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Meet the Scholarship Winners 2018

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!

  • Amber Pirson

    University of South Florida

    Amber Pirson Headshot.JPGAnthropology / Sophomore

    "This award is truly remarkable. I am grateful for the opportunity to use this scholarship towards studying Thai and international diplomacy next semester. Without the GTE Scholarship, I would not be able to pursue this unique opportunity. I hope to promote cultural exchange on my campus, and later, apply my understanding of human rights and international politics in law school. This award will allow me to grow and gain the knowledge I need to foster equality and human rights in international courts of law. Thank you GTE for supporting my education and making my dreams a reality!"

  • Anna Kennedy

    Graduate of Pensacola Catholic High School

    Florida State University / Pre-Med

    Anna Kennedy.JPG

    "It is such an honor to be receiving this scholarship and to be recognized for my persistence in my academic career. Through the gift of this scholarship, I will be able to continue my education at Florida State University in pursuit of a career in medicine. I will be able to pay for textbooks, housing, and other essentials, helping me focus on my studies and not worry about fees and costs. Going to medical school will allow me to pursue my passions; helping others and health sciences. Without this GTE scholarship, I would not be able to start my journey towards my dream career. It is also motivation to never give up on my dreams because I know GTE believes in me!"

  • Damamli Dorsey

    Graduate of Robinson High SchoolDamamli Dorsey.jpg

    Florida State University / Pre-Med

    "I am extremely grateful to GTE Financial Credit Union for awarding me this wonderful scholarship. This scholarship gave me the ability to attend my dream school: Florida State University. Finding out that I was a GTE financial Scholarship Recipient was the best gift in the world. Not only will this scholarship help me attend school in the fall, but it will help me study abroad in Italy. Without the GTE Financial scholarship, I would not be able to afford books, tuition, or housing. This scholarship has given me the ability to pursue the college path I want and helped me to succeed. Again, I am thankful for the GTE financial Scholarship and the dream it helped to make come true."

  • Garrett Kost

    Graduate of Durant High SchoolGarrett Kost.JPEG

    University of Florida / Engineering

    "The GTE Scholarship will allow me to obtain an education and to pursue my passions as a student, leader, and volunteer. I will be able to spend more time conducting research, engaging in my global community, and volunteering during my tenure at the University of Florida. I hope to solve some of our world’s most devastating problems through my education and as research. As I strive to complete a double major in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, this award will make this goal financially obtainable and certainly relieves a significant amount of stress. I am excited to continue serving my community while in college and to focus my energy towards meaningful activities while in college."

  • Haley Hemmings

    Graduate of The Academy of the Holy NamesHayley Hemmings.jpg

    University of Georgia / Pre-Med

    "I would like to express my sincere gratitude for your generosity. Thank you so much for selecting me to receive the 2018 GTE Scholarship. This scholarship will enable me to purchase a much needed new laptop as well as help with the expense of my textbooks. At my time at The University of Georgia, I will continue my commitment to community service, both in Athens and Tampa, while working to earn my degree in Cellular Biology and eventually my Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine."

  • Jenna Callison

    Graduate of Hillsborough High SchoolJenna Callison.jpg

    University of Florida / Pre-Med

    "All of my life I have wanted to be a physician, and the GTE Scholarship will help me achieve my dream by covering part of the cost of living on‐campus at my top‐choice university. I am so excited to begin my undergraduate studies at the University of Florida because UF offers amazing options for a pre‐medicine degree as well as a world‐renowned research hospital for continuing for studies. I look forward to what my future education and career will have in store, and I am excited to start training toward my dream career as a dermatologist. Thank you, GTE Financial!"

  • Joshua Mullholand

    Graduate of Northside Christian SchoolJoshua Mullholand.jpg

    Florida Institute of Technology / Engineering

    "I am honored and thrilled to be chosen as a recipient of this year's GTE scholarship! This year I will begin my studies to earn a degree in airline management, and will earn my private pilot's license at the same time at the Florida Institute of Technology. This scholarship will help enable me to take flight lessons alongside my regular academic schedule and propel me towards my goal to become a commercial airline pilot!"

  • Justin Forgas

    Graduate of Wiregrass Ranch High School

    University of Florida / Engineering

    "It is truly an honor to be recognized with this scholarship amongst so many other talented and accomplished candidates. I am so excited to be a Florida Gator, and I have much more confidence in myself knowing that GTE and the community believe in my future. The 2018 GTE Scholarship will lessen my need to take out student loans while I am studying Mechanical Engineering and Computer Science during the next four years, and, for that, I am incredibly grateful. I look forward to accomplishing my academic and career goals and giving back to my communities in any way that I can. Again, thank you to GTE Financial for further enabling me to live my dream by awarding me with this scholarship."

  • Kayley Harris

    Graduate of Fort Meade Middle Senior High SchoolKayley Harris.jpg

    University of West Florida / Pre-Med

    "Receiving this scholarship will be a tremendous help in the coming school year. The funds will cover the remainder of my tuition and my books, thus eliminating the need for a loan. Not having to take a loan out, will be a huge weight taken off my shoulders. I will no longer have to work long hours to cover living costs while taking a full load of classes. This scholarship will also relieve my parents financially, they will not have to take out loans to help me pay for my education. Thank you for your generous program."

  • Kyle Singletary

    Graduate of Plant High SchoolKyle Singletary.jpg

    Southern Methodist University / Engineering

    "In going through the college application process, I’ve become acutely aware of the financial commitment it takes to work through 4 years in college. Between tuition, housing, books and travel, the costs seem to sky rocket more than I imagined. Receiving this scholarship allows me to make a large dent in those totals and relieve the overriding pressure of debt after I graduate. I am very grateful to have received this scholarship from GTE Financial to help with those expenses."

  • Laura Swygert

    Graduate of Harrison School for the ArtsLaura Swygert.png

    Florida State University / Theatre

    "This scholarship will allow me to further explore my interest in the technical arts as well as English studies. I plan to begin a double major in Theatre and English, with a focus on technical management. The GTE scholarship will allow me to pursue more opportunities while at Florida State University. I am so grateful for this scholarship because it offers more flexibility of my schedule. I am now able to take sixteen total credits in my starting fall semester which will place me ahead and allow myself to take full advantage over my four years."

  • Lucia Jurin

    Graduate of Riverview High SchoolLucia Jurin Headshot.jpg

    University of Florida / Biological Engineering

    “Thank you to GTE for selecting me to be a recipient of the 2018 GTE Financial Scholarship. This award has given me a unique opportunity to begin my freshman year of school at the University of Florida without the need for loans. This scholarship will be helping me to pay for my housing costs, allowing me to focus on my education without needing to stress about a part time job. I will have more time for research opportunities, volunteering, and studying, with less worry of money. My ultimate goal is to get through college debt free and this award has got me one step closer to achieving that goal, while opening doors for me in the community. Again, thank you GTE and all those supporting me through my college journey!”

  • Paulina Liwanag

    Graduate of International Baccalaureate at Bartow High SchoolPaulina Liwanag.JPG

    University of Florida / Pre-Med

    "What a tremendous blessing to have been selected among the 2018 GTE Financial Scholarship recipients! I am immensely grateful for the opportunity and support afforded by this program to pursue my academic journey in pre-med with Health Science as my major over at the University of Florida. It will also allow me the flexibility to give back to the community through my spirit of volunteerism and love of music. Again, thank you very much for this honor! GO GATORS!"

  • Rachel Early

    Graduate of Northeast High SchoolRachel Early.jpg

    University of Florida / Nursing

    "In the next school year, the GTE Scholarship will be distributed among materials such as tuition, books, dormitories, and living expenses. With these expenses covered, I will have the ability to spend more time pursuing activites regarding my Nursing major. At the University of Florida, I plan to volunteer at Shands Hospital or with the Baby Gator Child Research and Development Center. The GTE Scholarship will allow me to allot more time in volunteer work rather than an occupation while strengthening my application for the Nursing program at the University of Florida."

  • Rachel Roberts

    Steinbrenner High SchoolRachel Roberts.PNG

    University of Central Florida / Pre-Med

    "I am very thankful for the GTE Financial scholarship! I will be using this scholarship to help me in my first year at UCF. I intend to use the money towards fees and books. With this scholarship, I feel that I will be able to concentrate on my school work without being stressed about certain fees and textbook costs. I have a feeling that my first year in college will be successful! Thank you!"

  • Sabrina Turner

    Western Governors University / NursingSabrina Turner.jpeg

    "This scholarship will allow me to take the time necessary to focus on my studies. I pick up overtime to cover school and living cost. I’m working so I am limited to the time I am available to work in the community and spend with my family, but more so I am going to be able to go on a missionary trip in October to China to assist in surgeries for children with cleft palates “Future Smiles."

  • Samuel Chronister

    Graduate of Tampa Catholic High SchoolSamuel Chronister Headshot.jpg

    University of Georgia / Engineering

    "Ever since the first time I visited the University of Georgia, I felt like I belonged there. I fell in love with the beautiful changing leaves and southern hospitality, and quickly realized I wanted to spend my college years there. University of Georgia had all I could ever ask for in a college: a stellar football program, a highly respected engineering department, and a mascot who was equal parts intimidating and adorable. I also saw UGA's avid volunteering community, which solidified it as my dream school. Since attending UGA requires out of state tuition, receiving this scholarship was an incredible help for me and my family financially since it will go towards my tuition. I am so thankful to GTE Financial for giving me this opportunity to further my education and continue my volunteering at my dream school, and I look forward to all I can accomplish thanks to this scholarship."

  • Zaria Walker

    Graduate of Tampa Bay Technical High SchoolZaria Walker.PNG

    Spelman College / Arts

    "Words can not express how excited I was when I received a call congratulating me for being a recipient of the 2018 GTE Financial Scholarship. As I go on to further my education at Spelman College, this scholarship will help to relieve some of the financial burdens that come along with attending college. I will be able to redirect more of my energy and focus toward making the good grades that I’m aiming for. Not only will this scholarship help me, but it will also relieve my mother from some of the pressures that getting me through a good college will put on her. I can not thank GTE enough for this tremendous award."

  • Sommer Altier *Second Year Winner

    Florida State UniversitySommer Altier.jpg

    Violin Performance / Sophomore

    "I am profoundly grateful to GTE Financial for making my college and violin training possible. Being a competitive violinist is extremely expensive. My instrument, bow, strings, maintenance, sheet music, accompaniment, weekly lessons, and intensive summer camps has been costly. Without your generous help, my family would not be able to afford the cost of my college tuition. Playing my violin every day is as necessary to me as the air I breathe. I practice between 4 and 8 hours a day year‐round. I plan to earn my bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees in violin performance and become a professional violinist. Thank you – from the bottom of my heart – to the Scholarship Committee and generous Donors for your generosity, support of my aspirations, and especially the trust you have placed in me. I will not let you down!"

  • Viviana Angelini *Second Year Winner

    University of MarylandViviana Angelini Headshot.JPG

    Global Studies / Sophomore

    "I am extremely grateful to have been selected to receive the GTE Scholarship for a second year in a row. This scholarship helps cover my outstanding expenses at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC), allowing me to focus on my studies and give back to the community. I am a rising sophomore, majoring in Global Studies with a triple minor in Russian, International Politics, and Music (Piano Performance). This fall I will serve as a Writing Fellow at UMBC, helping students improve their composition and analytical skills. I will also serve as Cadet Commander of the Fort McHenry Squadron of Civil Air Patrol (CAP), where I plan to implement a mentorship program to help youth achieve their goals in CAP and beyond. The GTE Scholarship allows me enroll in additional classes (20.5 credits this fall), engage in community service, and pursue extracurricular activities related to my studies (such as Model United Nations and Russian Club). Thank you for recognizing my academic achievements, community involvement, and leadership potential!"

  • Kristi Bears

    University of South FloridaKristi Bears.JPG

    Health Sciences / Senior

    "This scholarship will help me finish my education at the University of Florida and pay for some of my upcoming medical school application expenses. The money from this scholarship will also allow me to devote more of my time to volunteering at the hospital and doing the research required for me to finish my honors thesis. With the extra time, I can fulfill some of the goals I have not been able to accomplish in past semesters due to having a part time job. Thank you GTE Financial for choosing me as one of the recipients of this year’s scholarship!"

  • Emily Bowne

    Thomas UniversityEmily Bowne Headshot.jpg

    Biology / Junior

    "I am incredibly grateful and humbled to have been selected as a recipient of the 2018 GTE Scholarship and genuinely honored the GTE Financial Scholarship Team has chosen to recognize my overall accomplishments especially in the area of academics and community service, which have always been the foundation of my upbringing. As a biology major, college athlete, active member in my community, and striving to achieve the volunteer experience hours required for veterinary school, I have limited hours available to earn money to pay for college. It is my life‐long dream to be a veterinarian and bring this field of service back to my community as I have always had a strong love and compassion for animals. This life changing scholarship will help to ensure my dream becomes reality. This scholarship will guarantee I am able to continue to earn my bachelor’s degree this academic year at Thomas University without having to accumulate debt that will eventually be unavoidable once enrolled in veterinary school. I can’t thank you enough GTE Financial!"

  • Nicole Gauvey *3rd Year Winner

    University of South FloridaNicole Gauvey Headshot.JPG

    Pre-Med / Junior 

    "It is such an honor to be selected as a recipient of the GTE Scholarship for the third year in a row. GTE has continuously showed their support as I continue my undergraduate studies at The University of South Florida, St. Petersburg. Receiving this scholarship enables me to fully focus on my coursework and community instead of trying to juggle a full time job to pay for everything. With plans to attend medical school within the next couple years, I am truly grateful for any financial assistance. I genuinely appreciate this amazing honor, encouragement and support from GTE and will be forever thankful for this recognition."

  • Crystal Jenkins

    University of South Florida (Sarasota-Manatee)Crystal Jenkins Headshot.jpg

    Health Sciences / Senior

    "Please accept my sincere appreciation for winning the $2500 scholarship. I am proud to be a member of GTE financial knowing that this organization values the non-traditional student and the creative ways in which I give back to our community. The GTE financial scholarship will allow purchasing of classes, books and supplies while affording the opportunity to continue to serve this great community. As a more mature student it is financially difficult at times to stay on track with my educational aspirations and continue to work hard towards my goals. This scholarship will lessen the financial burden of my senior year at the University of South Florida. The scholarship will assist in the expected and unexpected expenses as I anticipate graduation in the spring of 2019 with a Bachelor’s of Science degree. Once this goal is met, my intent is to matriculate towards a Master’s degree program in Fall of 2019. Thank you for this wonderful opportunity to assist with this year’s college expenses."

  • Christiana Lafferty

    Southeastern UniversityChristiana Lafferty Headshot.PNG

    Pre-law / Sophomore

    "Since the day I selected Southeastern University and saw that the on-campus GTE offers this scholarship, I made it my goal to achieve. Now, after switching to GTE and working hard to qualify, I am excited to be able to say that, through your altruism, I effectuated my dream of getting this scholarship. It will be such a blessing, enabling me to focus less time and energy on work, and more on my double major, teams, and organizations that I have leadership roles in. Additionally, this gracious scholarship will further assist me in achieving the goal I have set for my future - criminal prosecution - which involves law school as well as an undergraduate degree. Thank you GTE for rewarding students' hard work and giving us the means to reach our goals."

  • Brianna Leone *4th Year Winner

    University of South FloridaBrianna Leone Headshot.JPG

    Pre-Med / Senior

    "I am extremely honored to be selected for the GTE Financial Scholarship for the fourth year in a row. This scholarship has helped me through my undergraduate studies while allowing me to go on a once in a lifetime medical trip to the Dominican Republic. This scholarship will relieve me of the financial burden of applying to medical school and allow me to work less during the school year so that I can focus my efforts on my classes and making an impact in my community. Thank you, GTE, for believing in me and I will be sure to continue giving back to my community in the future. I am very grateful for this award and it will take me one step closer to my dream of becoming a physician!"

  • Luis Mesias

    Case Western Reserve UniversityLuis Mesias.jpg

    Engineering / Junior 

    "GTE Financial’s scholarship will help me achieve my dream of revolutionizing education through technology by helping me pay for college. I am a student from Guatemala whose parents struggle to pay for an American college, but I will be able to attend Case Western Reserve University this fall because of generous institutions like GTE Financial."

  • Courtney Moody

    Courtney Moody Headshot.jpgUniversity of Central Florida

    Language Arts / Junior

    "I am so grateful to God for sending this blessing to me through GTE financial. While the main benefit of this scholarship is the monetary assistance it provides, I believe it does even more than that. While I will continue to work while at school, much of the pressure that comes with doing so will be lifted, allowing me more time to work on my creative endeavors that will benefit our community. I hope that in receiving this scholarship, I can continue to be an encouragement to the girls in our community that they too can become whom they’ve been created to be. Thank you again for this award. I am honored by being selected."

  • Cameron Padgett

    University of FloridaCameron Padgett Headshot.jpg

    Business / Junior 

    "I am extremely blessed and honored to be chosen as a recipient of this scholarship. This year my mother fell ill and incurred a lot of medical bills which she is continuing to pay while she seeks medical care. This has put a strain on my parent’s finances and they are not able to provide as much assistance to me and my brother while we attend college. This scholarship will definitely allow me to alleviate some of the financial burden that my family has."

  • Chelsea Perez

    University of Central FloridaChelsea Perez Headshot.JPG

    Education / Senior

    "I was among the fortunate to receive this scholarship as I was entering my Freshman year at The University of Central Florida. To have been chosen again has truly been a blessing as I enter my final semester at UCF. As I begin my second internship in my Elementary Education Major, I prepare for my graduation in December of this year and look forward to receiving my Bachelor's Degree in Elementary Education. This scholarship will be instrumental in funding my UCF internship and my first semester in my Masters In Elementary Education studies at the University of South Florida in Tampa beginning in January. As I continue to serve the community, I thank you for this opportunity."

  • Samantha Politano *2nd Year Winner

    Florida State UniversitySamantha Politano Headshot.JPG

    Environmental Science / Sophomore

    "I cannot express my gratitude to GTE enough for both this scholarship and the account I hold with them. This next year at Florida State University would certainly be impossible without this financial assistance. By covering the costs of fees and textbooks, I am able to wield my savings in my GTE account for research related expenses and the ability to take on unpaid internships. No longer must I consider financial duress as a major factor when weighing opportunities. I look forward to a year of emboldening college students to connect across differences, Frenchtown citizens to access and produce locally grown and SNAP-eligible goods, myself to research sponges and their associated invertebrates, and high school seniors to discover FSU all thanks to GTE Financial’s investment in me."

  • Bryce Register

    University of Central FloridaBryce Register.jpeg

    Aerospace Engineering / 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."

  • Sarah Sculco

    Duke UniversitySarah Sculco.jpg

    Philosophy / Senior

    "This past summer, I interned at the Department of Justice. It has been an amazing experience, and I have learned so much. Unfortunately, the summer internships offered at the DOJ are unpaid. This was a big financial burden, as living in D.C. is quite expensive. Because of this scholarship, I can reduce the amount of loans I have to take out next semester. Though I will still work part-time, this scholarship allows me to focus more on my school work. I have had to take out significant loans while in college, and I am incredibly grateful to GTE for offering support as I pursue a degree in the field I am most passionate about: philosophy. Thank you so much!"

  • Daniel Valladares *2nd Year Winner

    Daniel Valladares.JPGUniversity of Florida

    Health Sciences / Senior

    "Going into my senior year, I will be pursuing my Honors Thesis in RNA Nanoparticles for Brain Tumor Immunotherapy treatments. Receiving the GTE Scholarship means I will be able to entirely devote myself to my research as well as my studies. In addition to research, I will continue volunteering with the children in the Pediatric Cardiac Intensive Care Unit and mentoring other students on their journey to medical school. Going to medical school has been a dream since I was in the 7th grade and this scholarship allows me to focus more on my aspirations and the patients, and less on the financial stresses of pursuing a career in medicine. Thank you very much for selecting me as a recipient of the 2018 GTE Scholarship!"

  • Sophie Zacharek *3rd Year Winner

    Sophie Zacharek Headshot.JPGXavier University

    Criminal Justice / Sophomore

    "I am so grateful and humbled to have won this scholarship from GTE Financial. Thanks to your scholarship, I will be able to purchase textbooks, lab manuals, and help pay my tuition. This scholarship will help me to focus more on my academics and less on the financial aspect of my education. What a comforting feeling to know that I have the financial advisors at GTE in my corner to provide me with financial advice and support as I navigate through my college career. Thank you for this honor."

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