Fellow:Marquita Shantell Valdez

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Marquita Shantell Valdez
School (Cohort)
Utah Valley University (2021 cohort)
Majoring in
Criminal Justice
United States of America


Marquita is a University Innovation Fellow at Utah Valley University in Orem Utah. She is majoring in Criminal Justice with a minor in Entrepreneurship and a concentration in leadership. She is the founder of Breaking Barriers Utah a non profit that helps individuals with diverse backgrounds and diverse struggles. Her focus is in re-entry reform. She is a non-traditional student and a mother of four daughters. She intends to change laws and initiate alternative sentencing.

Marquita grew up in Ogden, Utah the only girl of five children. Her life experience gives Marquita a fresh and new perspective on the workings of the Criminal Justice system. Marquita supports and promotes equality and inclusiveness. She finds joy in helping others find a future through higher education, especially those with incarceration or substance abuse backgrounds.

Marquita seeks to change the worlds view on the value of others. She is a energetic and outgoing individual with ambition. Experiences within her own life have taught her resilience and strength, her story changes lives and her passion is contagious.


Marquita is the President of The National Society of Collegiate Scholars UVU Chapter,

A student Lead in the UVU Center for student advancement and Leadership Non- traditional cohort,

Vice President of the RAICES Club

Founder of Breaking Barriers Utah a non-profit that continues to lead others to higher education.

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