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Shelby Maldonado ’05


Shelby Maldonado ‘05

shelbymaldonado2-alumpageShelby Maldonado ’05 (Central Falls High School) graduated from the University of Rhode Island in 2009 with a B.A. in Political Science and a B.A. in Communication Studies. “I chose to major in political science because I wanted to learn about U.S. policies that influence and shape our society,” Shelby says. “The coursework also gave me insight into how international politics affects economic and social development all over the world.” She added the second major to improve her public speaking and communication skills. “I wanted to make sure others could understand my point of view, especially since I was planning to work in public service,” she says. “I choose my majors hoping that what I learned in college I could feed back to my community.”

Shelby hasn’t wasted any time giving back to her community. In 2014 she was elected to the RI House of Representatives for Central Falls. She serves as the second vice-chairwoman of the Committee on Municipal Government, is a member of the House Committee on Health, Education and Welfare, and co-chairs the Legislative Black and Latino Caucus. Before her election to the RI General Assembly, Shelby was a member of the Central Falls City Council. She also served in the Peace Corps in Zambia.

Prior her stint in the Peace Corps, Shelby was employed as a High School Advisor for The College Crusade, counseling Crusaders at Tolman High School and Blackstone Academy in Pawtucket. “I worked with high school students who predominantly come from disadvantaged communities and unstable homes,” she says. “I provided services such as peer mentoring, life skill workshops, and tutoring afterschool to help them improve academically and socially. The most exciting part of my job was talking with my students and helping them through personal issues at home and school. Watching them develop into responsible young adults wasthe most rewarding part of my work. I looked forward each day to being in my school with students who shared the same desire and will to attain a better life for themselves.”

Shelby’s experiences as a Crusader helped her prepare academically for college and to form a clearer picture of what college could mean for her. “The most helpful part about being a Crusader was visiting colleges each year,” she says. “I remember junior year visiting colleges and researching potential postsecondary schools. The college visits exposed me to different campuses and programs available on campuses. I was able to determine which colleges could provide me with the means to excel.” Her College Crusade scholarship also helped. “The scholarship money sometimes helped me cover housing and meal plan expenses, and it reduced the loans I had to take out each year to pay for classes and live on campus,” she explains. “Because I didn’t have to borrow a large amount during my years at URI, I am now able to make reasonable loan repayments on time.”

So what important advice does Shelby offer to Crusaders who are going to college in the fall? “The best advice I can give is: Improve your time management,” she says. “Good time management will help you excel at the postsecondary level. It will be a difficult experience the first year for most of you, but if you manage your time well than you can enjoy all the great opportunities that college has to offer. Develop a schedule that fits you best. Another important piece of advice is not to settle for average. Excel to your fullest potential in class or in campus organizations. Work hard to earn those A’s, and be involved in campus activities that will benefit you in the long run.”

One way that Shelby challenged herself as a student was to travel. “The best part of my college experience was studying abroad for several months in Greece,” she says. “I was able to take classes within my major and earn transferable credits. I also managed to travel within Eastern Europe and learn about different cultures. Studying abroad helped me develop skills that I would not have received on campus or in the classroom, skills that I now utilize every day at work and at home.”

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