Reynier Montalvan came to the United States from Cuba just three years ago. Now, the accounting major is off to earn his bachelor’s degree after winning a prized Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship, which provides up to $40,000 per year to cover the cost of tuition as students complete four-year degrees. Montalvan has been accepted to several leading universities, including the University of Texas at Austin, the University of Florida, the University of Illinois and Bentley University. The Honors College student was immensely active during his time at Miami Dade College. Montalvan traveled to Austria for the Salzburg Global Citizenship Seminar, where he worked on refugee issues, specifically examining how the nonprofit community in Miami could assist refugees in the South Florida Region. As a member and president of the Phi Theta Kappa Honors Society at IAC, Montalvan performed more than 1,000 hours of service activities and received the Member of the Year award once and the Gold President’s Volunteer Service Award on two occasions. Montalvan said the recognition inspired him to keep steadily working to improve the lives of others. “I feel blessed and inspired to keep advocating for others, to maintain peace in this world and to be the difference I want to see in our society,” he said. In addition to his MDC activities, Montalvan has been advocating for children’s education, eradicating hunger and expanding access to clean drinking water. Last year, he traveled to the Dominican Republic as part of a service mission to provide clean water to impoverished communities. “We created aqueduct systems to bring clean water and help with sanitation in rural mountain towns. While there, we also educated women and children on ways to preserve water,” he said. “We had a tremendous impact on hundreds of lives.”
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