By Jill Fox
Seven scholarships in STEM and the Arts were awarded to first-year college students.
The Gina Rose Montalto Memorial Foundation helps students with the cost of post-secondary education and makes charitable donations to causes she supported before her life was taken on February 14, 2018.
According to Gina’s parents, the young man and women chosen for the 2021 scholarships are qualified, passionate, and dedicated to their studies.
A $5,000 STEM Scholarship was awarded to Olivia Allen, studying nursing at Bringham Young University.
The runner-up, Jhett Hill, an Earth and environmental sciences major at Vanderbilt University, received $1,000.
Regan Van Dyne, a nursing student at the University of Oklahoma, received honorable mention and $500.
A $5,000 Arts scholarship was awarded to Kailee Rafalko, currently majoring in dance at the College of Charleston.
The runner-up, Julie Minn, a violin performance major at The Juilliard School, received $1,000.
Amira Diaw, a fine arts major at the Art Institute of Chicago, received honorable mention and $500.
For the first time, the foundation also awarded $1,000 for the best essay to Morgan Koss, who is majoring in musical theater and psychology at Penn State University.
“We decided to give an additional scholarship because we had so many good applicants in the category,” said Gina’s mother, Jennifer Montalto.
Koss volunteered with Gina through the Friendship Journey.
In her essay, she wrote, “…I am at a loss of words when I think about what may have come of the friendship I developed with Gina and the thought of the amazing artist and person she would have become. Although she is not here in this physical world anymore, I’m sure she would be proud to know the impact she made on those kids, me, and countless people around the world.”
Jennifer said, “We want our recipients to remember who Gina was and to help spread kindness and to strive to make the world a better place.”
The Gina Rose Montalto Memorial Foundation is in the final stages of selecting the 17 for 17 nursing scholarships recipients, where 17 students receive $1,000 towards their degree.
To contribute to the scholarship foundation, Donate here.
Send your news to Parkland’s #1 News Source, Parkland Talk.