Lee Visone, a 2000 graduate of Bishop Verot High School, says being older and a veteran presented challenges as a nontraditional student attending the University of Florida following a four-year tour with the First Marine division. He was an amphibious assault vehicle commander during the initial invasion of Iraq in 2002 invasion.
Visone was attending UF on the GI Bill when he learned about the John M. and Mary A. Shanley Scholarship from other Southwest Florida students.
Receiving the scholarship midway through his studies brought great peace of mind. “College was very difficult as it was practically all the math and science classes,” he says. “Because of the scholarship I didn’t have the burden of how I was going to pay for college this year and could focus on the important things like passing these difficult classes. I used every dime to pay for my education.”
Visone graduated cum laude with a bachelor’s in microbiology and works as a senior level patent examiner in Washington, where he evaluates the quality of citizen and corporate patent applications for genetically modified plants.
“If I met the donors I would let them know their money went to a great cause. It helped me achieve a lot of things in life. I think people have to seek opportunities no matter where it takes them in live. Opportunity is something you have to go get.”
The John M. and Mary A. Shanley Scholarship is a four-year annual $5,000 scholarship awarded to high school graduates in Charlotte, Hendry or Lee counties studying medicine, law, dentistry, teaching (math and science), ministry, engineering, accounting, agriculture, architecture or computer science. Students must document financial need and maintain a GPA of 3.0 or higher.