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MCF Scholar Profile: Tess Z.

Thanks to generous donors who believe in the impact that higher education can have on our communities, the Manatee Community Foundation has the pleasure of awarding scholarships to local students. Since 1998, we have been able to award over $50 million in scholarships and grants.

We enjoy following our scholars through their educational journey and we will periodically highlight these exceptional students.

Tess Z. – Braden River High Graduate

Tess Z.

High School: Braden River High School

College: University of South Florida

Major: Accounting and Business Analytics and Information System

Minor: Economics

College Graduation Date: May 2024

Next Steps: I will be starting as an Audit Intern with KPMG in January 2024

Why did you choose your major? 

  • I chose my major as in my senior year of high school, I had one elective space left and choose to take Intro to Accounting. From here, I experienced the satisfaction of completing trial balances, balancing out accounts, and organizing a business on a digital level through software such as QuickBooks. This then became the foundation of my dual majors in that I wanted to become proficient in accounting, while being able to apply it to new software.  

Favorite thing about Manatee County

  • My favorite thing about Manatee County is the Riverwalk! I enjoyed parking at a restaurant to enjoy a meal by the river and go on a walk after. The beaches are a wonderful close second but being able to sit along the river and see different community events happening, such as Lucky Duck Race for Pace, is always a highlight of Manatee County. 

How has MCF scholarships helped you?

  • It has helped me in ways that are indescribable. Besides not worrying about tuition and miscellaneous fees regarding my education, it has allowed me to save money for a master’s program that I am applying to for Fall 2024. Without the extra support of MCF, I am unsure that I would have been able to look at post-undergraduate schooling, and I am thankful to have the opportunity to do so. 

Your mentor(s) and why?  

  • My biggest mentor is Anson Angail, who I have had the pleasure of working with in the past through the University of South Florida and its multiple business committees. He is someone that is actively involved in the community, while maintaining strong professional goals. I hope to emulate him in my dealings after my graduation. Also, I grew a lot through my internship with Johnson Messal Bristow, PLLC where under the tutelage of the managers and principals, I was able to grow professionally with continued support and motivation. 

What piece of advice would you give to high school seniors? 

  • A piece of advice that I would give to high school seniors is to not lose hope! Post-Secondary Education seems very daunting at first, especially after you leave high school and realize that there are more years of learning to come. Though, with any post-secondary educational path, you will find that there is a tremendous amount of support and resources that are there to help you. It is also important to know that it is okay to take the time to figure out what truly makes you happy. While I was always an Accounting Major, I changed my minor and dual major often in my first two years of college to explore different classes.  You’ve got this! 

What would you like to share with scholarship donors? 

  • To the donors, I have nothing but gratitude and appreciation for what you do to change people’s lives in Manatee County. Through all your works, the effect that you have on the recipient’s lives is immeasurable. My college life these past two years would have been drastically different if I did not have the support of MCF and its wonderful donors. Through your support, I have been able to focus on campus involvement, education, and future planning without being dragged by tuition statements.

Any final thoughts?

  • Thank you truly for the support that you provide to post-secondary students in achieving what is sometimes thought improbable otherwise. The work you do does matter, and it does change someone’s life. For me, it has done just that. Thank you! 

Our general scholarship application cycle opens in December. We take rolling applications for those going to vocational programs at either Manatee Technical, State College of Florida, or University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee.

If you’d like to support access to education for well-deserving students in our area, you can send a check to Manatee Community Foundation, 2820 Manatee Avenue West, Bradenton, Florida 34205, with MCF General Scholarship Fund in the memo line or call Alicia Chalmers at 941-747-7765 to discuss.