From Honors to Dream Chasing: A Touching Story of Two Students Who Are Following Their Dreams

Tuesday, June 29, 2021

A Message from Wendy Givoglu, Interim President, East and Winter Park Campuses

Students Isabel Silva and Marco Santos Teles both attended Valencia College East Campus as freshman in 2017 and met in an honors psychology class. Both participated in the same honors events and became close friends. They shared a common dream of attending medical school and understood the commitment it takes to be a competitive applicant. Later that summer, they began dating and focused their priorities on working toward their goal, making time for Valencia’s extracurricular events and for each other.

They married while studying at the University of Central Florida (UCF) and finished their bachelor’s degrees in May 2021. Marco graduated with a B.S. in biomedical sciences and Isabel graduated with a B.S. in biomedical sciences in the molecular and cell biology track.

When it was time to apply to medical schools, their main priority was to be near each other. They focused on cities that housed several medical schools to maximize their chances of attending medical school while living together.

The end of the application cycle was near — Marco was accepted to New York Medical College in New York City and SUNY Medical School in Syracuse. Isabel was accepted into UCF. They were close to losing hope of staying together and dreaded the possibility of a long-distance marriage.

During a joint Zoom meeting with the dean of admissions of the Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, both Isabel and Marco were accepted into the medical program. The couple was ecstatic since this school was one of their top choices and, of course, they would be together during the next journey in their educational path. To top it off, they both received a scholarship that covers the out-of-state tuition.

Marco contacted Professor of Education Jane Maguire, his former professor and coordinator for honors, who taught the IDH courses that they both completed with her, to share the good news.

“Thank you so much for everything you did for me,” Marco shared. “I would not have made it this far without your support and all the opportunities you gave me. I am really grateful to have had you as my professor during my undergrad studies.”

“This is why I love my job … to watch students accomplish wonderful things as they move through the chapters of their lives after Valencia,” Jane explained. “Both Marco and Isabel were in courses with me while attending Valencia. They have been so thoughtful about keeping in touch after leaving Valencia, and I am so thankful that they share these special moments with each other. Congratulations on their acceptance into Rutgers and I am so proud of them.”


  • Cathleen Mestre said:

    Incredible story. Many congrtulations to them and to the professors who helped them on this amazing journey!

    PMThu, 01 Jul 2021 13:53:03 +0000Thu, 01 Jul 2021 13:53:03 +0000pm21,1:53 pm

  • Lauren R. Thomas said:

    This is such an amazing story! Shoutout to Jane Maguire! These stories serve as beautiful reminders of how important the work is that we have the privilege to do here at Valencia! I wish Isabel and Marco great success!

    PMThu, 01 Jul 2021 17:19:39 +0000Thu, 01 Jul 2021 17:19:39 +0000pm21,5:19 pm

  • Lelys Bravo said:

    Felicidades a Marco e Isabel. Que sigan cosechando sueños y éxitos!

    PMSat, 03 Jul 2021 14:21:11 +0000Sat, 03 Jul 2021 14:21:11 +0000pm21,2:21 pm

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