Crossing the Final Bridge: 2022-2023 Questbridge Finalists


Kate Kuryla

Julie Maldonado (left) and Angel Li (right) congratulate each other on their finalist status.

For some students, the cost of a college education is not a problem while others see financial aid as a necessity. Many rely on scholarships such as Posse and Questbridge to assist in covering the cost of higher education. After weeks of applying and sending transcripts and letters of recommendation, on Oct. 20, the Questbridge finalists were announced for Coral Gables Senior High School. This year’s Questbridge finalists are International Baccalaureate seniors Angel Li and Julie Maldonado

Questbridge National College Match is a college scholarship application process that helps low-income high school seniors gain a full four-year scholarship to 40 of the nation’s most selective colleges. The scholarship covers the cost of attendance, housing, travel expenses, books and supplies for college. 

Angel Li

As an IB student and the co-founder and co-president of the Engineering Club at Gables, Li decided to apply for the junior program of Questbridge known as college prep scholar. For him, acceptance into the program meant that he had a high chance of being a finalist for the scholarship. Not wanting to have his parents worry about paying for his studies, he knew that this program would give him the best opportunity to attend a college or university outside of Florida. 

“Both of my two older brothers attended the University of Florida. I would like to switch up the cycle and be the one who went somewhere else for higher education,” senior Angel Li said. 

As a part of Questbridge, Li had to rank his top nine schools that are associated with the program. Determined to study computer science, specifically artificial intelligence, he based his college rankings on their computer science programs and geographical benefits. Although the subject’s difficulty might intimidate some students, it attracted Li. 

“If you know me, you know I love computer science. I was drawn to the subject because it is going to change the entire future,” senior Angel Li said. 

I hope to end my senior year of high school on a good note alongside family, friends and teachers that have made my high school experience one to remember. Even though I have no idea what I want to do in the future as a career, I hope it is something that I am passionate about.

— Julie Maldonado

Julie Maldonado

For Julie Maldonado, being part of the National Honor Society, Key Club, the softball team and the volleyball team at Gables has made her a well-rounded individual, an important asset to have in order to qualify as a Questbridge finalist. When she heard about the scholarship opportunity, she jumped at the chance to get financial aid at some of the top schools in the U.S. Having lived in Miami her entire life, Maldonado is ready to spread her wings and experience new possibilities in other parts of the country. 

“When I got the news that I was a finalist for Questbridge, it felt really rewarding, but slightly daunting because now I have to continue the scholarship process by writing several supplementals. Even though I am overwhelmed, I know that all of my hard work will be worth it in the end,” senior Julie Maldonado said. 

Although she is not certain what field she would like to study, she hopes that in time she will be able to decide on a rewarding career. She wants to follow a career path that will lead to both financial and personal success. 

The winners of the Questbridge scholarships will be notified on Dec. 1. Although they are uncertain of what school they will attend if they win the scholarship, Angel Li and Julie Maldonado are hoping for good news that will provide them with many opportunities regarding their future.