Montanna Riggs '15 helps ignite passion in K-12 students with engaging and inspiring college mentors

This past year Montanna Riggs ’15 took the year off from Stanford University, where she is a Materials Science and Engineering major, to launch an educational technology company with two classmates. Curious Cardinals offers online workshops, tutoring, and independent studies to students in grades K through 12, taught by passionate college students. To date, Curious Cardinals has reached over 1,500 students and employs around 200 college-age student mentors. Forbes, CNN and Bloomberg have all featured the new business, which was officially incorporated in September 2020. As the Curious Cardinals website puts it, the goal is to help students “discover and explore their passions in a setting that liberates them from the pressure of grades and other ranking systems.” Montanna shares, “We are constantly thinking, ‘How can we connect passionate college students to younger students who are also passionate about these subjects?’”
In her role as Director of Diversity and Social Outreach, Montanna manages the company's financial aid program, building relationships with individual donors and with organizations such as the Boston-based Steppingstone Foundation to provide free spots in Curious Cardinals workshops. Currently an impressive 65% of Curious Cardinals workshop students are on financial aid. This summer the company is pushing to provide even more spots to low income, underrepresented youth.

In addition to running the Curious Cardinals financial aid program, Montanna has also taught a slew of its workshops on subjects from Latin to public speaking to the chemistry behind cosmetics and baking. She recounts an especially rewarding moment when one of her students shared that Montanna had inspired her to feel confident about her interest in chemistry, and to believe in herself. 

This summer Montanna will be in San Francisco working for the consulting firm BCG, while continuing to work with her Curious Cardinals independent study students. She will be back with the Curious Cardinals administration team in the fall while also completing her Stanford degree. Montanna shares, “Education is the most important enabler of change in a person’s life.” We are so proud of our Shady Hill #changemaker!
617.520.5260      178 Coolidge Hill  Cambridge MA 02138           Association of Independent Schools in New England