“The pivotal moment in my life was moving to the United States. Although I could barely communicate with others, I knew I wanted to succeed. I had so many opportunities in front of my eyes, but I first needed the language. I made it a commitment and a challenge to learn English as fast as I could to be able to make my dreams happen.”
Graduate Scholarship Recipient
Education / Academia, Engineering, Mathematics
Finance / Economy, Foreign Languages / International Study, Government, Health Care, International Relations / NGOs, Leadership Development, Mathematics, Model UN, Nonprofits, Politics and Diplomacy, Public Services, Student Government, Tutoring / Mentoring, Volunteer Work
PROFILE: At age 16, when many teenagers are enjoying what should be wonderful time in their lives, Colombia-born Tatiana Viecco was just trying to somehow fit in. She spoke no English, she had no friends, the new culture was excruciatingly fast-paced and frightening . . . but nothing could compare to the “fear of not succeeding.” Thanks to an ESL teacher in high school who took Tatiana under her wing, she made slow but steady progress with the English language, her comfort zone began to increase, and Tatiana began to make stunning contributions in her adopted hometown and at her college. She juggled a full-time job, various extracurricular activities at Seminole State College, and maintained an exceptionally high GPA. She is most grateful to both the Foundation and the administration and faculty of her college for believing in her.
INSPIRATION: An ESL teacher in high school, Ms. Serich, first recognized Tatiana’s potential and encouraged her to keep learning. There were other teachers that helped Tatiana along the way including a math teacher, Mr. Beaton, who inspired her to continue developing her passion for mathematics. At Seminole College, Dr. Laura Ross and Mauricio Garcia were exceptionally kind and patient mentors as well.
ASPIRATION: Tatiana hopes to major in industrial engineering and then, eventually, seek an advanced degree in Engineering Management. She would like to someday work for a multinational company, but also teach mathematics part-time at the community college level.
MAKING A DIFFERENCE: Tatiana volunteered with a program sponsored by the National Science Foundation where she visited local high schools and talked to young women about the many opportunities for females in the areas of science, math, and engineering.
ACCOLADES: Tatiana was selected to the All-Florida Academic team and attended the Salzburg Honors Seminar. She graduated from Seminole State College with both an Honors Diploma and the Science Merit Diploma, which very few students have accomplished throughout the history of the school.
INTERESTING FACT: Tatiana is a proficient Colombian folk dancer. She loves folk music and dance “because it is the best way to learn about other cultures in an interactive way.”
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