Maria Montiel Matthews 2015
Community service and leadership were hallmarks of Maria Montiel Matthews’ time at T.C. Williams. Maria was an exceptional young volunteer, and while in high school she received the Alexandria Commission on Women’s Youth Service Award as well as the Governor’s Award for Youth Service. It was during her work as a teen volunteer that Maria first met our current executive director, Beth Lovain. At the time Beth was impressed with Maria’s maturity and willingness to help others. In a letter of recommendation that Maria’s Advanced Placement history teacher, Bonnie Nesbitt, wrote about her she stated, “Maria is a wonderful member of the T.C. Williams community. Her appreciation and care for others is evidenced by her extensive extracurricular activities. She spends time not to impress you.., but because helping others is an integral part of who Maria is.”
Maria remembers Peter Reddington as her favorite teacher at T. C. She says that he made English fun and exciting. While studying literature in college, Maria realized that Mr. Reddington’s class had given her the confidence to be able to analyze literature and that she liked it!
Maria attended American University and finished her degree in only three years. In 2004 Maria received her B.A. in International Studies, and in 2007 she completed her certificate in Political Leadership from American University’s Women and Politics Institute WeLEAD program.
In 2005 Maria married her high school sweetheart, Diller Matthews, and they now have two children. Maria’s father moved to the United States from Nicaragua in his early teens, so Maria grew up speaking Spanish and is now teaching it to her children. Maria and Diller recently returned to the area from Atlanta. Although they currently live in Washington, D.C., they are eager to move back to Alexandria so that their children can attend Alexandria City Public Schools. Maria’s mother and her three brothers all graduated from T. C., and Maria would love for her children to be the third generation to do so.
VMaria currently works as the manager of State Government Relations for the American Society of Civil Engineers. She loves public policy and describes herself as lucky to work in a field that she’s passionate about. Ever the volunteer, Maria gives her time to American University’s alumni association as a representative of the university at college fairs.
Maria said that it was very meaningful to her to be the first recipient of the Kevin Shifflett Memorial Scholarship. She said that the scholarship was a tremendous help to her. Maria was pulling together financial aid from several sources, but says that when she found out she had won a scholarship from the SFA, she knew that going to college would be a reality for her. When asked if she has any advice for future SFA scholarship recipients Maria said, “Anything is possible. You are only limited by the limits you put on yourself!”
T.C. Williams Class of 2001
B.A., International Studies, American University, 2004