Home News & Features AH&LEF Awards Scholarships to 104 Minority Students

AH&LEF Awards Scholarships to 104 Minority Students


WASHINGTON, D.C.—The American Hotel & Lodging Educational Foundation (AH&LEF), the not-for-profit affiliate of the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA), is awarding 104 hospitality scholarships to minority students. This total represents more than one-third of the 338 scholarships awarded by AH&LEF this year, which distributed approximately $558,000 through all of its scholarship programs.

Two of the scholarship funds, offered by Hyatt Hotels and Resorts and JHM Hotels, are earmarked exclusively for minority hospitality students. These scholarship opportunities provide students with the freedom they need to build a brighter future for themselves and their families and to pursue additional career opportunities.

“Both of these valuable scholarship programs address an important need and ensure our industry has access to a strong and diverse lodging workforce,” said Joori Jeon, CPA, CAE, AH&LEF President/AH&LA CFO. “These scholarships are instrumental in allowing the best and brightest to move forward in their studies and be well-prepared for the exciting career that lies ahead. Hyatt Hotels and Resorts and JHM Hotels should also be recognized for their commitment to connecting future minority lodging professionals with the financial means to achieve success in their professional development.”

Monies Awarded Based on Several Factors

Scholarships are awarded based on academic performance, hospitality work experience, financial need, and other specific criteria requirements. In many cases, recipient students are both working and attending school, such as Christopher Ojales, hospitality student at California State Polytechnic University Pomona and a 2014 Hyatt Scholar.

“Being an independent college student, I am burdened with the responsibilities of adulthood and the obligations of a college student,” Ojales said. “Balancing both of these worlds can be difficult at times, especially when I’m torn between working my night shift to cover this month’s bills or getting my shift covered so that I may study for tomorrow’s exam. The scholarship award means I have a quarter free of the stress and struggles of having to work while striving to do well in school.”

“For the past three years, I worked very hard as a full-time student and as a full-time professional,” said Jintana Souvannavongsa, Johnson & Wales University-Providence, 2014 ALIS & Hyatt Scholar. “These scholarships have showed me that hard work does not go unnoticed and that the industry genuinely cares about their future leaders. This upcoming May, I am proud to announce that I will be the first in my immediate family to graduate from college! Thank you AH&LEF for believing and investing in me.”

Student Able to Fit Internship Into Schedule

“Because of this scholarship, I was able to choose my classes without hesitation and was even able to add on an internship to my schedule!” said University of Central Florida student and 2014 Rama Scholar Adrienne del Hoyo. “This scholarship has allowed me to worry less about the financial part of higher education, enabling me to focus on learning the essential knowledge and skills I will need to be successful in this industry.”

Of the Foundation’s 10 scholarship programs, two are specifically dedicated to support of minority students.

The Hyatt Hotels Fund for Minority Lodging Management Students awarded $30,000 in scholarships to 15 minority hospitality management students. Since its inception in 1988, this program has awarded $2,000 scholarships to 327 students, totaling $654,000.

JHM Hotels awarded 18 scholarships totaling $26,000 through the Rama Scholarship for the American Dream Program. The fund, established with a $1,000,001 endowment on the 25th anniversary of the Rama brothers’ first hotel purchase, provides the financial support to assist others in creating their own “American Dream.” To date, the fund has awarded $683,000 in scholarships to 423 recipients.

AH&LEF is projected to disburse more than $1 million to prepare promising college students for a career in hospitality, attract and retain quality industry professionals, and fund valuable research for lodging properties in 2014. For more information about AH&LEF scholarships and other programs, contact Michelle Poinelli, Senior Vice President, foundation programs, at (202) 289-3181 or mpoinelli@ahlef.org, or visit www.ahlef.org.