Cruise to Credits article by FIU Online

Hospitality at Sea FIU Study Abroad program offers students an opportunity to sail and study. Florida International University’s Hospitality at Sea program is equal parts fun and education. The Study Abroad learning experience allows students, including those who are online learners, to earn up to six college credit hours in just a few weeks while on a cruise. In its eighth year (nine cruises total), the program recently hosted more than 80 students this summer during a transatlantic voyage through Europe. Setting sail from Port Canaveral, FL, students visited port stops in Ponta Delgada, Portugal; Funchal, Portugal; Seville, Spain; Granada, Spain; Cartagena, Spain; Palma, Spain; and Barcelona, Spain. Click here to read the article by Monica Smith

Mei and Rakesh Sarna establish the “Last Mile” Scholarship for Seniors

Mei and Rakesh Sarna establish the “Last Mile” Scholarship for Seniors at the Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management Mei and Rakesh Sarna have announced their generous gift to create a new scholarship available for seniors at the Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management. The Mei and Rakesh Sarna Scholarship Endowment will be used to advance the College’s mission by ensuring that each academic year three seniors, who have  demonstrated financial need and are just a few credits away from graduation, will receive financial support needed to help them towards graduation. "We feel education is the best gift you can give anyone," said Rakesh Sarna, a global hospitality leader with almost 40 years within the hospitality industry. Sarna has 35 years of experience working with Hyatt Hotels Corporation as Chief Operating Officer – International and Group President of Americas. He has also served as the Managing Director and CEO of Indian Hotels Company Limited (IHCL), among many other notable titles within the industry. Sarna's daughter, Priya is a graduate of the Hospitality Management Program at the Chaplin School. "We are grateful to have the support of Mei and Rakesh Sarna" said Dr. Michael Cheng, Dean of the Chaplin School. "Their gift is directly impacting students by enabling them to achieve their academic goals and graduate on time." Students can learn more about the scholarship and its requirements by visiting To learn how you can help students succeed at the Chaplin School at FIU, visit

Carnival Foundation Awards Full Scholarships to Five Students

Five of South Florida’s brightest and most promising hospitality students are getting the opportunity to pursue their dream of launching a career in hospitality management with an $80,000 scholarship from Carnival Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Carnival Corporation. Read More Photo, clockwise: Destinee Gutierrez, Heissel Mayorga, John Simpson, Deborah Sanchez, Dalila Pineda

Students Receive Lee Brian Schrager Excellence in Leadership Awards for Volunteerism

The Chaplin School recently awarded the Lee Brian Schrager Excellence in Leadership Awards to three dedicated hospitality management students. The annual scholarships were created five years ago by Southern Wine and Spirits, in honor of Mr. Schrager’s leadership and dedication to the Chaplin School. Michelle Diaz, Lori Siegel, and Kathy Fernandez (pictured from left to right), committed a tremendous amount of time volunteering at the 2015 Food Network & Cooking Channel South Beach Wine & Food Festival presented by FOOD & WINE and were recognized at a gathering in the School's Wine Spectator Restaurant Management Lab. Each student received a $5,000 scholarship. Michelle Diaz Excellence in Leadership Award for Culinary Management Festival Responsibilities Served as FIU Chef Michael Moran’s teaching assistant Volunteered over 90 hours managing nearly 10 booths, prepping for all the North Venue events, and pre-planning Aspirations "My plan is to one day own and manage a restaurant of my own. For now, I’m going to continue to cook great food with Chef Moran, get good grades, and keep working hard so I don’t have to later on." Lori Siegel Excellence in Leadership Award for Beverage Management Festival Responsibilities Manage front of the house Al Fresco Feast Worked closely with Professor Hebrank Aspirations "Aspirations for the future have been greatly influenced by the Wine of the New World class I am taking with Professor Hebrank. I would like to continue to explore my options in the wine industry for the future." Kathy Fernandez Excellence in Leadership Award for Special Events Festival Responsibilities 2015 – Human Resources Coordinator working alongside the Festival’s event managers to recruit, hire, and train the over 1,200 students; during the Festival, served as on-site coordinator for the Grand Tasting Village 2014 – Committee Assistant for Fun and Fit as [...]

Hospitality Students Recognized for Leadership and Community Service at National Conference

An FIU delegation made up of 12 students, including three hospitality management students, scored big at the 2014 FBLA-PBL National Leadership Conference held in Nashville, Tennessee from June 24 – 27. The students, who are all part of FIU's chapter of Future Business Leaders of America-Phi Beta Lambda (FBLA-PBL), won in several categories against students from other nationally-renowned universities including Penn State, Rutgers University, and the University of California-Berkley, among others. Three of the twelve awards presented at the conference were won by hospitality management students Caroline Scher, Noelle Belli, and Gedma Estrada. Senior Gedma Estrada, placed third for the Local Chapter Annual Business Report category and in the Future Business Executive category. The students' community service project placed second in the entire nation and was especially gratifying because of its mission. The project was coordinated with the JAM Foundation, an organization that focuses on raising awareness of teen suicide, depression, bullying, self-harm and eating disorders. "This project was a huge success not only because of the monetary donation we were able to make, or because of the many students we were able to reach, but because we helped deliver a message to that one student who could have committed to something irreversible,” said Gedma Estrada. The students sold merchandise, collected donations, and led a general session at Miami Sunset Senior High to inform students about the signs of depression. Through their combined efforts, they were able to raise enough funds to present two seniors at the high school who were in some way impacted by suicide with $1,500 scholarships. The FIU chapter of FBLA-PBL also earned recognition in the following areas: 3rd Best Chapter in the Nation Power of One Recognized School Outstanding PBL [...]