Shawnte Santos

Shawnte Santos

Dean's Scholar

College of Humanities & the Arts
Art/Art History and Visual Culture


Why did you choose your major?

I chose Art History because I love art and I especially like how it gives me a different perspective on history in general.  Political and religious events definitely had an impact on artists and it shows in their work.  In that way, it makes history easier for me to understand and remember: it's not just a jumble of names and dates.  It also doesn't hurt that there is plenty of travel involved in going to museums to see art and architecture.  


What does receiving this particular award mean to you?

Receiving this award is an honor and it is nice to know that my hard work has paid off.  I sometimes feel like the academic standards I set for myself are too high, but I will only be in college once, so I might as well do the best I can while I'm here.  That I'm receiving an award for learning about something I love is a bonus.  


Who has been instrumental in your life and/or who has contributed to your academic success?

My entire family has been incredibly supportive and encouraging while also holding me to high academic standards.  I hope I am setting a good example for my younger family members who might be thinking about not going to college.  My husband has been amazing also.  He works incredibly hard so that school can be my number one priority.  The professors in the Art History department make learning a pleasure.  I look forward to going to class every day and truly enjoy listening to their lectures.  Finally, I think that every horrible customer I had while working retail has pushed me to do well in school so that I never have to deal with customer service again.      


Did you overcome any hardships or adversities during your life, that has helped shape who you are today?  And if so, could you please briefly elaborate?

I lost both of my parents at a young age, which definitely made my family very close.  All through elementary, middle, and high school I had aunts and uncles watching over me and making sure I did well.  Now that I'm in college, I make sure to let them know that I am upholding the values they instilled in me.

What would you say to other students to encourage or inspire them to attain academic excellence?

I think it's really important to take your classes seriously and not be afraid to be smart.  You are paying to be in school, so you should try to get the most out of it.  SJSU has some really great professors, so get to know them and ask questions in class.  Participate in discussions, join clubs that share your interests, do anything you can to get involved and meet other people in your department.

Where would you like to be in 5-10 years?

In 5-10 years I plan on having my MLIS from SJSU and would like to be living in New York and working in one of the libraries at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  I know it's really competitive, but I plan on working hard until then and doing whatever I can to get myself there.


A few words from her nominating professor:

I have been very impressed with Shawnte Santos for her professional demeanor, the quality of her work, her willingness to help other students.

-Christy Junkerman