Elena Smith

Major/Year: Nutritional Science/ First Year
Hometown: Clearwater, Florida

Elena is an overcomer. She has always wanted to go to college and she took all of the steps necessary to make it. However, like many students, financing her college education was of major concern.

She stayed focused throughout school even after losing both of her parents to cancer. Fortunately, she had her grandmother and her aunt to take her in and support her in her aspirations to attend college.

It means a lot to Elena to be a Machen Florida Opportunity Scholar and have the financial support of the scholarship. However, she says MFOS is more than just a scholarship program. “I have a strong foundation…a family.” Elena believes the mentoring program is great. Her mentor, Maresha, and her First Year Florida instructor, Will Atkins, have helped make the transition to college much easier. She has enjoyed connecting with other first generation students, like her roommate, Jessica, who is also first generation. She is also a recipient of a housing scholarship from the Southern Scholarship Foundation which gives her the opportunity to live close to campus at a low rate.

Elena wants to pursue a career in community nutrition. She is currently exploring the many options available to her. Elena’s future aspirations are inspired by one of her high school teachers and she feels fortunate to be studying in what she believes to be one of the best food and nutrition programs. In addition, Elena looks forward to being active at the University in one of the many intramural sports offered through the Department of Recreational Sports. As of now, she is a member of Friends for Life, an organization that visits cancer patients in the Shands’ pediatric hospital.

Closing Remark: “You're off to Great Places! Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting, So... get on your way!”  ― Dr. Seuss; Oh, The Places You'll Go!