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Judy Genshaft Honors College

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Head shot of honors student Sophia Montejo

Honors Student Sophia Montejo Publishes Short Story in Glass Mountain Literary Journal

University of South Florida (USF) student Sophia Montejo is many things: a member of the Judy Genshaft Honors College, a Studio Ghibli fan, and now, a published author as her short story “Notions” was recently published in the Glass Mountain Literary Journal

The story was her final project for the Honors course “Writing Resistance,” taught by Honors affiliate faculty member Dennis Mont’Ros, which Montejo was enrolled in during spring of 2023.

Montejo is a third-year Honors student dual majoring in psychology and English with a concentration in creative writing. As an aspiring psychology professor, she hopes to continue to apply her propensity for creativity and love of writing to a future in research and education.  

Growing up, Montejo frequently created her own stories and dreamed of becoming a writer. However, after some time away from actively engaging in creative storytelling, she was uncertain of her own ability to dive back into the process of writing fiction. 

“I spent the first year of college very out of touch with my creative side. I was like, I'm not sure if I can do that anymore,” said Montejo.

Despite her apprehension, Professor Mont’Ros’ course aided her in finding her creative drive by helping her overcome the need for perfectionism in her work. 

“I loved the discussions. He really emphasized this idea of writing like a mad man and getting all of your thoughts and feelings onto the page,” said Montejo. “It really helped because perfectionism really holds you back in that regard.” 

Sophia Montejo wears headphones while sitting in front of a microphone.


Montejo’s short story follows the emotional journey of a married couple and the progression of their relationship over time. Throughout the story, readers are able to follow the experience of the couple’s love from their meeting to their eventual separation. 

Despite her own love of a happy ending, Montejo developed a more complex narrative arc to reflect the challenges she observed in her own relationships. During the transitional phase of her life, moving from Ohio to Florida to attend USF, Montejo noticed she was spending time with new people, each with varying life experiences that they had not yet shared with each other.  

“We were figuring ourselves out,” observed Montejo. “I think to grow and change and yet to have other people as constants in your life is a beautiful thing, no matter how long it lasts or how well or poorly it ends.”

Montejo hopes that from her story readers glean that despite how any relationship ends, one can still appreciate and cherish the love that was sprinkled throughout. 

“It's not all black and white. That's not what life is like,” said Montejo. “Not everything's all good or all bad. You can still see what good things come of even a bad ending.”  


  1. Find artists who inspire you:  
    Sophia recommends not only looking to the medium(s) that you operate in but exploring all modes of creative work such as music, film, visual art, performance art, and more. Find what inspires you about another artists work and channel that into creating your own pieces.
  2. Look for ways to pursue all of your interests:  
    USF has endless opportunities for clubs, extracurriculars, jobs, and research. Take the time now to pursue any and all of your interests while the resources and organizations are at your fingertips!
  3. Allow creativity to flow into all areas of your life: 
    Art can exist anywhere and creativity can be a skill you use not only in artistic but also academic pursuits. “Being able to tap into the creative side of you helps a lot with coming up with research questions, coming up with new ideas, being able to read over something and take something new from that,” said Sophia of the overlap between psychology research and creativity.

“Reach out for opportunities to continue cultivating those interests because I think that's a really important part of being in college.”  – Honors student Sophia Montejo  


When it came time for Montejo to submit the final draft of “Notions” to Professor Mont’Ros she was not expecting anything other than her final grade for the course. However, after reading the story Mont’Ros reached out to Sophia with the idea of pursuing publication for her story in a literary magazine. 

Sophia agreed, excited to share a story with a wider public, and the two began editing the story back and forth until they reached a final product that they then submitted to magazines for publication.  

For Montejo, this was the easiest part of her creative journey. 

“Because the process was so well-guided... there was a lot less anxiety around whether or not it would get accepted,” said Montejo of waiting to hear back on the status of her submission.

Next, Montejo plans to focus on her psychology studies while continuing to explore her creative side in her English classes.  

“This class very much sparked my love of writing and made me realize it was something I could continue with. It made me realize it was something I never wanted to fall out of in the first place.”

You can read Montejo’s short story or listen to Sophia and other students on the Honor Roll Podcast.

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Committed to intellectual curiosity, global citizenship, and service across three unique Tampa Bay campuses, Honors News shares the exceptional stories of the Judy Genshaft Honors College.