Originally from Mt. Vernon, NY, Shantae attended Virginia Union University in Richmond, VA, pursuing a degree in criminal justice. She was especially interested in forensics and the ability to find answers related to a crime. After two years, it became financially difficult for her to keep attending school, so she decided to move to Charlotte, where her parents lived. Her father is a truck driver and is often on the road, and Shantae didn’t want her mother to be alone all the time. It took her a few years to feel established in Charlotte, but she knew it was time to start making plans so that she wouldn’t have to depend on others so much. Shantae read about CCSC online, and with her mom’s encouragement, she decided to apply. “I always said I hate to cook, yet I always end up doing all the cooking!” she says. “I’m an experimental cook, but it usually turns out well.” Her mother is a skilled baker and has dreams of starting a career in event planning – and hoping Shantae will join her. From her time at CCSC, Shantae has learned the importance of communication. The School has made her more open to new opportunities and new people. Shantae currently works part-time, but after graduation she hopes to pursue a career in team building and private special events. She wants to use cooking as a hands-on way for people to express their communication style.