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Collaboratory awards $1,155,834 in scholarships

By July 25, 2023No Comments11 min read

164 scholarships awarded through 87 scholarship funds for high school seniors, undergraduate, graduate students and adult learners.


Collaboratory recently granted $1,155,834 and 164 scholarships to local high school seniors, undergraduate, graduate students and adult learners from Charlotte, Collier, Glades, Hendry and Lee counties. This year, Collaboratory awarded 28 of the scholarships as multi-year awards which will continue to help the students each year towards completion.

“This scholarship season we had 663 applications submitted, which is a 51.7 percent increase from the previous year,” said Dr. Harrison Knight, scholarship committee chair and Collaboratory Board of Directors member.

“This is despite the challenges faced during the year due to a hurricane,” said Crystal Maldonado, Collaboratory scholarship coordinator. “The rise in applications this year can be greatly

attributed to the additional support from FutureMakers Coalition and the networks it has in place that expanded the outreach to students across Southwest Florida.”

FutureMakers Coalition is a collective impact initiative working along the cradle-to-career pathway to create a skilled and sustainable workforce pipeline. The coalition aims to transform Southwest Florida’s workforce by increasing the proportion of working-age adults with college degrees, workforce certificates, industry certifications and other high-quality credentials to 55 percent by 2025.

“The collaborative efforts also assisted in the recruitment of over 150 volunteer application reviewers that are a vital part of the process,” said Maldonado. “Our reviewers look forward to reviewing applications each year, and most continue for multiple years, describing it as an extremely fulfilling and humbling experience.”

“We have some amazing students in our local community and reviewers enjoy reading their stories and gaining insight about the big dreams they hope to accomplish,” said Dr. Knight.

Collaboratory is committed to making their scholarship application accessible to all students regardless of circumstances and abilities. Some examples of the scholarships available through Collaboratory are based on community service, academics, fields of study, athletics, or even students that are attending or attended a particular school.

“When I first started the process of applying for college, I didn’t know how I was going to financially afford everything like tuition, books, and all the other expenses that are associated,” said Jose Zendejas, graduate of LaBelle High School and recipient of the Patricia Means Scholarship.

Zendejas also stated that since the Patricia Means Scholarship is a four-year scholarship, it will help him and his family a lot with alleviating some of the financial stresses and allow him to focus on school and take advantage of opportunities such as internships while in college.

“I didn’t think I would receive any scholarships because I was sure many other students were applying and applied because of my teacher Ms. Mendoza. If it wasn’t for her and her inviting someone from Collaboratory to speak to us about the scholarships, I wouldn’t have known about them and how to apply,” he said.

Zendejas plans to complete his associate degree at Florida SouthWestern State College and then transfer to a university to major in business administration.

“As a kid, I have seen families working in the fields and how difficult it is. I want to be able to study business and learn how to build a company up,” he said.

Zendejas is a first-generation college student and tries to be a good example for his younger brother so that he sees that hard work pays off and can also have access to opportunities.

When asked what advice he would give other students about applying for scholarships he said it’s important to apply to all scholarships – big or small because there are many scholarships available.

“It is so meaningful to me to know that someone believed in me enough to be a scholarship recipient,” he said.

If you are interested in becoming a scholarship reviewer next year or starting a scholarship fund, contact Collaboratory at or call 239-274-5900.

The complete list of scholarship winners includes:

  • Kaci Barber, AAUW Sue Gottcent Memorial Scholarship
  • Vianca Chambergo, Alli D. Brett Scholarship for Nursing
  • Krista Sciulla, Anne Sturrock Nursing Scholarship
  • Jayce McMillan, Southwest Florida Incorporated- Ralph A. Richardson Chamber Scholarship
  • Sofia Duque, Southwest Florida Incorporated- Ralph A. Richardson Chamber Scholarship
  • Lucas Habash, Bruce T. Gora Photography Scholarship, Matt Harmon Memorial Scholarship, and Cape Coral Mayor’s Scholarship
  • Rodrigo Velasco-Hernandez, Carl E. Brooks Scholarship and Judge William J. Nelson Scholarship
  • Chasann Samuels, Carl E. Brooks Scholarship and Jane H. Berktold Scholarship
  • Eric Feichthaler Jr., Carol Patti McLaughlin Scholarship and Cape Coral Mayor’s Scholarship
  • Aliyah Morgan, Chet and Janett Perry Rotary Club of Fort Myers Scholarship
  • Kaleb Dotson, Chip Johnson Memorial Scholarship
  • Isabel Gequelin, Chip Johnson Memorial Scholarship
  • Tori Guarino, Chip Johnson Memorial Scholarship
  • Shirley Mazariegos, Couse Gram Scholarship
  • Nicholas Nease, Dave’s Scholarship
  • Bryan Adams, David C. Barton Scholarship
  • Jordan Walker, David G. Robinson Fund for the Arts
  • Madison Cockram, Doc Keen Memorial Scholarship
  • Samantha Jean, Doctors Ira and Udaya Dash Nursing Scholarship
  • Jessica Newman, Doris W. Frey Scholarship
  • Raven Gadson, Doris W. Frey Scholarship, Jordan Ashley Gutheim Scholarship, and Edna & Felix Swain Scholarship
  • Daniel Marquin Mendoza, Doris W. Frey Scholarship Fund
  • Maddie Levy, Dorothy Curtis Brown Scholarship Fund in Memory of Ann Nutt and Lloyd and Shirley Matthai Scholarship
  • Olivia Cabrera, Dr. Janet Marderness Scholarship and Tommy Bohanon Foundation Scholarship
  • Mckinley Davis, Ellen Sheppard Scholarship
  • Jessenia Peralta, Faye Lynn Roberts Education Scholarship Fund
  • Jack Calder, Frances H. Gresham Scholarship and LEAD Estero Scholarship
  • Audriana Larrea, G. Napier and Ellen T. Wilson Scholarship and John and Ruth Childe Scholarship
  • Trystan Chavers, George E. Judd Scholarship
  • Pablo Guerrero, George E. Judd Scholarship
  • Keehnon Jackson, George E. Judd Scholarship and Southwest Florida Deputy Sheriffs Association Scholarship
  • Valentina Spalletta, George E. Judd Scholarship
  • Sofia Modica, George E. Judd Scholarship
  • Ashleigh Carson, George E. Judd Scholarship
  • Madison Greene, George E. Judd Scholarship
  • Katie Doden, George E. Judd Scholarship
  • Jade Ziegler, George E. Judd Scholarship
  • Sophia Gurule, George E. Judd Scholarship
  • Daniel Medina Rincon, Gerard C. Mehr Scholarship
  • Lauren Hogan, Howard P. and Magdalen K. Breitenbach Scholarship
  • Gabriel Dickerson, Howard P. and Magdalen K. Breitenbach Scholarship
  • Harrison Bauer, Howard P. and Magdalen K. Breitenbach Scholarship
  • Oswaldo Santana Lauriano, Immokalee Achievement Award
  • Derline Biassou, Isabel Mayer Kirkpatrick Scholarship and Judge Isaac Anderson Scholarship
  • Rebecca Jasinto, James Bilder Scholarship
  • Kamar  Wallace, James Bilder Scholarship
  • Solange Gonzalez, Jane H. Berktold Scholarship
  • Cassandra Thatcher, Jane H. Berktold Scholarship and Julie Willard Mikell Scholarship
  • Catherine Uceta, John and Ellen Sheppard Humane Student Scholarship, Charles and Margaret Foster Scholarship, and LEAD Estero Scholarship
  • Dalevyon Knight, John and Ellen Sheppard Humane Student Scholarship and Richard S. and Marion L. Thompson Memorial Scholarship
  • Brittany Curley, John M. and Mary A. Shanley Memorial Scholarship
  • Alexandra Odar, John M. and Mary A. Shanley Memorial Scholarship
  • Laurel Kalin, John M. and Mary A. Shanley Memorial Scholarship
  • Kie’Niyah James, John M. and Mary A. Shanley Memorial Scholarship
  • Lindsey Zajdowicz, John I. and Madeleine R. Taeni Scholarship and Cape Coral Mayor’s Scholarship
  • Rachel Kelly, Lewis B. Barber Scholarship
  • Hannah Atkinson, Linda L. Mann Scholarship Fund for Music Majors
  • Shion Simms, Love of Bonita Empowerment Scholarship
  • Miguel Guerrero, Norman Marcus Scholarship
  • Aum Dhruv, O. Fred and Bernadine Stuefer Scholarship
  • Brendan Chavarria, Patricia Means Scholarship
  • Jamy Jorvelus, Patricia Means Scholarship
  • Jose Zendejas, Patricia Means Scholarship
  • Esther Hernandez-Sabanilla, Patricia Means Scholarship
  • Yulissa Garcia-Martinez, Paul B. and Aline Flynn Scholarship
  • Lily Perkins, Paul B. and Aline Flynn Scholarship
  • Britton Deleacaes, Richard S. and Marion L. Thompson Memorial Scholarship
  • Kylie Thomas, Richard S. and Marion L. Thompson Memorial Scholarship
  • Jasmine, Seda, Richard S. and Marion L. Thompson Memorial Scholarship
  • Makenzie Davenport, Richard S. and Marion L. Thompson Memorial Scholarship
  • Jahnaya Octavien, Richard S. and Marion L. Thompson Memorial Scholarship
  • Casey Pearl Obien, The Ricky Pigott Memorial Scholarship
  • Berk Aydogmus, The Ricky Pigott Memorial Scholarship and Cape Coral Mayor’s Scholarship
  • David Aleman, Robert A. Kleckner Scholarship
  • Ronald James, Robert B. and Dorothy Pence Scholarship
  • Kenise Jackson, Robert C. and Margaret A. Schikora Scholarship
  • Geneva Paisan, Ruth Messmer Scholarship
  • Kaitlin Combs, Southwest Florida Deputy Sheriffs Association Scholarship
  • Sophia Cabrera, Tommy Bohanon Foundation Scholarship
  • Fedrick Harris, Tommy Bohanon Foundation Scholarship
  • Sofija Valancius, Tommy Bohanon Foundation Scholarship and Cape Coral Mayor’s Scholarship
  • LilyAnne Rodriguez, William L. Graddy Law School Scholarship
  • Nicholas Cerabona, Jordan Abdo Memorial Scholarship Fund and Building Futures (Fiddlesticks) Scholarship
  • John Gracey, Herbert E. Hussey Scholarship
  • Benjamin Fenuccio, Mary Ann Elder Scholarship
  • Ariana Guijosa, D&A Scholarship
  • Jason Bishop, Ann and Tom Smoot Scholarship
  • Madelyne Guerrero-Bravo, Barbara’s Friends Scholarship
  • Akisha Fleuridor, Barbara’s Friends Scholarship
  • Rebekah Kilpatrick, Barbara’s Friends Scholarship
  • Madeline Osinski, Cape Coral Mayor’s Scholarship
  • Abby Malloy, Cape Coral Mayor’s Scholarship
  • Makayla Ashley, Cape Coral Mayor’s Scholarship
  • Alexandria DeCamp, Cape Coral Mayor’s Scholarship
  • Jennifer Gongora Caruncho, Cape Coral Mayor’s Scholarship
  • Ivan Moorer Jr., Dunbar Heritage Scholarship
  • Kie’Niyah James, Dunbar Heritage Scholarship
  • Dhira Sharma, James D. & Eleanor F. Newton Children’s Scholarship
  • Thor Wikman, James D. & Eleanor F. Newton Children’s Scholarship
  • Derrian Russaw, Dunbar Heritage Scholarship
  • Anijah Wiley, Dunbar Heritage Scholarship
  • Josh Diggs, Building Futures (Fiddlesticks) Scholarship
  • Angelina Jimenez Sebastian, Building Futures (Fiddlesticks) Scholarship
  • Jensen Diggs, Building Futures (Fiddlesticks) Scholarship
  • Emma Bement, Building Futures (Fiddlesticks) Scholarship
  • Peter Engdahl, Building Futures (Fiddlesticks) Scholarship
  • Aliz Lopez, Building Futures (Fiddlesticks) Scholarship
  • Joseph Denoy, Building Futures (Fiddlesticks) Scholarship
  • Ashley St. George, Building Futures (Fiddlesticks) Scholarship
  • Dalton Clemens, Building Futures (Fiddlesticks) Scholarship
  • Edrik Pedraja, Building Futures (Fiddlesticks) Scholarship
  • Preston Grinder, Building Futures (Fiddlesticks) Scholarship
  • Koltan Bauer, Building Futures (Fiddlesticks) Scholarship
  • Ny’teria Grant, Edna and Felix Swain Scholarship
  • Maxine Martin, Edna and Felix Swain Scholarship
  • Shriell Warren, Edna and Felix Swain Scholarship
  • Olivia Zeltman, Mrs. Cathy Riedel Scholarship
  • Annabelle Mahrhoff, USMC Cpl Thomas J. Jardas Scholarship
  • Rubi Garcia, Frances H. Waldron Scholarship
  • Corris McIntosh III, Quality Life Center/Emma Lee Thomas Memorial Scholarship
  • Justin Christensen, Sanibel Community Church Scholarship
  • Jianna Senkeleski, Sanibel Community Church Scholarship
  • Blake Dellenback, Sanibel Community Church Scholarship
  • Lora (Ruth) Rendall, Sanibel Community Church Scholarship
  • Jadyn Wilson, Charles and Margaret Foster Scholarship
  • Emily Samlall, Gail Markham Believing in Girls Scholarship
  • Ariana Gutierrez, Cyan’s Bright Light Scholarship
  • Kaia Miller, Judith Ann Zimomra Scholarship
  • Kaylee Kwek, Judith Ann Zimomra Scholarship
  • Kylie Sutton, Judith Ann Zimomra Scholarship
  • Alyssa McHale, Jane Cavanna Bleakly Scholarship
  • Justin Breitenstein, LEAD Estero Scholarship
  • Nathalie Rodriguez, LEAD Estero Scholarship



Collaboratory is committed to coordinating the solving of all of Southwest Florida’s social problems on an 18-year deadline including homelessness, poverty, mental illness, racism, illiteracy and more. We plan to do this with the entire community working together including people of all ages, colors, beliefs and imaginations across all five counties. We’re committed to coordinating all of this on a massive scale, in the way NASA coordinated the hundreds of thousands of businesses, universities, institutions and people to get us to the moon in nine years. We’re not oblivious to people saying this is ridiculous, insane and crazy but we’re driven by the inspiration of all those great figures in history who have come before us to achieve things no one ever thought remotely possible. Steve Jobs’ observation sums it up for us: “The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.” We’re building the largest, most democratized living laboratory for community problem-solving in history.

Collaboratory was founded in 1976 as the Southwest Florida Community Foundation. It has made over $100 million in grants since then and is home to more than 650 philanthropic funds. It is upon that legacy of a commitment to community we plan to fulfill on that mission at the level of its greatest expression. As Collaboratory, we will finish what we started.

To learn more and get involved, call 239-274-5900 or visit


Contact: Melinda Isley, APR, m.creativepr, cell: 239-565-1630,