Student Services

Outstanding Graduate Award - Winter 2022

Finalist: María Camila Medina Almaguer

Winner: María Camila Medina Almaguer

María Camila Medina Almaguer, an established pianist since age seven, immigrated to the U.S. from Cuba with her family shortly before the COVID-19 pandemic. An international student with English as her second language, she completed her GED at Miami Dade College and now graduates with her Associate in Arts degree with a 4.0 GPA.

Medina plans to pursue a bachelor’s degree in music, concentrating on composition and media scoring, and secondary degrees in business and entrepreneurship to understand the full scope of the music industry. Medina made the President’s List and Dean’s List in 2021 and 2022, respectively, and maintained her perfect GPA while participating in numerous performances with SCF Bradenton Symphony Orchestra, SCF Presidential Jazz Combo and Jazz Big Band. She won the Florida College System Activities Association 2022 Student Artist Competition piano division and was the faculty-chosen recipient of the Sarasota Steinway Society scholarship.

She volunteered as an accompanist to Master of Fine Arts students at Florida State University/Asolo Conservatory for Actor Training and served as an essay judge for the Arts & Essay Contest at the Atlantic Institute in South Carolina. Medina shared that without the help of the SCF Financial Aid department, SCF Foundation and SCF Music Program donors, neither she nor her brother would have been able to pay for tuition.

“I was venturing into a new country where everything I truly knew about higher education – music especially – was that it was very expensive. SCF offered me affordable opportunities to develop my musicianship, and today, I feel very lucky and honored to become one of its alumni.”

Finalist: Victoria Lauren Flounders

Finalist: Victoria Lauren Flounders

Victoria Lauren Flounders, former beauty and wellness professional who worked as an esthetician and massage therapist, graduates with her Associate in Arts degree with a 3.75 GPA. She intends to study theatre, dance and performance at New College of Florida. Her ultimate goal is to join the Florida State University/Asolo Conservatory for Actor Training to earn a Master of Fine Arts degree. Initially hesitant to re-enroll in college,

Flounders resumed her education after her three young children began school. She strives to teach them the value of education and set an example of hard work and perseverance. “Nothing motivates me more than imagining their faces glowing with pride as I walk in my cap and gown. That is what I picture each day I enter SCF.”

Flounders has exceeded her goal of gaining a fulfilling college experience while managing her family life. She is a member of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society and has represented Delta Psi Omega National Theatre Honor Society at several campus events.

A dedicated member of the SCF Theatre Program, she has worked as a stage manager, actress, assistant director, and projection designer, and joined its work-study program. She has received awards for Best Actress in a Leading Role and Most Promising Newcomer. In addition, Flounders helped pioneer SCF Theatre’s internship program. After landing an artistic apprenticeship at Urbanite Theatre, she lobbied to receive educational credit for her position.

“I have received life-changing guidance, opportunities, and recognition through the SCF Theatre Program and staff, and though moving on will be hard, I am confident in my future.”

Finalist: Nikki Francisco

Finalist: Nikki Francisco

Nikki Francisco graduates with her Bachelor of Science degree in Supervision & Management, concentrating in Technology Management, with a 3.57 GPA. After graduation, she plans to earn industry certifications and pursue a career as an IT Project Manager.

Though her educational journey has been unconventional, she has not let her disability hinder her success. With government assistance, Francisco attended Vocational Rehabilitation, which helped her enroll at SCF. Her newfound confidence pushed her to build an impressive list of academic and extracurricular achievements. She has made the President’s List since 2020 and holds a part-time job with the SCF Foundation. Francisco is a member of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, treasurer for the Entrepreneurship Club, and former vice president and current president of Future Business Leaders of America - Phi Beta Lambda (FBLA-PBL).

Through FBLA-PBL, Francisco represented SCF at the State and National Leadership conferences in 2022 and earned several Information and Project Management awards. She also represented SCF students and clubs as a Student Activity Budget Review committee member from Fall 2021-Spring 2022 to help determine where funds needed to be allocated.

Francisco is an engaged student and active volunteer. She started her non-profit organization through which she raised nearly $5,000 for Philippine typhoon relief and provided 750 families with food and clean water. She is also involved with the National Alliance on Mental Illness and The Bridge Church. Francisco has learned to find her strengths in unconventional places and strives to help others do the same.

“SCF has given me the confidence that I can be a contributing member of society and that I am more than my disability.”

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