Diana Maldonado

Diana Maldonado
First Name
Last Name
Dominican Republic

MSc. Hospitality Management

Florida International University Miami, FL

My personal achievements stem from well rooted family values and traditions learned from my own parents. Raised under extreme poverty in Santo Domingo (D.R.), my father became a Fulbright scholar, completing both, his bachelor and master degrees at U. S. universities. My mother, on the other side, also very poor, graduated as a journalist at age 27, completed a second degree in Education, with Summa Cum Laude Honors, in the summer of 2007 and is currently pursing a Master in Education. Since early, family effort has focused on sustaining moral principles and hard work as the key to goal accomplishment.

I commenced my graduate studies in summer 2006 at Florida International University (FIU). As we all know, an international student’s tuition expenses are extremely high and the possibilities of working in the US are very limited. However, since I had the desire and passion to achieve my goal and didn’t have the financial support needed to do so, I asked myself: if I keep my good grades, will I be able to apply for scholarships? Even though I am an international student? The answer was Yes, I can! That’s when I decided to start looking for those opportunities available for international students with good academic standard that are in financial need, as I was.

When I applied for the CTO Foundation scholarship in 2006, I wasn’t sure I was going to receive the scholarship. They called me and invited me to Barbados for an interview. Shortly after that I received and email stating that I was one of the 2006 year recipients. I was completely in shock.

Winning this scholarship for two consecutive years proved to be extremely valuable for me, not only alleviating me from the financial burdens I was going through at the moment, but also by making me open my eyes and focus on what was the most important thing for me at the moment: getting the highest grades available.

Thanks to the CTO Foundation’s financial assistance and my continuously effort in achieving the highest grades and honors possible, I’ve completed my Master of Science in Hospitality Management with honors Summa Cum Laude.

In terms of my future goals, I’ve decided to stay in the United States for the Optional Practical Training (OPT), which is an additional year that international students can apply for after graduation to work full time legally. For that I am already having interviews with different companies in order to find a position in which I can apply everything that I have learned during my years in graduate school.

Once again, I would like to thank CTO Foundation’s generosity and kind spirit in funding this scholarship for Caribbean students in financial needs. Winning the award has provided support and encouragement for both, my family and me.  I look forward to become an individual that makes your institution proud, epitomizing all of the values your organization stands for and by which it has created its highly-regarded reputation.

Year of Scholarship