Taylor dedicating herself to financial literacy in Black community

FAMU student Shantel Taylor.
Photo courtesy: Taylor

This self-motivated student has taken perseverance to an all-time height with her astonishing
story. Shantel Taylor, a second-year accounting student, has never allowed any obstacle to
stand in her way. However, those obstacles have allowed Taylor to push and work even harder
to obtain the best life for herself.

Taylor was born on Sept. 27, 2002, in Baltimore. She is the daughter of a nurse and truck
driver, whom she credits for her will to persevere.

“I would say those attributes were handed down from my parents as they are both hard
working and have a strong work ethic. I was only bound to carry those same traits,” Taylor said.
Growing up, Taylor was always a star student, although she was a shy and timid child, she never
allowed that to stop her abilities in the classroom. Taylor earned a spot on the honor roll every
year and was inducted into the prestigious National Honor Society. During her time in high
school, she was given a certificate for academic excellence from former President Donald

At the age of 17, Taylor’s life shattered into pieces when her parents divorced. Taylor found
herself self-isolating and wanting to focus only on her academics. Along with the divorce, Taylor
was split from her two younger brothers, George and Isaiah. This split took a toll on Taylor,
forcing her to only see her siblings on holidays and school breaks. Although her life was in a
complete muddle, Taylor was able to piece herself back together, and not allow her
circumstances to define her.

Although Taylor’s life at home was uneasy, she was able to use that agony to not only better
herself as a student, but also as a young adult. Taylor stepped out of her comfort zone when
she wrote a proposal for KIND Snacks, where she was awarded $25,000. With this experience,
Taylor was able to show herself that there is always light at the end of the tunnel.

Taylor’s transformation has also been something her mother, Courtney Martin, admired about
her daughter. After Taylor won the KIND prize, her mother was indescribably proud of her.
“Shantel has been through so much, so it felt good to see her achieving something of that
magnitude,” Martin said.

In the fall of 2021, Taylor took a leap of faith by attending FAMU. Taylor knew little about the
university, only taking information from YouTubers and social media. Taylor was able to sense
the FAMUly atmosphere through the media and decided to attend, ultimately forming lifelong
friendships that she will cherish forever.

Although Taylor faced adversity in her life, she is an excellent example of the motto, if you keep
putting her best foot forward, you will reap the benefits of it.

After graduating from FAMU, Taylor hopes to earn her master’s to obtain her CPA. As an
accountant, she hopes to move up to managerial accounting roles. Taylor also hopes to one day
inspire many African American women in business and bring financial literacy into her

“I think my impact will allow me to help younger people see a direct representation of Black
people thriving in huge managerial roles in Fortune 500 companies,” Taylor said.
Taylor encourages every student that if they are passionate about something, do not stop until
you achieve it.

Taylor has left an everlasting impression on her best friend, Nariyah Tolbert, who gave insight
on Taylor’s personality.

“Shantel is a very relaxed person, and quite easy to talk to,” Tobert said. “She will never judge
you no matter what you are going through.”
After meeting in the eighth grade, the duo knew they were destined to become friends forever.