Edthephanie Flores

Edthephanie Flores describes the Florida Opportunity Scholars (FOS) program as supportive, reassuring, and most of all, life changing.  Edthephanie describes her acceptance decision as one of utter amazement and the constant reminder of others showing belief in her.  Before her acceptance to UF, Edthephanie was faced with the reality of going away for college and thought she would be applying to a local college.  During high school, both of Edthephanie’s parents survived open-heart surgery, causing her to rethink leaving her parents and siblings to gain an education. Feeling the financial pressure of attending a public four year institution away from home, Edthephanie’s family encouraged her to apply to UF anyway.

Edthephanie can remember the exact day, and disbelief, in receiving the information about her tuition and financial support.  Edthephanie accepted enrollment at the University of Florida and was met with open arms and a supportive camaraderie.

As a first year student, Edthephanie was provided an FOS mentor, whom she says completely changed her life.  Her mentor was the backbone and support for her experiences; challenging her and supporting her through struggles, stress, and feelings of being overwhelmed.  In the back of Edthephanie’s mind, there has always been the idea of support and that someone believed in her: her mentor, her siblings, and the donors who provided the FOS scholarship.

These support systems have been the driving force for her academic and co-curricular success.  Edthephanie is now pursuing a degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders (CSD), a limited access program, which she would never have had the opportunity to pursue without the FOS program.  Through the education that the FOS program has helped to supply, Edthephanie has had an opportunity to pursue her degree; work alongside speech therapists as a volunteer at Gainesville’s Idylwild Elementary School; and explore the opportunities of double majoring in CSD and Psychology.

Because so many people have supported her, Edthephanie hopes to give back to others as well.  As a member of the Golden Key Honors Society, a service and volunteer honors organization, Edthephanie hopes to mentor children and other people in the pre-health, mental health fields. Edthephanie also hopes to be a mentor for an incoming FOS scholar in the future. Lastly, Edthephanie hopes to one day have the opportunity to give monetary support to the FOS program, as she knows firsthand, how influential the financial support of the program can be.