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Scholarship Spotlight: Maria Calise

CCF college scholarship recipient, Maria Calise, aspires to become an attorney for her own firm where she will exonerate people who have been wrongly accused.

“I am inspired by the past. I want to be able to make creative innovations and learning from the past will allow me to have greater knowledge. We can learn many things from the past, and I believe that it is important to use our inspiration to make change.”

CCF scholarship recipient, Maria Calise, began her education in Sheepshead Bay and Mill Basin, Brooklyn. It was here, surrounded by so many different cultures, that she was first inspired by diversity. Her upbringing inspired her to attend St. John’s University where she is majoring in Criminal Justice and minoring in Business Administration. Along with having plans to graduate early, Maria has also maintained an impressive swimming career for over fifteen years in which she has competed on a state and semi-national level. She also graduated in the top five percent of her high school class and maintained a 4.0 her first semester of college. The key to juggling it all, she says, is her planner. At the start of each week, she makes a detailed schedule of her days, putting aside specific time to get everything done.

Not only is Maria determined in her studies but she is also determined to make a change. Maria’s aspiration in life is to become an attorney for her own firm where she will exonerate people who have been wrongly accused. With the help of her business minor, Maria will one day be able to open her own law firm where she plans to make creative innovations to help people.
The biggest inspiration to Maria is her family. Her cousin, Valerie, was also a CCF recipient and encouraged her to apply. Her parents instilled in her, from a very young age, the importance of having a good education and how working through hardships will help you reach your goals. They taught her, no matter the age, hardships will always be an issue that can be resolved and the work of overcoming them will pay off every time. A perfect example of why this rings true to her is her grandparents. They immigrated to the United States from Italy when they were only seventeen years old. The fact that Maria’s grandparents were able to leave it all behind and create an amazing life is a daily motivator to her. Her family’s drive and determination to succeed is something she makes a priority in her own life.