Shantel Honeyghan speaks at our 2015 Scholarship Recipient Reception

Attending college was always a priority for Shantel Honeyghan, who moved to the United States from Jamaica in 2001.

“I knew that this was my opportunity to make something of myself and to excel as an academic scholar,” she says. 

Shantel was a model student at Bulkeley High School in Hartford. Her high school history teacher described Shantel as “an exceptionally responsible, mature, passionate and industrious student who is driven by a deep, intrinsic desire to excel” and noted her “strong and enduring commitment to social justice and serving her community.”

That commitment was evident throughout her years of undergraduate study at the University of Connecticut. Shantel takes pride in her involvement with on-campus activities, which reflected her interests and career aspirations.

She served as a tutor and counselor for the Upward Bound program, where she co-taught lessons and workshops on college acceptance and supervised students in dormitories and on college visits. Shantel was a teaching assistant for the African American Cultural Center. Her extracurricular activities led her to her passion of serving as a resource and mentor for underrepresented college students.

Shantel even took the initiative to start a new organization on campus. After noticing a lack of diversity among students entering pre-teaching and education programs, she co-founded Leadership in Diversity, a mentoring program that helps maintain and encourage confidence and success in minority students as they pursue careers in the fields of elementary, secondary and higher education.

Shantel addressed the Hartford Foundation’s 2015-16 scholarship awardees at the 11th annual Scholarship Recipient Reception, held at the University of Saint Joseph in West Hartford. Shantel spoke about the value of her Foundation scholarship and provided words of encouragement to the new recipients.

“The scholarship was huge for me,” Shantel said. “I didn’t want to cheat myself out of a good education because I didn’t have the money, but I didn’t want to come out of college with a ridiculous amount of debt either. Even with the large increase in tuition at UConn while I was attending, I knew my Hartford Foundation scholarship would be in my account, and that gave me tremendous peace of mind. It also gave me an extra push to make it through.”

In 2015, Shantel graduated from UConn with two degrees, in English and human development and family studies. She enrolled in a graduate program at Florida State University to pursue a master’s degree in higher education and student affairs, with the ultimate goal of serving as a resource for students of color in regards to postsecondary academic access and retention.

“I find it extremely rewarding not only improving myself, but others as well. I don’t want to change the world. I want to change the lives of a few people in hopes that they will go on to help others in the same way I helped them.”

Watch Shantel perform an original poem, "ABC"