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Lily Miller

1815

Bold Points

1x

Finalist

Bio

Lily Miller is a senior known for leading a student team as CEO to create a company, brand, and product package promoting financial protection. She and her team were selected as one of fifteen teams out of the ~2000 teams across the U.S. for the National Student Leadership Summit. Additionally, she led the Hospitality and Tourism sector in her school’s DECA program, qualifying in the Top 30 in the district. She was also a member of the Stock Portfolio Internship program offered by her school. She is also a rower, social media coordinator, and secretary of the French and Spanish clubs. Outside of the classroom, Lily is a peer tutor and works for Home with Alexandra, serving as a Marketing and Creative Consultant. Her hard work and dedication have resulted in several notable achievements, including the ICE Best Financial Performance Award, Tulane Book Award, Commended and Outstanding French and Chinese Scholar, Prix du Jury CCFF, College Board Hispanic Recognition Award, and Head of School Honor Roll. She is deeply committed to working with her church to translate for congregants. She translates weekly sermons averaging 5,000 words per week to impact minority audiences. Additionally, she assists with broadcasting and live interpreting in Spanish. Lily plans to pursue a dual-degree in Entrepreneurship and Hospitality & Tourism at Cornell University in the Fall of 2024. She is excited to continue exploring the fields of entrepreneurship and hospitality and hopes to make a positive impact in the employment models utilized in the hospitality field.

Education

Nsu University School

High School
2015 - 2024

Miscellaneous

  • Desired degree level:

    Master's degree program

  • Majors of interest:

    • Business, Management, Marketing, and Related Support Services, Other
    • Business/Commerce, General
    • Business/Managerial Economics
    • Hospitality Administration/Management
    • Communication, General
    • Sustainability Studies
  • Not planning to go to medical school
  • Career

    • Dream career field:

      Hospitality

    • Dream career goals:

      Post-graduation, I want to create my own line of bespoke, sustainable hotels/restaurants that emphasize equitable hiring.

    • Marketing and Creative Consultant

      Home with Alexandra
      2023 – Present1 year

    Sports

    Rowing

    Varsity
    2021 – Present3 years

    Arts

    • Home with Alexandra

      Graphic Art
      2023 – Present

    Public services

    • Volunteering

      Covenant Church of Naples — Head Translator
      2018 – Present

    Future Interests

    Advocacy

    Volunteering

    Philanthropy

    Entrepreneurship

    Strong Leaders of Tomorrow Scholarship
    It is unquestionably easier to be a leader during times of success than during times of hardship. However, only the strongest leaders know that they must collaborate more than ever to succeed in times of hardship. Friday, March 10, 2023: The Silicon Valley Bank collapses. Most teens paid no attention. As a Junior running a company, I was interested but otherwise engaged. That was until Monday, March 13, when the call came. Thus began my three-week sprint lessons in crisis leadership and determination. Our Junior Achievement company, ProFin Tech (PFT), had a pending contract for our most significant single corporate deal that had to be executed before the end of March to count towards our competition results. Regrettably, the Silicon Valley Bank significantly financed that corporate partner. They called and indicated their proposed cancellation of the sale. Our "ripped from the headlines" moment arrived with shock and surprise. We were devastated by the news. While I had final authority as CEO to make decisions, the nature of the organization required me to exercise a significant amount of peer-level leadership. It became evident that we risked losing the entire competition without a shared vision. Determined, I directed my team to create a deferred sales timeline, allowing our client additional time to solidify their finances following the bank collapse while executing an agreement enabling PFT to report the sale in our annual report and receive "credit" within the JA competition rule structure. After two weeks of research and renegotiation, this was completed on time. Another submission requirement was a full-length video commercial. Four days before the deadline, we lost the finished commercial and all of the raw footage due to a corrupted electronic storage device. Once again, I rallied the team only with a twist – I challenged them to produce an even better video! They quickly rose to the occasion. Learning lessons from our first production, we created a more robust product and still met the deadline. My CEO experience was not just about dealing with crises head-on; it was also about adapting my work ethic expectations to each personality style in our leadership team, gaining trust, and getting them to deliver their best through collaboration. Through a team bond, we learned how to deal with problems that came our way. That leadership style paid dividends. Our video commercial earned a top-three finish, and our financial performance was recognized as #1 in the country at the national competition.
    FLIK Hospitality Group’s Entrepreneurial Council Scholarship
    I want my future field of work to holistically reflect the progress it touts. I live twenty miles outside the Magic City. Growing up, I remember being enamored with the excitement and wonder a big city like Miami promised. Even today, visitors flock worldwide to experience towering hotels, new restaurants, shimmering waters, postcard-worthy beaches, and exciting events. They also often discover homelessness and unemployment — and just like that, the magic wears off. The towering hotels are in expensive areas and pay wages too low to support their work staff. The "bold" and "innovative" restaurants have employees heavily relying on tips to survive while commuting extreme distances to find attainable housing. Even with those issues, we have yet to discuss Miami's unhoused and unemployed residents. Unfortunately, this issue is not exclusive to Miami; it is prevalent nationwide. According to U.S. Department of Labor and Department of Housing and Urban Development sources, roughly 6.4 million Americans are jobless, and over a half-million are homeless. This leads to a significant gap in employment, often due to two prevalent issues: paucity of career readiness and logistical struggles. Without tackling these challenges at the source, we only succeed in exacerbating the problem, and in our robust American economy, individuals should have the opportunity to be set up for success, rather than failure. It is essential to begin with career readiness programs to address these issues. Many workers in the hospitality field are in low-paying, limiting jobs because they lack access to proper training and education. Vocational training programs and partnerships with educational institutions can give employees the skills to advance into careers. Beyond that, logistical struggles, such as restrictive access to affordable transportation or attainable housing, hinder many individuals from pursuing viable careers. With focused attention, business leaders can address these challenges through partnerships with local governments and community organizations to ease the burdens of entering and remaining in the workforce, something I too plan to be deeply involved in post-graduation. I believe it is crucial to champion change, but I surmise that sustainable solutions are best accomplished by leadership from within. Through various internships, jobs, and a collegiate certificate program, I have developed a more robust understanding of multiple industry segments and their business models. As a planned major in hospitality and business, I want to devote myself these next four years to academic career research on developing avenues for systemic reform and enhancement across the current employment systems utilized throughout the hospitality enterprise. By necessity, tackling this work requires a multi-faceted, interdisciplinary approach. We need to ensure individuals working in hospitality can develop valuable careers with a quality of life for themselves and their families. By focusing on vocational readiness and addressing logistical barriers, we can make this industry a place where talent thrives, and careers develop with more equity for all who want to be a part of the metaphorical magic. Moving forward, let us dedicate ourselves to recognizing that true enchantment lies in the fair treatment and well-being of those countless workers and staff who bring the magic to life.
    El Jefe Entrepreneurial Scholarship
    I live twenty miles outside the Magic City. Growing up, I remember being enamored with the excitement and wonder a big city like Miami promised. Even today, visitors flock worldwide to experience towering hotels, new restaurants, shimmering waters, postcard-worthy beaches, and exciting events. They also often discover homelessness and unemployment — and just like that, the magic wears off. The towering hotels are in expensive areas and pay wages too low to support their work staff. The "bold" and "innovative" restaurants have employees heavily relying on tips to survive while commuting extreme distances to find attainable housing. Even with those issues, we have yet to discuss Miami's unhoused and unemployed residents. Unfortunately, this issue is not exclusive to Miami; it is prevalent nationwide. According to U.S. Department of Labor and Department of Housing and Urban Development sources, roughly 6.4 million Americans are jobless, and over a half-million are homeless. This leads to a significant gap in employment, often due to two prevalent issues: paucity of career readiness and logistical struggles. Without tackling these challenges at the source, we only succeed in exacerbating the problem, and in our robust American economy, individuals should have the opportunity to be set up for success, rather than failure. I want my future field of work to holistically reflect the progress it touts. I want to focus my entrepreneurial journey on developing avenues for systemic reform and enhancement across the current employment systems utilized throughout the hospitality enterprise. I believe that bringing about change comes with pioneering new solutions. I believe that one of the most fundamental solutions is a combined employment and career readiness program to address prevalent employment issues. Many workers in the hospitality field are in low-paying, limiting jobs because they lack access to proper training and education. Vocational training programs and partnerships with educational institutions can give employees the skills to advance into careers. Beyond that, logistical struggles, such as restrictive access to affordable transportation or attainable housing, hinder many individuals from pursuing viable careers. I hope to ensure individuals working in hospitality can develop valuable careers with a quality of life for themselves and their families. By focusing on vocational readiness and addressing logistical barriers, we can make this industry a place where talent thrives, and careers develop with more equity for all who want to be a part of the metaphorical magic. Moving forward, let us dedicate ourselves to recognizing that true enchantment lies in the fair treatment and well-being of those countless workers and staff who bring the magic to life.
    Janie Mae "Loving You to Wholeness" Scholarship
    Ten thousand is the magic number. Four thousand, you can survive in a foreign country. Two hundred fifty words, you are considered a beginner. Words make up languages, but languages are more than words. Languages are how we express our ideas and share our culture. Speaking four languages (two fluently and two at an advanced level) has powerfully shaped my identity and ability to extend kindness unto others. Growing up in a Cuban-American household, I was fortunate that my grandparents lived with us because I learned two languages simultaneously. I repaid that gift to my grandparents and their generation during COVID-19. My Spanish fluency proved instrumental in teaching a group of Spanish-speaking octogenarians to use tablets and smartphones and be more connected during the pandemic. This micro-community had remained in the dark regarding technology because most instructors taught in English. However, my destiny with foreign languages was not to be confined to being bilingual. Starting middle school, counselors presented the option to choose one language for the class requirement between Spanish, French, or Mandarin. As a fluent Spanish speaker, my heart told me to seek new challenges and grow my ability to communicate with people from other cultures. I decided to take both French and Mandarin. At first, the school administration recommended no; two languages were too much of an academic burden due to a demanding all-honors course load. However, I was steadfast. Seven years into that journey, I realized the double-language courses changed my learning trajectory forever, both in and outside the classroom. At my church, I assisted in growing our ministry to include the local Latino and Haitian communities. Standing at the welcome desk and translating into Spanish for Latino churchgoers was easy, as was doing the weekly five-thousand-word sermon translations. Trying to forge a bridge between the Haitian and American populations proved more challenging. During our Haitian sister church's annual buffet picnic, an elder approached me, expressing his concern for James, a fellow congregant with a severe tree nut allergy who was afraid of accidentally ingesting any contaminated food. When I found James, I noticed he was trying to communicate his allergy to one of the Haitian members serving food. Unfortunately, this led to more confusion between the pair. I turned to the woman, explaining his situation in French, a suitable substitute for her native Creole. As she came to understand his concerns, her expression changed to one of surprise. She smiled, asking me to reassure him that he was "safe." From then on, church members playfully called me "Language Lily." It is a title I wear proudly. As a result of all these and other multilingual experiences, my perspectives have broadened, my cultural connections have increased, Through a selfless desire to enrich my community, I have been able to harness the power of languages to impact the lives of others in meaningful ways. It is a blessing I will be forever grateful for.
    Redefining Victory Scholarship
    Friday, March 10th: The Silicon Valley Bank collapses. Most teens paid no attention. As a Junior running a company, I was interested but overwhelmed. Exams were approaching, time demands for crew practice were intense, and every spare moment I had was spent leading and preparing our school's Junior Achievement (JA) team as CEO. Our JA annual corporate results and final reports had to be submitted by March 31st to be eligible for the national competition. But on Monday, March 13th, the call came. Thus began my three-week sprint lessons in crisis leadership and determination. Our JA company, ProFin Technologies (PFT), focuses on financial protection technologies. We had a pending contract for our largest single corporate deal. Our team worked diligently on contract terms to execute before the deadline to count towards our competition results. Regrettably, the Silicon Valley Bank significantly financed a potential corporate partner. They called and indicated their proposed cancellation of the sale. Our "ripped from the headlines" moment arrived with shock and surprise. We were devastated by the news. Determined, I directed my team to create a deferred sales timeline, allowing our client additional time to solidify their finances following the bank collapse while executing an agreement enabling PFT to report the sale in our annual report and receive "credit" within the JA competition rule structure. This took two weeks of research and renegotiation but was completed in time. Crisis averted, or so I thought. As the March deadline approached, another submission requirement was a full-length video commercial. We previously completed the filming and editing process. Still, due to a corrupted electronic storage device, we lost not only the finished commercial but all of the raw footage we had shot the month before. With only four days to the deadline, once again, I had to rally the team to reproduce our commercial, only with a twist – I challenged them to see this as an opportunity to produce an even better video! They quickly rose to the occasion. Learning lessons from our first production, we created a more robust product and still met the deadline. Thankfully, not every PFT experience was laced with difficulties. Our company intended to sell convenient, inexpensive tools to help keep consumers' finances safe. However, I soon recognized that selling a product rooted in financial protection would only be truly impactful with a solid foundation of financial literacy (Finlit) already in place. This realization fueled my mission to empower individuals aged five to eighteen years with financial knowledge. The extensive hours I spent researching, building, and testing Finlit curricula paid off. When I raised the apple, the Kindergarteners erupted in a chorus of "NEED!" As I unveiled the plush unicorn, their voices cheered, "WANT!" Frenzied cries of "SAVE" and "SPEND" filled the classroom as I displayed a variety of items. Witnessing the transformative effect of these lessons on students, I took the initiative to collaborate with our local United Way. In partnership with their ReadingPals program, I meticulously designed tailor-made Finlit games and collaborated with local educators to develop teaching materials. My desire to spread financial literacy to every school age, and through multiple means, became a defining pillar of PFT and our local school community across the extended Broward County area, with the sixth-largest public school district in the country. Ultimately, our team's resilience and efforts led to PFT's selection as one of fifteen teams from over 2,000 nationwide to attend the National Leadership Summit in Washington, DC. In an action-packed week, we engaged in enlightening seminars and workshops before visiting the Cannon House Office Building, where we presented to groups of judges and members of Congress. The most nerve-racking schedule awaited the following day: dawn-to-dusk formal pitch presentations and interviews. As we anxiously awaited the culmination of ten months of planning, brainstorming, and execution, we held our collective breath at the awards ceremony. Our last-minute video commercial landed a top-three finish. And then it happened—we rose in shock and joy as recipients of the Intercontinental Exchange Best Financial Performance Award, #1 in the country! While our team succeeded by “traditional standards” by winning awards, our fundamental success was more profound. In my eyes, success was learning how to deal with crises through consistent collaboration and growth and bringing the importance of our mission to a broader community. Through this collaboration, we were able to more efficiently and effectively meet our goals. As the year progressed, we grew closer as a team, and while the taste of victory was sweet, it was growing together that made us truly successful. As a hopeful recipient of the Redefining Victory Scholarship, I hope to showcase this mentality of victory to others through my collegiate endeavors, exploring how success is not a one-way path, but a personal undertaking defined by an individual’s needs and desires.
    1989 (Taylor's Version) Fan Scholarship
    It is harder to find someone who has not listened to a Taylor Swift song than someone who has. Just ask my grandpa. 2024 began with a renewed hope to grow closer to my Cuban grandparents before leaving for college in the fall. While we already share a close bond, the cultural differences between the Cuban culture they grew up in and the American one I am raised in sometimes result in a disconnect. While we still try to understand our shared interests, it can sometimes hinder us despite our best efforts. One afternoon, I drove to the grocery store with my abuelo (Spanish for grandfather). The radio was playing, and we were chatting as we always did. Then, Taylor Swift's "Shake it Off" began to play. And that's when things started to change. A grin began to appear on his face. "Que canción es esa," he asked, enquiring about the song's name. "Una canción de Taylor Swift. Se llama Shake it Off," I replied, telling him it was a Taylor Swift song named Shake it Off. He began tapping his hand against his knee to the song's beat, quietly enjoying the rhythm. I, too, grinned along with him. I then realized we were starting to understand each other's cultures more closely, albeit through unconventional means. From that day forward, I discreetly began to play more of Taylor's hit songs. We were eating lunch? "Style" was playing in the background. We were playing dominos? "Blank Space" was softly filling the room. And, of course, "Shake it Off" made regular appearances. Whenever the iconic song began to play, my grandpa would happily point out, "es Taylor!" In return for sharing my culture with my abuelo, I could understand his culture more profoundly. Our domino days became more frequent. We indulged (or over-indulged) in flan. He reminisced about his days in Cuba, and I listened intently. I realized we are now closer than ever just because we had an opportunity to share our cultures in an unforced, pleasant way. While abuelo is not yet a full-blown "Swiftie," he and I now have "Shake it Off" playing constantly in the background. I know, with complete certainty, that by the time I become a college freshman in August, Taylor Swift will have strengthened my relationship with my abuelo. She and her songs have become a part of the symbolic soundtrack to these first few months of 2024, and I do not suspect they will go away anytime soon.
    John Young 'Pursue Your Passion' Scholarship
    I want my future field of work to reflect the progress it touts holistically. I live twenty miles outside the Magic City, where visitors flock worldwide to experience towering hotels, new restaurants, postcard-worthy beaches, and exciting events. They also often discover homelessness and unemployment—and just like that, the magic evaporates. The towering hotels are in expensive areas and pay wages too low to support their staff. The "bold" and "innovative" restaurants have employees who heavily rely on tips to survive while commuting extreme distances to find attainable housing. Even with those issues, we have yet to discuss Miami's unhoused and unemployed residents. Unfortunately, this is not an issue exclusive to Miami. It is prevalent across the country. According to U.S. Department of Labor and Department of Housing and Urban Development sources, roughly 6.4 million Americans are jobless, and over a half-million are homeless, leading to a significant gap in employment, often due to common reasons: lack of career readiness and logistical struggles being two very prevalent issues. We need to tackle these challenges at the source to succeed in fixing the problem. Beyond a lack of resources for homeless and jobless populations, immigrant populations are also at an employment deficit. Latino and Hispanic communities make up around 19.1% of the population of the United States. They contribute to the cultural, political, and economic fabric of the United States, contributing to its rich landscape. Members of Latino and Hispanic communities build economies by forming a large majority of particular workforces. Unfortunately, the leadership structure of many organizations does not reflect this, where diversity is often lacking. Recognizing this gap, I am motivated to use my linguistic and cultural bridging skills to amplify the voices and representation of Latino and Hispanic communities in leadership positions. In my own family, I have witnessed the transformative power of food businesses. Growing up in a three-generational Cuban American household, I cherished the invaluable presence of my grandparents. The Cuban Revolution transformed my grandparents into Cuban political prisoners. The government seized my grandfather's bakery and home, tore the family apart, and locked away my grandparents' freedom. Despite hardships, my grandfather's determination led to opening a bakery in South Florida. The bakery’s success and generosity propelled my maternal family forward. This legacy of combining food, hospitality, and charity became integral to my upbringing, shaping my belief in the transformative power of charitable business for social good. As a planned hospitality major, I want to focus my academic career on developing avenues for systemic reform and enhancement across the current employment systems utilized throughout the hospitality enterprise. By necessity, tackling this work requires a multi-faceted, interdisciplinary approach. This scholarship will help me pursue my passion for a more equitable future for those in the industry.
    Eleven Scholarship
    Friday, March 10th: The Silicon Valley Bank collapses. Most teens paid no attention. As a Junior running a company, I was interested but overwhelmed. Every spare moment I had was spent leading and preparing our school's Junior Achievement (JA) team as CEO. Our JA annual corporate results and final reports had to be submitted by March 31st to be eligible for the national competition. But on Monday, March 13th, the call came. Thus began my three-week sprint lessons in crisis leadership and determination. Our JA company, ProFin Technologies (PFT), focuses on financial protection technologies. We had a pending contract for our largest single corporate deal. Our team worked diligently on contract terms to execute before the deadline to count towards our competition results. Regrettably, the Silicon Valley Bank significantly financed a potential corporate partner. They called and indicated their proposed cancellation of the sale. Our "ripped from the headlines" moment arrived with shock and surprise. We were devastated by the news. Determined, I directed my team to create a deferred sales timeline, allowing our client additional time to solidify their finances following the bank collapse while executing an agreement enabling PFT to report the sale in our annual report and receive "credit" within the JA competition rule structure. This took two weeks of research and renegotiation but was completed in time. Crisis averted, or so I thought. As the March deadline approached, another submission requirement was a full-length video commercial. We previously completed the filming and editing process. Still, due to a corrupted electronic storage device, we lost not only the finished commercial but all of the raw footage we had shot the month before. With only four days to the deadline, once again, I had to rally the team to reproduce our commercial, only with a twist – I challenged them to see this as an opportunity to produce an even better video! Learning lessons from our first production, we created a more robust product and still met the deadline. My CEO experience was not just about crisis management; I learned other valuable lessons throughout the journey. One formidable challenge of running a venture under the banner of JA was not having complete control of staffing since the business start-up phase began as a school club activity. Our C-Suite team, consisting of several assertive Type A personalities, frequently clashed. While I had final authority as CEO to make decisions, the nature of the organization was such that I also exercised a significant amount of peer-level leadership. It became evident that we risked losing the competition without shared vision. I consistently refocused the team on our vision and mission when they disagreed on various details. Additionally, my personal "teachable moment" was adapting my work ethic expectations to each personality style in our leadership team, gaining trust, and getting them to deliver their best through collaboration. Ultimately, our team's resilience and efforts led to PFT's selection as one of fifteen teams from over 2,000 nationwide to attend the National Leadership Summit in Washington, DC. In an action-packed week, we engaged in enlightening seminars and workshops before visiting the Cannon House Office Building, where we presented to groups of judges and members of Congress. The most nerve-racking schedule awaited the following day: dawn-to-dusk formal pitch presentations and interviews. As we anxiously awaited the culmination of ten months of planning, brainstorming, and execution, we held our collective breath at the awards ceremony. Our last-minute video commercial landed a top-three finish. And then it happened—we rose in shock and joy as recipients of the Intercontinental Exchange Best Financial Performance Award, #1 in the country!
    Donald Mehall Memorial Scholarship
    Friday, March 10th: The Silicon Valley Bank collapses. Most teens paid no attention. As a Junior running a company, I was interested but overwhelmed. I had exams, time demands for crew practice, and was leading and preparing our school's Junior Achievement (JA) team as CEO. Our JA annual corporate results and final reports had to be submitted by March 31st to be eligible for the national competition. But on Monday, March 13th, the call came. Thus began my three-week sprint lessons in crisis leadership and determination. Our JA company, ProFin Technologies (PFT), focuses on financial protection technologies. We had a pending contract for our largest single corporate deal. Our team worked diligently on contract terms to execute before the deadline to count towards our competition results. Regrettably, the Silicon Valley Bank significantly financed a potential corporate partner. They called and indicated their proposed cancellation of the sale. Our "ripped from the headlines" moment arrived with shock. We were devastated by the news. Determined, I directed my team to create a deferred sales timeline, allowing our client additional time to solidify their finances following the bank collapse while executing an agreement enabling PFT to report the sale in our annual report and receive "credit" within the JA competition rule structure. This took two weeks of research and renegotiation but was completed in time. Crisis averted, or so I thought. As the March deadline approached, another submission requirement was a full-length video commercial. We previously completed the filming and editing process. Still, due to a corrupted electronic storage device, we lost not only the finished commercial but all of the raw footage we had shot the month before. With only four days to the deadline, once again, I had to rally the team to reproduce our commercial, only with a twist – I challenged them to see this as an opportunity to produce an even better video! They quickly rose to the occasion. Learning lessons from our first production, we created a more robust product and still met the deadline. My CEO experience was not just about crisis management; I learned other valuable lessons throughout the journey. One formidable challenge of running a venture under the banner of JA was not having complete control of staffing since the business start-up phase began as a school club activity. Our C-Suite team, consisting of several assertive Type A personalities, frequently clashed. While I had final authority as CEO to make decisions, the nature of the organization was such that I also exercised a significant amount of peer-level leadership. It became evident that we risked losing the entire competition without shared vision. I refocused the team on our vision and mission when they disagreed on various details. My personal "teachable moment" was adapting my work ethic expectations to each personality in our leadership team, gaining trust, and getting them to deliver their best through collaboration. Ultimately, our efforts led to PFT's selection as one of fifteen teams from over 2,000 nationwide to attend the National Leadership Summit in Washington, DC. In an action-packed week, we engaged in enlightening seminars and workshops before visiting the Cannon House Office Building, where we presented to groups of judges and members of Congress. The most nerve-racking schedule awaited the following day: dawn-to-dusk formal presentations and interviews. As we anxiously awaited the culmination of ten months of work, we held our collective breath at the awards ceremony. Our last-minute video commercial landed a top-three finish. And then it happened—we rose in shock and joy as recipients of the Intercontinental Exchange Best Financial Performance Award, #1 in the country!
    Career Test Scholarship
    I want my future field of work to reflect the progress it touts holistically. I live twenty miles outside the Magic City, where visitors flock worldwide to experience towering hotels, new restaurants, postcard-worthy beaches, and exciting events. They also often discover homelessness and unemployment—and just like that, the magic evaporates. The towering hotels are in expensive areas and pay wages too low to support their staff. The "bold" and "innovative" restaurants have employees who heavily rely on tips to survive while commuting extreme distances to find attainable housing. Even with those issues, we have yet to discuss Miami's unhoused and unemployed residents. Unfortunately, this is not an issue exclusive to Miami. It is prevalent across the country. According to U.S. Department of Labor and Department of Housing and Urban Development sources, roughly 6.4 million Americans are jobless, and over a half-million are homeless, leading to a significant gap in employment, often due to common reasons: lack of career readiness and logistical struggles being two very prevalent issues. We need to tackle these challenges at the source to succeed in fixing the problem. Beyond a lack of resources for homeless and jobless populations, immigrant populations are also at an employment deficit. Latino and Hispanic communities make up around 19.1% of the population of the United States. They contribute to the cultural, political, and economic fabric of the United States, contributing to its rich landscape. Members of Latino and Hispanic communities build economies by forming a large majority of particular workforces. Unfortunately, the leadership structure of many organizations does not reflect this, where diversity is often lacking. Recognizing this gap, I am motivated to use my linguistic and cultural bridging skills to amplify the voices and representation of Latino and Hispanic communities in leadership positions. In my own family, I have witnessed the transformative power of food businesses. Growing up in a three-generational Cuban American household, I cherished the invaluable presence of my grandparents. The Cuban Revolution transformed my grandparents into Cuban political prisoners. The government seized my grandfather's bakery and home, tore the family apart, and locked away my grandparents' freedom. Despite hardships, my grandfather's determination led to opening a bakery in South Florida. The bakery’s success and generosity propelled my maternal family forward. This legacy of combining food, hospitality, and charity became integral to my upbringing, shaping my belief in the transformative power of charitable business for social good. As a planned hospitality major, I want to focus my academic career on developing avenues for systemic reform and enhancement across the current employment systems utilized throughout the hospitality enterprise. By necessity, tackling this work requires a multi-faceted, interdisciplinary approach. Research and testing will be both time-consuming and expensive, but necessary in order to effectively usher in change. Applying that research to existing business may also pose challenges, but through effective leadership and collaboration, progress can be achieved. This scholarship will help me pursue my passion for a more equitable future for those in the industry.
    Arthur and Elana Panos Scholarship
    Faith and service have been the lifeblood of my family for as long as I can remember. My first conscious memory began at just over two years old. Raised in a three-generational Cuban-American household, I was blessed to have my grandparents with me. I learned to bake bread with my abuelo. Together, we would shape lumps into loaves, later gifting them to neighbors as I listened to our family stories. Before the Cuban Revolution, my great-grandfather owned one of Havana's most famous bakeries. My abuelo grew up in that bakery and learned the craft. However, with the Revolution, the communist regime persecuted my family, and my grandparents became Cuban political prisoners. In prison, abuelo received scant, maggot-infested rations. Coincidentally, a homeless man, Miguel, whom he had formerly fed for years with bread from the bakery, shared his cell block. My grandfather had been raised in a faith-based household, and he had been taught that generosity and service were a manifestation of godly love. Repaying kindness, Miguel split and shared his rations, helping sustain my abuelo. A singular act of goodwill profoundly impacted lives that rippled through generations. As I matured, that story revealed the potential of service for. Using the lessons in faith and generosity that I learned through my grandparents, I repaid their gift to their generation during COVID-19. My Spanish fluency proved instrumental in teaching a group of Spanish-speaking octogenarians to use tablets and smartphones and be more connected during the pandemic. This micro-community had remained in the dark regarding technology because most instructors taught in English. At my church, I assisted in growing our ministry to include the local Latino and Haitian communities. Standing at the welcome desk and translating into Spanish for Latino churchgoers was easy, as was doing the weekly five-thousand-word sermon translations. Trying to forge a bridge between the Haitian and American populations proved more challenging. During our Haitian sister church's annual buffet picnic, an elder approached me, expressing his concern for James, a fellow congregant with a severe tree nut allergy who was afraid of accidentally ingesting any contaminated food. When I found James, I noticed he was trying to communicate his allergy to one of the Haitian members serving food. Unfortunately, this led to more confusion between the pair. I turned to the woman, explaining his situation in French, a suitable substitute for her native Creole. As she came to understand his concerns, her expression changed to one of surprise and gratitude. The strong faith I have acquired from my family and community will continue to shape my educational and career pathways, allowing me to live humbly in service of others, much like my grandparents and Miguel. I want to inspire others to live their lives similarly, not for the selfish enhancement of themselves but for enriching their communities.
    Sylvester Taylor "Invictus" Hospitality Scholarship
    I want my future field of work to reflect the progress it touts holistically. I live twenty miles outside the Magic City, where visitors flock worldwide to experience towering hotels, new restaurants, postcard-worthy beaches, and exciting events. They also often discover homelessness and unemployment—and just like that, the magic evaporates. The towering hotels are in expensive areas and pay wages too low to support their staff. The "bold" and "innovative" restaurants have employees who heavily rely on tips to survive while commuting extreme distances to find attainable housing. Even with those issues, we have yet to discuss Miami's unhoused and unemployed residents. Unfortunately, this is not an issue exclusive to Miami. It is prevalent across the country. According to U.S. Department of Labor and Department of Housing and Urban Development sources, roughly 6.4 million Americans are jobless, and over a half-million are homeless, leading to a significant gap in employment, often due to common reasons: lack of career readiness and logistical struggles being two very prevalent issues. We need to tackle these challenges at the source to succeed in fixing the problem. Beyond a lack of resources for homeless and jobless populations, immigrant populations are also at an employment deficit. Latino and Hispanic communities make up around 19.1% of the population of the United States. They contribute to the cultural, political, and economic fabric of the United States, contributing to its rich landscape. Members of Latino and Hispanic communities build economies by forming a large majority of particular workforces. Unfortunately, the leadership structure of many organizations does not reflect this, where diversity is often lacking. Recognizing this gap, I am motivated to use my linguistic and cultural bridging skills to amplify the voices and representation of Latino and Hispanic communities in leadership positions. In my own family, I have witnessed the transformative power of food businesses. Growing up in a three-generational Cuban American household, I cherished the invaluable presence of my grandparents. The Cuban Revolution transformed my grandparents into Cuban political prisoners. The government seized my grandfather's bakery and home, tore the family apart, and locked away my grandparents' freedom. Despite hardships, my grandfather's determination led to opening a bakery in South Florida. The bakery’s success and generosity propelled my maternal family forward. This legacy of combining food, hospitality, and charity became integral to my upbringing, shaping my belief in the transformative power of charitable business for social good. As a planned hospitality major, I want to focus my academic career on developing avenues for systemic reform and enhancement across the current employment systems utilized throughout the hospitality enterprise. By necessity, tackling this work requires a multi-faceted, interdisciplinary approach. This scholarship will help me pursue my passion for a more equitable future for those in the industry.