2015 Leaders For Life Fellows

Meet the 2015 Leaders for Life Fellows



Gabriela Cruz

Gabriela Cruz

  • University of South Florida - Class of 2019
  • College Focus: Biomedical Sciences
  • TSIC Alumni from Marion County

Take Stock in Children scholar Gabriela Cruz graduated from the Career Academy through Marion Technical Institute in 2015. She had a 3.91 GPA and ranked 9th in her graduating class. Gabriela now attends the University of South Florida and plans to graduate in the spring of 2019. She works with the USF Office of Orientation to help ensure students coming into the university – whether first year, transfer, or international – experience a seamless transition regardless of their background. She’s also involved with USF MEDLIFE, an organization striving to provide medicine, education, and development to low-income families everywhere. After college, she plans to attend medical school.

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Jessie James King

Jessie James King

  • Harvard College - Class of 2020
  • College Focus: Human Evolutionary Biology
  • TSIC Alumni from Bay County

Take Stock in Children scholar Jessie James King graduated Bay High School in 2015 as part of the Prestigious Advanced International Certificate of Education (AICE) program. She currently attends Harvard College and plans to graduate in 2020. This summer, she has an internship with the Harvard financial aid office as a recruitment coordinator for prospective students before starting her sophomore year in the fall. She's excited to continue singing with the University Choir and the Radcliffe Pitches, and all-female jazz a cappella group. In the future, she plans to go to medical school and practice psychiatry with women and minority groups.

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Paul Muo

Paul Muo

  • Florida International University
  • College Focus: Computer Science
  • TSIC Alumni from Broward County

Take Stock in Children scholar Paul Muo graduated from Atlantic Technical Center in 2015 with a 4.38 GPA. He is currently taking a one-year student life and career development sabbatical.

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Keilly Paola Pulgar

Keilly Paola Pulgar

  • University of Florida - Class of 2019
  • College Focus: Nutritional Sciences, Italian Studies
  • TSIC Alumni from Hillsborough County

Take Stock in Children scholar Keilly Paola Pulgar graduated from Braulio Alonso High School in 2015. In 2011, prior to finishing high school, she was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia and underwent chemotherapy for 2 1/2 years until being declared cancer-free in June 2013. She now attends the University of Florida (UF) and plans to graduate in 2019. Her active involvement with UF MEDLIFE made her a well-rounded candidate for MEDLIFE’s summer volunteer affairs internship where she will spend all summer providing underprivileged communities with easier access to healthcare. In the future, she hopes to serve in the Peace Corps for a year following graduation and then return for medical school.

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Alexis Smith

Alexis Smith

  • University of Florida - Class of 2019
  • College Focus: Family, Youth, and Community Science
  • TSIC Alumni from Sarasota County

Take Stock in Children scholar Alexis Smith graduated from Pine View School in 2015 with a 4.83 GPA, while also being enrolled at the State College of Florida. She currently attends the University of Florida (UF) and plans to graduate in 2019. As a member of the Sigma Alpha Professional Agricultural Sorority at UF, she’s served as the organization’s social chair and Dance Marathon delegate. In addition to her studies, she works for Shift Church of Gainesville and Dogwood Park and Daycare. After undergrad, she plans on pursuing her doctorate of veterinary medicine and hopes to one day open a veterinary office that will provide care for both large and small animals.

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Christian Vallejo

Christian Vallejo

  • Emory University - Class of 2019
  • College Focus: Biology and Philosophy
  • TSIC Alumni from Collier County

Take Stock in Children scholar Christian Vallejo graduated from Palmetto Ridge High School in 2015 with a 5.13 GPA and ranked 7th in his graduating class – all while attending Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU). He currently attends Emory University and plans to graduate in 2019. Actively involved in campus life, he is currently the vice president of programming for the Latin Student Organization at Emory. This summer, he is researching uses for synthetic biology with specific interest in modifying bacteria to decrease acidity of water in water recycling plants. Upon graduation, he's planning on pursuing a joint MD/PhD program in the hopes of practicing and teaching medicine.

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