for the GTE Financial Scholarship. Over the years, GTE has enabled me to live in Costa Rica to study volcanoes and in Florence, Italy to study biochemistry. I am extremely thankful for this, as my time in Italy allowed me to reevaluate my career path. My interest has always been in the medical field, but I have realized that my true passion lies in becoming a Physician’s Assistant (PA). This scholarship will fund the additional courses required for PA School, the application fee, and the GRE test fee. I cannot thank GTE enough, and I know I’ll be a member of GTE Financial for life."