As Stephanie Montoya (B.B.A. ’17), prepared to accept her diploma, she reflected on her time as a student striving to achieve her dreams.
“That was the best advice I received as a student,” Montoya said. “To look toward the end goal when in search of motivation.”
Montoya is a member of Bloch Scholars, a program powered by the H&R Block Foundation that provides students an opportunity to earn an associate’s degree, then continue their bachelor’s degree at UMKC. The scholarship awardees receive funds to cover tuition for up to six semesters, a personal coach and encouragement to work towards their dreams.
Before her commencement ceremony, we caught up with Montoya to discuss how Bloch Scholars impacted her education, her memories of the Bloch School and her future plans.
What has it meant to be a Bloch Scholar?
Being a Bloch Scholar meant my dreams could come true. I was the first in my entire family to attend and graduate from a university. As a woman, a Latina, and an immigrant, the numbers were not in my favor. In spite of all that, I am graduating with a degree in Business Administration thanks to the support of Bloch Scholars.
What has the Bloch scholarship allowed you to do that you wouldn’t have been able to otherwise?
Thanks to the Bloch Scholarship, I was able to focus on my education and accomplish my dreams. I became a confident person, and gained leadership skills that will allow me to support my community.
Do you have a favorite memory of your time at Bloch?
I actually have several! Many of those memorable days happened when I was an orientation leader. Encouraging other students to join UMKC, and being able to speak about Mr. Henry Bloch and the Bloch Executive Hall while on tour made me feel proud of my school. Another time was when I officially met Mr. Henry Bloch, and even had the opportunity to take a picture with him!
What are your plans following graduation?
I would like to continue in the banking industry, or potentially work abroad and use my knowledge of Spanish as a career advantage.
What are your ultimate goals?
To grow in the business industry by owning my own business, receive a Masters in Management, fund a scholarship or non-profit and be culturally enriched by travel.
What’s one piece of advice you would give to incoming freshmen?
To use the resources offered for free on campus. It will all make sense when you graduate with your degree; you’ll know you took advantage of the support provided to you, and you’ll realize you could not have done it all on your own. Always seek for help and ask for advice!