My name is Madai Mendoza and I am a proud incoming freshman to FIU. Despite some obstacles during my senior year, such as having to attend school online due to the COVID-19 pandemic, I learned how resilient I am and how I am able to work under pressure. One of the most valuable lessons my high school career taught me is that I am a student who is responsible, hardworking, creative, and much more. While I study at FIU, I know I can look forward to enhancing these traits. I am excited for the next four years of my educational career as I begin to focus and pursue a career in the hospitality and tourism industry. The aid I receive from the Carnival Gold Scholarship will open doors for me and allow me to achieve goals that once seemed unattainable.
Miami is a hub for hospitality and tourism that I have been fortunate enough to experience and grow up in first hand. My interest in this industry, however, blossomed after joining the Academy of Hospitality and Tourism (AOHT) in my freshman year of high school. Throughout my years of being part of this academy, I was able to learn more about the inner workings of the industry and the importance of human interactions in this trade. The combination of these factors increased my interest and inspired me to pursue a career in this field. As a part of AOHT, we were able to visit the Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management on multiple occasions, which solidified my passion for hospitality and tourism and helped me create a realistic plan to achieve my goals. Additionally, during my four years in AOHT, I was given the role of Treasurer for the Class of 2021, enhancing my responsibility in the Academy and teaching me important leadership skills. Along with being extremely dedicated to my schoolwork, I was able to participate in other clubs like MAO, or the math club. High school has had a profound influence on my life. It has shaped my vision for the future and taught me important lessons that I can carry into my future profession.
I am extremely thankful to be recognized as a Carnival Gold Scholar. Ever since I learned about the scholarship on a visit to the Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management, it became a personal requisite to attain it during my college application journey. As a first-generation college student, I am proud and excited to accomplish goals that my parents have set out for me with Carnival’s help. This opportunity allows for my family and me to be unbound from financial constraints regarding my future and education. Obtaining this scholarship is a major motivator in transforming my dream of working in hospitality and tourism into a reality by helping me access a higher level of education at FIU. I am beyond excited to work alongside other people with the same interests, goals, and passions as me, working together to go above and beyond.
My name is Kelly Quiroz, and I am so proud to finally call myself a freshman at Florida International University’s Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management. I would describe myself as independent, trustworthy, persistent, and kind. I have always liked being involved and helping others in any way I can. I love to learn, and I am eager to learn everything and anything I can during my next four years at the Chaplin School as I did throughout high school. I am extremely honored and grateful for this opportunity to study at the Chaplin School and to represent the Carnival Gold Scholars in a field that I have loved since I was eight years old.
I knew from a very early age that I wanted to study hospitality management all thanks to my beautiful mother who works in the hospitality industry for a luxury resort in Cancun, Mexico. Having visited this resort plenty of times and being able to see and hear about the behind-the-scenes of it opened my eyes to the world of hospitality and I fell in love. My mom became my number one role model as I looked to her to tell me everything about the industry and to teach me all about her job and some trade secrets about the resort. This is why I have decided to pursue a career in hospitality management hotel and lodging.
I decided early on in school that I wanted to dedicate myself to learning and trying my absolute best to make not only my parents proud but also to be able to achieve my dreams. In high school, I decided to join an advanced academic program in my school called Cambridge Advanced International Certificate of Education, which consists of pre-university and university courses that are taken throughout four years of high school. I also decided to join another program in my school called Pathway 2 College, which is a dual enrollment program where I took classes at Miami Dade College during the summer and school year. This rigorous schedule between both programs taught me a lot about time management and balance as I had to learn to manage the huge workload, clubs, home life, and social life. Although it was very difficult and stressful in the beginning, I was able to get hold of it all and give time to everything that was on my plate, even having enough time to participate in school clubs, sports, and extracurriculars.
In my sophomore year, I decided to join the Health Information Project, which is a club where members lead peer health discussions to ninth-grade classes about mental health, drugs, alcohol, and sex. I got to do this during my junior and senior year of high school, and I became the historian of the club in my senior year. This club taught me a lot about public speaking and teamwork and as a result made me more confident in my skin. In addition to this, in my sophomore year as well, I joined my school bowling team. I quickly fell in love with the sport and would practice and compete all throughout the fall season. I was also very active in the culinary program and got to help cook and set up events in my schools like senior signing and teacher appreciation celebrations. I was also lucky enough to participate in the Taste of Education culinary competition and represent my school. This event in particular was my favorite because I got to plan out everything about it, from the dish we were serving to how our booth was going to look. This opportunity was one I will forever be thankful for as it gave me insight into event planning and management.
All in all, becoming a Carnival Gold Scholar is an opportunity that I am beyond grateful for, as now I can enjoy my college experience and make the most out of it without worrying if I was going to be able to afford it. I have always worked so hard to be the first in my family to graduate with a degree from college and do what they were not able to. I now feel very confident in my ability to achieve my dreams as this opportunity will allow me to follow in my mother’s footsteps and go beyond with all the amazing opportunities and open doors that await me in the future.
My name is Sofia Araya and I am excited to be starting my journey at Florida International University’s Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management as a freshman. My love for hospitality sparked my love for serving and touching the lives of others. Throughout my life, I have had certain experiences and opportunities that have developed my passion for the field of hospitality.
In high school, I held a variety of leadership positions. Most notably, I served as editor-in-chief of the yearbook and as my school’s Key Club president. Both of these leadership roles have made me realize how much I love being a leader. I found my passion in serving others and being able to provide people with a memorable service and experience. I also learned how to manage my time, which allowed me to balance all my schoolwork with my leadership positions. Public speaking, critical thinking, and working under pressure are all skills I've had to acquire. These leadership positions have molded me into the person I am now and have allowed me to fall in love with hospitality.
A quote by Maya Angelou that I have learned to cherish as I embark on this new chapter of my life is, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” I want to provide people with an experience that makes them feel good, because I know the impact it has. With the skills I have acquired in high school and the skills I will continue to acquire through this program, I plan to continue to touch the lives of others through hospitality. I know that the honor of being awarded a Carnival Gold Scholarship will open many doors and opportunities for me to develop my passion. Once I learned about the program, I knew it was the perfect fit for me because it caters to my interests and needs. I am honored to be here at Florida International University’s Chaplin School and I am proud to be able to represent my University as a Carnival Gold Scholar.
My name is Lillian Garconnette, and it is an honor to become a freshman at Florida International University and the Chaplin School. Throughout my high school years, I faced many obstacles—some that would cause others to completely give up. However, with the help of my sister and my culinary teacher, Mr. Andre Franks, I persevered and kept myself busy with extracurricular activities such as Family Career and Community Leaders of America, ProStart, and various competitions. These activities helped showcase my leadership skills alongside my culinary skills.
Even though I have not had the privilege of starting my hospitality experience in the classroom, Mr. Franks opened my eyes to the possibilities of this career path through various events throughout my four years at North Miami Senior High School. This, along with working at a coffee shop that valued great hospitality and service from their employees, molded my love for the hospitality industry. I learned how to network with people and I enjoyed having conversations with customers and making them feel welcomed.
I am honored and extremely grateful to become a Carnival Gold Scholar. This scholarship gives me the opportunity to embark on my journey within the hospitality industry without having to worry about any financial burdens. I would like to thank Carnival for believing in me and investing in me and my education. I am eager to continue my education at the Chaplin School and meet all the amazing people who will impact my life, personally and professionally.
Ahn Stéphie Louis
My name is Ahn Stéphie Louis, and I am honored to be a freshman at Florida International University, majoring in Hospitality & Tourism Management. I have not yet had my first day of college, but I already feel at home! I feel like I belong here and am doing the right thing. I have already been blessed with many opportunities, one of them being the Carnival Gold Scholarship. I am very optimistic and hard-working. I always try to see the good side of things, and if there is none, I create my own. I would describe myself as a “social butterfly,” as I am very outgoing, daring, spirited, and absolutely in love with networking and social events. I believe that networking is the hidden key to success; the people you meet, the relationships you build, the memories you create, and most importantly, the knowledge you gain. For that same reason, one of my favorite quotes is: “What you know gets you to the door, but whom you know opens it for you.”
Hospitality has always been a part of me, whether consciously or subconsciously—my amiability and conviviality are two of my best attributes. I am very open-minded and have a profound love for people and their interests in general. I love helping others and learning about them. I am very passionate about foreign languages (I already am fluent in Spanish, French, Creole, and English), other people, cultures, foods, history, architecture, etc. I always like for people around me to feel at home and welcome. It allows space for a solid social dynamic and a growing environment. This is very personal for me, as when I first came to this country, I often felt like a stranger far from home who was not welcome. During the past years, I have gained some experience in the hospitality industry, as I have worked in retail, food and beverage, and even event hosting. All I can say is that I loved it, and I am more than ready to be involved, included, and remembered in such a wonderful industry.
Receiving the Carnival Gold Scholarship is an opportunity of a lifetime for me, and I am incredibly thankful. I plan to seize this chance with both hands and make the very best of it. I am determined to be the best version of myself throughout these upcoming years and more motivated than ever. I feel more than lucky to have been given such a chance and see more than a plethora of beautiful outcomes.